Plenty of blues at the roots of second annual Lancaster music festival

If you’re looking for a modern-day example of the famous Willie Dixon adage “The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits” in action, then think of the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival as the equivalent of a farmer’s market for your senses, with as extensive and diverse an offering of roots and fruits as you’ll find in any one place.

Last winter, we had the pleasure of reporting to you on the inaugural edition of the festival, which featured performances from blues men and women like Johnny Winter and James Cotton, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, the Heritage Blues Quintet, Chris Thomas King, Samantha Fish, Lonnie Shields, and others, in addition to an impressive range of local and national rock, soul, zydeco, country, folk, jazz, reggae, indie, and swing acts, including such names as Edgar Winter, Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, and Loudon Wainwright III.

Lancaster_roots_logo (166x250)Taking place next Friday and Saturday (February 6 & 7) across ten stages throughout downtown Lancaster (all within an easy walk of one another), this year’s festival line-up is just as impressive, including mostly new acts as well as a few return visitors in the likes of Clarence Spady, the Gas House Gorillas, Sweet Leda, and Tom Principato (this year, as part of a “Masters of the Telecaster” pairing with fellow guitar slinger Jim Weider that will also include one-time members of The Band and Levon Helm Band), to name just a few. Among the bluesier names on the bill this time around are veterans such as Joe Louis Walker, Corey Harris, Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, and Mac Arnold and Plate Full o’ Blues; other top names including the “he said, she said” act of Peter Karp and Sue Foley, harmonica man Jason Ricci, and the powerful vocals and guitar of Popa Chubby; and rising stars like Joanne Shaw Taylor, Albert Castiglia, Dana Fuchs, and acoustic performer Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, who you may recall Living Blues magazine having named the Artist Deserving More Attention in the publication’s 2013 Living Blues Awards.

In between, we’ll also be trying to check out a few more of the blues-based and headlining acts, including the up-and-coming Nikki Hill, the after-midnight stylings of the Trudy Lynn Blues Review, the acclaimed Kelly Bell Band, former Dickey Betts band guitarist and singer Mark May, Homesick James protégé Johnny Long, zydeco performers Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt founding member Jay Farrar, old time rock n’ roller Charlie Gracie (whose song “Butterfly” hit number one back in 1957), ’90s alternative rockers Live, Grammy Award-winning bluegrass outfit The Steep Canyon Rangers, the powerful horn-driven funk of Big Sam’s Funky Nation, folk/country/gospel singer Iris DeMent, and classic rock band Iron Butterfly, which will be launching both a new album and tour in 2015.

Indeed, with 75 acts spread across only two nights, the big challenge again this year will be getting to see all of the musicians we’d like to, a bit of a Herculean task when you have artists like Blind Boy Paxton, Albert Castiglia, Jay Farrar, Chubby Carrier, Mac Arnold, and Corey Harris all playing overlapping sets during the same two-hour period Friday night. Even with the earlier start on Saturday (beginning with the Masters of the Telecaster show at 2 p.m., with Iron Butterfly and Blind Boy Paxton – for those who may have missed his Friday night set or want to come back and see him again – both playing at 4), this still makes for a whole lot of music to squeeze into one weekend.

And for students, players, and fans of certain artists, there will be even more to take in, with several of the musicians offering master classes throughout the two days, including Weider and Principato (on mastering the Telecaster blues style of playing), Blind Boy Paxton (on the evolution of the acoustic guitar in the pre-war blues), bass player Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan), boogie woogie pianist Bram Wijnands, and long-time Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto, the latter of whom you can also catch on stage during a Saturday night set from The Reach Around Rodeo Clowns.

For those wanting to stock their inner roots cellar with some quality live music to help make it through the rest of the long, cold winter, we can’t think of a better place to do your looking than the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival.

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International bluesmen Roly Platt, Thorbjorn Risager impress on debut offerings

Even several weeks into the new year, we’re not ready to give up on 2014 quite yet. Not when it comes to having CDs as good as these to still tell you about, some recent releases from two non-U.S. bluesmen with rather different histories.

