The list of honorees for the 33nd Blues Music Awards includes Blues Hall of Fame members Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite and Bobby Rush. Leading with four nominations each are Sugar Ray & the Bluetones with theirs Evening CD and Louisiana artists Tab Benoit with his Medicine release and Johnny Sansone and his The Lord is Waiting and the Devil is Too. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band and their Revelator combined for four nominations. Tommy Castro, his band and the various artists on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue–Live!CD also combined for four nominations.

Three nominations each went to Eugene Hideaway Bridges, Lazy Lester, David Maxwell, Ana Popovic and Johnny Rawls. Popovic is joined by two other Europeans, English guitarist Ian Siegal who paired with Mississippi artists and Big Pete, a Dutch singer and harmonica player, who each got a first-ever nomination. More than thirty other first time nominees were recognized including well-known blues-rock performers Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes and George Thorogood. The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge is certainly proving a path to success as it is well-represented with past winners Eden Brent, Grady Champion, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, JP Soars, Trampled Under Foot and Lionel Young all receiving nominations. (The full nominee list is below.)

The number of first-time nominees demonstrate the vitality of blues music and reflect the releases and live performances of the past year,” Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation’s Executive Director said. “The nominations prove not only the sustaining power of Blues music, but also its ability to constantly evolve and remain relevant to today’s fans.”

December 13 is an early Christmas for Blues fans as tickets for the May 10 Award show go on sale and voting begins too. Blues Foundation members are the only fans who vote to decide which nominees will actually take home the Blues Music Award. Members also receive seating preference at the Awards show.

Every year, the Blues Music Awards ceremony itself proves to be one of the best shows of the year. After all, almost every nominee not only attends, but also performs – creating a lineup comprised of the best of the best in blues all in one evening. A complete nominee list, as well as membership, voting, ticket and host hotel information can be found at The Blues Foundation’s website— Hall of Fame honorees will be announced in mid-February.

For the sixth consecutive year, The Blues Music Awards will be broadcast live in their entirety on Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville – the next best thing to being there. They will be subsequently broadcast on public television.

The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest honor given to Blues artists. Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 33rd Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, Blue Mountain Artists, Catfood Records, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, First Tennessee Foundation, Gibson Foundation, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony/Legacy.

Acoustic Album

  • Brand New Eyes – Doug MacLeod
  • Conversations in Blue – David Maxwell & Otis Spann
  • Misery Loves Company – Mary Flower
  • Shake ‘Em on Down – Rory Block
  • Troubadour Live – Eric Bibb

Acoustic Artist

  • David Maxwell
  • Doug MacLeod
  • Eric Bibb
  • Guy Davis
  • Mary Flower
  • Rory Block

Album of the Year

  • Chicago Blues A Living History the (R)evolution Continues – Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell, Carlos Johnson
  • Evening – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
  • Medicine – Tab Benoit
  • Revelator – Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Rock and a Hard Place – Eugene Hideaway Bridges
  • The Lord is Waiting and the Devil is Too – Johnny Sansone

B.B. King Entertainer

  • Candye Kane
  • Lil’ Ed
  • Ruthie Foster
  • Tab Benoit
  • Tommy Castro


  • Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials
  • Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • The Bo-Keys
  • Tommy Castro Band
  • Trampled Under Foot

Best New Artist Debut

  • Bad Girl – Demetria Taylor
  • Choice Cuts – Big Pete
  • Leave The Light On – Sena Ehrhardt
  • Runaway – Samantha Fish
  • The Mighty Mojo Prophets – The Mighty Mojo Prophets

Contemporary Blues Album

  • Don’t Explain – Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa
  • Medicine – Tab Benoit
  • The Lord is Waiting and the Devil is Too – Johnny Sansone
  • The Skinny – Ian Siegal & the Youngest Sons
  • Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue–Live! – Various Artists
  • Unconditional – Ana Popovic

Contemporary Blues Female Artist

  • Ana Popovic
  • Bettye LaVette
  • Candye Kane
  • Janiva Magness
  • Susan Tedeschi

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

  • Joe Louis Walker
  • Johnny Sansone
  • JP Soars
  • Tab Benoit
  • Tommy Castro


