27th Annual Living Blues Awards Winners Announced

27th Annual Living Blues Awards Winners Announced


JD Nash

Each year the Living Blues Awards are given in several categories in two polls; Critics’ Poll, and the Readers’ Poll.

It was 1993 when Living Blues Magazine first presented their Living Blues Awards. Founded in 1970 by future Blues Hall of Fame inductees Jim O’Neal and Amy van Singel. Living Blues is America’s oldest blues music publication and touted as the The Magazine of the African American Blues Tradition. Living Blues grew from a quarterly publication to a bi-monthly when O’Neal and van Singel sold their publication rights to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in 1983.

Each year the Living Blues Awards are given in several categories in two polls; Critics’ Poll, and the Readers’ Poll. Although categories may be duplicated in the various polls, the results obviously can differ.

Here are the winners of the 27th Annual Living Blues Awards for 2020:

Critics’ Poll

Blues Artist of the Year (Male)
Bobby Rush

Blues Artist of the Year (Female)
Shemekia Copeland

Most Outstanding Blues Singer
Mavis Staples

Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)
Jimmy Johnson

Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica)
Billy Branch

Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard)
Marcia Ball

Most Outstanding Musician (Bass)
Benny Turner

Most Outstanding Musician (Drums)
Cedric Burnside

Most Outstanding Musician (Horns)
The Texas Horns: Kaz Kazanoff, John Mills, and Al Gomez

Most Outstanding Musician (Other)
Rhiannon Giddens – Banjo

Best Live Performer
Bobby Rush

Comeback Artist of the Year
Mary Lane

Artist Deserving More Attention
Crystal Thomas

Best Blues Albums of 2019

Album of the Year
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Kingfish
(Alligator)

New Recordings / Contemporary Blues
Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues
Roots and Branches: The Songs of Little Walter
(Alligator)

New Recordings / Southern Soul
Annika Chambers
Kiss My Sass
(VizzTone)

New Recordings / Best Debut
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Kingfish
(Alligator)

New Recordings / Traditional & Acoustic
Jontavious Willis
Spectacular Class
(Kind of Blue Music)

Historical / Pre-war
Various Artists
“It’s the Best Stuff Yet!”
(Frog Records)

Historical / Postwar
Various Artists
Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records—The Definitive Collection
(Earwig Records)

Blues Book of the Year
Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
By Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow
Chicago Review Press

Producer of the Year: New Recording
Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell
Songs of Our Native Daughters
(Smithsonian Folkways)

Producer of the Year: Historical Recording
Michael Frank
Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records—The Definitive Collection
(Earwig Records)

Readers’ Poll

Blues Artist of the Year (Male)
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Blues Artist of the Year (Female)
Mavis Staples

Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)
Keb’ Mo’

Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica)
Charlie Musselwhite

Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard)
Marcia Ball

Best Live Performer
Buddy Guy

Most Outstanding Blues Singer
Buddy Guy

Best Blues Album of 2019 (New Release)
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Kingfish
(Alligator)

Best Blues Album of 2019 (Historical Recording)
Muddy Waters
The Complete Plantation Recordings: The Historic 1941–42 Library of Congress Field Recordings
(Analogue Productions)

Best Blues Book of 2019
Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
By Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow
Chicago Review Press

Congratulations to the all of this year’s winners!

Living Blues

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