Handy Awards To Honor Blues' Best

Nominees range from 20-year-old Shemekia Copeland to veteran artists B.B. King, 'Honeyboy' Edwards, R.L. Burnside.

The nominees for the 21st Annual W.C. Handy Blues

Awards, the music's highest honors, show the world of

blues in all its diversity.

"This year's ballot is noteworthy in that it features literally

three generations of blues stars sharing equal billing," said

Howard Stovall, executive director of the Blues Foundation,

the nonprofit organization that puts on the Handy Awards.

Vying for awards in the 24 categories, which encompass

traditional, contemporary, acoustic and electric blues, are

such artists as 29-year-old

Susan Tedeschi — the 1999 Handy

winner for Best New Artist, who was also a Best New Artist

nominee at this year's Grammy Awards — and

Robert

Johnson contemporary

COLOR="#003163"> David "Honeyboy"

Edwards, 85.

"Our Entertainer of the Year nominees include

COLOR="#003163"> B.B. King and

R.L.

Burnside, pioneers of blues who, at age 70-

plus, continue to dazzle crowds around the world," Stovall

said.

"Also nominated are Rod

Piazza and

COLOR="#003163">Anson Funderburgh

(nominated along with his partner, veteran singer

Sam

Meyers) who represent the baby-boomer

heirs to the traditions of King and Burnside."

Rounding out the list of contenders for the Blues

Entertainer of the Year award is

COLOR="#003163"> Shemekia Copeland, 20,

the powerhouse singing daughter of guitar great

Johnny

Copeland.

Shemekia Copeland, Stovall said, is "the perfect

embodiment of the new generation of emerging young

blues stars who are energizing the music with a 21st-

century spin and who will take blues in a new and vital

direction."

It is only in recent years that

COLOR="#003163">R.L. Burnside, the 73-

year-old Mississippi bluesman, has achieved any renown,

after being championed by the modern rock band

Jon Spencer Blues

Explosion. Still, Burnside — whose

songs include "Jumper on the Line" (

HREF="http://media.addict.com/music/Burnside,_R.L./Jumper_On_The_Line.ram">RealAudio excerpt) — has only

garnered a fraction of the worldwide fame of the legendary

B.B. King, 74,

who won a Grammy this year for Best Traditional Blues

Album and was the 1999 Handy winner as Blues Entertainer

of the Year. King's recorded work includes the song "Never

Make a Move Too Soon" (

HREF="http://media.addict.com/music/BB_King/Never_Make_a_Move_Too_Soon.ram">RealAudio excerpt).

The Handy Awards have come a long way in two decades,

as has the music it honors. Only seven trophies were given

in the first ceremony, plus a number of awards of "special

recognition" to those who helped keep alive what was

often thought of as a dying art form.

"When the Blues Foundation established the Handy

Awards in 1980," Stovall said, "blues was virtually ignored

as a form of popular music. The goal of the Handy Awards

was to create an opportunity for national media and the

music industry to focus on the blues genre, if only for one

day a year.

"Now, with the evolution of the Handy Awards and the

tremendous growth of blues as a mainstream music genre,

the Handy Awards represent a showcase of excellence in

performance and recording and a gala opportunity for fans

and the industry to celebrate the diversity and power of

blues music," Stovall said.

Veteran soul performer

Rufus Thomas, known for his hit "Funky

Chicken" (RealAudio excerpt), and R&B singer

Ruth Brown

will co-host this year's event, May 25 at the Orpheum

Theatre in Memphis, Tenn.

The celebration spills over into the next two days, with a

festival on the legendary thoroughfare known as "the home

of the blues," Memphis' Beale Street.

Nominees for the 2000 W.C. Handy Blues Awards:

Blues Entertainer of the Year:

R. L.

Burnside

Shemekia Copeland

Anson Funderburgh with

Sam Myers

B.B. King

Rod Piazza

Bobby Rush

Blues Band of the Year:

Johnnie Bassett and the

Blues Insurgents

Anson Funderburgh and

the Rockets with Sam Myers

The Duke Robillard

Band

Rod Piazza and the

Mighty Flyers

Joe Louis Walker and the

Bosstalkers

Contemporary Blues — Male Artist of the

Year:

Bernard

Allison

Johnnie

Bassett

Robert Cray

Larry Garner

Keb' Mo'

Joe Louis

Walker

Lil' Ed Williams

Contemporary Blues — Female Artist of the

Year:

Marcia Ball

Deborah

Coleman

Shemekia

Copeland

Debbie

Davies

Susan

Tedeschi

Traditional Blues — Male Artist of the Year:

R.L.