The first is a Canadian harmonica player who’s been performing live and in the studio for the better part of four decades now, having recorded more than 1,500 album tracks, movie and TV scores, and jingles (for the likes of such advertisers as Tim Hortons, Ford, Chrysler, Labatt, Budweiser, McDonalds, and the Toronto Blue Jays). Surprisingly, the one accomplishment harpman Roly Platt‘s résumé didn’t include was any albums of his own – until now, that is, with Platt releasing his solo debut recording Inside Out late in 2014, one we think you’ll agree was well worth the wait.

Contrast Platt’s history to that of Danish singer and guitarist Thorbjørn Risager, who now has eight releases to his band’s name since its formation in 2003, including their 2014 self-produced Ruf Records label debut Too Many Roads. With the album and signing to Ruf helping to propel them to new levels of recognition across the world stage, the band has positioned itself as one of the hottest and hardest working “new” acts on the scene with its range of deep blues, rock, and soul sounds.

Here’s a closer look at the two projects, either or both of which we can assure you will serve as a fine addition to your collection.
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Old Man Winter Blues (Blues Lyrics radio hour edition)

With Old Man Winter biting and blowing here in the northeast U.S., we thought you might enjoy this double dose of blues to help keep you warm, featuring a talk-free edition of our BluesPowR Radio Hour as well as a sampling of our favorite lyrics from this month’s show!

Here are just a few of the lines you’ll hear in tracks from the likes of Kim Wilson & Mud Morganfield, Gary Clark Jr., Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Sean Costello, Bob Stroger & Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Davina and the Vagabonds, Long John Baldry, the Skyla Burrell Band, Thorbjorn Risager and more:

“I got a strange feelin’
my woman is doin’ me wrong.
I got a strange feelin’
my woman is doin’ me wrong.
She don’t love me the way she useta’
and all my money’s gone.”
– “Strange Feeling”, Michael Burks (performed here by Alastair Greene)

“I’m gonna’ do somethin’ baby
and I hope you don’t take it wrong.
I’m gonna’ do us both a favor:
gonna’ give you a damn good leavin’ alone.”
– “A Good Leavin’ Alone”, Eddy Clearwater/Ronnie Baker Brooks

“I love my baby
but my baby don’t love me.
I love my baby
but my baby don’t love me.
That’s why I’m goin’ back
to my old used to be.

I’m goin’ down to the Delta
where I can drink and have my fun.
I’m goin’ down to the Delta
where I can drink and have my fun.
Where I can drink my white lightnin’ and gamble
and bring my baby home.”
– “Charles River Delta Blues”, Erin Harpe (based on “Mississippi Blues” by Willie Brown)

“Well, they call me Bob Stroger;
they can call me any name they choose.
They call me Bob Stroger;
they can call me any name they choose.
They can call me what they want to,
but my real name is the blues.”
– “That’s My Name”, Bob Stroger

Go ahead and prop your feet up someplace toasty and give this latest edition of our program a spin!

Old Man Winter Blues playlist
If You Wanna Leave – Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado
Magic West Side Boogie – JW Jones
Blow Wind Blow – Kim Wilson & Mud Morganfield
You Better Start Praying – Davina and the Vagabonds
Strange Feeling – The Alastair Greene Band
Midnight in New Orleans – Long John Baldry
A Good Leavin’ Alone – Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater
Charles River Delta Blues – Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers
If Trouble Was Money – Gary Clark Jr.
Blue Heart – Too Slim & the Taildraggers
Hard Luck Woman – Sean Costello
Funky Monkey – Jeremy Baum
That’s My Name – Bob Stroger & Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
Blues Scars – Skyla Burrell Band

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Chicago guitarist Dave Specter delivers Message in Blue with latest Delmark release

Dave_Specter_Message_in_Blue (220x219)There aren’t many musicians out there who could pull off a song acknowledging some of the biggest names in Chicago blues without coming across as somewhat opportunistic or trite. But Chicago native guitarist, bandleader, and producer Dave Specter manages to do it with integrity on a tune called “Chicago Style”, one of eight new original tracks you’ll hear on Specter’s latest album Message in Blue (Delmark Records). Even though it’s not Specter himself singing the tune (Specter has yet to sing on any of his ten recordings, handing the mic in this instance to fellow Windy City multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Brother John Kattke), there’s no mistaking that the words are genuine, with Specter demonstrating throughout the album the talent and experience that made it possible for him to share the stage with many of the legends Kattke names during the song, from Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and Lonnie Brooks to Otis Rush, Sunnyland Slim, Mighty Joe Young, and soul crooner Otis Clay, the latter of whom joins Specter on three songs here, starting with a swinging take on Harold Burrage’s “Got to Find a Way” that also features the Chicago Horns and some fine female backing vocals.

