Stony Plain Artists Garner Six Blues Music Award Nominations
Stony Plain Records artists received six nominations as the 30th Annual Blues Music Award nominees were announced by The Blues Foundation. Winners in all categories will be presented at the Blues Music Awards Show on May 7, 2009, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Both Rory Block and Ronnie Earl received two nominations each. Five-time Blues Music Award- winner Block was nominated for 'Acoustic Album of the Year' for her new Blues Walkin' Like a Man CD, a tribute to the legendary Delta bluesman, Son House; and as 'Acoustic Artist of the Year.' Ronnie Earl was nominated for 'Best Guitarist, ' an award he's won twice before; and his new Hope Radio Sessions DVD was nominated for 'DVD of the Year.' Other Stony Plain artists nominated are singer Maria Muldaur for 'Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year;' and the late Jeff Healey, whose posthumous release, Mess of Blues, was nominated as 'Rock Blues Album of the Year, ' a new category added this year to the awards program. Mess of Blues was a co-operative album released by Stony Plain in Canada and by German label Ruf Records internationally.
Rory Block, who's been proclaimed: 'one of the world's most important preservers of the roots of American music … a national treasure in the form of an uncompromising mature blues artist, ' has received universal acclaim for her Stony Plain label debut release, Blues Walkin' Like a Man.
Buzz McClain, writing in No Depression, called it '… a collection of interpretations that highlight the brilliance of both the teacher and the student ... channeling Bessie Smith at midnight, Block doesn't so much as sing as impart eerie invocation...' Blues Revue writer Michael Verity wrote: '… With this tribute, Block has unlocked the very essence of the blues.' Blues Walkin' Like a Man is currently No 4 on the Living Blues chart.
Celebrated guitarist Ronnie Earl has been hailed by musicians and critics alike as one of the premier blues guitarists of his generation .His intense spirituality and approach to music as a healing force is beautifully displayed on the Hope Radio Sessions DVD, a companion piece to his CD released last year on Stony Plain. Premier Guitar magazine said in its review: '... a blues guitarist and his band at the top of their game. In this DVD, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters adeptly weave between jazz and blues with their cohesive, soulful jams. This all-instrumental performance stretched across two nights captures what has drawn blues enthusiasts to Earl for over 25 years ... Deep, mesmerizing and spiritual are adjectives that could describe both Earl's playing and the man behind the Fender. While each song is its own adventure, as a whole they create a rollercoaster journey of emotions that few instrumental guitarists can achieve.'
Blues and jazz chanteuse Maria Muldaur has been a seminal figure in the folk/blues/roots world ever since she emerged in the 1960s from New York City's Greenwich Village with the Even Dozen and Jim Kweskin jug bands. Her most-recent album for Stony Plain Records, Naughty, Bawdy & Blue, completed the trilogy of albums the acclaimed singer has released as a tribute to classic women blues singers from the 1920s through the 1940s. Both of Maria's previous albums in the series for Stony Plain were nominated for Grammy Awards: Richland Woman Blues (2001) and Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul (2005).
'Muldaur turns in absolutely wonderful renditions of sassy, double-entendre-rich songs like Victoria Spivey's 'One Hour Mama' and Albert Hunter's 'Early Every Morn, ' said the Montreal Gazette in its review of Naughty, Bawdy & Blue.
Mess of Blues was singer/guitarist Jeff Healey's last recorded album, released just shortly after he passed away from cancer at age 41. One of the most distinctive guitar players of our time, Healey viewed the album as his gift to fans of his incendiary blues guitar playing and soulful vocals, which made him an international star. Mess of Blues was his first blues/rock album in eight years, and featured Healey backed by the band from his Roadhouse club in Toronto. The CD saluted roots, blues and rock styles with covers of old R&B and rock 'n' roll fan favorites, as well as salutes to modern influences such as The Band and Neil Young.
Billboard magazine said of the CD: '… it's an outstanding farewell … It's a genuine pleasure to hear Healey's fluid, incisive lead guitar again, and his bandmates are rock solid.'
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