2015Blues411 Jimi Awards

Slide2 (1)It’s that time of year again, when we at Blues411 honor many of the artists that have made our year bright and full of great music. Yep, its time for the Annual Blues411 Jimi Awards!


What started as a small open space on the  web for promoting and supporting blues artists, has turned into a force for good that keeps blues artists and their music in the spotlight around the world, and situated under a very big tent.


While we cannot give an award to, or nominate everyone, we try our best to spread the love around in keeping with our mission statement. We believe that we are where Blues Thrives.The winners in each category are in bold blue type.



We have created Award JPEG’s for all nominees & winners at our SmugMug site (click here). They are perfectly sized to use for Facebook cover photos. Feel free to download and share with pride!



So to start us off in our usual traditional manner, we would like to offer a toast to everyone we have meet this year, artists, fans, new friends and those of you who have stood by our side and supported us over the five years. Let us raise a Pimm’s Cup together.

Slide1 (1)The Special Drink of 2015:
Pimm’s Cup
Created in 1840 in England, Pimm’s still claims to be “made to James Pimm’s original recipe, a closely guarded secret known only to six people.”
Since my liver blew up just before the LRBC in October, I was limited to three drinks on the cruise. I was treated to this one at the Napoleon House in New Orleans by Gina Comeaux, and it was worth risking liver failure for, cos as we all know “the liver is bad and needs to be punished”.
Fill a tall, 12 oz glass with ice and add 1 ¼ oz. of Pimm’s #1
Add 3 oz. of Lemonade
Top off with Sprite or 7-Up

Garnish with cucumber


Slide1 (1)Live blues is the best! There were tons of live recordings to choose from this year. I think that all of these recordings capture the essence of what the blues is, and how it is best experienced LIVE. Our winner’s release captures not only his ability to perform but to entertain as well, a very important aspect of any show.
Best Live Recording:
Mitch Woods – Jammin’ on the High C’s
Nick Moss Band – Live & Luscious
Charlie Musselwhite – I Ain’t Lyin’
Joe Bonamassa – Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks
Jimmi & The Band Of Souls – LIVE from the Park Theater

Slide1 (1)Acoustic blues
has always had a special spot in my heart and soul. It was the sound of pure music and the connection between artist and instrument that first called me to the blues. So thank you to the artists who carry on this tradition. Our winner is a combination of some of the very best pickers out there and they capture a sound that is at the heart of the acoustic blues scene.
Acoustic Blues Release:
Andra Faye & Scott Ballentine – Coulda Shoulda Woulda
Brad Vickers & His Vestopolitans – That’s What They Say
Guy Davis – Kokomo Kidd
The Ragpicker String Band (Mary Flower, Rich DelGrosso Martin Grosswendt) – self titled
Andy Cohen – Road Be Kind

Slide1 (1)Blues/Roots
is a combo to me. It can be acoustic or electric but it must capture in it’s own way the roots of the blues. Not traditional, not contemporary but somewhere in between. A wonderful release by a lady who does not fit in any box, though it might be nice if she was accepted more in the blues family tree.
Best Blues/Roots Release:
Brother Sun Sister Moon – Brother Sun Sister Moon
Spencer Bohren – Seven Birds
Peter Novelli – St. Amant Sessions
The California Honeydrops – The River’s Invitation
Tas Cru – You Keep The Money

Slide1 (1)Traditional blues
has the direct connection to the past, and each artist here has made that connection in their release. As you can see they vary widely in their scope. This band captures the feel and style of traditional blues yet makes it their own.
Best Traditional Release:
Zora Young & Little Mike & The Tornadoes – Friday Night
The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court
The Lucky Losers – A Winning Hand
Fat Man’s Shine Parlor – Smokin’ Joe Kubek & B’Nois King
HowellDevine – Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju

Slide1 (1)R&B
, yeah sometimes people forget that it’s Rhythm & Blues, and that in itself is a classic take. Our nominees and winner display a variety of styles on this classic style of music. This was a tough category but our winner put together an oh so solid release and edges out the others.
Best Soul/R&B Release:
The Reverend Shawn Amos – The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You
Billy Price & Otis Clay – This Time For Real
Andy T & Nick Nixon Band – Numbers Man
Deb Callahan – Sweet Soul
Lara Price – I Mean Business

