BMI affiliates made another strong showing at the 40th Blues Music Awards ceremony, which was held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in Memphis, TN on May 9.
Despite being an evening of celebration for the Blues community, this year’s ceremony had bittersweet poignance as the top award winner was BMI singer/songwriter Michael Ledbetter, who passed away in January. Ledbetter was posthumously awarded with the Instrumentalist-Vocals award and given the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year accolade. Additionally, Ledbetter’s band, The Welch-Ledbetter Connection, were named Band of the Year. Ledbetter’s collaborator Monster Mike Welch claimed the Instrumentalist-Guitar award.
Other notable BMI wins included Amanda Fish claiming the Best Emerging Artist Album award for Free, Billy F Gibbons claiming the Blues Rock Album award for The Big Bad Blues, Ben Harper’s “No Mercy in This Land” being named Song of The Year, and Ruthie Foster claiming the Koko Taylor Award celebrating Traditional Blues Female Artistry.
Bringing together 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 given to songwriters and musicians and are awarded by vote of Blues Foundation members. Presented by the Blues Foundation, the annual Blues Music Awards are co-sponsored by BMI and The Gibson Foundation, among others.
Below is the complete list of BMI winners. Congratulations to all!
B.B. King Entertainer
Best Emerging Artist Album
Free- Amanda Fish
Blues Rock Album
The Big Bad Blues– Billy F Gibbons
Blues Rock Artist
Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Instrumentalist - Bass
Instrumentalist - Guitar
Monster Mike Welch
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Instrumentalist - Vocals
Song of the Year
“No Mercy In This Land”
Written By Ben Harper
Soul Blues Album
I’m Still Around – Johnny Rawls
Traditional Blues Album
The Blues is Alive and Well – Buddy Guy
Koko Taylor Award
(Traditional Blues Female Artist)
Traditional Blues Male Artist