That’s followed immediately by a soulful creeper in the Bobby “Blue” Bland classic “This Time I’m Gone for Good”, where Specter’s pleading guitar nicely matches that of Clay’s vocals as Kattke’s keyboards resonate underneath, and a bit later by a swaying “I Found a Love” (Wilson Pickett and the Falcons), with Specter’s expressive guitar work and Clay’s chalky, soulful vocals making it hard to find one any better than this.

That said, Kattke also does an admirable job on vocals for several songs; in addition to the aforementioned “Let the Good Times Roll”-like “Chicago Style” on which he rattles off the names of some of Chicago’s finest, Kattke’s strong, no-nonsense vocals can also be heard on covers of both the Don Nix-penned “Same Old Blues” (Freddie King) and Lonnie Brooks’ “Watchdog”, a shuffle similar to the earlier “Chicago Style”.

As great as the vocals on this album are, the truth is that Specter really doesn’t need himself or anyone else singing in order to get your attention, allowing his guitar to serve as his voice on a bunch of terrific instrumentals, from the greasy Chicago swagger of the opening “New West Side Stroll” – an update on Specter’s own earlier “West Side Stroll” – to the muddy, impassioned grooves of the title track and the funky guitar tones of a The Meters-influenced “Funkified Outta SPACE” that also features some superb work from Kattke on organ.

The band adds Victor Garcia on congas and percussion for a pair of Latin-flavored originals in “The Stinger” and the soft, jazzy “The Spectifyin’ Samba”, with John “Boom” Brumbach providing some smoky tenor sax on the latter, while Specter welcomes fellow Chicago native Bob Corritore on harmonica for both a lively “Jefferson Stomp” that’s probably among the album’s best numbers and the creeping closer “Opus de Swamp” on which Specter’s tremelo guitar could easily be mistaken for that of Gary Clark Jr.

Recorded in August 2013 at Delmark’s Riverside Studio in Chicago, Message in Blue is the label’s first new blues recording to be released on LP since Specter’s 1991 Bluebird Blues featuring fellow guitarist Ronnie Earl, who you might consider Specter sort of a Chicago version of.

Like another Chicago musician’s album about which we told you recently, this is one of those sets that makes you feel like you’re right there for it. With a variety of blues, soul, funk and jazz sounds and plenty of fat, rich notes, this Message from Specter is one everyone should hear.

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Blues Lyrics of the Week: Happy New Year Blues

Here’s one to help kick off your new year. Recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson back in 1928, the song has the “Father of the Texas Blues” looking ahead a bit “thinkin’ ’bout the year of 19 and 29″. Sadly, that would be the last New Year Jefferson would have the chance to celebrate, with the bluesman dying in the weeks just prior to the start of 1930.

“The whistle was blowin’ for New Year
around 12 o’clock at night.
The whistle was blowin’ for New Year
around 12 o’clock at night.
I lied down on there with my baby
until the good Lord broke daylight.

Early one New Year mornin’,
I was walkin’ down by the mill.
I say early one New Year mornin’,
I wandered down by the mill.
Every man likes his liquor
when he gets it fresh from the still.

I hate to drink on New Year
for this whiskey they make is too strong.
I say I hate to drink on New Year,
this whiskey they makin’ is too strong.
Because til’ I take two or three drinks,
I’ll be drunk the whole day long.”
– “Happy New Year Blues”, Blind Lemon Jefferson

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Forget the champagne… Bootleg Whiskey is the way to go this New Year’s Eve

A few weeks back, we promised to bring you more on the latest album from Grady Champion. With the new year now just mere hours away, we couldn’t think of a better note on which to end 2014 than a closer look at this one, the diversity and soulfulness of which help rank it among our favorite new releases of the year.

