2023 Blues Music Award Nominees Announced

Article Contributed by Devious Planet | Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2023

An impressive assembly of blues music masters, ranging from Blues Hall of Famers to rising stars, will gather in Memphis on Thursday, May 11th, for the 44th Annual Blues Music Awards. Presented by The Blues Foundation, the BMAs honor 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, recognized internationally as the blues world’s premier event, not only attracts nearly all the nominees but also presents them in performance.
The event takes place at Memphis’ Renasant Convention Center (255 North Main Street), where a Blue Carpet will lead to the theater. The Blue Carpet pre-show commences at 5 p.m.. 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 John Németh, with five nominations, Song of the Year, Traditional Blues Album, Band of the Year, Instrumentalist – Harmonica, and Instrumentalist – Vocals, which he won in 2022.
Behind John Németh in the nomination count are Shemekia Copeland, Rory Block and Eric Gales, each receiving three nominations. Shemekia Copeland is up for Song of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album, and Instrumentalist – Vocals. Rory Block is up for Acoustic Blues Album, Acoustic Artist and Traditional Blues Female, and Eric Gales is up for Song of the Year, BB King Entertainer of the Year, and Blues Rock Album.
Some of last year's winners hoping to hold onto their awards are Tommy Castro (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Artist), Vanessa Collier (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), Annika Chambers (Soul Blues Female Artist), Curtis Salgado (Soul Blues Male Artist), Sue Foley (Traditional Blues Female Artist – Koko Taylor Award), Danielle Nicole (Instrumentalist – Bass), Jason Ricci (Instrumentalist – Harmonica), Jimmy Carpenter (Instrumentalist Horn), John Németh (Instrumentalist – Vocals.)
Past winners hoping to reclaim awards are Sugaray Rayford and Bobby Rush (B.B. King Entertainer of the Year), Buddy Guy (Song of the Year), Buddy Guy and Shemekia Copeland (Contemporary Blues Album), Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (Contemporary Blues Male Artist), Anthony Geraci (Instrumentalist – Piano / Pinetop Perkins Award), Duke Robillard and John Primer (Traditional Blues Male Artist), Chris Layton and Tony Braunagel (Instrumentalist – Drums), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Instrumentalist – Bass), Dennis Gruenling (Instrumentalist – Harmonica), Deanna Bogart (Instrumentalist – Horn), Ruthie Foster (Contemporary Blues Female Artist), John Németh (Soul Blues Male Artist), Diunna Greenleaf and Rory Block (Traditional Blues Female Artist – Koko Taylor Award), Corey Harris and Rory Block (Acoustic Blues Album), Tinsley Ellis and Albert Castiglia (Blues Rock Album), Doug MacLoed and Rory Block (Acoustic Blues Artist), Tedeschi Trucks Band and Rick Estrin and the NIghtcats (Band of the Year.)
Willie J. Campbell, who passed away this past December, was posthumously nominated for Instrumentalist – Bass.

The night before the BMAs, The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Memphis’ Halloran Centre at the Orpheum (225 South Main Street). Following a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception, the inductions begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Halloran Theater. Tickets, which include ceremony and reception admission, are $75 each and, as with any other musical event or charitable donation, they are non-refundable. The 2023 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 — www.blues.org. The ballot will be open for voting to current Blues Foundation members only until 11:59 P.M. CST on Friday, March 20th. To become a Blues Foundation member, visit www.blues.org and click on the Join button to learn about the different membership levels and how to easily and securely join online. Upon membership confirmation, new and renewing members will be sent instructions on how to access the 2023 Blues Music Awards Ballot.
Major funding for the 44th 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.
44th Blues Music Award Nominees
 B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Sugaray Rayford
Tommy Castro
Eric Gales
Bobby Rush
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Band of the Year
Anthony Geraci & The Boton Blues Allstars
John Németh and the Blue Dreamers
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats
Southern Avenue
Tedeschi Trucks Band

Song of the Year
Altered Five Blues Band “Great Minds Drink Alike” (Jeff Schroedl)
Buddy Guy “The Blues Don’t Lie” (Tom Hambridge)
Eric Gales “I Want My Crown” (Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa)
John Németh “The Last Time” (John Németh)
Shemekia Copeland “Too Far to Be Gone” (John Hahn/Will Kimbrough)
Best Emerging Artist Album
Blue Moon Marquee / Scream, Holler & Howl
DaShawn Hickman / Drums, Roots & Steel
Dylan Triplett / Who Is He?
Jose Ramirez / Major League Blues
Yates McKendree / Buchanan Lane

Acoustic Blues Album
Charlie Musselwhite / Mississippi Son
Corey Harris / The Insurrection Blues
Duwayne Burnside / Acoustic Burnside
Harrison Kennedy / Thanks for Tomorrow
Rory Block / Ain’t Nobody Worried

Blues Rock Album
Albert Castiglia / I Got Love
Bernard Allison / Highs & Lows
Colin James / Open Road
Eric Gales / Crown
Tinsley Ellis / Devil May Care

Contemporary Blues Album
Buddy Guy / The Blues Don’t Lie
Diunna Greenleaf / I Ain’t Playin’
Janiva Magness / Hard to Kill
Larry McCray / Blues Without You
Shemekia Copeland / Done Come too Far
Soul Blues Album
Kat Riggins / Progeny
Kirk Fletcher / Heartache by the Pound
Sugaray Rayford / In Too Deep
The Love Light Orchestra / Leave the Light On
Trudy Lynn / Golden Girl

Traditional Blues Album
Kenny Neal / Straight From the Heart
Bob Corritore / Bob Borritore & Friends: You Shocked Me
Duke Robillard / They Called it Rhythm & Blues
John Németh / May Be the Last Time
John Primer / Hard Times

Acoustic Blues Artist
Doug MacLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rhiannon Giddens
Rory Block

Blues Rock Artist
Walter Trout
Albert Castiglia
Tommy Castro
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Tinsley Ellis

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Ruthie Foster
Beth Hart
Janiva Magness
Teresa James
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Selwyn Birchwood
Chris Cain
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)

Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Trudy Lynn
Thornetta Davis
Kat Riggins
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist
John Németh
Johnny Rawls
Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Billy Price

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)
Dietra Farr
Diunna Greenleaf
Rhiannon Giddens
Rory Block
Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Billy Branch
Duke Robillard
John Primer
Johnny Burgin
Sugar Ray Norcia

Instrumentalist – Bass
Bob Stronger
Danielle Nicole
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Willie J. Campbell
Instrumentalist - Drums
Chris Layton
Cody Dickinson
Derric D’Mar Martin
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist - Guitar
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Joanna Connor
Kirk Fletcher
Laura Chavez

Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Jason Ricci
John Németh
Dennis Gruenling

Instrumentalist – Horn
Deanna Bogart
Gregg Piccolo
Jimmy Carpenter
Mark Kaz Kazanoff
Sax Gordon Beadle

Instrumentalist - Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award)
Anthony Geraci
Ben Levin
Dave Keyes
Jim Pugh
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Instrumentalist - Vocals
Curtis Salgado
Danielle Nicole
Diunna Greenleaf
John Németh
Shemekia Copeland
44th Blues Music Awards
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Renasant Convention Center - 255 N. Main St. Memphis, TN 38103
Walk the Blue Carpet: 5:00 pm
Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Halloran Centre - 225 S. Main St. Memphis, TN 38103
Reception 5:30 pm
Ceremony 7:30 pm