James Harman, Anthony Geraci, and Sugaray Rayford top nominees for 37th annual Blues Music Awards

BMAThe Blues Foundation has announced the nominations for the next edition of its Blues Music Awards, set to again take place in Memphis in early May. Harmonica player and singer James Harman leads this year’s nominations with five, for instrumentalist-harmonica, song (“Bad Feet/Bad Hair”), traditional male artist, and both traditional album and best overall album for his Bonetime. Harman is squaring off in three of those categories (album and traditional album for Fifty Shades of Blue, and song for the album’s title track) against pianist Anthony Geraci, one of two artists – along with vocal powerhouse Sugaray Rayford – to receive four nominations, with Geraci’s final nod coming in the piano category, while Rayford is up for awards in the contemporary male, song (“Southside of Town”), contemporary album (Southside), and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year categories.

Joining Harman, Geraci, and Rayford among the nominees in the song category are guitarist Walter Trout (also nominated for rock blues album for Battle Scars) with “Gonna Live Again” and Doug MacLeod, whose “You Got It Good (and That Ain’t Bad)” is but one of three nominations for the acoustic artist, a distinction shared by a handful of other performers this year, including recent GRAMMY Award Blues Album nominees Shemekia Copeland (contemporary female artist, contemporary album for Outskirts of Love, and B.B. King Entertainer) and Cedric Burnside (drums, traditional album for Descendants of Hill Country, and traditional male artist), as well as The Cash Box Kings (band, album and traditional album for Holding Court), Wee Willie Walker (soul male artist, album and soul album for If Nothing Ever Changes), and Victor Wainwright (piano, B.B. King Entertainer, and band).

Other multiple nominees include Buddy Guy (whose Born to Play Guitar is also nominated for GRAMMY awards for both album and American roots performance of the year, and here is nominated in the album and contemporary album categories), Eric Bibb and Guy Davis (both nominated for acoustic artist and acoustic album, for their Blues People and Kokomo Kidd projects, respectively), the Andy T – Nick Nixon Band (band, traditional album for Numbers Man), Rick Estrin (band and B.B. King Entertainer), Eugene Hideaway Bridges (contemporary album for Hold on a Little Bit Longer, contemporary male artist), Joe Louis Walker (contemporary male artist, rock blues album for Everybody Wants a Piece), Brandon Santini (harmonica and contemporary male artist), and Sonny Landreth (guitar, contemporary album for Bound by the Blues). Meanwhile, Frank Bey, Jackie Payne, and Otis Clay are all facing off in both the soul male artist and soul album categories, recognizing Bey’s Not Goin’ Away, Payne’s I Saw the Blues, and Clay’s This Time for Real with Billy Price.

Geraci’s “daytime” gig of Sugar Ray & the Bluetones (featuring a different Sugar Ray from the one with whom Geraci finds himself tied in nominations this year, in harmonica player Sugar Ray Norcia) earned three nominations of its own in addition to Geraci’s solo recognitions, up for honors in the band, bass (Michael “Mudcat” Ward), and guitar (Monster Mike Welch) categories, while Royal Southern Brotherhood also earned multiple nominations for rock album (Don’t Look Back) and bass player (Charlie Wooton).

Due to space limitations, we’ve listed the full nominations in only about a dozen of the categories below, but the complete list of nominees can be viewed on The Blues Foundation’s website.

Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees!

Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue
Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar
James Harman – Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes

Andy T – Nick Nixon Band
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Cash Box Kings
Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots

B.B. King Entertainer
John Németh
Rick Estrin
Shemekia Copeland
Sugaray Rayford
Victor Wainwright

Contemporary Blues Album
Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar
Eugene Hideaway Bridges – Hold on a Little Bit Longer
Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love
Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues
Sugaray Rayford – Southside

Historical Album
The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Vol. 1, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest on Delta Groove Records
Hawk Squat by J. B. Hutto & His Hawks on Delmark Records
Southside Blues Jam by Junior Wells on Delmark Records
Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo on Bear Family Records
Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues by Tampa Red on Ace Records

Anson Funderburgh
Kid Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl
Sonny Landreth

Billy Branch
Brandon Santini
James Harman
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Allen Toussaint
Anthony Geraci
Barrelhouse Chuck
John Ginty
Victor Wainwright

Rock Blues Album of the Year
Joe Bonamassa – Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks
Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants a Piece
Royal Southern Brotherhood – Don’t Look Back
Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love
Walter Trout – Battle Scars

Soul Blues Album
Bey Paule Band – Not Goin’ Away
Billy Price & Otis Clay – This Time for Real
Jackie Payne – I Saw the Blues
Tad Robinson – Day into Night
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes

Traditional Blues Album
Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Numbers Man
Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue
Cedric Burnside Project – Descendants of Hill Country
James Harman – Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Cedric Burnside
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin
James Harman
Jimmy Burns
John Primer

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