Burnside

David "Honeyboy"

Edwards

Frank Frost

Alvin Youngblood

Hart

Louisiana

Red

Snooky

Pryor

Traditional Blues — Female Artist of the Year:

Rory Block

Algia Mae

Hinton

Odetta

Ann Rabson

Annie

Raines

Koko Taylor

Acoustic Blues — Artist of the Year:

Cephas and

Wiggins

David "Honeyboy"

Edwards

Alvin Youngblood

Hart

John

Jackson

Keb' Mo'

Best New Blues Artist:

Ronnie Baker

Brooks

Michael

Burks

Big Bill

Morganfield

Kid Ramos

Mighty Mo

Rodgers

Soul/Blues — Male Artist of the Year:

Bobby "Blue"

Bland

Mighty Sam

McClain

Little Milton

Wilson

Pickett

Bobby Rush

Soul/Blues — Female Artist of the Year:

Ruth Brown

Etta James

Denise

LaSalle

Trudy Lynn

Irma Thomas

Blues Instrumentalist — Guitar:

Deborah

Coleman

Anson

Funderburgh

Big Jack

Johnson

Duke

Robillard

Kid Ramos

Carl

Weathersby

Joe Louis Walker

Blues Instrumentalist — Harmonica:

Carey Bell

Frank Frost

Charlie

Musselwhite

Rod Piazza

Snooky

Pryor

Blues Instrumentalist — Keyboards:

Marcia Ball

Dr. John

Johnnie

Johnson

David

Maxwell

Pinetop

Perkins

Honey

Piazza

Blues Instrumentalist — Bass:

Aron Burton

Johnny

Gayden

Calvin Jones

Willie Kent

Bill

Stuve

Blues Instrumentalist — Drums:

Ray Allison

Sam Carr

Sam Lay

Chris Layton

Willie "Big Eyes"

Smith

Blues Instrumentalist — Other:

Howard

Armstrong (Violin)

Clarence "Gatemouth"

Brown (Fiddle)

Memphis

Horns (Horn Section)

Mark "Kaz"

Kazanoff (Saxophone)

Sonny

Rhodes (Steel Guitar)

Roomful of

Blues (Horn Section)

Othar Turner

(Fife)

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year:

Luther

Allison, Live in Chicago

COLOR="#003163">Brooks/Hunter/Walker,

Lone Star Shootout Blues

Albert King/Stevie Ray

Vaughn, In Session

Charlie

Musselwhite, Continental Drifter

Joe Louis

Walker, Silvertone Blues

Traditional Blues Album of the Year:

Cephas and

Wiggins, Homemade

Louisiana

Red, Millennium

Jimmy "T99"

Nelson, Rockin' and Shoutin' the Blues

Paul Rishell and Annie

Raines, Moving to the Country

Muddy

Waters, The Lost Tapes of Muddy

Waters

Soul/Blues Album of the Year:

Bobby Blue

Bland, Memphis Monday Morning

Ruth Brown,

A Good Day for the Blues

Syl Johnson,

Talkin Bout Chicago

Little Milton,

Welcome to Little Milton

Wilson

Pickett, It's Harder Now

Acoustic Blues Album of the Year:

Etta Baker,

Railroad Bill

Eric Bibb,

Spirit and the Blues

Cephas and

Wiggins, Homemade

John

Jackson, Front Porch Blues

Furry Lewis,

Blues Magician

Paul Rishell and Annie

Raines, Moving to the Country

Blues Album of the Year:

Luther

Allison, Live in Chicago

Lonnie Brooks/Long John

Hunter/Phillip Walker, Lone Star

Shootout Jimmy

Johnson, Every Road Ends

Somewhere

Albert King/Stevie Ray

Vaughan, In Session

Louisiana

Red, Millennium Blues

Duke

Robillard, New Blues for the Modern

Man

Joe Louis

Walker, Silvertone Blues

Comeback Blues Album of the Year:

John

Jackson, Front Porch Blues

Lazy Lester,

All Over You

Jimmy "T99"

Nelson, Rockin' and Shoutin' the Blues

Odetta,

Blues Everywhere I Go

Wilson

Pickett, It's Harder Now

Reissue Blues Album of the Year:

Bullseye Blues: Clarence

"Gatemouth" Brown, Okie Dokie Stomp

Blind Pig: Pee Wee

Crayton, Early Hour Blues

MCA Records: Earl

Hooker, Simply the Best — The Earl

Hooker Collection

Alligator Records: Hound

Dog Taylor, Deluxe Edition

Evidence Records: Various, Living Country Blues, an

Anthology

Blues Song of the Year (Song

Title/Composer/Artist/Album Title):

"A Good Day for the Blues,"

COLOR="#003163"> Hoy Lindsey, Ricky Ray Rector/Ruth

Brown, A Good Day for the Blues

"Change in My Pocket,"

Sam Myers, Anson Funderburgh, Renee J.P.

Whitefield/Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets with Sam

Myers, Change in My Pocket

"Memphis Monday Morning,"

COLOR="#003163"> George Jackson, Raymond Nelson,

Dennis Nelson/Bobby Blue Bland,

Memphis Monday Morning

"Orphanage Home Blues,"

Louisiana Red, Iverson Minter/Louisiana Red,

Millennium Blues

"Walk Around Telephone Blues,"

COLOR="#003163"> James Harman/Kid

Ramos, Kid Ramos