Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene
Blues Blast Music Awards 2010
October 28, 2010
Buddy Guy’s Legends
By Linda Cain
As the Blues Blast Music Awards enters its third year, the event clearly has established itself as a beacon for drawing blues musicians, fans and industry leaders from all over the country to Chicago’s Buddy Guy’s Legends to celebrate, network, reunite and most of all, enjoy the nonstop lineup of live music by the genre’s cream of the crop.
At this year’s ceremony, fans were treated to sizzling sets by: Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers with guest Eddie Shaw on sax; Candye Kane with guitarist Laura Chavez and Bob Corritore on harp; Zora Young with Matt Skoller on harp, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Shaun Murphy Band, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Quintus McCormick, Cash Box Kings with guitarist Joel Paterson and Kenny Smith on drums and Mississippi Heat.
The evening ended with a post-midnight jam session led by blues harp hero Billy Branch, who was joined by Kate Moss on bass, guitarist Nate Kieser (son of Blues Blast’s Bob Kieser), Kilborn Alley drummer Ed O’Hara and sax man Dave Fauble.
Blues DJ and music writer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker served as the master of ceremonies and did an admirable job of keeping things on course, giving informative and/or humorous introductions to each act, and entertaining the troops.
The 2010 Blues Blast Music Award winners are:
Best Contemporary Blues Recording - Nick Moss - Privileged
Best Traditional Blues Recording - Mississippi Heat - Let's Live It Up
Best Blues Song - The Kilborn Alley Blues Band - "Better Off Now"
Best Blues Band - Tommy Castro Band
Best Male Blues Artist - Magic Slim
Best Female Blues Artist - Shemekia Copeland
Best New Artist Debut Recording - Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers - How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Sean Costello Rising Star Award - The Cash Box Kings
2010 Lifetime Achievement Award - Otis Rush
Congratulations to all the winners!
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS & MORE!!!
Virginia’s Jackie Scott & the Housewreckers kicked off the festivities with gusto and showed the patrons why they were nominated for three Blues Blast Awards, as fans cheered her powerful, emotional performance. Famed Howlin’ Wolf sax man Eddie Shaw pumped up the audience with his powerful, rhythmic solos. Jackie and band took home the Best New Artist Debut Recording award for their CD How Much Woman Can You Stand? The soulful, captivating songstress, who grew up singing in church, hails from the East Coast but calls Chicago her second home these days and has been working with Nellie “Tiger” Travis and Eddie Shaw.
The flamboyant Candye Kane, resplendent in feathers and sequins, was
backed by a stellar band: Kilborn Alley’s rhythm section, drummer Ed
O’Hara and bassist Chris Breen, along with harp ace Bob Corritore and
Candye’s own guitarist, the remarkable Laura Chavez, whose inventive and
creative swing style playing wowed the crowd. Candye titillated the fans
with her sexy repertoire of clever original songs, “You Need A Great Big
Woman” and “I’m A Bad, Bad Girl” plus a uniquely feminine version of
Willie Dixon’s “Whole Lotta Love.” The Mae West of the blues quipped: “I
didn’t sleep with anybody, but I got a Blues Blast nomination,”
regarding her well-deserved nominee status for Best Female Blues Artist.
Chicago’s own Zora Young, also a deserving Best Female Blues Artist nominee, was assisted by a talented crew: Matt Skoller on harp, Kenny “Beedy” Eyes Smith on drums and Kilborn Alley’s red-capped guitarist Josh Stimmel. Glamorous Zora, who sported even more sequins than Ms. Kane, belted traditional blues numbers from her critically acclaimed CDs: The French Connection on Delmark and Sunnyland on Airway.
The dynamic duo of Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, who were nominated for an award in 2008 and performed an acoustic Delta blues set at the debut Blues Blast ceremony, returned again as nominees for Best Traditional Blues Recording for their Lucky To Be Living CD, a tribute to Riley’s late bandmate in the Jelly Roll Kings, Frank Frost. Indeed, Riley is lucky to be living, as emcee Walker went down the laundry list of near death experiences Riley has survived. Backed by bass and drums, with Riley playing fiery notes on electric guitar, the duo turned in an intense, gritty performance, with the former prison guard, Riley, almost growling the anguished lyrics as Corritore’s tasteful, emotive harp playing seemed to soothe his partner’s soul.
Veteran blues and rock backup singer Shaun Murphy has finally stepped out as a solo artist with her CD, Livin’ The Blues, nominated for Best New Artist Debut Recording. The woman whose knockout pipes have enhanced the music of Eric Clapton and Little Feat on massive concert stages worldwide, seemed especially inspired to have the spotlight to herself in an intimate Chicago blues club. Shaun showed she is a top-notch professional and a true song stylist who knows how to squeeze every ounce of emotion and drama from classic blues numbers like “Steppin’ Out,” “Come To Mama,” and “Feels Like Rain,” which brought the house down and earned her a standing ovation.
Kilborn Alley took the stage with a vengeance and got the crowd revved up from the first note as harp player Joe Asselin displayed his unbelievable lung power on “Train To Memphis”. Josh Stimmel tested the strength of his Gibson’s strings with his mighty note bending on some down-home licks on “Foolsville.” Andrew Duncanson’s commanding, soulful vocals, which alternated between the styles of Howlin’ Wolf and Otis Redding, thundered across the room. His show-stopping performance on “Better Off Now” elicited whoo’s and yeah’s from the fans and even had the wait staff stopped in their tracks. That number earned the quintet the award for Best Blues Song, the title track from the band’s CD on Blue Bella.
Seasoned Chicago blues man Quintus McCormick has toured the world with stars like James Cotton, Otis Clay and A.C. Reed and has been a bandleader in Chicago’s clubs for decades. At last, the talented singer/songwriter/guitarist debuted his own CD, Hey, Jodie, on Delmark which earned him a nomination for Best New Artist Recording Debut. Quintus went all out for his set, playing frenzied, energetic versions of two songs from the CD “What Goes Around Comes Around” and “I’m A Good Man, Baby” that featured his high octane guitar playing. On the former song, the guitar hero jumped into the crowd, working the room while playing a long, heartfelt, extended solo on his Delta King, that combined intricate note patterns with string bending and power chords, along with nearly every technique and style known to bluesdom. (Now who do we know who does that every January at Legends?).
The Sean Costello Rising Star Award went to The Cash Box Kings, who proved themselves worthy by putting on an outstanding performance that earned them plenty of new fans. The CBKs play ensemble style blues that respects the traditions of Chicago and Southern styles, without sounding overly retro, while putting its own fresh spin on classic sounds. The quintet is comprised of kindred spirits who fit together like red beans and rice: Jimmy Sutton on standup bass, drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes Smith,” Joe Nosek on harp and vocals, guitarist Joel Paterson and singer Oscar Wilson. The Kings put forth high energy from the get-go, with harp man Nosek pogo-hopping on stage to the brilliant rhythm section’s beat. Paterson’s tasty guitar work sounded like no one else; his distinctive style and sensitive touch on the slide guitar had fans squealing for more. Oscar Wilson served as the perfect front man with a husky voice well-suited to cover Muddy Waters’ “Country Boy.”
As the clock struck midnight, Chicago Blues Guide headed out, but the Blues Blast party continued into the wee hours with sets by Mississippi Heat (who won Best Traditional Blues Recording) and Billy Branch’s jam session. For the third straight year, blues lovers from all over -- Seattle, Arizona, California, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, just to name a few – came together as a community to partake in a new tradition that will hopefully become a classic blues institution in the years to come.