The Blues Foundation held the 34th annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, May 9th, and the night’s biggest winner was none other than Portland’s own Curtis Salgado. Nominated for four awards, Curtis Salgado took home three, including awards for Best Soul Blues album for his incredible release Soul Shot, his third Soul Blues Artist (2010, 2012 & 2013) and the most coveted prize of the night, the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. That third BMA is perhaps the most telling due to the tribulations Curtis has suffered the past few years with health issues that have seen him undergo a liver transplant and surgeries for lung cancer, only to dive into his recording, touring and performances with renewed vigor. All that hard work has definitely paid off and has been recognized by the voting members of The Blues Foundation.
The sole prize that Salgado had been nominated for that he did not receive was for Song of the Year for his number “She Didn’t Cut Me Loose,” which was awarded to Janiva Magness for her touching tune “I Won’t Cry.” Magness also was named Contemporary Female Blues Artist. Other multiple winners included Derek Trucks (Gibson Guitar Award and also with the Trucks-Tedeschi Band for Band of the Year and Rock Blues Album for Everybody’s Talkin’); and the late Michael Burks (Contemporary Blues Album and Album of the Year for his posthumous release Show Of Strength).
The Blues Music Awards is much more than just an awards show. It is also an amazing concert that featured 21 sets of music over a time frame of nearly eight hours. Performances by nominees and winners included burning sets by acts such as Joe Louis Walker, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Victor Wainwright, Janiva Magness, Curtis Salgado, The Mannish Boys, Heritage Blues Orchestra, Dorothy Moore and many others.
Besides the Blues Music Awards, Memphis was packed full of terrific shows surrounding the event, including jams led by Nick Moss and Brandon Santini, a 100th birthday tribute to Pinetop Perkins, and label & agency showcases from VizzTone Records and Blind Racoon amongst others.
On Wednesday night before the BMAs, The Blues Foundation also held a dinner honoring this year’s inductees into the Blues Hall of Fame. Joe Louis Walker remarked on what an honor being inducted, “”You get in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by selling a lot of records. You get into the Blues Hall of Fame by having credibility” Joe Louis Walker, Jody Williams and Otis Clay all were honored with inductions along with artists who have passed Earl Hooker, Jimmie Rodgers and Little Brother Montgomery. There were also numerous people recognized for their songs, albums, literature and music production, such as Memphis Minnie. Louis Jordan, Howlin’ Wolf, Henry “Ragtime” Thomas and New Orleans studio wizard Cosimo Matassa. For the full list of Blues Hall of Fame inductees, visit www.blues.org.
Blues Music Award winners for 2013 were:
Acoustic Album: Not Alone – Ann Rabson w/ Bob Margolin
Acoustic Artist: Eric Bibb
Album: Show of Strength – Michael Burks
B.B King Entertainer: Curtis Salgado
Band: Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best New Artist Debut: They Call Me Big Llou – Big LLou Johnson
Contemporary Blues Album: Show of Strength – Michael Burks
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Janiva Magness
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Tab Benoit
DVD: Eagle Rock Entertainment – Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones, Live at Checkerboard
Gibson Guitar: Derek Trucks
Instrumentalist-Bass: Bob Stroger
Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Rick Estrin
Instrumentalist-Horn: Eddie Shaw
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female): Ruthie Foster
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Victor Wainwright
Rock Blues Album: Everybody’s Talkin’ – Tedeschi Trucks Band
Song: “I Wont Cry” written by Janiva Magness & Dave Darling – Stronger For It (Janiva
Soul Blues Album: Soul Shot – Curtis Salgado
Soul Blues Female Artist: Irma Thomas
Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
Traditional Blues Album: Double Dynamite – The Mannish Boys
Traditional Blues Male Artist: Magic Slim