The nominees for the blues world’s top honor have been announced.
Presented by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation, the Blues Music Awards “honor exceptional achievements over the past year in blues music recording, performance and songwriting, as well as supporting the rich cultural heritage of the blues.”
This year’s ceremonies – the 43rd edition of the awards – will take place on May 5 at the Renaissance Convention Center in Memphis.
Veteran Bay Area bluesman Tommy Castro Leading with five nominations. He will be up for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Band of the Year (with his group, The Painkillers), Contemporary Blues Album and Blues Rock Artist awards.
Castro is a multiple-BMA winner, having previously won the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year trophy (in 2008 and 2010) and the Contemporary Blues Album Award (2008 and 2010), among other titles.
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Meanwhile, Chris Kane — a Californian with family roots in the Bluff City — received four nominations in the contemporary categories (male artist and blues album) as well as instrumental — guitar. He also earned his first-ever nomination for Album of the Year for his LP, “Rain’ Cain.”
The Mid-South is also well represented, as is the Memphis native Eric Gales and the Mississippian Mr. Sip And Kristone “Kingfish” Ingram The respect is up for grabs. Ingram will compete in the Contemporary Blues Artist and Album categories. Mr. Sip will also be up for Contemporary Blues Artist and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. Gales will try to win the B.B. King Award and the Instrumentalist – Guitar Award.
Veteran Memphis R&B artist Don Bryant And William Bell was also nominated. Bryant, a High Records veteran, and Bell, a Stax Records legend, will compete in the Best Soul Blues Artist category. They will be joined by another Memphian, a blues singer John Nemeth. Local sax player Mark FranklinBow-Key and Love Light Orchestra, were also nominated in the Best Instrumentalist-Horn category.
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A lot of past winners were also nominated and will be looking forward to returning to the stage. Among them are Sugar Rayford (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Eric Bibb (Acoustic Blues Artist), Mike Zito (Blues Rock Album), Keb’ Mo’ (Acoustic Blues Artist), Ruthie Foster (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), Kim. Wilson (instrument – harmonica), Daniel Nichol (instrumentalist – bass), and Kenny Neal (contemporary blues male artist).
For a complete list of nominees, visit blues.org/43rd-bma-nominees.
The Blues Music Awards will highlight what will be a busy week in Memphis for the Blues Foundation. In addition to the awards, early May festivities include the May 4 Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony, while this year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) – usually held in January – will be held May 6-9.
For more information and to purchase tickets to the BMA, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony or the IBC, visit www.blues.org.