The Blues Foundation held its 39th Blues Music Awards on Thursday, May 10, in Memphis, Tennessee. Several award winners have appeared recently in Central New York, most notably at the Chenango Blues Festival. Victor Wainwright took home the prestigious Pinetop Perkins Best Instrumentalist – Piano Award, and Jason Ricci was named Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica. Both Wainwright and Ricci delivered jaw-dropping, show-stopping performances at the 2017 Chenango Blues Festival, reviewed by NYS Music’s Mike Kohli here.
Other winners that have appeared at Chenango through the years include Curtis Salgado, Soul Blues Male Artist; Southern Avenue, Best Emerging Artist Album; Ronnie Earl, Best Instrumentalist – Guitar; Samantha Fish, Contemporary Blues Female Artist; Mike Ledbetter, who won with Mike Welch for Traditional Blues Album for Right Place, Right Time on Delta Groove Records; Mike Zito, Rock Blues Artist; Rick Estrin, who won Band of the Year, Traditional Blues Male Artist, and Song of the Year, for “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere;” and the late, great Luther Allison, Best Historical Album for Luther Allison – A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997 (Ruf Records).
Other BMA nominees that have appeared at Chenango include Paul deLay, Guy Davis, Shemekia Copeland, Janiva Magness, Mitch Woods, Chris Cain, John Nemeth, Upstate New York’s own Tas Cru, (whose latest release, Memphis Song, was recorded at SubCat Studios in Syracuse), Anson Funderburgh, Savoy Brown, Vanessa Collier, Sugaray Rayford, Anthony Geraci, and the North Mississippi All Stars. 2018 Festival performers Toronzo Cannon, The Cash Box Kings, and Elvin Bishop were also nominated.
Emerging Artist nominees Larkin Poe, quickly gaining followers and national attention, will headline opening night of the NYS Blues Festival in Syracuse on June 28.
Some of this year’s Blues Music Award winners can be seen throughout New York State this summer. Here is a partial list:
Mike Zito is at The Tralf in Buffalo on May 17.
Keb Mo plays at the Tarrytown Theater on May 25.
Samantha Fish can be seen June 2 in Rochester at Flour City Station, June 7 at Daryl’s House in Pawling (already sold out), June 12 at Funk ‘n Waffles, Syracuse, and will return to Chenango on August 18. A NYS Music review of her appearance at the Westcott Theater on February 9, 2018, can be viewed here.
Victor Wainwright will perform at Funk ‘n Waffles Syracuse with an early 6:00 p.m. show on July 6.
Beth Hart is on the bill with Kenny Wayne Shepherd at Albany’s Palace Theater, July 27.
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats are scheduled to appear at Wakely’s on Varick, in Utica, NY on August 11.