2019 Blues Music Awards Nominees Announced

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The Blues Foundation revealed the nominees for the 2019 Blues Music Awards, to be held 9 May in Memphis, Tennessee. As usual, the list contains both well-deserving artists and albums, and others that leave me aghast. Nevertheless, I encourage all to join the Foundation (memberships start as low as $25) and vote! Full details are here: 2019 BMA Nominees & Event Details.

The nominees:

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:

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

 

Blues Rock 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

 

Blues Rock 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

 

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano):

Anthony Geraci

Bruce Katz

Jim Pugh

Marcia Ball

Mike Finnigan

 

Instrumentalist – Vocals:

Beth Hart

Danielle Nicole

Janiva Magness

Michael Ledbetter

Shemekia Copeland

 

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

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Hank Mowery • Account To Me

account to me

Hank Mowery

Account To Me

Old Pal, 2013

http://www.hankmowery.com/

The Michigan-based harmonica player and singer Hank Mowery is no newcomer, having fronted his own band The Hawktones and toured with Mike Morgan & The Crawl during the 1990s. But it was not until last year that he would record his first solo project. While Account To Me is intended in large part as a tribute to the greatly missed Gary Primich, by featuring five of his songs, including two previously unrecorded, it will also function for many as an introduction to Mowery’s estimable skills as a performer and bandleader.

The Primich songs alone offer a broad and varied stylistic palette. Perhaps the most straightforward of these, musically, is “My Home,” a hard, Texas shuffle driven by John Large’s relaxed yet insistent drumming. The liltingly melodic “Tricky Game” is clever without being precious, weaving references to Einstein and calculus into a romantic lyric. The groove and Chris Corey’s steel-drum-inspired piano suggest a lost Professor Longhair number. The uptempo cut “Put The Hammer Down,” with its creative and strong unamplified harmonica solo, is built up from the wild guitar figure Troy Amaro plays, one that could have been lifted from the Junior Watson playbook. Mowery’s smooth vocal and Amaro’s solo in “Pray For A Cloudy Day” have enough sophistication to move this Primich number into the urbane, jazzy territory of an artist like Lynwood Slim. Finally, the title song is a sweetly hushed, R&B ballad  that could have come from Chuck Willis or even Buddy Holly. Bassist Patrick Recob contributes acoustic guitar, Mowery blows plaintive harmonica, and Amaro softens his tremolo-washed electric guitar lines further with whammy-bar shimmer.

The balance of the set widens the scope considerably. Rev. Robert Wilkins’s “That Ain’t No Way To Get Along,” familiar through his own recording and the Rolling Stones’ adaptation “Prodigal Son,” goes back to the prewar years. In keeping with its country blues origins, it is performed in a duo setting, with Mowery accompanying the National resonator guitar of singer Jimmie Stagger. Interplay between Mowery’s harmonica and Corey’s wonderfully cheesy, Space Age-toned B3 highlights the rocking R&B/Latin-flavored instrumental “Banana Oil,” originally by Memphis Slim. Mowery contributes the deep and lowdown “If I Knew What I Know,” a slow blues drawn directly from the Muddy Waters well, and sparked by fine ensemble playing and fat amplified harp. “Spend A Little Time,” a Mowery/Recob collaboration, opens with a drum fill quoting “Keep A Knockin’” (and “Rock And Roll”) before veering off into another direction, developing into a Gulf Coast rocker worthy of The Fabulous Thunderbirds or Primich, arranged to lean heavily on the hard-working rhythm section, acoustic piano, and a funky, fuzz-toned Wurlitzer that fills the guitar’s spot in the mix. Recob sings his own composition “Target,” a haunting blues lope in a minor key that evokes a dream jam session between Little Walter and Grant Green.

The musicians and producer-engineer Tommy Schichtel clearly paid close attention to making and capturing incredible sounds: tones this good don’t happen by accident. Mowery and crew play expressively and with subtlety, never pressing. That unforced feel extends to the arrangements; the songs seem to go where artistry and imagination, rather than any particular stylistic preconception, have led them. Finally, Tad Robinson’s perceptive liner notes articulate the record’s origins and achievement with intelligence and grace. Account To Me, a beautiful and remarkable work, is bound to make a lasting impression.
TOM HYSLOP

I received the review copy of this CD from Mark Pucci Media.