Saturday, May 14, 2011

The 2011 Best of Blues Extravaganza

by Robert "Susan Lucci" Horn
This year the Washington Blues Society's  "Best of Blues" awards (also known as the BB's) had the sound of more music and less talk. Was that 17 music acts, or 40 performers performing on stage? I may have the numbers wrong since I am relying on statements others made from the stage. The evening began with Kevin Sutton leading a band from the stage through the crowd performing "Minnie the Moocher" from the tops of tables in different parts of the audience. He brought his platoon of musicians back on stage as they finished the last couple lyrics. That was a beginning fitting for what followed until 11 pm or so. There were some awards spread out between musical acts instead of some musical acts spread out through the awards. Music was the emphasis and the crowd liked it.

Photo by Tom Hunnewell
Some of the performances included Back Porch Stomp (with Nick Vigarino showing what blew audiences away recently in Memphis at the IBC), JD Hobson (which blew me away at the event), Hot Rod's Blues Revue, The Stacy Jones Band, and The Wired Band. Mark Riley added a little humor when he won the award for slide guitar. His first words on the mic were, "Nick, how did this happen?" Then Mark showed why it happened, he did an astoundingly great solo performance on the slide guitar. BB winners in different categories joined in with bands on stage so you got to hear CD Woodbury, Jeff Herzog, Randy Oxford, and Suze Sims performing in superbands this night.

Photo by Tom Hunnewell
I got to sit in a section where everyone (except for one guy who writes articles) won BB Awards. My contribution to the festivities is that I am catching up with Eric Maddis in the catagory of Most BB Nominations without a BB Award. In a few more years I can pass Eric and win the Susan Lucci Award. It was fun to hang out with Randy Oxford, Son Jack and Michael Wilde, on one side and Lee Oskar on the other. I got close to greatness.

There is always great talent at BB Award shows. We brought in Charlie Musselwhite in 2003 and that was great. I enjoyed the show that night as much as any of them though. The Triple Door seems like a perfect place for this. Someday it may expand beyond its capacity if the word gets out about how great this event is.

Photo by Tom Hunnewell
Oh, ya, some of the award winners included CD Woodbury for Best Electric Blues Guitar, the amazing Lissa Ramaglia for Best Bass Guitar, Scotty Harris for Best Horn, Andrew Cloutier got the Chris Leighton Best Blues Drummer Award, Randy Oxford won for Best Blues Recording, and Kevin Sutton walked away with a few BB's including one for Best Blues Performer.

Here is a complete list of the  2011 Washington Blues Society "Best of the Blues" Award Recipients:

Blues Image
Michelle Burge & Margene: Oct 2010 Bluesletter Cover (Women in Blues)

Blues Graphic Artist
Dennis Hacker

Blues DJ
Jonathan “Oogie” Richards, KSER-FM

Lifetime Achievement
Charles White

Keeping the Blues Alive
Tim and Michelle Burge

Blue to the Bone
Dean Jacobsen
Dave Nichols

Hall of Fame
LJ Porter

Blues Writer
Malcolm Kennedy

Open Blues Jam
Madison Pub with Unbound

Non-Festival Blues Event
Blues Vespers

Blues Festival
Sunbanks Rhythm & Blues Festival

Blues Club
The Oxford Saloon

Acoustic Blues Guitar
Son Jack, Jr.

Blues Bass
Lissa Ramaglia

Electric Blues Guitar
CD Woodbury

Slide Blues Guitar
Mark Riley

Chris Leighton Blues Drummer
Andrew Cloutier

Blues Horn
Scotty Harris

Paul Green Blues Harmonica
Jeff Herzog

Blues Piano/Keyboard
Eric “Two Scoops” Moore

Washington Blues Recording
Teach You A LessonRandy Oxford Band: Teach You a Lesson 

Mark Dufresne Male Vocalist
Sammy Eubanks

Blues Female Vocalist
Suze Sims

Traditional Blues Act
Little Bill & the Blue Notes

Solo/Duo Blues Act
Back Porch Stomp

New Blues Band
James King and the Southsiders

Blues Songwriter
Kevin Sutton

Blues Performer
Kevin Sutton

Blues Act
The WIRED! Band


  1. One correction. The photographer's first name is Tom instead of Tim. I plead innocent to this mistake.---Bob Horn