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Blues Music Awards 2021

Nominees Announced For The 42nd Annual Blues Music Awards

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MEMPHIS, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Shemekia Copeland, Rick Estrin, John Németh, Sugaray Rayford, and Lil’ Ed Williams are among the artists who have been nominated for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year as part of The Blues Foundation’s 42nd Annual Blues Music Awards.

Estrin and his band the Nightcats lead the pack for 2021 with five nominations, including band of the year, and Estrin’s nomination for Instrumentalist Harmonica (which he won last year), as well as the contemporary blues male artist award.

Estrin, along with Frank Bey, Kathy Murray, and Nightcats guitarist Kid Andersen, were nominated for songwriter of the year for Bey’s Song of the Year entrant All My Dues Are Paid.

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcaster, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones, and Shemekia Copeland are all in the running for Album of the Year, while Lil’ Ed Williams, Shemekia Copeland, and Németh are all in the running for contemporary blues album of the year.

Winners are selected by ballot by members of the Blues Foundation. Voting for this year’s awards opens on January 28 and closes March 12 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

Major funding for the 2021 Blues Music Awards provided by ArtsMemphis, BMI, the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise LLC, Memphis Tourism and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Set for June 6th as a virtual event in light of the ongoing pandemic, the 42nd Annual Blues Music Awards is considered to the most prestigious honor for working blues musicians. The show starts at 4PM CT and will be live-streamed as a ticketed event via the Blues Foundation’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel.

Editor’s Note:  This event was incorrectly reported as a free livestream when it is, in fact, a ticketed event. We apologize for the error. Tickets can be purchased here:


42nd Blues Music Award Nominees

BB King Entertainer of the Year

Shemekia Copeland
Rick Estrin
John Németh
Sugaray Rayford
Lil’ Ed Williams

Album of the Year

100 Years of Blues, Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
Rawer Than Raw, Bobby Rush
Rise Up, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcaster
Too Far From the Bar, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones featuring Little Charlie
Uncivil War, Shemekia Copeland

Band of the Year

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues Allstars
John Németh & The Blue Dreamers
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
Southern Avenue
Sugar Ray & The Bluetones

Song of the Year

“All My Dues Are Paid” – written by Kathy Murray, Rick Estrin, Frank Bey, Kid Andersen (performed by Frank Bey)
“All Out of Tears” – written by Walter Trout (performed by Walter Trout)
“Blues Comin’ On” – written by Dion DiMucci and Mike Aquilina (performed by Dion Feat. Joe Bonamassa)
“Is It Over” – written by Don Bryant and Scott Bomar (performed by Don Bryant)
“Uncivil War” – written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough (performed by Shemekia Copeland)

Best Emerging Artist Album

Hard Workin’ Man, Andrew Alli
Harlem, King Solomon Hicks
Here I Come, Jose Ramirez
High Risk Low Reward, Ryan Perry
Peace In Pieces, Betty Fox Band

Acoustic Blues Album
Dustin Arbuckle & Matt Woods, Dustin Arbuckle & Matt Woods
Prove It On Me, Rory Block
Rawer Than Raw, Bobby Rush
Three Pints of Gin, Richard Ray Farrell
Traveling Man – Live, Watermelon Slim

Blues Rock Album

Ain’t Done Yet, Savoy Brown
Ice Cream In Hell, Tinsley Ellis
Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry, Mike Zito
Mississippi Suitcase, Peter Parcek
Ordinary Madness, Walter Trout

Contemporary Blues Album

Cry Out, Kat Riggins
My Blues Pathway, Kirk Fletcher
Self-Made Man, Larkin Poe
Stronger Than Strong, John Németh
Uncivil War, Shemekia Copeland

Soul Blues Album
All My Dues Are Paid, Frank Bey
Found! One Soul Singer, Sonny Green
That’s What I Heard, Robert Cray Band
Where Have All The Soul Men Gone, Johnny Rawls
You Make Me Feel, Don Bryant

Traditional Blues Album

100 Years of Blues, Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
Blueswoman, Nora Jean Wallace
Every Day of Your Life, Jimmy Johnson
Rise Up, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Too Far From the Bar, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones featuring Little Charlie

Acoustic Blues Artist

Dom Flemons
Catfish Keith
Harrison Kennedy
Doug MacLeod
Keb’ Mo’

Blues Rock Artist

Tinsley Ellis
Reverend Peyton
Ana Popovic
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito

 Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Shemekia Copeland
Samantha Fish
Sue Foley
Ruthie Foster
Shaun Murphy

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Selwyn Birchwood
Chris Cain
Rick Estrin
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
J.P. Soars

Soul Blues Female Artist

Annika Chambers
Thornetta Davis
Bettye LaVette
Dorothy Moore
Terrie Odabi

 Soul Blues Male Artist

William Bell
Don Bryant
John Németh
Johnny Rawls
Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)

Rory Block
Rhiannon Giddens
Diunna Greenleaf
Trudy Lynn
Teeny Tucker

Traditional Blues Male Artist

Billy Branch
Sugar Ray Norcia
John Primer
Jontavious Willis
Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist Bass

Willie J. Campbell
Larry Fulcher
Danielle Nicole
Patrick Rynn
Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Instrumentalist Drums

Tony Braunagel
June Core
Derrick “D’Mar” Martin
Bernard Purdie
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

Instrumentalist Guitar

Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Chris Cain
Laura Chavez
Kirk Fletcher
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica

Billy Branch
Rick Estrin
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist Horn

Mindi Abair
Jimmy Carpenter
Doug James
Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff
Nancy Wright

Instrumentalist Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award)

Mike Finnigan
Anthony Geraci
Johnny Iguana
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh

Instrumentalist Vocals

Thornetta Davis
Ruthie Foster
John Németh
Sugar Ray Norica
Sugaray Rayford

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