B.B. King, Shemekia Copeland Top Winners At W.C. Handy Blues Awards

Etta James, Rick Vito, Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band among other winners.

B.B. King proved he's still the king of the blues by nabbing two

W.C. Handy Blues Awards Thursday during a ceremony at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. King won Blues Entertainer of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album with Eric Clapton for their 2000 record, Riding With the King.

Also winning two awards was young vocalist Shemekia Copeland, who took home Best Contemporary Female and Blues Album of the Year awards for

Wicked. Etta James was honored twice as well, taking home the Soul Female Artist of the Year award before being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Fiery performances at the event were provided by Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band, Bobby Rush, Eddy Clearwater, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Big Jack Johnson, Kim Wilson and Levon Helm.

Other winners:

  • Blues Song of the Year - Rick Vito ("It's 2 AM")

  • Blues Band of the Year - Taj Mahal & the Phantom Blues Band

  • Traditional Blues Album - Son Seals (Letting Go)

  • Acoustic Blues Album - Robert Lockwood Jr. (Delta Crossroads)

  • Historical Album - Otis Spann/Last Call (Mr. Cat Music)

  • Soul Male Artist of the Year - Little Milton

  • Comeback Blues Album - Mel Brown (Neck Bones & Caviar)

  • Soul Blues Album - Irma Thomas (My Heart is in Memphis)

  • Contemporary Male Artist - Eddy Clearwater

  • Traditional Female Artist - Koko Taylor

  • Acoustic Blues Artist - Keb' Mo'

  • Traditional Male Artist - James Cotton

  • Best New Artist Debut - North Mississippi Allstars (Shake Hands With Shorty)

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Guitar - Duke Robillard

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Harmonica - Charlie Musselwhite

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Bass - Willie Kent

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Drums - Chris Layton

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Horns - Roomful of Blues

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Keyboard - Pinetop Perkins

  • Blues Instrumentalist: Other - Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (Fiddle)