The soulful New York-bred trio the Holmes Brothers lead the nominees for the 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Awards, presented annually by the nonprofit Memphis-based Blues Foundation.

The soulful New York-bred trio the Holmes Brothers lead the nominees for the 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Awards, presented annually by the nonprofit Memphis-based Blues Foundation. Singer/guitarist B.B. King, Southern soul-bluesman Bobby Rush, harmonica ace Kim Wilson, pianist Pinetop Perkins and vocalist Solomon Burke are in the running for blues entertainer of the year.

The awards -- the most prestigious in the blues business -- will be presented May 5 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis. Blues Foundation members vote on the winners.

The Holmes Brothers' Alligator Records album "Simple Truths" was nominated for blues album of the year and contemporary blues album of the year, and the group will compete for blues band of the year. Additionally, Wendell Holmes' composition "Run Myself Out of Town" received a blues song of the year nomination; his brother Sherman was cited for instrumentalist/bass, while bandmate Popsy Dixon was tagged in the instrumentalist/drums category.

Released in January, "Simple Truths" peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums tally.

Harmonica player Paul Oscher, a veteran of Muddy Waters' band, received four nominations. Rush, Wilson, Perkins, singer-guitarist W.C. Clark, harp players Rod Piazza, James Harman and Charlie Musselwhite and vocalist Mavis Staples received three nominations each.