Blues and soul harmonicist, singer, and songwriter John Németh is the top nominee for the 2023 Blues Music Awards. Németh received five nominations – song of the year, traditional blues album, band of the year, instrumentalist – harmonica, and instrumentalist – vocals.
Trailing Németh in the nomination count are Shemekia Copeland, Rory Block and Eric Gales, with three nods each. The 44th Annual Blues Music Awards are set for May 11 at Memphis’ Renasant Convention Center.
Three past winners of the B.B. King entertainer of the year award are nominated in that category again this year – Tommy Castro, who won last year; Sugaray Rayford, who won in 2020; and Bobby Rush, who won in 2015. This year’s other two nominees are Gales and Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman).
Tedeschi Trucks Band and Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, both two-time winners of band of the year, are nominated again in that category, along with Anthony Geraci & The Boton Blues Allstars, John Németh and the Blue Dreamers and Southern Avenue.
Buddy Guy’s The Blues Don’t Lie, which is nominated for a Grammy for best traditional blues album, is nominated here for contemporary blues album. Copeland’s Done Come Too Far is nominated in the contemporary blues album category at both awards shows.
Charlie Musselwhite’s Mississippi Son, which is nominated for a Grammy for best traditional blues album, is nominated here for acoustic blues album. Gales’ Crown, which is Grammy-nominated for best contemporary blues album is nominated here for blues rock album.
Willie J. Campbell, who died in December, is posthumously nominated for instrumentalist – bass.
In a nice touch, three awards are named after late blues legends. As noted, the entertainer of the year award is named after B.B. King, who died in 2015. The award for traditional blues female artist is named after Koko Taylor, who died in 2009. The award for instrumentalist – piano is named after Pinetop Perkins, who died in 2011.
The Blues Music Awards are presented by The Blues Foundation. Tickets range from individual seats for $150 to premium tables (seats 10) for $1,800. Ticket sales are now open.
On May 10, the night before the BMAs, the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at Memphis’ Halloran Centre at the Orpheum. Tickets, which include ceremony and reception admission, are $75 each. The 2023 class of inductees will be announced in the coming weeks.
The complete list of Blues Music Award nominees can be found below and on The Blues Foundation’s website (www.blues.org). The ballot will be open for current Blues Foundation members until 11:59 P.M. CST on Friday, March 20. To become a Blues Foundation member, visit www.blues.org to learn about the different membership levels and how to join. Upon membership confirmation, new and renewing members will be sent instructions on how to access the 2023 Blues Music Awards ballot.
The Blues Foundation is a Memphis-based organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 173 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide.
Here’s a complete list of the nominees for the 2023 Blues Music Awards.
B.B. King entertainer of the year
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)
Band of the year
Anthony Geraci & The Boton Blues Allstars
John Németh and the Blue Dreamers
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Song of the year
Altered Five Blues Band “Great Minds Drink Alike” (Jeff Schroedl)
Buddy Guy “The Blues Don’t Lie” (Tom Hambridge)
Eric Gales “I Want My Crown” (Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa)
John Németh “The Last Time” (John Németh)
Shemekia Copeland “Too Far to Be Gone” (John Hahn/Will Kimbrough)
Best emerging artist album
Blue Moon Marquee / Scream, Holler & Howl
DaShawn Hickman / Drums, Roots & Steel
Dylan Triplett / Who Is He?
Jose Ramirez / Major League Blues
Yates McKendree / Buchanan Lane
Acoustic blues album
Charlie Musselwhite / Mississippi Son
Corey Harris / The Insurrection Blues
Duwayne Burnside / Acoustic Burnside
Harrison Kennedy / Thanks for Tomorrow
Rory Block / Ain’t Nobody Worried
Blues rock album
Albert Castiglia / I Got Love
Bernard Allison / Highs & Lows
Colin James / Open Road
Eric Gales / Crown
Tinsley Ellis / Devil May Care
Contemporary blues album
Buddy Guy / The Blues Don’t Lie
Diunna Greenleaf / I Ain’t Playin’
Janiva Magness / Hard to Kill
Larry McCray / Blues Without You
Shemekia Copeland / Done Come Too Far
Soul blues album
Kat Riggins / Progeny
Kirk Fletcher / Heartache by the Pound
Sugaray Rayford / In Too Deep
The Love Light Orchestra / Leave the Light On
Trudy Lynn / Golden Girl
Traditional blues album
Kenny Neal / Straight From the Heart
Bob Corritore / Bob Borritore & Friends: You Shocked Me
Duke Robillard / They Called it Rhythm & Blues
John Németh / May Be the Last Time
John Primer / Hard Times
Acoustic blues artist
Blues rock artist
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Contemporary blues female artist
Contemporary blues male artist
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman)
Soul blues female artist
Soul blues male artist
Traditional blues female artist (Koko Taylor award)
Traditional blues male artist
Sugar Ray Norcia
Instrumentalist – bass
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Willie J. Campbell
Instrumentalist – drums
Derric D’Mar Martin
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
Instrumentalist – guitar
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Instrumentalist – harmonica
Instrumentalist – horn
Mark Kaz Kazanoff
Sax Gordon Beadle
Instrumentalist – piano (Pinetop Perkins piano player award)
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Instrumentalist – vocals