Blues Music Awards Rolls Out Nominations For 40th Annual Memphis Bash

41st Blues Music Awards
– 41st Blues Music Awards

The Blues Foundation marks its 40th anniversary this year and kicks it all off with nominations for the 41st Blues Music Awards that will take place in Memphis, Tenn., on May 7.

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Billy Branch, Sugaray Rayford and the Cash Box Kings lead the pack in the hunt for coveted awards that recognize the last year’s exceptional achievements in blues music recording, performance and songwriting as well as for supporting the blues’ rich cultural traditions.

The Blues Music Awards will take place at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis, the “cradle of the blues,” during Blues Music Week – an event that celebrates and educates all thing blues. The schedule for the week is expected to be announced soon.

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats lead awards nominations with eight, as they did two years ago when they walked away with awards for band of the year, song of the year and traditional blues artist. Individual members Kristoffer “Kid” Andersen (guitar) and Derrick D’Mar Martine (drums) are up for awards in their respective instrument categories.

Another diverse nominations list, including artists well known in the rock/pop/country world like Larkin Poe, Samantha Fish, Rhiannon Giddens, Mavis Staples, Gary Clark Jr., Bettye LaVette, and Trombone Shorty, proves that blues is a rich yet broad musical  tradition that is very much alive.

The day before the BMAs, The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place May 6 at Memphis’ Halloran Centre at the Orpheum.  More information about Blues Music Week and its events is at the Foundations’s website.


41st Blues Music Award Nominees


Acoustic Blues Album, Sponsored by Newman, DeCoster

Catfish Crawl- Catfish Keith        

Confessin’ My Dues -Terry Robb

Good as Your Last Dollar- Fruteland Jackson        

Solo Ride – Bruce Katz    

This Guitar and Tonight – Bob Margolin    


Acoustic Blues Artist, Sponsored by Folk Alliance International

Eric Bibb

Guy Davis

Rhiannon Giddens

Fruteland Jackson

Doug MacLeod


Album of the Year, Sponsored by Rum Boogie Café and Blues Hall

Church of the Blues – Watermelon Slim

Hail to The Kings! – The Cash Box Kings

Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

The Preacher, The Politician or The Pimp – Toronzo Cannon

Roots and Branches: The Songs of Little Walter- Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues


B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Sponsored by B.B. King’s Blues Club

Billy Branch

Rick Estrin

Sugaray Rayford

Bobby Rush

Mavis Staples


Band of the Year

The Cash Box Kings

The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats

Southern Avenue

Sugaray Rayford Band


Best Emerging Artist Album

Before Me – Ben Levin    

Folie a deux – Hudspeth & Taylor

Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram      

Spectacular Class – Jontavious Willis        

Through My Eyes – John “Blues” Boyd


Blues Rock Album

Killin’ It Live – Tommy Castro & The Painkillers   

Masterpiece- Albert Castiglia

Reckless Heart- Joanne Shaw Taylor

Survivor Blues – Walter Trout     

Up and Rolling – North Mississippi Allstars


Blues Rock Artist, Sponsored by Landmark Band

Albert Castiglia

Tommy Castro

Tinsley Ellis

Eric Gales

Walter Trout

Contemporary Blues Album

Contemporary – Rick Estrin and The Nightcats 

Don’t Pass Me By: A Tribute to Sean Costello – Various Artists

Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram   

The Preacher, The Politician or The Pimp – Toronzo Cannon

Venom & Faith – Larkin Poe       


Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Diane Blue

Vanessa Collier

Shemekia Copeland

Samantha Fish

Janiva Magness


Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Toronzo Cannon

Gary Clark Jr

Luther Dickinson

Rick Estrin

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram


Instrumentalist Bass

Willie J. Campbell

Patrick Rynn

Bill Stuve

Larry Taylor

Michael “Mudcat” Ward


Instrumentalist Drums

Tony Braunagel

Cedric Burnside

June Core

Derrick D’Mar Martin

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith


Instrumentalist Guitar

Christoffer “Kid” Andersen

Laura Chavez

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Junior Watson

“Monster” Mike Welch


Instrumentalist Harmonica, Sponsored by Hohner Harmonica

Billy Branch

Rick Estrin

Dennis Gruenling

Brandon Santini

Kim Wilson


Instrumentalist Horn

Mindi Abair

Jimmy Carpenter

Vanessa Collier

Trombone Shorty

Nancy Wright


Instrumentalist Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player)

Anthony Geraci

Bruce Katz

Dave Keyes

Jim Pugh

Victor Wainwright


Instrumentalist Vocals

Shemekia Copeland

Sugaray Rayford

Curtis Salgado

Mavis Staples

Dawn Tyler Watson


Song of the Year

“Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues,” written by Rebecca Lovell

“Lucky Guy,” written by Nick Moss        

 “Resentment File,” written by Rick Estrin, Joe Louis Walker, and JoJo Russo          

“Time To Get Movin’,” written by Eric Corne

“The Wine Talkin’,” written by Joe Nosek, John Hahn, and Oscar Wilson


Soul Blues Album

Dog Eat Dog – Billy Price

Keep On- Southern Avenue       

Real Street – Tad Robinson         

Sitting on Top of the Blues- Bobby Rush 

Somebody Save Me- Sugaray Rayford     


Soul Blues Female Artist

Annika Chambers

Thornetta Davis

Bettye LaVette

Terrie Odabi

Vaneese Thomas


Soul Blues Male Artist

Billy Price

Sugaray Rayford

Tad Robinson

Curtis Salgado

Wee Willie Walker


Traditional Blues Album

Church of the Blues- Watermelon Slim 

Hail to the Kings! – The Cash Box Kings  

Lucky Guy! – The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

Roots and Branches: The Songs of Little Walter- Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues  

Spectacular Class – Jontavious Willis


Traditional Blues Female Artist  (Koko Taylor Award)

Rory Block

Sue Foley

Mary Lane

Trudy Lynn

Teeny Tucker


Traditional Blues Male Artist

Lurrie Bell

Billy Branch

John Primer

Jimmie Vaughan

Jontavious Willis