Seeing really is Believing: Sugar Ray & the Bluetones rack up combined 10 nominations in 2017 Blues Music Awards

Nominations for the 2017 Blues Music Awards were announced earlier this week, with New England blues institution Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and its members earning an impressive – and probably unprecedented – two handfuls of nominations, including nods for band, album and traditional album (Seeing is Believing), and song (“Seeing is Believing”) of the year honors in addition to individual nominations for B.B. King Entertainer, traditional male artist, and instrumentalist-harmonica for frontman Sugar Ray Norcia, instrumentalist-bass for Michael “Mudcat” Ward, instrumentalist-guitar for Monster Mike Welch, and Pinetop Perkins Piano Player for Anthony Geraci.

While the Bluetones were the only act to amass collective nominations in the double digits (likely the most of any individual artist or band and its members ever in a single year, although records tend to be a little spotty in this regard since the awards honor both bands and the individuals who compose them; Geraci, for example, could just as easily be nominated this year for his work on his own “solo” project Fifty Shades of Blue as for his contributions to the Bluetones), several acts saw nominations in three or more categories, with Bobby Rush and Toronzo Cannon both receiving four nominations, including album of the year accolades for their Porcupine Meat and The Chicago Way, respectively, while Rush is also nominated for soul male artist, soul album (Porcupine Meat), and historical album for the career retrospective Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush, and Cannon is also up for awards for contemporary male artist, contemporary album, and song (“Walk It Off”).

Fellow album of the year nominees Kenny Neal (Bloodline), William Bell (This is Where I Live), and the Nick Moss Band (From the Root to the Fruit) lead a pack of artists each receiving three nominations that also includes Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials (band, B.B. King Entertainer, and traditional male artist), the Tedeschi Trucks Band (band, rock blues album for Let Me Get By, and contemporary female artist for Susan Tedeschi), Bob Margolin (traditional album for My Road, traditional male artist, and guitar), and Curtis Salgado (soul blues album for The Beautiful Lowdown, soul male artist, and song for “Walk a Mile in My Blues”), with Neal and Moss’ albums both also earning nominations for contemporary album, Neal up for contemporary male artist, and Moss recognized in the band category, while Bell is also nominated for soul album and soul male artist.

Newly formed supergroup the Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue also fell somewhere between two and four nominations, depending on how you choose to count them, receiving nominations for band and traditional album (eponymous), as well as individual honors for members Mark Hummel (harmonica) and R.W. Grigsby (bass).

Other acts with multiple nominations include B.B. Entertainer nominees Joe Bonamassa (also nominated for guitarist) and Sugaray Rayford (also contemporary male); rock blues album nominees Albert Castiglia (Big Dog) and Mike Zito (Keep Coming Back), both also nominated for contemporary male artist; Lurrie Bell for traditional album (Can’t Shake This Feeling) and traditional male artist; soul blues album nominees Johnny Rawls (Tiger in a Cage) and Wee Willie Walker (Live! Notodden Blues Festival), who also square off in the soul male artist category; contemporary album (Mid Century Modern) and horn nominee Al Basile; acoustic album nominees Eric Bibb (The Happiest Man in the World), Fiona Boyes (Professin’ the Blues), Luther Dickinson (Blues and Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook Vol. I and II), Jimmy “Duck” Holmes (Live at Briggs Farm), and Doug MacLeod (Live in Europe), all of whom are also nominated for acoustic artist; and best emerging artist album nominees Terrie Odabi (My Blue Soul) and Thornetta Davis (Honest Woman), also nominated for soul female and song (“I Gotta Sang the Blues”), respectively.

John Nemeth rounds out the nominations for B.B. King Entertainer; The Record Company for contemporary album (Give It Back to You); Ronnie Earl and Kid Andersen for guitarist; Walter Trout (Alive in Amsterdam) and first-time nominees Moreland & Arbuckle (Promised Land or Bust) for rock blues album; and John Primer for traditional male artist, with other nominees including such familiar names as Kim Wilson (harmonica), Henry Gray and the late Barrelhouse Chuck (both piano), and Bob Stroger (bass).

Here’s a look at the full nominees for several categories; to see the entire list of nominees and vote (open to all Blues Foundation members) for this year’s awards, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Bobby Rush – Porcupine Meat
Kenny Neal – Bloodline
Nick Moss Band – From the Root to the Fruit
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – Seeing is Believing
Toronzo Cannon – The Chicago Way
William Bell – This Is Where I Live

Contemporary Blues Album
Al Basile – Mid Century Modern
Kenny Neal – Bloodline
Nick Moss Band – From the Root to the Fruit
The Record Company – Give It Back To You
Toronzo Cannon – The Chicago Way

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Albert Castiglia
Kenny Neal
Mike Zito
Sugaray Rayford
Toronzo Cannon

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Alexis P Suter
Ana Popovic
Janiva Magness
Shemekia Copeland
Susan Tedeschi

Traditional Blues Album
Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore – House Party at Big Jon’s
Bob Margolin – My Road
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue – Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
Lurrie Bell – Can’t Shake This Feeling
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – Seeing is Believing

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Inetta Visor
Shaun Murphy
Trudy Lynn

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Bob Margolin
John Primer
Lil’ Ed Williams
Lurrie Bell
Sugar Ray Norcia

Rock Blues Album of the Year
Albert Castiglia – Big Dog
Mike Zito – Keep Coming Back
Moreland & Arbuckle – Promised Land or Bust
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By
Walter Trout – Alive in Amsterdam

B.B. King Entertainer
Joe Bonamassa
John Nemeth
Lil’ Ed Williams
Sugar Ray Norcia
Sugaray Rayford

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Sugar Ray and the Bluetones
Tedeschi Trucks Band

Bob Margolin
Joe Bonamassa
Kid Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Sugar Ray Norcia

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Barrelhouse Chuck
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Victor Wainwright

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