BLUES MUSIC AWARDS 

Photo by James Wessels

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What are the BMAs?

This event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives, and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. The BMAs are generally recognized as the highest honor given to blues musicians and are awarded by vote of Blues Foundation members.

Photos by James Wessels

The Blues Music Awards 2017 are Coming. Let the countdown begin!

May 11 2017 - Cook Convention Center - MEMPHIS, TN
Blues Music Awards 2017
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*Final Ballot Announced in Late January at which time BMA tickets and tables will go on sale!

Blues Music Awards Voting Process

Any blues recording released between November 1, 2015 and October 31, 2016 is eligible for 2017 Blues Music Award consideration

The process begins with artists and record companies submitting entries via one of three ways:

  1. The Blues Foundation accepts cds through the year and logs them based on their release dates. All recordings sent directly to The Blues Foundation will be put on a master list for consideration by our nominators if released during the appropriate eligibility period

  2. The Blues Foundation opens a formal submission process in July of each year. Musicians and their labels are encouraged to formally submit their recording via this online application

  3. Musicians and their labels may opt to send hard copies of their release to be distributed to each of our nominators for a fee. This is not required, but encouraged, in order to ensure that each of our nominators has easy access to the music for their own listening and judging.

The Blues Foundation enlists a group of approximately 100 blues experts who have worked extensively in all areas of the blues industry.  This includes individuals with blues expertise as producers, engineers, radio DJs, journalists, academics, club owners, promoters and others with a deep knowledge of blues music. The identity of the nominators is not made public in order to protect them from outside influences.  Nominators must recuse themselves from any categories in which they have a conflict of interest.

The nominators work through two rounds in order to come up with between four and six final nominees in each category. During the first round, each nominator selects his or her three top nominees for each category. Each first selection is weighted by 3X, second selection is weighted by 2X, and third selection is weighted by 1X. The Blues Foundation Staff Moderator then calculates the number of points for each potential nominee in each category and the top 40% of nominees in each category move into Round 2. This information is not publicized.

The nominators then vote for the second round nominations leading and those artists receiving the most votes in each category to become the final Nominees for Blues Music Award.

A Blues Music Awards is given each year to Best Historical CD.  This recipient of this category is determined by a special panel of blues experts and is not voted on by the general membership.  Announcement of this award will be made during the Blues Music Awards ceremony on May 11, 2017.

All members in good standing, whose dues are current, will receive a final ballot during the voting period.  Any member who renews his or her membership or joins as a new member during the voting period will also receive a ballot.  Voting will open in late January and will officially close on March 1, 2017 at which point no additional ballots will be accepted.

Results of members’ voting are not known until the Blues Music Awards presentation ceremony when names of the winners are revealed to the public. Announcements of the winners will be shared after the conclusion of the event on The Blues Foundation website.

2017 Blues Music Awards Schedule

*Final Ballot Announced in Late January at which time BMA tickets and tables will go on sale!

2017 Blues Music Awards Categories and Definitions:

That album released during the eligibility period that best represents acoustic blues, with over 75% of the songs recorded predominantly with acoustic instruments.

That artist (whether solo, duo, or group) whose recordings and/or performances best represent acoustic blues during the eligibility period.

The best Blues album in any style released to the public during the eligibility period. (May be an album nominated in another category)

That performer who has best represented and promoted the blues through recordings and performances during the eligibility period.

That group, recording and/or performing as a unit, which best exemplifies blues ensemble playing during the eligibility period.

That blues recording that was released during the eligibility period for an act that has not received a prior Blues Music Award or GRAMMY® award nomination. The age of the artist is not of significance, but this award is intended for an artist who is relatively new to the blues/music scene and is at the “jumping off” point of his or her career.

That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays Blues in which elements other than those traditionally found in Blues are part of the mix, e.g., different rhythms, different harmonies, more elaborate production values, etc., and which may offer a different approach to sounds, lyrics, instrumentation, arrangements, etc.

That female performer whose recordings and/or performances during the eligibility period best portray Blues in which elements other than those traditionally found in Blues are part of the mix, e.g., different rhythms, different harmonies, more elaborate production values, etc., and which may offer a different approach to sounds, lyrics, instrumentation, arrangements, etc.

That male performer whose recordings and/or performances during the eligibility period that best portrays Blues in which elements other than those traditionally found in Blues are part of the mix, e.g., different rhythms, different harmonies, more elaborate production values, etc., and which may offer a different approach to sounds, lyrics, instrumentation, arrangements, etc.

That musician whose skills on the guitar, in performance and/or on recordings, best portrays the blues during eligibility period.

That musician whose skills on the bass, in performance and/or on recordings, best portray the blues during eligibility period.

