Blues Music Awards: Trombone Shorty blows into Memphis

Tahoe Onstage

Trombone Shorty entertained a sold-out MontBleu Showroom at Lake Tahoe in March 2017. He is nominated for a Blues Music Award for best horn player.

New Orleans has horned its way into the Blues Music Awards.

Tahoe Onstage

TajMo — Taj Mahal and Keb Mo — in Tahoe last June.

The 32-year-old jazz star Trombone Shorty has been nominated for a BMA for Instrumentalist-Horn, the most newsworthy nomination from The Blues Foundation’s announcements that came on Monday. Also notable are two new categories: Instrumentalist-Vocals and Rock Blues Artist.

The 39th annual Blues Music Awards will be presented May 10, in Memphis.

Sadly, the 2018 BMA nominations were released the same day Blue Hall of Fame member Denise LaSalle died at the age of 78. She received a nomination for Soul Blues Female Artist, her third.

Sacramento resident Rick Estrin, who played last summer at Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays, received seven nominations, the most of any artist. The frontman for Rick Estrin & The Nightcats was nominated for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year, Album Of The Year (for “Groovin’ In Greaseland”) and Song Of The Year (for “The Blues Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”), Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica, Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year and Traditional Blues Album Of The Year. Nightcats’ guitarist Kid Andersen received a nomination for Best Instrumentalist – Guitar.

The Taj Mahal-Keb Mo collaboration – TajMo — collectively received six nominations, and Michael Ledbetter, a distant relative of Lead Belly, received three. Samantha Fish, who released two albums in 2017, was nominated for Contemporary Blues Female Artist.

Like countless bluesmen, Troy Andrews goes by a pseudonym, and this year Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue released their first record on the Blue Note label. Nevertheless, his BMA nomination for the jazz player is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Here are a list of the nominations:

Acoustic Album of the Year
Catfish Keith – Mississippi River Blues
Doug MacLeod – Break the Chain
Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi – Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train
Harrison Kennedy – Who U Tellin’?
Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way
Rory Block – Keepin’ Outta Trouble

Acoustic Artist
Doug McLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Taj Mahal

Album of the Year
Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
TajMo – TajMo
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After a While

Band of the Year
The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi All-Stars
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal

Best Emerging Artist Album
Altered Five Blues Band – Charmed & Dangerous
Larkin Poe – Peach
Miss Freddye – Lady of the Blues
R.L. Boyce – Roll and Tumble
Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
Tas Cru – Simmered & Stewed

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Beth Hart – Fire on the Floor
Corey Dennison Band – Night After Night
Ronnie Baker Brooks – Times Have Changed
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison
TajMo – TajMo

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Keb’ Mo’
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Historical Album of the Year
Jimmy Reed, Mr. Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles – Craft Recordings
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie – Craft Recordings
Luther Allison, A Legend Never Dies – Ruf Records
The Paul deLay Band, Live at Notodden ’97 – Little Village Foundation
Various, American Epic: The Collection – Sony Legacy

Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn

Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin

Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist- Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainwright

Instrumentalist – Vocals
Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Németh
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster

Rock Blues Album of the Year
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Lay It On Down
Mike Zito – Make Blues Not War
North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer for Peace
Savoy Brown – Witchy Feelin’
Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together

Rock Blues Artist
Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout

Song of the Year
“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” – written by Rick Estrin
“Don’t Give Up On Love” – written by Scott Bomar and Don Bryant
“Don’t Leave Me Here” – written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary Nicholson
“Hate Take a Holiday” – written by Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, and Ernie Williams
“Prayer for Peace” – written by Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Oteil Burbridge

Soul Blues Album of the Year
Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Johnny Rawls – Waiting for the Train
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Sugaray Rayford – The World That We Live In
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After a While

Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist
Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
William Bell
Wee Willie Walker

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
The Cash Box Kings – Royal Mint
Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Kim Wilson – Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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