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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

44th Annual Blues Music Awards In Memphis - Top Winners: John Németh, Buddy Guy & Albert Castiglia

By Pati deVries.

The Renasant Convention Center was packed with blues musicians, fans, and music-world luminaries on May 11th, anxious to see who would be the winners at the 44th Annual Blues Music Awards. Besides awarding honors in 25 categories, the BMAs, as is its tradition, featured performances from many nominees, with the gala ending in a jubilant all-star jam.

The evening's top award winners were Buddy Guy, Albert Castiglia John Németh, each earning two BMAs. Buddy Guy's The Blues Don't Lie picked up Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album. Albert Castiglia won Blues Rock Album as well as Blues Rock Artist, and John Németh's May be the Last Time nabbed Traditional Blues Album; Németh was also awarded instrumentalist Harmonica.

For the 4th consecutive year, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - took home Contemporary Blues Male Artist. Holding on to their BMA crowns for two consecutive years were Tommy Castro - B.B. King Entertainer of the Year; Albert Castiglia - Blues Rock Artist; Danielle Nicole - Instrumentalist Bass, Curtis Salgado - Soul Blues Male Artist and Sue Foley - Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award.

Reclaiming their BMA crowns were: Ruthie Foster – Contemporary Blues Female, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith – Instrumentalist Drums, Deanna Bogart – Instrumentalist Horn, Anthony Geraci – Instrumentalist Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player), John Primer – Traditional Blues Male Artist, Doug Macleod – Acoustic Artist, Tedeschi Trucks – Band of the Year, Albert Castiglia Blues Rock Album and Tom Hambridge - Song of the Year.

BMA Veterans winning for the first time in a new category were: Charlie Musselwhite, Mississippi Son - Acoustic Album, Sugaray Rayford, In Too Deep – Soul Blues Album, Shemekia Copeland – Instrumentalist Vocals, John Nemeth, May be the Last Time - Traditional Blues Album and Instrumentalist Harmonica.

Joining Club BMA for the first time were Laura Chavez – Instrumentalist Guitar, Thornetta Davis – Soul Blues Female, and Dylan Triplett, Who is He? - Best Emerging Artist Album.

Acoustic Blues Album Charlie Musselwhite - Mississippi Son

Acoustic Blues Artist Doug MacLeod

Album of the Year Buddy Guy - The Blues Don't Lie

B.B. King Entertainer Tommy Castro

Band of the Year Tedeschi Trucks Band

Best Emerging Artist Album Dylan Triplett - Who is He?

Blues Rock Album Albert Castiglia - I Got Love

Blues Rock Artist Albert Castiglia

Contemporary Blues Album Buddy Guy - The Blues Don't Lie

Contemporary Blues Female Artist Ruthie Foster

Contemporary Blues Male Artist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Instrumentalist-Bass Danielle Nicole

Instrumentalist-Drums Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith

Instrumentalist-Guitar Laura Chavez

Instrumentalist-Harmonica John Németh

Instrumentalist-Horn Deanna Bogart

Instrumentalist Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Anthony Geraci

Instrumentalist-Vocals Shemekia Copeland

Song of the Year “The Blues Don't Lie” written by Tom Hambridge Soul Blues Album Sugaray Rayford - In Too Deep

Soul Blues Female Artist Thornetta Davis

Soul Blues Male Artist Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Album John Németh - May Be the Last Time

Traditional Blues Female Artist Koko Taylor Award Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist John Primer

The Blues Music Awards represented just one of the many highlights of the Blues Foundation’s exciting Blues Music Week, kicking off on May 10th with its Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Performers inducted were: Carey Bell, Junior Kimbrough, Esther Phillips, John Primer, Snooky Pryor, Fenton Robinson and Josh White.

Individuals – Business, Production, Media, Academic inductee was David Evans. This years Classic of Blues Literature was: The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville 1899-1926, by Lynn Abbott & Doug Seroff (University Press of Mississippi, 2017)

The Classic of Blues Recording - Album was Little Walter: The Complete Chess Masters (1950-1967) (Hip-O Select, 2009.) Classics of Blues Recording – Single or Album Track were: "Black Nights" -- Lowell Fulson (Kent, 1965),"I'm Tore Down" -- Freddy King, Federal, 1961), "Mojo Hand" -- Lightnin' Hopkins (Fire, 1960), "My Black Mama" -- Son House (Paramount, 1930), and The Red Rooster" (Little Red Rooster) -- Howlin' Wolf (Chess, 1961)

Kimberly Horton, Interim President & CEO of the Blues Foundation, declared "Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! This was definitely a night to remember as we celebrated the biggest night of the blues. We will continue to celebrate and preserve the history and heritage of blues music. I thank all of you for sharing this awesome night with us, looking forward to seeing you again in 2024 at the 45th annual Blues Music Awards. Don't forget to save the date for the International Blues Challenge, January 16-20, 2024. If you aren't yet a member of The Blues Foundation, please visit and join today!"

The Blues Foundation is the world-renowned Memphis-based organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has over 4,000 individual members and 175 affiliated blues societies representing 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The newly created COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund has already come to the rescue for close to 100 blues musicians in need of financial assistance for basic necessities such as housing and utilities. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. The Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news throughout the year.

All Photos Credit: Laura Carbone.



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