Slide1 (1)‘Welcome back’
ain’t just for Mr. Kotter anymore, though I’d love to see a new release from John B. Sebastian. These artists have been away for a spell and we are all glad that they have returned to bring us their vision of the blues. A hearty welcome back to our winner, it’s been a long road back, but glad you are here.
Welcome Back Release:
Sam Butler – Raise Your Hands
JJ Appleton & Jason Ricci – Dirty Memories
Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes
Walter Trout – Battle Scars
Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz – Is It Still Good To Ya?

Slide1 (1)New artists
debut records, no ‘splainin’ here, Lucy! There were many more that could be here, but we have a limit of five per category. Indeed, these two cats are together for the first time and they stick it!
Best Debut Release:
JJ Appelton & Jason Ricci – Dirty Memory
Randy McQuay – Solo
Crooked Eye Tommy – Butterflies & Snakes
Noah Wotherspoon – Mystic Mud
Mark Telesca – Heavy Breathing

Slide1 (1)The blues
may be more popular Internationally than right here at home, more about that at a later date. But these folks are stand outs in their efforts to keep the blues thriving around the world. All of them are excellent but our winner is a band that has been kickin’ it for several years and who’se vocalist/drummer has a voice that reminds one of Big Mama & Big Maybelle.
International Release of the Year:
24th Street Wailers (Canada)– Where Evil Grows
Magnus Berg (Norway) – Cut Me Loose
David Gogo (Canada) – Vicksburg Call
Evelyn Rubio (Mexico) – Hombres
Angela Esmerelda (Italy) – DeltaSoul

Slide1 (1)Rock blues – Blues rock
…whatever, we can split hairs over a Pimm’s Cup later. Now let’s see who takes home the Jimi Award. And there really is a difference between the two categories.
Rock/Blues Release of The Year:
Walter Trout – Battle Scars
Anthony Gomes – Electric Field Holler
Low Society Band – You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down
Noah Wotherspoon – Mystic Mud
Todd Wolfe Band – Long Road Back

Slide1 (1)Contemporary blues,
yeah a bit of a difference here. To me it is definitely blues with a very strong contemporary twist to it. Whether it be musical, lyrical or both. This stuff is what will keep the blues in the hearts and minds of the new generation. I thank each and everyone of you who put out these releases,and others who we have not mentioned. Our winner is exciting live and his release explores some interesting areas and insure he will be around for quite some time.
Best Contemporary Release:
Jeff Jensen – Morose Elephant
Ghost Town Blues Band – A Hard Road To Hoe
Mike Zito & The Wheel – Keep Coming Back
Zac Harmon – Right Man Right Now
The Rusty Wright Band – Wonder Man

Slide1 (1)Our new category from
2014 (with a new title for 2015) which we will continue it till we run out of youngin’s who deserve some love. These are the ones that get it and are more than guitar shredders or hook players. These young folks are the real deal and I suggest you get to know them now on the way up cos their bus is gonna get crowded real soon. Our choice has been playing out there for a few years but with a solid release under their belts I look for them to start making big waves in the blues world.
The Thrill Is Now (Comin’ Up Youth Award):
Kyle Rowland (Harmonica)
The Peterson Brothers (Band)
In Layman Terms (Cole & Logan) (Band)
Pat Harrington – (Guitar)
Grace Kuch (Guitar)

Slide1 (1)Women in the Blues 
– they can make ya cry, or make you laugh. They can rock ya or mellow you out, it’s lady time right here and now. Here we honor the instrument known as voice. Out of great choices comes our winner, and she has a range and style that never fails to excite.
Female Vocalist:
Shemekia Copeland
Deb Ryder

Alexis P. Suter
Karen Lovely
Beth Hart

Slide1 (1)Now for the men
who sing so well. This cat can just flat-out sing, multiple award nominee in the blues world and winner also. Also he is a fan favorite wherever he is performing.
Male Vocalist:
Victor Wainwright
Sugaray Rayford
Darrell Nullisch
Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges
Otis Clay

