The 39th Blues Music Award Nominees were announced Tuesday, Jan. 9. The award ceremonies will be held in Memphis on May 10 and will have an Upstate flair.
Among the artists nominated this year is Upstate native Tas Cru in the Best Emerging Artist category. His 2016 album Simmered and Stewed on the VizzTone label has been featured as a “Pick to Click” on B.B. King’s Bluesville channel for SiriusXM.
Cru, a member of the Mohawk Valley Blues Society and the 2017 SAMMY Award recipient in the Blues Album category, has previously been awarded the 2014 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for his work with Blues in the Schools programs throughout the country.
Central New York blues fans will recognize many familiar names as artists appearing at last summer’s Chenango Blues Festival in Norwich secured a total of twelve nominations.
Chenango performers nominated for Blues Music Awards include Sugaray Rayford with four nominations (Instrumentalist – Vocals; Soul Blues Album – The World That We Live In and the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award), Harmonicist Jason Ricci (Instrumentalist – Harmonica and Rock Blues Artist), Jimi Bott (Instrumentalist – Drums), Anthony Geraci (Instrumentalist – Pine Top Perkins Piano Player). Bott and Geraci performed at Chenango with Rayford in the Mannish Boy All Stars.
Pianist Victor Wainwright was nominated as Instrumentalist – Pine Top Perkins Piano Player and headliners, the North Mississippi All Stars were nominated for Band of the Year, Rock Blues Album of the Year for Prayer for Peace and Song of the Year for the title track of their album.
Chenango’s reputation for featuring the best up and coming talent is confirmed, as two of 2016’s first-time performers secured BMA nominations. Vanessa Collier for Instrumentalist – Horn, and Southern Avenue for Best Emerging Artist Album for their eponymous album Southern Avenue on the legendary Stax label.
Also receiving a nomination was Samantha Fish, for Contemporary Blues Female Artist. Fish will be performing at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse on Feb. 9.