Now is the big night, the BMAs are being given out. As I said, one gets to be part of the event when attending.
So a stop at the Sheraton to meet and greet before the BMA Cocktail Party. And people have already started to meet.
Saw Bill Wax and wife Shelia on the way. Bill is presenting the new Hall of Fame members.
Paul Benjamin and past BMA winner, Blues Hall of Famer, Eddie Shaw.
Holger Peterson of Stony Plain Records shares a computer use joke.
Now it is over to the Convention Center for some socializing and the start of the blues.
First up was Austin “Walkin” Cane.
Strong accoustic set.
Then it was Annika Chambers & the Houston All-Stars.
And if they are from Houston, then the man on the keys is our own Barry Seelen. No matter how long he is in Texas his role with Connecticut bands cannot be forgotten.
Okay, so you are meeting and greeting people as the music plays. Then it is time to go up to the BMA level. Here, the silent auction and later more meeting and greeting. I have to admit the blues was so so good, I didn’t meet and greet as much as usual.
The hall was sold out. I made my way to my table and was sitting with two of the young Blues Kids from last night.
On stage was Mark Hummel’s Golden Statep/Lone Star Revue with Anson Funderbuggh & Little Charlie Baty.
Now as I keep saying, you are right in the middle of the action. Table behind me was the Elvin Bishop Band.
To the left were two BMA nominees, John Hammond and Bruce Katz. John and Bruce then went on stage to perform. My apologies to Bruce as I did not get a decent picture to post. I will make it up by stalking him next time I see him.
Being so close to John and wife Marla, I had a chance to see if they remembered my interview with John. And we laughed because it was not so much me but the fact we were in the parking garage at Mohegan Sun Casino. It was early in the Casino’s life and the Green Room was not completed. If I remember Duke Robillard had the room, at that time concrete floor and folding card table. It certainly has changed.
So between conversations the blues kept coming. Also awards were announced as posted in the last blog.
Barbara Blue was one of the presenters. On Friday, she gets a Note on Beale St.
Eden Brent followed with some of her keyboard magic. She seems to get stronger each year.
Eric Bibb played with Michael Jerome Brown.
Outside people were catching up. Seems I was running into Eddie Turner at each stop along the way.
Our New England friends Sugar Ray & the Bluetones did a fine set. They were nominated for a number of awards but did not win.
Elvin Bishop was keeping busy this week and Thursday was no different.
I took a walk by the silent auction and meet up with the Georgia Songbird, EG Kight and took a look at the photos she had donated. Of course I was interested to see how my photos were doing. I had a favorite, Keith Richards and HoneyBoy Edwards and a second with Hubert Sumlin and Pinetop Perkins.
Back inside Charlie Musselwhite. They put on a hot set. Can’t wait to see them at Infinity Music Hall in Hartford on Friday.
Now it was EG’s turn onstage.
Vaneese Thomas, daughter of Rufus, came up. She was joined by sister Denise and brother Marvel.
My first time seeing Sugaray Rayford. What can I say Wow. Action and power. Strong, strong, set.
If you haven’t had enough entertainment, there was more to come.
Candi Staton, another first for me.
The next band feel like old friends. Nick Nixon and Andy T. I have enjoyed them on a number of occaisons including running into them in Denver.
Dave and Phil Alvin did a set for Big Bill Broonzy.
John Nemeth & the Bo-Keys took a turn. John had high praise for them as well as his hometown Memphis.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band brought its brand of blues rock.
Two men that let you know the blues future has some dynamic players on the rise.
Jarekus Singleton, who came highly recommended to me from Annapolis friends George and Diane. They were right.
Finishing the night was BMA winner, Selwyn Birchwood.
Now one of the MOMENTS of the night was when Jay Sielman and Priscilla Hernandez were called to the stage. It was time for the BMA and blues fans to recognize Jay as he is stepping down from the Blues Foundation. The growth of the Foundation under his management, new Hall of Fame ready for the public Friday is a sign of his resume. Known to most blues fans is his wife Priscilla. Her contribution to the Blues Foundation is worth noting and celebrating as well. Jay’s big supporter and extra aid when needed has made her a friend to the fans in Memphis and beyond. A welcoming smile lets fans know they are with friends. It was an emotional moment for more than just this blues couple. Best of luck in the future.
Lastly, the evening also was to remember BB King in our thoughts and prayers.
Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org. BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella. My weekly Blues Beat column appears in the New Britain Herald, Bristol Press, Middletown Press and Torrington Register-Citizen.