Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Among Blues Awards Winners

39th Annual Blues Awards
Jeff Fasano
– 39th Annual Blues Awards
(l-r): Janiva Magness, Dom Flemons, Bobby Rush, David Porter, Candi Staton and Little Steven Van Zandt

With E Street band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt emceeing the affair, last night’s Blues Music Awards honored Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ for their collaborative album.  The winners’ circle also includes Rick Estrin, Mike Zito, Ruthie Foster, Robert Cray, Trombone Shorty, and Doug MacLeod.

Presented by the Blues Foundation and a major highlight of Blues Music Week, the awards took place at Memphis’ Cook Convention Center.  Van Zandt did double duty by hosting the evening as well as presenting an award.  Other presenters included Tony Joe White, Joe Louis Walker, Candi Staton, Janiva Magness, and David Porter.

Last night was a big evening for Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’, whose collaborative album, TajMo, picked up awards for album of the tear and contemporary blues album honors.  Mahal was also named the B.B. King entertainer of the year and best acoustic artist and Keb’ Mo’ was selected best contemporary blues male artist.

The evening included many live performances with artists such as Walter Trout, North Mississippi Allstars, Guy Davis, Monster Mike Welch and many others.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Acoustic Album:  Break the Chain – Doug MacLeod
Acoustic Artist: Taj Mahal       
Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year: Taj Mahal                    
Band of the Year: Rick Estrin & the Nightcats     
Best Emerging Artist Album: Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
Contemporary Blues Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’              
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Samantha Fish
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Keb’ Mo’
Historical Album: A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997 – Luther Allison (Ruf Recordings)
Instrumentalist-Vocalist of the Year: Beth Hart
Instrumentalist-Bass: Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Instrumentalist-Drums: Tony Braunagel
Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Jason Ricci        
Instrumentalist-Horn: Trombone Shorty          
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano): Victor Wainwright
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female): Ruthie Foster
Rock Blues Album: We’re All In This Together – Walter Trout
Rock Blues Artist: Mike Zito                
Song: “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” written by Rick Estrin and performed by Rick Estrin
Soul Blues Album: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Soul Blues Female Artist: Mavis Staples
Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado                                                         
Traditional Blues Album: Right Place, Right Time – Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Traditional Blues Male Artist: Rick Estrin