The 39th annual Blues Music Awards, hosted by Little Steven Van Zandt, honored the strides made in the world of contemporary and traditional blues alike. Collaborators Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' released TajMo a year prior to the awards, and was adamently praised, as it won both Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album.
Additionally, Taj Mahal was named the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and best Acoustic Artist, and Keb’ Mo’ won best Contemporary Blues Male Artist.
Another big multi-award winner was Rick Estrin, who received eight BMA nominations, then took home best Traditional Blues Male Artist. Estrin's song “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” won Song of the Year. And further, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats earned the Band of the Year honors.
The Blues Foundation added two new categories to the BMA this year: Blues Rock Artist and Instrumentalist-Vocals, won by Mike Zito and Beth Hart, respectively.
Here is the final and complete list of Blues Music Award winners:
1. Acoustic Album: Break the Chain – Doug MacLeod
2. Acoustic Artist: Taj Mahal
3. Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Taj Mahal
5. Band: Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
6. Best Emerging Artist Album: Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
7. Contemporary Blues Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Samantha Fish
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Keb’ Mo'
10. Historical: A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997 – Luther Allison (Ruf Recordings)
11. Instrumentalist-Vocalist: Beth Hart
12. Instrumentalist-Bass: Michael “Mudcat” Ward
13. Instrumentalist-Drums: Tony Braunagel
14. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
15. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Jason Ricci
16. Instrumentalist-Horn: Trombone Shorty
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano): Victor Wainwright
18. Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female): Ruthie Foster
19. Rock Blues Album: We’re All In This Together – Walter Trout
20. Rock Blues Artist: Mike Zito
21. Song: “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” written by Rick Estrin and performed by Rick Estrin
22. Soul Blues Album: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm - Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
23. Soul Blues Female Artist: Mavis Staples
24. Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
25. Traditional Blues Album: Right Place, Right Time – Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
26. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Rick Estrin
For more blues news, check out the Blues Foundation.