BLUES MUSIC AWARDS 2018-07-10T19:53:20+00:00
Click Here To Submit Your Recordings

BLUES MUSIC AWARDS 

Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars (Photo by Jay Skolnick)

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.

SAVE THE DATE: 40th Blues Music Awards • Thursday May 9, 2019 • Memphis, TN

2019 Blues Music Awards are coming… let the countdown begin!

May 9 2019 - Cook Convention Center - MEMPHIS, TN
40th Blues Music Awards
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Blues Music Awards Process

All musicians are invited to submit their recordings for Blues Music Award consideration.

Submission for the 40th Blues Music Awards is now open.

Click Here to Submit Your Recordings

Any blues recording released between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018 is eligible for 2019 Blues Music Award consideration

The submission process for Blues Music Award consideration begins with artists and record companies submitting entries in the following ways:

• 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 future communications regarding our submission process.

• The Blues Foundation opens the formal submission process on or about July 1st of each year. This year, The Blues Foundation will be moving to a digital platform for recording submissions. Your complete album music must be uploaded as mp3 files that are 320 Kbps (kilobytes per second) with album artwork uploaded as either JPEG or PDF files. We will no longer accept hard copy CDs for the purposes of BMA submission review.

If you need assistance with uploading your music, Joe Whitmer at [email protected] will be available to help you and walk you through the process.

The fees for submission and deadlines are as follows:

• By July 31, 2018 – $135 per submission
• August 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018 – $155 per submission
• September 1, 2018 – September 30, 2018 – $180 per submission
• October 1- October 24, 2018 – $225 per submission

The submission process officially closes on October 24, 2018. You must upload your music and artwork and complete payment for your submission transaction no later than OCTOBER 24TH to be considered for a Blues Music Award.


Category Selection

As you prepare to submit your music, please also be ready to choose the category in which you feel your music best falls. These choices include Acoustic Blues, Blues Rock, Contemporary Blues, Soul Blues, and Traditional Blues. All submissions will be considered for Album of the Year. If you feel that your recording represents your work as an emerging blues artist, you may also choose that category for consideration. Please note: for your album to be considered for Emerging Artist Album, you may have no more than two previous album releases prior to the album you wish you submit. When you submit your full album, you will also be allowed to include individual songs for consideration as Song of the Year. All music will be screened ahead of ballots going to our nominators to ensure that your music does indeed fall into the category that you have chosen and that at least 51% of your recording constitutes blues music. The Blues Foundation reserves the right to move your music into a different category based upon our definitions, as follows:

Acoustic Album: That album released during the eligibility period that best represents acoustic blues, with featured instruments being acoustic (drums may be included) on over 75% of the tracks.

Blues Rock Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays the Rock Blues genre, that hybrid that combines elements of blues with elements of rock, generally employing heavy amplification and driving rhythms, and which may employ non-traditional blues song structures.

Contemporary Blues Album: 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.

Soul Blues Album: 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.

Traditional Blues Album: That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays traditional electric blues employing traditional blues song structures, harmonic structures and rhythms, and which may also employ instruments such as electric guitar, piano, organ, amplified harmonica, electric bass and drums. This category includes subgenres such as jump/swing blues and Chicago blues.

The Blues Foundation enlists a group of approximately 100 blues nominators who work 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 top 40% of nominees in each category move into Round 2. This information is not publicized.

The nominators then vote in a second round ballot and those artists and recordings receiving the most votes in each category become the final Nominees for Blues Music Awards.

Final nominees will be announced in early January 2019.

A Blues Music Award is given each year to Best Historical CD. The 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 9, 2019.

All Blues Foundation 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, 2019 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 on the Blues Foundation website in real time, during the awards ceremony.

39th Blues Music Awards Winners and Nominees

Thanks to The Recording Academy® for their coverage of the 39th Blues Music Awards. Watch below for their exclusive interviews with BMA winners backstage.

