Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and their Tedeschi Trucks Band were the big winners at the 33rd Blues Music Awards in Memphis last night, to the surprise of almost no one.
Derek Trucks won Guitarist Of The Year for the third consecutive year, Susan Tedeschi was selected as Contemporary Blues Artist-Female Of The Year, Tedeschi Trucks Band won Band Of The Year, and their album Revelator was named Album Of The Year.
Tab Benoit and Ruthie Foster were also multiple winners with Foster earning the Koko Taylor Best Traditional Artist-Female award as well as DVD Of The Year for Live at Antoine's. Benoit took Contemporary Album Of The Year for Medicine and Contemporary Male Artist.
I'm a BMA voter and I'm going to refrain from withering critiques against any of those who won awards without the benefit of my vote. I'm happy for all the winners, some more than others. No one lost but some people didn't go home with their proper hardware. We'll keep things positive though; here are some winners that pleased me:
We have to begin with new musical obsession Eric Bibb, who won Acoustic Artist Of The Year, a richly deserved honor. The mighty Curtis Salgado again took home the award for Soul-Blues Male Artist Of The Year. Salgado is among the greatest living vocalists and he's going to be a force next year with his 2012 release Soul Shot.
I'm thrilled Chicago Blues A Living History the (R)evolution Continues took home the Traditional Album Of The Year Award. The project featured outstanding performances from National Treasure Lurrie Bell, the great Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, and a host of others. Johnny Sansone's "The Lord Is Waiting, the Devil is Too" was a great choice for Song Of The Year.
Samantha Fish took the award for Best New Artist Debut, and I still enjoy the hell out of Runaway. She's one to keep your eye on, kids. She's young but she's got a great voice and some killer licks. I hope I'm right about her future and career trajectory.
Historical Album Of The Year is often the most difficult vote for me because this involes finding new or archival material from the legends of the idiom. It wasn't an easy vote for me but the right album won: Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack Lightning/The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960. He did great work after 1960 but that covers an awful lot of the most important blues in recorded history and is absolutely worthy of the honor.
I'm disappointed in a few categories and, again, I'll keep that to myself. The one disappointment I'll cop to is the predictability in most of these categories. I knew who was going to win when I voted and I would've had a pretty good success rate if I'd done my predictions column. I'm still very excited about the event and the awards and the amazing collection of talent but not being able to go this year took some wind out of my sails. I will make my return next year, where I will again provide live coverage while attempting not to make eye contact with any of the amazing talents who've gathered.
Here is a complete list of the nominees and last night's winners at the 33rd Blues Music Awards are below: