ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson, CBA President

Every year we seem to receive a lot of criticism on how we handle the Muddy Awards. It’s always the same people nominated is usually the biggest comment. We hear this time after time. But here is the bottom line. We will continue having the awards nominated and voted in the same manner. Why? Because the Cascade Blues Association is a fan-based organization and these nominations come directly from the ballots that our members fill out.

Face it. Awards shows are always about popularity, always have been, always will. We spend a lot of time, effort and expense putting on this award show. The first ballots are sent out to our members to select their favorites in the represented categories. The top three (or more if we have ties) are placed on the final ballots, which are then sent out to our members again. We sent approximately 1100 ballots for each mailing and all returned are gone through individually, calculating the numbers. Not just by one person. We want to make sure the counts are correct.

We do not make suggestions or select who you have to vote for. Everything is totally up to the members. Don’t like who is nominated? Are you a member? If not, your view is pointless; it’s as Bobby Bland said, “It’s members only.” This is one of the perks of being a member, not anybody off the street is allowed to vote without belonging to the group. And each member only receives one ballot, so you cannot fill in the same name over and over again on your own. Join the group and throw your votes in for those you do like. If you are a member and did not send in your ballot; you’re out of luck, too. If you do not vote, you cannot complain on the outcome. The results are majority rules, those receiving the most votes are determined the winners.

Just because you may see the same people year after year appearing on the final ballot it certainly does not mean that others are not being recognized. I recently posted on our Facebook page the names of most of those nominated this year whether they appeared on the final ballot or not. I may have missed a name or two during the scan of ballots, but this was not taken from the final count process so have no fear as all of those receiving nominations were included in the actual count. After I finished putting that list together I read through it myself and it took me nearly four minutes to read each and every name on the list. That is a lot of people. And it certainly pays tribute to the incredible talent within our region. Portland and the Northwest is just crazy with extraordinary musicians and many of these acts are repeated in other blues society award recognitions, as well as the likes of the Blues Blast Awards and even The Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards. It is a true testimony of the quality of musicians we have in our midst when they are noted on national and international levels.

We hope that you can make it out to the 25th Annual Muddy Awards ceremony and concert. Always one of the city’s biggest blues events year after year, with more than 500 people showing up every time. The choice of recipients came directly from all of you. Let’s see who will be honored this year.