Catfish Keith – Mississippi River Blues
Doug MacLeod – Break The Chain
Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi – Sonny and Brownie’s Last Train
Harrison Kennedy – Who U Tellin’ ?
Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way
Rory Block – Keepin’ Outta Trouble

Doug MacLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Taj Mahal

Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ – TajMo
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After A While

The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter Band
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi Allstars
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats

Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal

Altered Five Blues Band – Charmed & Dangerous
Larkin Poe – Peach
Miss Freddye – Lady Of The Blues
R.L. Boyce – Roll and Tumble
Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
Tas Cru – Simmered & Stewed

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Lay It On Down
Mike Zito – Make Blues Not War
North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer For Peace
Savoy Brown – Witchy Feelin’
Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together

Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout

Beth Hart – Fire On The Floor
Corey Dennison Band – Night After Night
Ronnie Baker Brooks – Times Have Changed
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison
Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ – TajMo

Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Keb’ Mo’
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Jimmy Reed, Mr Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles, Craft Recordings
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie, Craft Recordings
Luther Allison, A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997, Ruf Records
The Paul deLay Band, Live at Notodden ’97, Little Village Foundation
Various, American Epic: The Collection, Lo-Max Records/Sony Legacy

Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn

Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin

Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier

Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Németh
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster

Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainwright

“Don’t Give Up on Love” – Don Bryant and Scott Bomar
“Don’t Leave Me Here” – Kevin R. Moore – Taj Mahal – Gary Nicholson
“Hate Take A Holiday” – Wee Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, Eugene Williams
“Prayer For Peace – Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, & Oteil Burbridge
“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” – Rick Estrin

Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Johnny Rawls – Waiting For The Train
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Sugaray Rayford – The World That We Live In
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After A While

Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vaneese Thomas

Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
William Bell
Willie Walker

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Kim Wilson – Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
The Cash Box Kings – Royal Mint
Various Artists : Henry Grey, Taildragger, Alabama Mike, Terry Hanck, Kid Anderson, John Blues Boyd – Howlin’ At Greaseland

John Primer
Kim Wilson
Lurrie Bell
R.L.Boyce
Rick Estrin

Photo by Brian Anderson
Click to view the 2018 BMA Event Program

2018 Blues Music Awards Categories and Definitions:

That album released during the eligibility period that best represents acoustic blues, with featured instruments being acoustic (drums may be included) on over 75% of the tracks.

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 up and coming within the blues/music scene and is at the “jumping off” point of his or her career. An artist’s album may not be considered in this category if that artist has already had a professional release of more than three prior albums or EPs. (Albums submitted for this category may also be submitted in other appropriate categories.)

That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays the Rock Blues genre, that hybrid that combines elements of blues with elements of rock, generally employing heavy amplification and driving rhythms, and which may employ non-traditional blues song structures.

That performer, whether male or female, whose recordings and/or performance best portray Blues Rock during the eligibility period.

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 Contemporary Blues.

That male performer whose recordings and/or performances during the eligibility period best portray Contemporary Blues.

Determined by the Vote of a Special Committee and not open to the General Ballot

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.

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 guitar, in performance and/or on recordings, best portrays 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 musician whose vocal skills, in performance and/or on recordings, best portrays the blues during the eligibility period. This category is open to all vocalists on recordings and stage as well as to vocalists who also play an instrument.

That female performer whose recordings and/or performance during the eligibility period best portray Traditional Electric Blues.

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

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 during the eligibility period best portray Southern Soul Blues.

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

That album released to the public during the eligibility period with a majority of songs that best portrays traditional electric blues employing traditional blues song structures, harmonic structures and rhythms, and which may also employ instruments such as electric guitar, piano, organ, amplified harmonica, electric bass and drums. This category includes subgenres such as jump/swing blues and Chicago blues.

That male performer whose recordings and/or performance during the eligibility period best portray Traditional Electric Blues.

* Check back for pre-order of 2018 BMA DVD/CD! *

2017 BMA CD/DVD Now Available

With live performances by
Terrie Odabi, Vanessa Collier, Bob Margolin & Bob Corritore, Diunna Greenleaf, Doug MacLeod, Johnny Rawls, Kenny Neal, Cedric Burnside, Janiva Magness, Thornetta Davis, Bettye LaVette, and more!

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