Seasoned soul-blues vocalist Bettye LaVette was among the winners at the 42nd Blues Music Awards (BMAs), presented by Global Electronic Technology. The ceremony, staged virtually last night (6), saw Shemekia Copeland take three trophies, including the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award.
Winners of no fewer than 25 categories were announced, with many of the victors contributing acceptance statements and other former winners performing. Blues Hall of Fame member LaVette, whose career now spans almost 60 years, won for Soul Blues Female Artist. Copeland was also named Contemporary Blues Female Artist award for the second straight year, and won Contemporary Blues Album, with Uncivil War.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram two new awards, to follow last year’s five, while Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite’s 100 Years of Blues collaboration, was named Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album. Another double winner was Mike Zito, who won the Blues Rock Artist category and saw his Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry win Blues Rock Album.
Bobby Rush won the Acoustic Blues Album category with Rawer than Raw while the up-and-coming King Solomon Hicks took Best Emerging Artist Album for Harlem. Rick Estrin & the Nightcats took Band of the Year and Walter Trout’s “All Out of Tears” was Song of the Year.
Rush performed at the show, as did Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and former BMA winners John Németh & the Blue Dreamers, Shaun Murphy, Don Bryant, Watermelon Slim, and Southern Avenue. Rodd Bland, son of Blues Hall of Famer Bobby “Blue” Bland, appeared alongside Royal Studio family members Boo, Yvonne, and Lorraine Mitchell to announce the BMA winners.
“We are proud to continue the Blues Music Awards’ time-honored tradition in 2021,” said the Blues Foundation’s president Patricia Wilson Aden. “Although we were not able to gather for a live performance, the global blues community came together virtually for an awesome celebration of the best of the blues. We applaud all of this year’s winners and are grateful for the support of everyone who made the 42nd Blues Music Awards a one-of-a-kind experience.”