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The 44th Annual Blues Music Awards Nominees Announced

By Pati deVries.

An impressive assembly of blues music masters, ranging from Blues Hall of Famers to rising stars, will gather in Memphis on Thursday, May 11th, for the 44th Annual Blues Music Awards. Presented by The Blues Foundation, the BMAs honour the past year’s exceptional achievements in blues music recording, performance, and songwriting, as well as supporting the blues’ rich cultural traditions. This celebratory evening, recognized internationally as the blues world’s premier event, not only attracts nearly all the nominees but also presents them in performance.

The event takes place at Memphis’ Renasant Convention Center (255 North Main Street), where a Blue Carpet will lead to the theater. The Blue Carpet pre-show commences at 5 p.m.. Tickets range from individual seats for $150 to Premium tables (seats 10) for $1800. Ticket sales are now open and can be purchased by clicking here.

Topping the list of talented BMA contenders is John Németh, with five nominations, Song of the Year, Traditional Blues Album, Band of the Year, Instrumentalist – Harmonica, and Instrumentalist – Vocals, which he won in 2022.

Behind John Németh in the nomination count are Shemekia Copeland, Rory Block and Eric Gales, each receiving three nominations. Shemekia Copeland is up for Song of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album, and Instrumentalist – Vocals. Rory Block is up for Acoustic Blues Album, Acoustic Artist and Traditional Blues Female, and Eric Gales is up for Song of the Year, BB King Entertainer of the Year, and Blues Rock Album.

Some of last year's winners hoping to hold onto their awards are Tommy Castro (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Artist), Vanessa Collier (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), Annika Chambers (Soul Blues Female Artist), Curtis Salgado (Soul Blues Male Artist), Sue Foley (Traditional Blues Female Artist – Koko Taylor Award), Danielle Nicole (Instrumentalist – Bass), Jason Ricci (Instrumentalist – Harmonica), Jimmy Carpenter (Instrumentalist Horn), John Németh (Instrumentalist – Vocals.)

Past winners hoping to reclaim awards are Sugaray Rayford and Bobby Rush (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Buddy Guy (Song of the Year), Buddy Guy and Shemekia Copeland (Contemporary Blues Album), Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (Contemporary Blues Male Artist), Anthony Geraci (Instrumentalist – Piano / Pinetop Perkins Award), Duke Robillard and John Primer (Traditional Blues Male Artist), Chris Layton and Tony Braunagel (Instrumentalist – Drums), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Instrumentalist – Bass), Dennis Gruenling (Instrumentalist – Harmonica), Deanna Bogart (Instrumentalist – Horn), Ruthie Foster (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), John Németh (Soul Blues Male Artist), Diunna Greenleaf and Rory Block (Traditional Blues Female Artist – Koko Taylor Award), Corey Harris and Rory Block (Acoustic Blues Album), Tinsley Ellis and Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Album), Doug MacLoed and Rory Block (Acoustic Blues Artist), Tedeschi Trucks Band and Rick Estrin and the NIghtcats (Band of the Year.)

Willie J. Campbell, who passed away this past December, was posthumously nominated for Instrumentalist – Bass.

The night before the BMAs, The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Memphis’ Halloran Centre at the Orpheum (225 South Main Street). Following a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception, the inductions begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Halloran Theater. Tickets, which include ceremony and reception admission, are $75 each and, as with any other musical event or charitable donation, they are non-refundable. The 2023 class of inductees will be announced in the coming weeks.

The complete list of Blues Music Award nominees can be found below and on The Blues Foundation’s website — The ballot will be open for voting to current Blues Foundation members only until 11:59 P.M. CST on Friday, March 20th. To become a Blues Foundation member, visit and click on the Join button to learn about the different membership levels and how to easily and securely join online. Upon membership confirmation, new and renewing members will be sent instructions on how to access the 2023 Blues Music Awards Ballot.

Major funding for the 44th Blues Music Awards is provided by ArtsMemphis, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Memphis Tourism. Special thanks to partners Memphis Airport Authority and DittyTV.

The Blues Foundation is a 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 approximately 4,000 individual members and 173 affiliated blues societies representing another 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 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. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.

