Blues Artist of the Year
Alabama Shakes’ first album “Boys &Girls” was released in April 2012 and received widespread commercial success reaching number eight in the American national charts with further praise from Rolling Stone who dubbed their number one single “Hold On” “the best song of the year”. They were nominated for three Grammys in 2013 including ‘Best New Artist’, ‘Best Rock Performance’ for “Hold On” and ‘Best Recording Package’ for “Boys & Girls”.
After having not released any new material since 2012, Alabama Shakes have returned with their musically diverse second album “Sound & Colour” that draws on a wide range of influences. The psychedelic space jam “Gemini” is juxtaposed beautifully with the bluesy groove supplied by tracks such as “Shoegaze”. The album shot to number one in both US and Canadian charts whilst also garnering six nominations at the 2016 Grammy Awards of which it won four including ‘Best Alternative Music Album’, and ‘Best Rock Performance’ and ‘Best Rock Song’ for the Band’s single “Don’t Wanna fight”. Boasting a powerful live performance, Alabama Shakes are a fantastically energetic band, reinforced by a varied repertoire of tracks that place them as one of the most interesting bands of recent times.
Buddy Guy is one of the most, if not the most, celebrated blues guitarists of his generation, possessing a sound and style that embodies the traditions of classic Chicago blues. Spending much of his career as a well-regarded journeyman, he finally rose to fame in the 1990s. Few guitarists of any genre have enjoyed the respect of their peers as Guy has, with such giants as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Mark Knopfler all citing him as a personal favourite.
Turning 79 hasn’t halted his stream of exhilarating guitar work and his latest album “Born to Play the Guitar” is an extension of Buddy’s furious and emotional mastery of the guitar that is a credit to his many years of playing and phenomenal experience. This album adds to a long list of Buddy’s exquisite releases and was duly awarded a Grammy for ‘Best Blues Album’ earlier this year. Buddy’s presence and influence on the Blues scene throughout the years is nothing short of extraordinary and both the quality of the music he produces and his exciting stage performances cement his place as a true legend of the genre.
Texas born guitarist Gary Clark has been compared to guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his energetic, impassioned and wild performances are a testament to this appraisal. Clark was selected by Eric Clapton to perform at the prestigious ‘Crossroads Guitar Festival’ in 2010 with only two self-produced albums to his name. This performance was to be a turning point in the already supremely talented guitarist’s career leading to a recording deal with Warner Bros.
Clark went on to release two more studio albums with Warner Bros. and saw success in the 2013 Austin Music Awards collecting eight awards including ‘Musician of the Year’, ‘Song of the year’ and ‘Album of the Year’ for “Blak and Blu”. On top of this, Clark won the award for ‘Best Traditional R&B Performance’ at the 2014 Grammy’s. Clark’s most recent album “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” is a thoughtful and passionate amalgam of African-American music from past and present with blues playing one of the most crucial ingredient in the formula along with soul, R&B, funk and gospel. The album rocketed to the top of Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart and saw Clark named as the Blues music awards ‘Male Artist of the Year’ in 2014 and 2015.