Slide1 (1)With so
many artists including instrumentals on their releases, we figure it’s time to honor them for their much appreciated efforts. Personally we love that artists are doing more instrumentals and this track is super.
Best Instrumental Song:
Blues Gotta Hold On Me -The Texas Horns
Elevators – John Ginty
Moanin’ – Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Dackin’ – Roy Rogers
Exhalted Lover – Duke Robilliard

Slide1 (1)The guitar is
certainly the go to instrument in the blues these days. But these cats are unlike the followers, they all lead from the front. Well, all ya gotta do is say his name to other guitar players and you will see why he is at the top. But even more amazing he is a repeat winner from 2013. That shows his prowess and sensitivity has grown along with his fiery touch.
Guitar Hero:
Corey Harris
Rusty Wright
Jarekus Singleton
Kid Andersen
Mike Zito

Slide1 (1)Guitars are not
just toys for the boys. We have a long history of ladies playing the guitar and doing it with an amazing degree of excellence. Here is our choice a lady who is self taught and started at age 26, mastrful finger picking and percussive style and comfortable on any style of guitar.
Guitar Heroine:
Mary Flower
Fiona Boyes
Eliana Cargnelutti (Girls w/Guitars)
Joanna Connor
Liz Mandeville

Slide1 (1)Badazz bass
is always fun, it holds the bottom end down and makes the beat sweet. The winner learned to play guitar and bass in church with his cousins and family, and is out there wowing audiences around the world while playing in his cousin’s band.
Badazz Bass:
Illaria Lantieri Blue (Sugar Blue)
Ben ‘Gifted Hands’ Sterling (Jarekus Singleton)
Lenny Bradford (Joe Louis Walker)
Ralph Freidrichsen (Paul Thorn)
Bill Ruffino (Jeff Jensen)

Slide1 (1)Led by
these folks and others, keyboards are making their way back into mainstream blues these days. The variety and depth of our winner is simply breathtaking and he plays for one helluva band when not on his own..
Radiating Them 88’s Piano/Keys Award:
Anthony Geraci (Sugar Ray & The Bluetones)
John Ginty
Marty Sammon (Buddy Guy Band)

Billy C. Wirtz
Michael Emerson (Tommy Castro)

Slide1 (1)We left off a ton of harp players from our list, not as an oversight but again to get some light on some others who are out there. Our winner had a release this year that was so damn good on so many levels it will make you jump up and say hell yeah.
Harmonica Player Award:
Omar Coleman
Fabrizio Poggi
Jason Ricci
Chris O’Leary
Jay Stollman

Slide1 (1)Them beat keepers
are an incredible bunch of artists. Each artist here has their own sound and take on what the drums should do. Each of them can vary and alter their playing to fit a specific styled song. Our winner has been keeping the big beat alive in NYC and almost everywhere else, big daddy on the drums for sure.
Drum Thumper Award:
Ben Malament (CA Honeydrops)
Paul Dudley (Corey Harris)
Ray Grappone (Alexis P. Suter)
Maya Kyles/Lanky DeRealist (Jarekus Singleton)
Robinson Bridgeforth (Jeff Jensen)

Slide1 (1)Other –
well when ya get past the screeching guitars, the booming bass, and them thumpin’ drums – it’s hard sometimes to hear the other folks who provide a distinct sound to the blues. Our winner is an integral part of the band he plays with, accomplished, talented, versatile and hard working.
Instrumentalist Other:
Randy Oxford –Trombone
Gordon ‘Saxman’ Jones (Corey Harris) – Saxophone
Chuk Barber (Lowrider Band/CA Honeydrops) – Percussion
anos ‘Johnny Bones’ Lustig (CA Honeydrops)- Saxophone
Pete Devine (HowellDevine) – Washboard & Jug

Slide1 (1)Sometimes
it ain’t the meat it’s the motion. Every year I find some wonderful titles on the releases I get. This year was no exception. Our winner not only had the title to go with it but the music on it was exceptional.
Coolest Release Title:
Jeff Jensen – Morose Elephant
HowellDevine – Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju
Anthony Gomes – Electric Field Holler
Paul Thorn – Too Blessed To Be Stressed
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & B’Nois King- Fat Man’s Shine Parlor

