BMI Blues Artists Repeat Near Sweep of Handy Awards

Posted in News on May 10, 2005
Representing an astounding 98% of the winners, BMI once again proved its dominance in the field of blues at the 26th annual W.C. Handy Awards, held May 5 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Presented by the Blues Foundation and co-sponsored by BMI, the Handy Awards celebrate excellence in the performance and recording of the blues, and is the highest honor bestowed upon artists in the genre.

BMI's Thomas Cain, Handy winner David "Honeyboy" Edwards and BMI's David Sanjek

Leading the list of award-winning BMI songwriters were harmonica virtuoso Charles Musselwhite and legendary R&B singer Mavis Staples, who took home three Handys each. Musselwhite's wins included Best Contemporary Blues Artist, Best Contemporary Blues Album for his release Sanctuary, and Best Blues Harmonica, while Staples earned trophies for Soul Blues Artist, Soul Blues Album and Blues Album of the Year for Have a Little Faith. The album's title track was named Best Blues Song for BMI co-writer Jim Tullio.

BMI's Thomas Cain, Handy winner Paul Oscher and BMI's David Sanjek

In addition to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, 91-year-old keyboard maestro Pinetop Perkins picked up two awards: Best Traditional Blues Album for his new release Ladies Man and Traditional Blues Artist. Other winners included such legendary BMI blues artists as B.B. King (Blues Entertainer), Koko Taylor (Traditional Blues Artist), Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards (Acoustic Blues Artist) and the Holmes Brothers (Blues Band).

BMI's Thomas Cain, Handy winner Kenny Neal and BMI's David Sanjek

Among the presenters was BMI's Thomas Cain, who along with keyboard player Ann Rabson, handed out several awards and made the following comments about BMI and the blues: "You know BMI has been a friend of the blues for 65 years now, since we opened our doors in 1940. Over 90% of the Blues Hall of Fame inductees are BMI songwriters, and every year at the Handys, virtually every award is won by a BMI writer. We are so proud to have this long-term relationship with such great individuals as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and countless others. We like to think of BMI as the other home of the blues."

BMI's David Sanjek, Handy winner Gary U.S. Bonds and BMI's Thomas Cain

BMI's 2005 Handy Award winners:

Acoustic Blues Album
Kenny Neal & Billy Branch
Double Take

Acoustic Blues Artist
Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards

New Artist Debut
John Lee Hooker Jr.
Blues With A Vengeance

Handy winner Marcia Ball, presenter Ann Rabson, Handy winner Bob
Margolin and BMI's Thomas Cain

Blues Album
Mavis Staples
Have A Little Faith

Blues Band
The Holmes Brothers

Blues Bass
Willie Kent

3-time Handy winner Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Drums
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

Blues Entertainer
B.B. King

Blues Guitar
Bob Margolin

Robert Lockwood Jr. performs

Blues Harmonica
Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Horns
Roomful of Blues

Blues Instrumentalist
Robert Randolph

Gary U.S. Bonds performs

Blues Keyboards
Marcia Ball

Blues Song
Jim Tullio
"Have A Little Faith"

Comeback Blues Album
Gary U.S. Bonds
Back in 20

BMI's Thomas Cain, Handy winner Bobby Rush, Gibson Guitars' Henry Juskiewicz and BMI's David Sanjek

Contemporary Blues Album
Charlie Musselwhite

Contemporary Blues Artist - Male
Charlie Musselwhite

Contemporary Blues Artist - Female
Shemekia Copeland

BMI's Thomas Cain, Handy winner Little Milton and BMI's David Sanjek

Historical Blues Album
Hound Dog Taylor
Release the Hound

Soul Blues Album
Mavis Staples
Have A Little Faith

Soul Blues Artist - Female
Mavis Staples

BMI's David Sanjek and Thomas Cain, Alligator Records' Bruce Iglauer and attorney Howell Beagle

Soul Blues Artist - Male

Bobby Rush

Traditional Blues Album
Pinetop Perkins
Ladies Man

Traditional Blues Artist - Female
Koko Taylor

Traditional Blues Artist - Male
Pinetop Perkins

BMI's David Sanjek, Handy winner Charlie Musselwhite and BMI's Thomas Cain

BMI's David Sanjek, Handy winner Pinetop Perkins and BMI's Thomas Cain

Photos by Don Putnam