40th Blues Music Award Winners

Winners of the 40th Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee, 2019.

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2019 Gary Hoey 728×90

The 40th Blues Music Awards were held in a sold-out Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee tonight. First time nominees rubbed elbows with blues royalty, industry reps, and fans from all over the world on hand for this year’s ceremony.

Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards Logo

Artists were nominated in 25 categories with winners being named in relatively quick succession, 5 categories at a time, with musical breaks in between. Photographer Marilyn Stringer was on hand and kept us apprised of the results in real time.

There were a few multiple award winners. The late Michael Ledbetter won Band of the Year for his part in the Welch-Ledbetter Connection. He also won Vocalist of the Year, and the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year awards with his partner, Kathy Calhoon, accepting on his behalf. Danielle Nicole won awards for Contemporary Blues Female Artist and Bassist of the Year, and Shemekia Copeland‘s album America’s Child won both Contemporary Blues Album and Album of the Year.

Winners in each category appear in BLUE.

Acoustic Album:

A Woman’s Soul, Rory Block
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Global Griot, Eric Bibb
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice

Acoustic Artist:

Ben Rice
Guy Davis
Hadden Sayers
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block

Album of the Year:

America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Rough Cut, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year:

Beth Hart
Bobby Rush
Lil’ Ed Williams
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford

Band of the Year:

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars
Larkin Poe
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Welch-Ledbetter Connection

Best Emerging Artist Album:

Burn Me Alive, Heather Newman
Free, Amanda Fish
Heartland And Soul, Kevin Burt
Tough As Love, Lindsay Beaver
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice

Rock Blues Album:

The Big Bad Blues, Billy F Gibbons
High Desert Heat, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Live At The ’62 Center, Albert Cummings
Poor Until Payday, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Winning Hand, Tinsley Ellis

Rock Blues Artist:

Billy F Gibbons
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Tinsley Ellis

Contemporary Blues Album:

America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
Belle Of The West, Samantha Fish
Chicago Plays The Stones, The Living History Band
Hold On, Kirk Fletcher
Wild Again, The Proven Ones

Contemporary Blues Female Artist:

Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist:

Kenny Neal
Rick Estrin
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Instrumentalist – Bass:

Danielle Nicole
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist – Drums:

Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist – Guitar:

Anson Funderburgh
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Laura Chavez
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist – Harmonica:

Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel

Instrumentalist – Horn:

Doug James
Jimmy Carpenter
Kaz Kazzanof
Mindi Abair
Nancy Wright
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist – Vocals:

Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Janiva Magness
Michael Ledbetter
Shemekia Copeland

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award:

Anthony Geraci
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh
Marcia Ball
Mike Finnigan

Song of the Year:

“Ain’t Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough
“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci
“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming
“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper
“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley

Soul Blues Album:

Back In Business, Frank Bey
Every Soul’s A Star, Dave Keller
I’m Still Around, Johnny Rawls
Love Makes A Woman, The Knickerbocker All-Stars
Reckoning, Billy Price

Soul Blues Female Artist:

Annika Chambers
Barbara Blue
Candi Staton
Thornetta Davis
Whitney Shay

Soul Blues Male Artist:

Frank Bey
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell

Traditional Blues Album:

The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
The High Cost Of Low Living, Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
The Luckiest Man, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Tribute to Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist):

Fiona Boyes
Lindsay Beaver
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Trudy Lynn

Traditional Blues Male Artist:

Anthony Geraci
Cedric Burnside
James Harman
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss

The Blues Foundation

*Feature image Brian Anderson