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BMI Ain’t Singin’ the Blues with Sweep of Handys

Posted in News on June 2, 2002

BMI's top blues artists and composers made an impressive sweep of the 23rd Annual W.C. Handy Blues Awards, winning 100% of the coveted awards in all categories. Co-sponsored by BMI, the Handy Awards were presented on Thursday, May 23 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee.

The night's big winners included legendary blues guitarist B.B. King, who took home his record fifth Entertainer of the Year award. Multiple award winners included Buddy Guy, who took home three Handys for his album Sweet Tea, including Contemporary Artist of the Year, Blues Album of the Year and Best Instrumentalist of the Year: Guitar and R.L. Burnside for Burnside on Burnside in the categories of Traditional Male Artist and Blues Album of the Year. Little Milton took home Soul Blues Artist and Album of the Year for his Feel It and Charlie Musselwhite was awarded Blues Instrumentalist of the Year: Harmonica and Blues Song of the Year for "Charlie's Old Highway 51 Blues."

The Handy Awards, presented by the Blues Foundation and named in honor of W.C. Handy, "Father of the Blues," celebrates excellence in performance and recording of the blues and is the highest honor bestowed upon artists in the blues industry. A panel of international industry experts votes on the initial nominees and 30,000 fans then chose the winners.

BMI Handy Award Winners:

Blues Song of the Year
"Charlie's Old Highway 51 Blues" by Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Entertainer of the Year
B. B. King

Blues Band of the Year
Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers

Contemporary Blues - Male Artist of the Year
Buddy Guy

Contemporary Blues - Female Artist of the Year
Shemekia Copeland

Soul/Blues - Male Artist of the Year
Little Milton Campbell

Soul/Blues - Female Artist of the Year
Etta James

Traditional Blues - Male Artist of the Year
R. L. Burnside

Traditional Blues - Female Artist of the Year
Etta James

Acoustic Blues - Artist of the Year
Keb' Mo'

Best New Artist Debut
Otis Taylor
White African

Blues Instrumentalist - Guitar
Buddy Guy

Blues Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Instrumentalist - Keyboards
Pinetop Perkins

Blues Instrumentalist - Bass
Willie Kent

Blues Instrumentalist - Horns
Roomful of Blues Horn Section

Blues Instrumentalist - Other
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Fiddle

Acoustic Blues Album of the Year
John Hammond
Wicked Grin

Comeback Blues Album of the Year
Ike Turner
Here and Now

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Buddy Guy
Sweet Tea

Soul/Blues Album of the Year
Little Milton Campbell
Feel It

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
R. L. Burnside
Burnside on Burnside

Blues Album of the Year
Marcia Ball
Presumed Innocent

Historical Album of the Year
Muddy Waters
Fathers & Sons