photo of the week

High Cotton for the Cotton Mouth Man

From left:  Blues harp icon James Cotton is wailing out a tune while blues-rock legend Elvin Bishop accompanies on his guitar.  The two were joined by guitarist Tom Holland (Cotton’s regular guitarist) and long-time blues vocalist Darrel Mulisch as featured performers on the stage of the recent 35th Annual Blues Music Awards program at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.  During the program Cotton garnered the “Male Traditional Blues Artist of the Year” award.  He can add that to the stack of awards he already has.  Cotton’s album “Cotton Mouth Man” was a 2014 Grammy nominee and featured luminary musicians Gregg Alman, Delbert McClinton, and Chuck Leavell among others.

Playin the Blues

Sunday, May 11, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Each May, top blues performers swarm to Memphis like swallows returning to Capistrano.  With good reason.  It is the appointed time for the Blues Music Awards — where the crème-de-la-crème of the genre are recognized.  For those of you not familiar with the program, think "Academy Awards of Blues."  Blues artists, recording firms, bands, and other contributors to the art form are annually recognized for their contributions and accomplishments.


The Rest of the Band.

This is the entire cast playing with Messrs. Cotton and Bishop: (from left) Tom Holland, guitar; Darrell Mulisch, vocals; Hisself James Cotton, harp; and Ol’ Elvin Bishop doing his fine job on guitar.


Cuttin' a Really Good Groove

The opening band was Adriana Marie and her Groove Cutters.  From left: Adriana, Erik Hughes on trombone, and lead guitarist L. A. Jones.  The band was really good, prompting some attendees to observe that if this was the quality of the opening band that “bidness was ‘bout to pick up.”  It did.  See another picture of the band on our sister site, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.


Just Call Me Earl

Ronnie Earl, winner of the “Instrumentalist, Guitar” award turns in a stirring performance.  Earl was born Ronald Horvath in Queens, New York.  Later in life while he was playing with Muddy Waters, and in light of the fact that Muddy couldn’t remember the Horvath last name when he called Ronnie to the stage, he changed his last name to “Earl” as a tribute to blues slide guitarist Earl Hooker.

Generally speaking, the program format is dinner, bands, awards, bands, awards, bands, awards, repeat if necessary.  The sequence begins around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and normally concludes around 1:30 a.m. Friday.  Attendees are delightfully bombarded with tunes from the best blues artists on the planet.

Blues is one of the few truly American, Delta-hatched art forms.  Though young as an art form, Blues knows no boundaries and is truly international in nature.  It is one of the finest American exports and continues to grow in popularity.


mouth harp B L U E S    G A L L E R Y    1


mouth harp B L U E S    G A L L E R Y    2

Photo Notes

Nikon D7100, AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200 G ED, all hand held. ISO from 2500 to 3200 depending on lights.  Manual exposure after spot metering for best results, varying from f4 to f6.3 and 1/125 to 1/180.  All post processed with Photoshop® CC / 64 bit.


see more
See more of the Blues Music Awards
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,
including this shot of world-class blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite. Click go and look.

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