Grady_Champion_Bootleg_Whiskey (220x217)The latest release from 2010 International Blues Challenge winner Grady Champion is also the Mississippi bluesman’s debut on the storied Malaco Records label. So it may not come as much of a surprise to those familiar with the label – which previously served as home to the likes of Bobby “Blue” Bland, Z.Z. Hill, Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Dorothy Moore, and Little Milton – that Champion’s Bootleg Whiskey contains its own fair share of smooth soul, from the late George Jackson-penned swaying title track that speaks of “bootleg whiskey and a cheap motel, wit’ a lil’ ol’ ugly girl” to the “Amazing Grace”-inspired closer “White Boy with the Blues”, often buoyed by some rich horns and background vocals.

But the truth is that you’ll find plenty of other good stuff as well, starting with the hard-driving old time swing sound of the opening “Beg, Borrow, Steal” a la The Nighthawks with its gritty guitar and harmonica and strong backing vocals. “Don’t Waste My Time” is a tough, horn-soaked slow blues number that features some particularly sandpapery vocals from Champion as he growls out such lines as “you know we were asleep the other night, you called me Bobby Rush, and you know, Grady Champion is my name”, with other standout tracks including the gritty creeper “Who Dat”, with its haunting chorus and powerful backing vocals, and the Mississippi Hill Country-style romp “Here We Go Ya’ll”.

Also mixed in is an impressive assortment of mid-tempo soul/blues tunes such as “Home Alone”, “Ten Dollars” and “I Tripped and Fell in Love” that allow Champion to show his stuff vocally as well as musically. Indeed, the album is a good deal more refined than its name might imply, with Champion’s talented vocals, songwriting, and harmonica work helping to give the project just the right amount of bite to ensure that it never really comes across as too smooth.

If you’re looking for some good blues to help close out your 2014 or ring in the new year, Bootleg Whiskey is as solid a choice as any. If time doesn’t allow you to pick up a copy before the much anticipated midnight hour, you’re going to want to resolve yourself to adding Bootleg Whiskey to your collection just as soon as you can in 2015; it will be one of the quickest – and perhaps most fulfilling – New Year’s resolutions you can make.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and blues-filled 2015!

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Chicago tribute show, latest album Step Back both good ways to remember blues guitar legend Johnny Winter

If, like us, you weren’t able to make it to Chicago for the Johnny Winter remembrance show that took place at Buddy Guy’s Legends a few weekends back (or to a computer for the accompanying live webstream of the program), you might be happy to learn that you can still view a free recording of the entire event on the Legends gigity.tv channel.

It would be difficult to imagine a band any more qualified to perform the songs of the late Texas guitarist than the one assembled here, with Winter’s own band – led by Winter’s longtime guitarist and producer Paul Nelson – serving as the house players for the night, joined by Johnny’s brother and frequent collaborator Edgar Winter, one of Johnny’s favorite vocalists in Jay Stollman, and a few other special guests on guitar. Together, they present many of the same originals and covers that Winter himself liked to perform through the years, including “Bony Moronie”, “I Got My Mojo Workin'”, “Killing Floor”, “Tobacco Road”, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo”, the slow blues of Ray Charles’ “Black Cat”, and “Dust My Broom”, among others.

Guitarist and singer Ronnie Baker Brooks joins for several songs, including “Don’t Want No Woman” and a downright terrific “Don’t Take Advantage of Me” – a tune written by Ronnie’s father Lonnie Brooks that Winter recorded in 1984 – that incorporates riffs and verses from “Sunshine of Your Love”, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, “I Just Wanna’ Make Love to You”, and “Catfish Blues” along the way, with Brooks also recounting the story of how a grown Johnny once returned a guitar pick Lonnie had given him as an 11-year-old boy.

Other highlights include Mike Zito joining the band a bit later for Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now” with Edgar on keyboards, and the night’s closing number – which couldn’t have been any more fitting – with Brooks, Zito and a third guest guitarist Earl Slick all joining the band, Edgar, and Jay on “Johnny B. Goode”.

Stollman’s vocals are gritty and Winter-like, while Edgar rotates between vocals, horn, and keyboards, helping to make for one heck of a tribute to the slide guitar master and leaving no doubts that Johnny’s spirit was very much still alive and well on this evening. With a band and setlist like this, there’s of course lots more we could tell you about the performance, but it really is something you should watch for yourself, at a price that’s certainly right: all this one’s going to cost you is a little of your time, which we guarantee will be well spent.