  • Live At Antone’s – Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn)
  • All Jams on Deck – Various Artists (Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise & Mug-Shot Productions)
  • An Evening at Trasimeno Lake – Ana Popovic (ArtisteXclusive)
  • Live at Montreux 2010 – Gary Moore (Eagle Rock)
  • Play the Blues – Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton (Rhino)
  • The Emporium to the Orpheum – Trampled Under Foot (Redwood)

Gibson Guitar Award

  • Derek Trucks
  • Duke Robillard
  • Kirk Fletcher
  • Lurrie Bell
  • Michael Burks

Historical Album

  • Bear Family – Texas Flyer 1974-76 (Freddie King)
  • Chess – Smokestack Lightning/The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960 (Howlin’ Wolf)
  • Delmark – Hoodoo Man Blues (Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band with Buddy Guy)
  • Electro-Fi – Teardrops Are Falling – Live in 1983 (George “Harmonica” Smith)
  • Virgin – The Essential Modern Records Collection (Etta James)


  • Biscuit Miller
  • Danielle Schnebelen
  • Larry Taylor
  • Michael “Mudcat” Ward
  • Patrick Rynn


  • Chris Layton
  • Jimi Bott
  • Kenny Smith
  • Robb Stupka
  • Stanton Moore
  • Tony Braunagel


  • Charlie Musselwhite
  • Kim Wilson
  • Lazy Lester
  • Rick Estrin
  • Sugar Ray Norcia


  • Al Basile
  • Doug James
  • Keith Crossan
  • Sax Gordon
  • Terry Hanck


  • Ben Prestage, diddley bow
  • Lionel Young, violin
  • Otis Taylor, banjo
  • Rich Del Grosso, mandolin
  • Sonny Rhodes, lap steel guitar

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)

  • Diunna Greenleaf
  • Maria Muldaur
  • Nora Jean
  • Ruthie Foster
  • Tracy Nelson

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player

  • David Maxwell
  • Eden Brent
  • Jon Cleary
  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
  • Marcia Ball
  • Victor Wainwright

Rock Blues Album

  • 2120 South Michigan Ave. – George Thorogood & the Destroyers
  • Dust Bowl – Joe Bonamassa
  • Greyhound – Mike Zito
  • Man In Motion – Warren Haynes
  • Shiver – Too Slim and the Taildraggers


  • Appreciate What You Got – Terry Hanck (Look Out! – Terry Hanck)
  • Back to the Blues – Hadden Sayers (Hard Dollar – Hadden Sayers)
  • Memphis Still Got Soul – Bob Trenchard & Johnny Rawls (Memphis Still Got Soul – Johnny Rawls)
  • Thank You for Giving Me the Blues – Grady Champion, Zac Harmon & Chris Troy (Dreamin’ – Grady Champion)
  • The Lord is Waiting, the Devil is Too – Johnny Sansone (The Lord is Waiting and the Devil is Too – Johnny Sansone)
  • The Older I Get the Better I Was – Joe Shelton (The Older I Get the Better I Was – Big Joe Shelton)

Soul Blues Album

  • Dreamin’ – Grady Champion
  • Got to Get Back! – The Bo-Keys
  • Memphis Still Got Soul – Johnny Rawls
  • Rock and a Hard Place – Eugene Hideaway Bridges
  • Show You A Good Time – Bobby Rush

Soul Blues Female Artist

  • Alexis P. Suter
  • Denise LaSalle
  • Jackie Johnson
  • Sharrie Williams
  • Sista Monica Parker

Soul Blues Male Artist

  • Bobby Rush
  • Curtis Salgado
  • Eugene Hideaway Bridges
  • Johnny Rawls
  • Otis Clay

Traditional Blues Album

  • Chicago Blues A Living History the (R)evolution Continues – Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell, Carlos Johnson
  • Evening – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
  • Trying To Hold On – Diunna Greenleaf
  • Victim Of The Blues – Tracy Nelson
  • You Better Listen – Lazy Lester

Traditional Blues Male Artist

  • Charlie Musselwhite
  • John Primer
  • Lazy Lester
  • Mac Arnold
  • Magic Slim