44th Blues Music Award Nominees

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year

Sugaray Rayford

Tommy Castro

Eric Gales

Bobby Rush

Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Band of the Year

Anthony Geraci & The Boton Blues Allstars

John Németh and the Blue Dreamers

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats

Southern Avenue

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Song of the Year

Altered Five Blues Band “Great Minds Drink Alike” (Jeff Schroedl)

Buddy Guy “The Blues Don’t Lie” (Tom Hambridge)

Eric Gales “I Want My Crown” (Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa)

John Németh “The Last Time” (John Németh)

Shemekia Copeland “Too Far to Be Gone” (John Hahn/Will Kimbrough)

Best Emerging Artist Album

Blue Moon Marquee / Scream, Holler & Howl

DaShawn Hickman / Drums, Roots & Steel

Dylan Triplett / Who Is He?

Jose Ramirez / Major League Blues

Yates McKendree / Buchanan Lane

Acoustic Blues Album

Charlie Musselwhite / Mississippi Son

Corey Harris / The Insurrection Blues

Duwayne Burnside / Acoustic Burnside

Harrison Kennedy / Thanks for Tomorrow

Rory Block / Ain’t Nobody Worried

Blues Rock Album

Albert Castiglia / I Got Love

Bernard Allison / Highs & Lows

Colin James / Open Road

Eric Gales / Crown

Tinsley Ellis / Devil May Care

Contemporary Blues Album

Buddy Guy / The Blues Don’t Lie

Diunna Greenleaf / I Ain’t Playin’

Janiva Magness / Hard to Kill

Larry McCray / Blues Without You

Shemekia Copeland / Done Come too Far

Soul Blues Album

Kat Riggins / Progeny

Kirk Fletcher / Heartache by the Pound

Sugaray Rayford / In Too Deep

The Love Light Orchestra / Leave the Light On

Trudy Lynn / Golden Girl

Traditional Blues Album

Kenny Neal / Straight From the Heart

Bob Corritore / Bob Borritore & Friends: You Shocked Me

Duke Robillard / They Called it Rhythm & Blues

John Németh / May Be the Last Time

John Primer / Hard Times

Acoustic Blues Artist

Doug MacLeod

Guy Davis

Harrison Kennedy

Rhiannon Giddens

Rory Block

Blues Rock Artist

Walter Trout

Albert Castiglia

Tommy Castro

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Tinsley Ellis

Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Ruthie Foster

Beth Hart

Janiva Magness

Teresa James

Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Selwyn Birchwood

Chris Cain

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Ronnie Baker Brooks

Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Soul Blues Female Artist

Annika Chambers

Trudy Lynn

Thornetta Davis

Kat Riggins

Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist

John Németh

Johnny Rawls

Curtis Salgado

Don Bryant

Billy Price

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)

Dietra Farr

Diunna Greenleaf

Rhiannon Giddens

Rory Block

Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist

Billy Branch

Duke Robillard

John Primer

Johnny Burgin

Sugar Ray Norcia

Instrumentalist – Bass

Bob Stronger

Danielle Nicole

Larry Fulcher

Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist - Drums

Chris Layton

Cody Dickinson

Derric D’Mar Martin

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist - Guitar

Chris Cain

Christoffer “Kid” Andersen

Joanna Connor

Kirk Fletcher

Laura Chavez

Instrumentalist - Harmonica

Billy Branch

Bob Corritore

Jason Ricci

John Németh

Dennis Gruenling

Instrumentalist – Horn

Deanna Bogart

Gregg Piccolo

Jimmy Carpenter

Mark Kaz Kazanoff

Sax Gordon Beadle

Instrumentalist - Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award)

Anthony Geraci

Ben Levin

Dave Keyes

Jim Pugh

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Instrumentalist - Vocals

Curtis Salgado

Danielle Nicole

Diunna Greenleaf

John Németh

Shemekia Copeland

44th Blues Music Awards

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Renasant Convention Center - 255 N. Main St. Memphis, TN 38103

Walk the Blue Carpet: 5:00 pm

Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Halloran Centre - 225 S. Main St. Memphis, TN 38103

Reception 5:30 pm

Ceremony 7:30 pm


One must be a member of The Blues Foundation to Vote.

Join here or Login to your membership account

BMA & Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tickets



John Németh Performs Come and Take It.


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