2018 Blues Music Award Nominees Announced

The Blues Foundation today announced the nominees for their 39th Blues Music Awards.

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Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards LogoThe Blues Foundation today announced the nominees for their 39th Blues Music Awards. Begun in 1980, they were known as the W. C. Handy Awards until 2006. Recognized as the highest honor given to blues musicians, the Blues Music Awards are awarded by a vote of Blues Foundation members.

This year, two additional award categories were added, bringing the total to 26. The two new categories are Instrumentalist – Vocals, and Rock Blues Artist. Voting begins January 23rd and ends on March 1st. Voting ballots are sent to all Blues Foundation members in good standing, and the results are revealed at the Blues Music Awards on May 10th, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Here are your 2018 Blues Music Award nominees in alphabetical order by category:

Acoustic Album of the Year:

Catfish Keith – Mississippi River Blues
Doug MacLeod – Break the Chain
Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi – Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train
Harrison Kennedy – Who U Tellin’?
Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way
Rory Block – Keepin’ Outta Trouble

Acoustic Artist:

Doug MacLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Taj Mahal

Album of the Year:

Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
TajMo – TajMo
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After a While

Band:

The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi All-Stars
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year:

Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal

Best Emerging Artist Album:

Altered Five Blues Band – Charmed & Dangerous
Larkin Poe – Peach
Miss Freddye – Lady of the Blues
R.L. Boyce – Roll and Tumble
Southern AvenueSouthern Avenue
Tas Cru – Simmered & Stewed

Contemporary Blues Album:

Beth Hart – Fire on the Floor
Corey Dennison Band – Night After Night
Ronnie Baker Brooks – Times Have Changed
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison
TajMo – TajMo

Contemporary Blues Female Artist:

Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist:

Keb’ Mo’
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Historical Blues Album:

Jimmy Reed, Mr. Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles – Craft Recordings
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie – Craft Recordings
Luther Allison, A Legend Never Dies – Ruf Records
The Paul deLay Band, Live at Notodden ’97 – Little Village Foundation
Various Artists, American Epic: The Collection – Sony Legacy

Instrumentalist – Bass:

Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn

Instrumentalist – Drums:

Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist – Guitar:

Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist – Harmonica:

Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist – Horn:

Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist – Vocals:

Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Nemeth
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist):

Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player:

Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainwright

Rock Blues Album:

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Lay It On Down
Mike Zito – Make Blues Not War
North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer for Peace
Savoy Brown – Witchy Feelin’
Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together

Rock Blues Artist:

Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout

Song of the Year:

“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” – written by Rick Estrin
“Don’t Give Up On Love” – written by Scott Bomar and Don Bryant
“Don’t Leave Me Here” – written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary Nicholson
“Hate Take a Holiday” – written by Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, and Ernie Williams
“Prayer for Peace” – written by Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Oteil Burbridge

Soul Blues Album:

Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Johnny Rawls – Waiting for the Train
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Sugaray Rayford – The World That We Live In
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After a While

Soul Blues Female Artist:

Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist:

Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
William Bell
Wee Willie Walker

Traditional Blues Album:

The Cash Box Kings – Royal Mint
Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Kim Wilson – Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
Various Artists – Howlin’ At Greaseland

Traditional Blues Male Artist:

John Primer
Kim Wilson
Lurrie Bell
R.L. Boyce
Rick Estrin

This year, the Blues Music Award nominees were announced live by artists Bobby Rush, Kenny Neal, and John Nemeth via Ditty TV and on the Blues Foundation’s Facebook Live.

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