This year’s event was captured masterfully by AudioGraphics Masterworks in a beautiful video production and the sound was recreated by one of Memphis’ best studios, Ardent. The line-up is a virtual who’s who of the blues world, including people like Charlie Musselwhite, Tab Benoit, Joe Louis Walker, Tracy Nelson, David Maxwell, Billy Boy Arnold, Samantha Fish and so many more.
The DVD is broken down into two sections, one for Public Broadcast airings which feature acceptance speeches mixed within the performances and the second showcasing songs from those who were nominated and collaborations onstage of exceptional pairings. Highlights have to include the rousing take by Johnny Sansone on the song of the year, “The Lord Is Waiting The Devil Is Too,” Hadden Sayers and Ruthie Foster trading verses on “Back To The Blues,” Otis Clay’s soulful “Got To Get Back” with The Bo-Keys’ horns behind him, Daniele Schnebelin’s fierce and passionate vocals on Trampled Under Foot’s “Goodbye,” Tab Benoit’s “Medicine,” Victor Wainwright’s “Big Dog’s Running This Town,” Grady Champion on “Thank You For Giving Me The Blues,” J.P. Soars’ “Doggin’” and perhaps my personal favorite of the night, the acoustic duet of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on “Back Where I Started.”
The Blues Music Awards is one of those events that every blues fan should make an effort to attend. Always a memorable occasion, sitting at tables with artists and enjoying great performances. There are 26 songs on the DVD (25 listed on the CD sleeve, but a track by David Maxwell was left off by mistake) covering more than two hours and 13 are included on the CD. This is merely a drop in the bucket for an event that lasted more than six hours altogether. Even if you did not have the opportunity to attend, this collection is well worth owning. Outstanding from start to finish.