Those of you who are familair with my writings migjht remember a little over a year ago when I first put fingers to keyboard to capture my experiences at the Blues Music Awards. Well I’m at it again. With these little snippets or ‘amuse bouches’ (happy mouths in French Culinary terms) I will give you the opportunity to read and hopefully ‘see’ some of the action that went on at the 32nd Blues Music Awards in Memphis. This is by no means a fully fledged account of what went on but more of being at a moment in time and holding on to it and giving it to you to read.
So here we go . . . .
The array of talented musicians all located in one place, it is almost, I say almost, an overload situation. Actually I might have hit the overload button Thursday night while standing outside the main room when Scott Burnett walked over and said hi to me and I totally blanked on who he was. I’ve known Scotty for about four years, see what I’m saying.
Speaking of Scotty, during one of the frequent stints in the hotel bar, I look over and see Scotty’s boss-man, Captain Roger Naber, busy working on his computer while seated on a bar stool in the corner. He was busy working on calming the turbulent waters surrounding the LRBC’s decision to move the October cruise to Puerto Rico – as opposed to it being a West Coast Cruise. A few words of encouragement and I hi-tailed it outta there. Roger works hard on getting the best for these cruises and this proved it once again.
About 1,600 blues fans just being themselves all week long !
The ‘peacocks’ in all their fine attire, and the lovely ladies.
The opportunity to re-connect with Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, who was nominated in two categories this year, Soul Blues Album (Solomon Burke) and Soul Blues Artist (Solomon Burke). Eugene enthralled us with his story on flying to the USA from Australia and driving from Texas to Memphis, complete with police stops and camera assisted speed documentation to prove he was NOT driving over the limit, right on bro ! Later that night Mr. Bridges showed the audience why he was nominated in two categories !
The often strange but always funny ‘secret calls’ between musician’s who have used them to identify each other in crowded venues and rooms. Quite similar to those ‘cool high fives’ that athletes use – each different yet each one specifically tailored to match their personalities.
The overwhelming and palpable excitement from the ‘new kids on the block’ such as Karen Lovely, The Vincent Hayes Project, The Chris O’Leary Band and others who made it here for the first time and were floored by the whole experience.
OK, so just to prove that last statement Vincent Hayes texted me “I just met Robert Cray !” Karen Lovely and Lori Haynes commenting on how they (we all) are fans first, and how they felt they were walking on a cloud or in a dream of sorts. Karen later at the Awards performance just blowing the roof off the convention center at 1:30 in the morning to a thinned out crowd.
The pre-party which featured Eden Brent, Chris O’Leary Band, and The Vincent Hayes Project – the tone was set for the night !
Steve Miller opening the ‘official’ portion of the awards, and being so perfect it could have been a recording.
Mr. Eddie Turner being, Eddie Turner.
Tony Colter being the ultimate professional – working the live feed broadcast back to listeners and being spot on. I have heard nothing but praise for your efforts!
Rick Estrin displaying ‘hand’s free’ harmonica, while being accompanied by the smooth Kirk Fletcher on guitar. Y’all gonna have to buy the DVD to see this baby !
The tribute for Robert Johnson’s 100th Birthday and his son and family being there to share with us.
Reba Russell and band just ripping us out of our seats with what was one of the hottest sets of the night. You go girl !
Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith being just the most humble and sweet man.
Buddy Guy being — Buddy Guy !
Buddy being genuinely touched by each of his five awards.
A rumour being circulated that the new name for the BMA’s will be the Buddy Music Awards.
The Janiva Magness Band along with Tony Rogers playing ‘The Plan’.
A roomful of tears (both sorrow and joy) for Robin Roger’s winning Best Female Vocalist and Tony’s speech. Also for the other sweet and graciousfemale artists who promoted voting for Robin during their shows. Thank you ladies, the spirit lives within you all.
Buddy Guy telling us he was gonna play us something so funky that we could taste it ! And then doing just that !
The professionalism of Janiva Magness shining through when her mic was not working – her singing over the band so we could hear her and then burning a spot in our souls when the mic came back to life.
Bob Corritore winning the award for Historical Album (Harmoinica Blues), and all the work he has done over the years. SWEET !
Derek Trucks doing stand-up comedy – who knew !
The Nighthawks FINALLY winning a BMA for Acoustic Album with their ‘Last Train To Bluesville’ release.
Mitch Woods unscheduled ‘sex-change’ and the reinstatement of his ‘hood as he cranked out some fine boogie woogie piano.
Candye Kane in a stunning blue and yellow Kewpie doll outfit, insuring that no one else would be wearing the same outfit, as had happened once before.
Mr. John Hammond, following up Buddy Guy’s set, armed with an acoustic guitar and his voice, just calming and quieting the crowd with one helluva outstanding performance. I am not sure anyone else could have done it, cos Buddy’s set was killah. Did I mention John winning the Award for Best Acoustic Artist.
Matt Hill – Best New Artist – creating havoc with the final performance of the long night. Not only wining over the crowd but he had the ladies in the palm of his hand !
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease,
photos: courtesy of Leslie K. Joseph, Aigars Lapsa.
I would like to thank Aigars for sharing his photos with us on Blues411, to see more photos from Aigars please visit: http://www.aigarsphoto.com/
To read earlier interview with Karen Lovely visit: http://blues411.com/?p=299
To read interview with Vincent Hayes click: http://blues411.com/?p=1204
both of these interviews were conducted before the BMA’s were even announced, read about how we called it back then for these two amazing artists who were nominated for BMA’s.