Johnny_Winter_Step_Back (220x220)If you haven’t yet had the chance, also be sure to check out Johnny’s final album Step Back (Megaforce Records), released this fall just a few months after his death and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Joe Perry, Leslie West, and others. One listen to tracks like the slow, sizzling “Sweet Sixteen” with Bonamassa and uptempo numbers like “Can’t Hold Out (Talk to Me Baby)” featuring Harper and “Don’t Want No Woman” with Clapton, and you’ll understand pretty quickly why Step Back has already been nominated for both a Grammy (Best Blues Album) and Blues Music Award (Rock Blues Album), with a solid chance of winning either contest.

With reminders like both this recent Chicago tribute and Step Back, it’s pretty certain that Johnny Winter won’t be forgotten any time soon. And that, my friends, is exactly as it should be.

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Liz Mandeville tells it from the heart on Heart ‘O’ Chicago

Though not as widely known perhaps as such contemporaries as Shemekia Copeland, Marcia Ball, Deanna Bogart, and Janiva Magness, Wisconsin-born singer and guitarist Liz Mandeville is really starting to make a name for herself among today’s top ladies of the blues. Fresh off her delightfully entertaining excursion to the Mississippi blues mecca of Clarksdale, Mandeville returns to her adopted home for the past three and a half decades with her latest release Heart ‘O’ Chicago (Blue Kitty Music).

Liz_Mandeville_Heart_O_Chicago (220x220)Like Clarksdale, which featured appearances from late Muddy Waters band member Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, fellow Chicago guitarist Nick Moss, and former Howlin’ Wolf horn man Eddie Shaw, Heart ‘O’ Chicago also includes its share of familiar and respected guests, including a return appearance from Shaw, the masterful Billy Branch on harmonica, and a couple of soulful duets with Charlie Love on vocals. All of this only serves to further strengthen what is already an impressive offering from Mandeville and her talented band, featuring Joan Gand on keyboards, Darryl Wright on bass, Jeremiah Thomas on drums, and Minoru Maruyama on guitar, along with a nice little horn section.

Together, they work their way through 11 originals, from the swaying soulfulness of the sometimes Etta James-like “Cloud of Love” on which the band comes floating in – with Shaw on saxophone – to the slinky jazz of “These Blues” and funky, Shemekia Copeland-ish “So Called Best Friend” that’s just as gritty musically as its lyrics, including some rather expressive solos from both Branch and Minoura.

With an entertaining, almost live kind of sound, it’s easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the audience as Mandeville and her band belt out these same songs from the stage, making this one of those CDs you could easily find yourself seduced into listening all night long.

In addition to Mandeville’s great smoky deep voice and the swinging nature of much of the set, she’s no slouch in the songwriting department either, presenting lyrics that are easy enough for most blues listeners to relate, from modern twists on common relationship themes such as breaking up (the creeping “Quit Me on a Voice Mail”, again featuring Shaw on sax) and the anticipation of a lover’s return (a breezy “Tic Tok” that has Mandeville really digging in on vocals with lines like “I love them emails, I love that Skype, but I want my baby here with me tonight”, with some added flair from the horns and Gand on B-3 organ), to the somewhat more timeless paradox of “smart women making foolish man choices” (“Smart Women Foolish Choices”), and such subjects as original sin, women’s suffrage, and gender wage disparity in the funky, simmering “Why Would a Woman Sing the Blues”, featuring some stinging guitar from Mandeville.

“Party at the End of Time” is another swinging number featuring Branch on harmonica, followed by a lively “Silver Lining (Shirley’s Blues)” that offers a former smoker’s perspective on the “every cloud has a silver lining” idiom, with the album closing on the catchy grooves of “(Life is Like a) Wave” featuring the rich, James Cotton-like harmonica stylings of Dizzy Bolinski (making, believe it or not, his debut recording appearance) to match Mandeville’s smoky tones both on vocals and guitar.

Whether coming at us from Clarksdale, Chicago, or someplace in between, it’s only a matter of time before such fine CDs as these help put Mandeville on the national blues map. Do yourself a favor and catch her when you can, starting with – if you haven’t already – picking up a copy of Heart ‘O’ Chicago.

