Copeland, King Top Handy Blues Awards
Vocalist Shemekia Copeland and guitar legend B.B. King were the big winners at the Blues Foundation's 22nd annual W.C. Handy Awards, presented last night at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. Copeland, dVocalist Shemekia Copeland and guitar legend B.B. King were the big winners at the Blues Foundation's 22nd annual W.C. Handy Awards, presented last night at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. Copeland, daughter of the late guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland, was named contemporary female artist and won blues album of the year for her Alligator release "Wicked." King was chosen blues entertainer of the year; his collaboration with Eric Clapton, "Riding With the King" (Duck/Reprise), won for contemporary blues album.
Etta James was also among the honorees, receiving the soul female artist of the year award and being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame along with such notables as Rufus Thomas. Local favorites the North Mississippi All Stars took home the award for best new-artist debut for their Tone-Cool set "Shake Hands With Shorty."
Performances at the awards ceremony included Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (who took home a blues instrumentalist award), and Eddy Clearwater, winner of the contemporary male artist award.
Here is the full list of winners for the W.C. Handy Awards:
Blues song of the year: Rick Vito, "It's 2AM"
Blues band of the year: Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band
Traditional blues album: Son Seals, "Letting Go"
Acoustic blues album: Robert Lockwood, Jr., "Delta Crossroads"
Historical album: Otis Spann, "Last Call"
Soul male artist of the year: Little Milton
Comeback blues album: Mel Brown, "Neck Bones & Caviar"
Soul blues album: Irma Thomas, "My Heart is in Memphis"
Blues album of the year: Shemekia Copeland, "Wicked"
Contemporary male artist: Eddy Clearwater
Traditional female artist: Koko Taylor
Acoustic blues artist: Keb' Mo'
Blues entertainer of the year: B.B. King
Contemporary blues album, B.B. King & Eric Clapton, "Riding With the King"
Contemporary female artist: Shemekia Copeland
Soul female artist of the year: Etta James
Traditional male artist: James Cotton
Best new artist debut, North Mississippi Allstars, "Shake Hands With Shorty"
Blues instrumentalist (guitar): Duke Robillard
Blues instrumentalist (harmonica): Charlie Musselwhite
Blues instrumentalists (bass): Willie Kent
Blues instrumentalists (drums): Chris Layton
Blues instrumentalists (horns): Roomful Of Blues Horns
Blues instrumentalists (keyboard): Pinetop Perkins
Blues instrumentalists (other): Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (fiddle)