Blogcritics announced the nominees for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards last month and voting has begun. Voting continues online through August 31 at Blues Blast's web site and is open to everyone. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago on October 28.
Yesterday was the first day of voting and I wasted no time, casting my vote in all eight categories. Let's discuss who I voted for and why so you, too, can mark your ballot correctly.
Best Contemporary Blues CD
- Joe Louis Walker – Between A Rock And the Blues
- Mike Zito – Pearl River
- Nick Moss – Privileged
- Sean Costello – Sean's Blues
- The Holmes Brothers – Feed My Soul
- Tommy Castro – Hard Believer
Joe Louis Walker's Between A Rock And The Blues won Album Of The Year at the Blues Music Awards in May. It's a wonderful record and I came very close to voting for it. Walker is just tremendous. I'm also very fond of The Holmes Brothers' new disc and have listened to it regularly since buying it a couple months ago. Both deserve consideration but neither came close. I had the profound honor of writing liner notes for Nick's Privileged. It's easily one of the best albums I've heard all year and has been a consistent force at blues radio since its release in March. This was a no-brainer for me.
Best Traditional Blues CD
- Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Lucky To Be Living
- David Maxwell & Louisiana Red – You Got To Move
- Eddie C. Campbell – Tear This World Up
- Fiona Boyes – Blues Woman
- The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – Better Off Now
- Mississippi Heat – Let's Live It Up
Another no-brainer here. Louisiana Red and David Maxwell's You Got To Move won the Acoustic Blues Awards at the BMAs and it's a terrific disc. So is Eddie C. Campbell's Tear This World Up, a record that was nominated for Album of the Year. I like them both. Kilborn Alley Blues Band won the Rising Star Award at the Blues Blast Music Awards last year and they delivered on the promise such an award implies by making the best record of their young career with Better Off Now. I love everything about it.
Best Blues Song
- Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers – “How Much Woman Can You Stand?”
- Joe Louis Walker – “I'm Tide”
- Mike Zito & Cyril Neville – “Pearl River”
- Pete Anderson – “Still In Love”
- Quintus McCormick – “Hey Jodie”
- The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – “Better Off Now”
I voted for “I'm Tide” at the BMAs for Song Of The Year and it remains a favorite and Mike Zito's “Pearl River” won the award. I'm still very partial to "I'm Tide” but as I mentioned above, I'm in love with Kilborn Alley's record. “Better Off Now” isn't even the best song on the record but it's great and deserving.
Best New Artist Debut Release
- Alabama Mike – Day To Day
- Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers – How Much Woman Can You Stand?
- Marquise Knox – Man Child
- Quintus McCormick – Hey Jodie
- Shaun Murphy – Livin The Blues
This category was difficult because I'm not as familiar with all the nominees as I would like to be. Give me two months and I might wish I could go back and change my mind but right now I feel pretty comfortable with Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers.
Best Male Blues Artist
- Bobby Rush
- Joe Bonamassa
- John Németh
- Magic Slim
- Nick Moss
- Tommy Castro
Gosh, what a tough category here. Magic Slim and Bobby Rush are both wonderful performers who have meant so much to the blues for so long. Joe Bonamassa is a supremely gifted guitarist. I can make cases for them all, really. The fact I'm obviously biased doesn't mean I'm wrong. Among the reasons I enthusiastically cast my ballot for Moss in this category is because of the growth from his first record through Privileged. Moss isn't just a great blues guitarist. He's become the total package as a singer, songwriter, producer, and bandleader.
Best Female Blues Artist
- Candye Kane
- Fiona Boyes
- Janiva Magness
- Ruthie Foster
- Shemekia Copeland
- Zora Young
Janiva Magness has grown on me and I like Fiona Boyes and Ruthie Foster and Zora Young. These are some great artists but the voice that speaks loudest, clearest, and most beautifully to me is Shemekia Copeland. These women are all great but I'm sticking with my house favorite.
Best Blues Band
- Magic Slim & The Teardrops
- Nick Moss & The Flip Tops
- Rick Estrin & The Night Cats
- The Holmes Brothers
- The Mannish Boys
- Tommy Castro Band
Willie Oshawny and Bob Carter had played the blues for years before they became Flip Tops and have now spent several years and traveled many miles with Moss. They are a great ensemble unit and you don't appreciate just how good they are until you experience them live. Take a good listen to both volumes of Live at Chan's to get an idea. They're a great unit and the addition of Travis and Nick on organ and bass have enriched the sound.
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
- Cash Box Kings
- Damon Fowler
- The Insomniacs
- Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers
- Joanne Shaw Taylor
- Marquise Knox
This one was tough for me. I voted for Joanne Shaw Taylor for Best New Artist at the BMAs earlier this year and I think she's an exciting young talent whose best work is still ahead of her. I nearly cast my ballot for her in this category but have you people heard the most recent Cash Box Kings' record? I-94 Blues is a great record that makes the Chicago sound come alive. This category more than any other is one I wish I could split my vote but in the end I'm a Chicago blues guy and these guys are doing it.