Slide1 (1)Even in
this day and age literature can help soothe the savage beast, it can enlighten one. Though our winner is not really a book but a collection of pragmatic explorations into the Cooking With HART Cookbook (last year’s winner) recipes, it’s style and her effort goes beyond the ‘boxes’ much like Blues music itself. You can find this collection on Facebook or here http://thejoannefish.tumblr.com/ .
Blues Book of The Year:
Blues On Beale Street: Memoirs of IBC Photo Book – Jenn Ocken/Greg Slim Lively Johnson
Mr.Handy’s Blues/Cooking With HART (A Collection) – Joanne Fish
Legends of the Blues – William Stout
20 Ans Cognac Blues Passions
Hal Leonard Blues Instruction Books (various authors) – Collection of instruction books/DVD/CDs by performing artists such as Marty Sammon, Bob Margolin etc.

Slide1 (1)Writing a song
is very personal, it opens up wounds, it can also heal hurts or it can raise the roof in love and lust. I fretted over this category more than any other. How could I choose one over the other. What our winner did was address a topic that is like that 300 pound elephant in the room, and does so with a style and grace that makes me proud to award him this years award.
Song Of the Year:
Walter Trout – Gonna Live Again
Karen Lovely – Save Me
Mighty Mike Schermer – Hear You Call Him Baby
Fiona Boyes – Juke Joint On Moses Lane
Zac Harmon – Long Live The Blues

Slide1 (1)Another category
with exceptional choices. If you notice each is way different from the other – a tribute to the artists who are represented here. Our winner is a traditional bluesman who is one of the most contemporay cats out there, and is the father of Trance Blues. Quite possibly the only ‘concept album’ in the blues. This needs to be listened to from start to finish in one sitting.
Album Of The Year:
Karen Lovely – Ten Miles of Bad Road
Otis Taylor Band – Hey Joe Opus Red Meat
The California Honeydrops – The River’s Invitation
Johnny Riley – Crossroads of My Life
Beth McKee – Sugarcane Revival

Slide1 (1)We frickin’ love
festivals, in case you didn’t notice. We support and work with many and we attend as many as we can. Seeing live music is the best thing in the world. These are festivals we have attended (a pre-requisite for nomination) and each has it’s own vibe and spirit. Our winner has done a fabulous job of getting sponsors and artists for their festival. It’s not a long running festival but it has set high standards.The organization behind it (Realize Bradenton) does more than put on blues festivals – it is a community support organization unlike any other. They just missed last year but this is their shining moment.
Festival of the Year:
Daytona Blues Festival
Pennsylvania Blues Festival
European Blues Cruise
Savannah Music Festival
Bradenton Blues Festival

Slide1 (1)What we do
we do not do alone. It truly is a community based effort. From festivals, to radio in all forms, to artists who give us the music and shout outs at events. Yet the back bone is the tireless work of our ‘fans’ – that’s a funny word to write. These folks have selflessly helped promote Blues411 and its vision, and without them we would not be where we are today. Thank you one and all, to past winners of this category to future nominees and winners, again thank you.
Outstanding Fan/Supporter of Blues411:
Lisa Panoyan
Stoli Lazz
Gaspare Bertolino
Martin Goettsch
Randy Oxford

So that’s it f
or 2015, be sure to check out these artists on their web sites and in concert. Buy their CD’s – each and every one of them deserves your support, as do the others who unfortunately did not make the list. The time is right to be giving the gift of the blues so any of these folks music would make great gifts for the music lover in your circle. Be sure to check us out here on the web, or in social media. Oh yeah, you can find the prior years nominees and winners, by year, at these linked pages, so check up on the history of the Jimi Awards and see if there’s any repeat winners.

The Blues411 Annual ‘Jimi Awards’ 2012 Edition


pre-jimi award post

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Chefjimi & Leslie K.Joseph
©Blues411.com 2015
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Leslie K. Joseph, Blues411

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