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The Blues Foundation Announces 43rd Blues Music Awards Nominees

An impressive assembly of blues music masters, ranging from Blues Hall of Famers to rising stars, will gather in Memphis on Thursday May 5th, for the 43rd 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 is recognized internationally as the blues world’s premier event brings nominees to town and many on stage to perform.

The event takes place at Memphis’ Renasant Convention Centre, (255 North Main Street), where a Blue Carpet will lead to the theatre. The Blue Carpet pre-show commences at 5pm. 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 Tommy Castro, with five nominations, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Band of the Year (with The Painkillers), Contemporary Blues Album, and Blues Rock Artist. Castro previously won Band of the Year (2010), B.B. King Entertainer of the Year (2008 & 2010), was a two-time winner for Contemporary Blues Album (2010, 2008), as well as winning Contemporary Blues Male Artist (2010). This is Castro's fourth nomination for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award and his first nomination for Album of the Year.

And behind Tommy Castro in the nomination count is Tom Hambridge and Chris Cain, each receiving four nominations. Hambridge is up for Instrumentalist – Guitar, and has three entries for Song of the Year, a win he previously captured with a track co-written with Buddy Guy. Finishing the quadruplet nominations is Cain, with nods in both Contemporary categories (Male Artist and Blues Album). Further, this is Cain’s third nomination for Instrumental - Guitar and first nomination for Album of the Year (Raisin’ Cain).

Some of the past winners hoping to reclaim awards are Sugaray Rayford (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Eric Bibb (Acoustic Blues Artist), Mike Zito (Blues Rock Album), Kingfish (Contemporary Blues Album), Keb’ Mo’ (Acoustic Blues Artist) Ruthie Foster (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), Kim Wilson (Instrument – Harmonica), Danielle Nicole (Instrumentalist – Bass), and Kenny Neal (Contemporary Blues Male Artist).

Mike Finnigan, who passed away last August, was posthumously nominated for the Pinetop Perkins Player Award (Instrumentalist – Piano). In addition, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra have been nominated for Album of the Year and Soul Blues Album for Not In My Lifetime. Walker passed in 2019 just three days after finishing the album’s recording session.

The International Blues Challenge (IBC), taking place this year from May 6-9, has proved to be a fertile breeding ground for up-and-coming blues artists. Previous IBC winners nominated for this year’s Blues Music Awards include Altered Five Blues Band, Selwyn Birchwood, Eden Brent, Kevin Burt, Zac Harmon, Diunna Greenleaf, Dave Keller, Dave Keyes, Mr. Sipp, J.P. Soars, Gabe Stillman, GA-20's Matt Stubbs, and Jontavious Willis. Freshman BMA nominees who once competed as IBC Solo/Duo Challengers are Veronica Lewis and Memphissippi Sounds. Lewis is also the youngest nominee this year at just 18 years old.

The night before the BMAs, The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at Memphis’ Halloran Centre at the Orpheum (225 South Main Street). Following a 5:30pm cocktail reception, the inductions begin at the Halloran Theatre. Tickets, which include ceremony and reception admission, begin at $75 each and, as with any other musical event or charitable donation, they are non-refundable. The 2022 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 pm CST on Friday, March 18th. To become a Blues Foundation member, visit Upon membership confirmation, new and renewing members will be sent instructions on how to access the 2022 Blues Music Awards Ballot.

Major funding for the 43rd 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.