That musician whose skills on the drums, in performance and/or on recordings, best portray the blues during eligibility period.

That musician whose skills on the harmonica, in performance and/or on recordings, best portray the blues during eligibility period.

That individual whose skills on any horn (including brass and woodwind instruments) in performance and/or on recordings best portray the blues during eligibility period.

That female artist whose recordings and/or performance best portray traditional electric blues during the eligibility period.

That musician whose skills on the keyboards, in performance and/or on recordings, best portray the blues during the eligibility period.

That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays the Rock Blues genre, that hybrid that combines elements of Blues, with an emphasis on Blues, but also rock with its heavily-amplified instrumentation and generally driving drum beat.

This award is presented to the songwriter for a first-ever recording of a song initially released to the public during the eligibility period which best portrays the blues by means of theme, structure, and overall feeling.

That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays Southern soul blues, a type of soul music that emerged from the Southern United States. The music originates from a combination of styles, including blues (both 12 bar and jump), country, early rock and roll, and a strong gospel influence.

That female performer whose recordings and/or performance best portray Southern soul blues during the eligibility period.

That male performer whose recordings and/or performance best portray Southern soul blues during the eligibility period.

That album released to the public during eligibility period that best portrays traditional electric blues.

That male artist whose recordings and/or performance best portray traditional electric blues during eligibility period.

Any blues material released within the eligibility period that includes recorded music that is five years or older. This can be collections of re-released material or never before released material that is older than five years. This award is not voted upon by the membership but selected by a small committee of blues academics and experts.

Buy the 2015 BMA DVD or CD

Support the Blues Foundation and enjoy the best of the blues. The 2016 BMA DVD and CD will be available for purchase soon!

BUY NOW

Photos by James Wessels

2016 Blues Music Awards Winners and Nominees

Doug MacLeod – Exactly Like This
Duke Robillard – The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard
Eric Bibb – Blues People
Guy Davis – Kokomo Kidd
The Ragpicker String Band – The Ragpicker String Band
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
Gaye Adegbalola
Guy Davis
Ian Siegal
Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue
Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar
James Harman – Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court                 
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes
Andy T – Nick Nixon Band
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Cash Box Kings
Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots
John Németh
Rick Estrin
Shemekia Copeland
Sugaray Rayford
Victor Wainwright
Eddie Cotton – One at a Time
Igor Prado Band – Way Down South
Mighty Mike Schermer – Blues in Good Hands
Mr. Sipp – The Mississippi Blues Child
Slam Allen – Feel These Blues
Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar
Eugene Hideaway Bridges – Hold on a Little Bit Longer
Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love
Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues
Sugaray Rayford – Southside
Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Nikki Hill
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Brandon Santini
Eugene Hideaway Bridges
Jarekus Singleton
Joe Louis Walker
Sugaray Rayford
The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Vol. 1, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest on Delta Groove Records
Hawk Squat by J. B. Hutto & His Hawks on Delmark Records
Southside Blues Jam by Junior Wells on Delmark Records
Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo on Bear Family Records
Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues by Tampa Red on Ace Records
Charlie Wooton
Lisa Mann
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Willie J. Campbell
Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel
Anson Funderburgh
Kid Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl
Sonny Landreth
Billy Branch
Brandon Santini
James Harman
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Al Basile
Doug James
Kaz Kazanoff
Sax Gordon
Terry Hanck
Diunna Greenleaf
Fiona Boyes
Ruthie Foster
Trudy Lynn
Zora Young
Allen Toussaint
Anthony Geraci
Barrelhouse Chuck
John Ginty
Victor Wainwright
Joe Bonamassa – Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks
Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants a Piece
Royal Southern Brotherhood – Don’t Look Back
Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love
Walter Trout – Battle Scars
“Bad Feet/Bad Hair” written and performed by James Harman
“Fifty Shades of Blue” written by Anthony Geraci and performed by Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars
“Gonna Live Again” written and performed by Walter Trout
“Southside of Town” written by Sugaray Rayford and & Ralph Carter and performed by Sugaray Rayford
“You Got It Good (and That Ain’t Bad)” written and performed by Doug MacLeod
Bey Paule Band – Not Goin’ Away
Billy Price & Otis Clay – This Time for Real
Jackie Payne – I Saw the Blues
Tad Robinson – Day into Night
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes 
Bettye LaVette
Dorothy Moore
Missy Andersen
Toni Lynn Washington
Vaneese Thomas
Frank Bey
Jackie Payne
Johnny Rawls
Otis Clay
Wee Willie Walker
Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Numbers Man
Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue
Cedric Burnside Project – Descendants of Hill Country
James Harman – Bonetime
The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court
Cedric Burnside
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin
James Harman
Jimmy Burns
John Primer

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