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Episode 10 – Fall into the Blues

Start your week off right with the latest edition of our BluesPowR Radio Hour, featuring recent releases from Joe Bonamassa, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, The Knickerbocker All-Stars, Rory Block, The Nighthawks, Dave Specter and more.

Episode 10 Playlist
I Gave Up Everything for You, ‘cept the Blues – Joe Bonamassa
Tin Pan Alley – Sleepy John Estes
Bluez Party – Dexter Allen
Special Rider Blues – Rory Block
Nothin’ But the Blues – The Nighthawks
Hungry But Happy – Sugar Ray & The Bluetones
Pack It Up – Dudley Taft
Bad Weather Blues – Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers
Same Old Blues – Dave Specter
Fred You Ought To Be Dead! – James Davis
Chapel Hill Boogie – John Dee Holeman
Up in Smoke – The Hurt Project
Shot of Bourbon – Brandon Jones
Ain’t That Lovin’ You – The Knickerbocker All-Stars (with Curtis Salgado)

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Sugar Ray Norcia, Elvin Bishop and John Nemeth lead latest Blues Music Awards nominations

Last week, we told you about this year’s nominees for the annual Grammy Awards, where the type of music on which this blog focuses is often confined to a handful of categories at best, with now just one dedicated blues category (Best Blues Album), and, if we’re lucky, perhaps one or two blues nods each year in the Americana and/or American Roots categories, along with an occasional nomination in a liner notes, engineering, or more mainstream music category such as Gary Clark Jr.’s Rock Song and Traditional R&B Performance nominations last year.

Which is why we’re always delighted when the Blues Foundation announces the nominees for its own music awards a few days later each year, with nominees for the 2015 event (the 36th go-around for the organization) having been put out this morning. Celebrating the blues and the people who make the music through honors in two dozen categories, the Blues Music Awards offers a breadth and depth to the genre with which few other awards events can even begin to compare.

Leading this year’s nominations in the annual program with six a piece are Elvin Bishop, John Nemeth, and Sugar Ray Norcia, with the three squaring off for awards in the Album, Band, and Song (Bishop’s “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right”, Nemeth’s “Bad Luck is My Name”, and Norcia’s “Things Could Be Worse“) categories, while Bishop and Nemeth also go head-to-head for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year honor, where they face four-time nominee Bobby Rush (Soul Album for Decisions with Blinddog Smokin’, Soul Male Artist, and Song for “Another Murder in New Orleans”), three-time nominee Rick Estrin (Band and Harmonica), and dual-nominee Sugaray Rayford (Traditional Male Artist).

In addition to its Best Album nomination, Bishop’s Can’t Even Do Wrong Right is also nominated for Contemporary Album, with Bishop also joining Gary Clark Jr., three-time nominee Jarekus Singleton (who accompanies Bishop among both Album and Contemporary Blues Album nominees for his Refuse to Lose) and two Joes – two-time nominees Joe Bonamassa (also Guitar) and Joe Louis Walker (another Contemporary Album nominee for Hornet’s Nest) – among the nominations for Contemporary Male Artist.

Norcia’s Living Tear to Tear (with his band the Bluetones) is also nominated for Traditional Album and Norcia himself for Traditional Male Artist and Harmonica, with the band’s Michael “Mudcat” Ward also nominated in the Bass category, while Nemeth received some similar nominations in the Soul categories for Album (Memphis Grease) and Male Artist.

The Mannish BoysWrapped Up and Ready rounds out the nominees for Album of the Year, also earning nods in both the Band and Traditional Album categories.

Keb’ Mo’s Grammy-nominated BluesAmericana and Janiva MagnessOriginal round out the nominations for Contemporary Album, with Magness also up for honors in the Contemporary Female and Song (“Let Me Breathe”) categories.

Other artists receiving multiple nominations include Johnny Winter (Guitar and Rock Album for Step Back), Marcia Ball, Rory Block, Eric Bibb, Eden Brent, Johnny Rawls, Otis Clay, John Mooney, John Hammond, and Vaneese Thomas (daughter of Rufus Thomas).

For a full list of nominees by category and details on voting, which is open to Blues Foundation members only, please visit the Foundation’s website. The awards will be presented in downtown Memphis in early May.

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