The Blues Foundation has released the nominees for the 39th annual Blues Music Awards.

The Blues Awards pay homage to the accomplishments of Blues musicians around the world and to uphold the Blues traditions and cultures.

The 2018 edition of the Blues Awards will be presented May 10 in The Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Blues harmonica player Rick Estrin and his band The Nightcats lead the list of nominations with a total of eight. Don Bryan, Wee Willie Walker, Mike Ledbetter and Monster Mike Welch, and The North Mississippi All-Stars have also garnered multiple nominations this year.

This year the Blues Foundation has added two new categories – Blues Rock Artist and Best Instrumentalist-Vocals – bringing the total of awards to 28.

The nominees for the 39th annual Blues Music Awards are:
B.B. King Entertainer of the Year:
Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal

Band of the Year:
The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi All-Stars
Rick Estring and The Nightcats

Album of the Year:
“Don’t Give Up on Love” by Don Bryant
“Right Place, Right Time” by Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
“Groovin’ in Greaseland” by Rick Estring and The Nightcats
“TajMo” by TajMo”
“After a While” by Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra

Song of the Year:
“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” written by Rick Estrin
“Don’t Give Up on Love” written by Scott Bomar and Don Bryant
“Don’t Leave Me Here” written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary Nicholson
“Hate Take a Holidy” written by Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, and Ernie Williams
“Prayer for Peace” written by Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Oteil Burbridge

Best Emerging Artist Album:
“Charmed & Dangerous” by Altered Five Blues Band
“Peach” by Larkin Poe
“Lady of the Blues” by Miss Freddye
“Roll and Tumble” by R.L. Boyce
“Southern Avenue” by Southern Avenue
“Simmered & Stewed” by Tas Cru

Historical Album of the Year:
“Mr. Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles” by Jimmy Reed
“King of the Boogie” by John Lee Hooker
“A Legen Never Dies” by Luther Allison
“Live at Notodden ’97” by The Paul deLay Band
“American Epic: The Collection” by Various Artists

Acoustic Album of the Year:
“Mississippi River Blues” by catfish Keith
“Break the Chain” by Doug MacLeod
“Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train” by Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi
“Who U Tellin’?” by Harrison Kennedy
“Friends Along the Way” by Mitch Woods
“Keepin’ Outta Trouble” by Rory Block

Acoustic Artist of the Year:
Doug MacLeod
Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Taj Mahal

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year:
“Fire on the Floor” by Beth Hart
“Night After Night” by the Corey Dennison Band
“Times Have Changed” by Ronnie Baker Brooks
“Pick Your Poison” by Selwyn Birchwood
“TajMo” by TajMo

Contemporary Female Blues Artist:
Beth Hart
Karen Lovely

Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Male Blues Artist:
Keb’ Mo’
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Rock Blues Album of the Year:
“Lay it on Down” by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
“Make Blues Not War” by Mike Zito
“Prayer for Peace” by the North Mississippi All-Stars
“Witchy Feelin’” by Savoy Brown
“We’re All in This Together” by Walter Trout

Rock Blues Artist:
Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout

Soul Blues Album of the Year:
“Don’t Give Up on Love” by Don Bryant
“Waiting for the Train” by Johny Rawls
“Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm” by Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm
“The World that We Live In” by Sugaray Rayford
“After a While” by Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Sould Orchestra

Female Sould Blues Artist:
Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vanessa Thomas

Male Soul Blues Artist:
Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
William Bell
Wee Willie Walker

Traditional Blues Album of the Year:
“Royal Mint” by The Cash Box Kings
“Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio by Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
“Blues and Boogie Vol. 1” by Kim Wilson
“Right Place, Right Time” by Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
“Groovin’ in Greaseland” by Rick Estrin and The Nightcats

Female Traditional Blues Artist:
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster

Male Traditional Blues Artist:
John Primer
Kim Wilson
Lurrie Ball
R.L. Boyce
Rick Estrin

Best Instrumental – Bass:
Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn

Best Instrumentalist – Drums:
Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Best Instrumentalist – Guitar:
Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl

Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica:
Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin

Best Instrumentalist – Horn:
Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier

Best Instrumentalist – Piano:
Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainwright

Best Instrumentalist – Vocals:
Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Nemeth
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

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