Blues Music Awards nominee for Acoustic Artist of the Year, Doug MacLeod, entertains a grateful audience at the 2012 Blues Music Awards while an engineer in his tech cave does what he does best to make certain all goes well for the production.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Once a year, the top blues artists and bands on the planet assemble in the Cook Convention Center on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee, for the Blues Music Awards. For blues aficionados, it is near Nirvana, the top of the food chain, it-don't-get-no-better-than-this. The program alternates between award conferral and bands at play — with more of the latter than the former.
Terry Hanck, winner of the Instrumentalist-Horn category, makes sweet sounds from a well tarnished sax that appears to be "rode hard and put up wet," but it is hard to argue with the results. He is accompanied by guitarist J.P. Sores.
It is generally conceded that The Blues, one of the purely American art forms, originated in the "vicinity" of Memphis. In this case, "vicinity" includes a substantial chunk of Mississippi real estate to the south of Memphis. That definition is necessary because there is an on-going and lively debate, and/or dispute as to the exact birthplace of the blues.
Blues harpist Johnny Sansone gave a lively performance in a put-together band of world-class musicians including lead guitarist Tab Benoit, who now has seven BMA awards to his credit. Needless to say, the band wailed and the audience swayed.
Many Memphis blues fans insist that the art form drew its first breath in their fair city, while the brethren and sisters further south in Mississippi, breathing righteous indignation, say that the blues first saw the light of day in their state. It is almost certain that the argument will never be resolved. For most of us, just listening to the blues is sufficient. After all, who asks where the electricity comes from that powers your "lat bubs" (translation: light bulbs)?
Blues musicians generally reflect the origin of the art. You almost get the idea they are in the blues genre because they "feel a calling to be there." You get that feeling as well when you listen to the music. When you talk to them after the performance, it is like talking to one of your neighbors. That's the way they are — and that's why the music is what it is.
I shot a tad over 2,700 exposures and filled four 8-gig cards and part of another. I selected 107 images to include in the galleries linked below. You should get an idea of what went down by taking a tad of time to peruse the pictures.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.