43rd Blues Music Award Nominees

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year

Tommy Castro

Eric Gales

Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

J.P. Soars

Sugaray Rayford

Album of the Year

Holler If You Hear Me, Altered Five Blues Band

Not In My Lifetime, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

Pinky’s Blues, Sue Foley

Raisin’ Cain, Chris Cain

Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, Tommy Castro

Band of the Year

Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

J.P. Soars and the Red Hots

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials

Sugaray Rayford Band

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

Song of the Year

"Fragile Peace and Certain War", written by Dave Alvin (performed by Carolyn Wonderland)

"Holler If You Hear Me", written by Tom Hambridge (performed by Altered Five Blues Band)

"I'd Climb Mountains", written by Tom Hambridge (performed by Selwyn Birchwood)

"Real Good Lie", written by Jim Gaines, Christine Vitale, Larry Batiste, Anthony Paule (performed by Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra)

"Somewhere", written by Tom Hambridge (performed by Tommy Castro & The Painkillers)

Best Emerging Artist Album

GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It... You Might Like It!, GA-20

Just Say The Word, Gabe Stillman

Live On Beale Street: A Tribute To Bobby "Blue" Bland, Rodd Bland and the Members Only Band

Welcome To The Land, Memphissippi Sounds

You Ain't Unlucky, Veronica Lewis

Acoustic Blues Album

Dear America, Eric Bibb

Land of the Sky, Catfish Keith

Let’s Get Happy Together, Maria Muldaur

Let Loose These Chains, Hector Anchondo

The Trio Sessions, EG Kight

Blues Rock Album

Alafia Moon, Damon Fowler

Dance Songs For Hard Times, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Resurrection, Mike Zito

Tinfoil Hat, Popa Chubby

Unemployed Highly Annoyed, Jeremiah Johnson

Contemporary Blues Album

662, Kingfish

Damage Control, Curtis Salgado

Holler If You Hear Me, Altered Five Blues Band

Raisin’ Cain, Chris Cain

Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, Tommy Castro

Soul Blues Album

Let’s Have A Party, Gerald McClendon

Long As I Got My Guitar, Zac Harmon

Not In My Lifetime, Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

You Get What You Give: Duets, Dave Keller

You Gotta Have It, Tia Carroll

Traditional Blues Album

Be Ready When I Call You, Guy Davis

Bob Corritore & Friends: Spider In My Stew, Bob Corritore

Boogie w/ R.L. Boyce (Live), R.L. Boyce

Little Black Flies, Eddie 9V

Pinky’s Blues, Sue Foley

Acoustic Blues Artist

Eric Bibb

Kevin Burt

Guy Davis

Doug MacLeod

Keb’ Mo’

Blues Rock Artist

Albert Castiglia

Tommy Castro

Tinsley Ellis

Ana Popovic

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Vanessa Collier

Thornetta Davis

Ruthie Foster

Danielle Nicole

Carolyn Wonderland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Selwyn Birchwood

Chris Cain

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Kenny Neal

Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Soul Blues Female Artist

Annika Chambers

Trudy Lynn

Terrie Odabi

Kat Riggins

Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist

William Bell

Don Bryant

John Nemeth

Johnny Rawls

Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)

Rory Block

Sue Foley

Rhiannon Giddens

Diunna Greenleaf

EG Kight

Traditional Blues Male Artist

Cedric Burnside

Super Chikan

Taj Mahal

Sugar Ray Norcia

Jontavious Willis

Instrumentalist - Bass

Willie J. Campbell

Larry Fulcher

Jerry Jemmott

Scot Sutherland

Danielle Nicole

Instrumentalist - Drums

Danny Banks

June Core

Tom Hambridge

Derrick D'Mar Martin

Chris Peet

Instrumentalist - Guitar

Christoffer "Kid" Andersen

Chris Cain

Laura Chavez

Anson Funderburgh

Eric Gales

J.P. Soars

Instrumentalist - Harmonica

Billy Branch

Bob Corritore

Jason Ricci

Brandon Santini

Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist - Horn

Mindi Abair

Jimmy Carpenter

Marc Franklin

Regi Oliver

Nancy Wright

Instrumentalist - Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award)

Eden Brent

Mike Finnigan

Dave Keyes

Veronica Lewis

Jim Pugh

Instrumentalist - Vocals

Thornetta Davis

Ruthie Foster

John Nemeth

Sugaray Rayford

Curtis Salgado



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