Each year the Blues Foundation releases the DVD/CD of the previous year’s BLUES MUSIC AWARD SHOW. The Foundation hits the jackpot in the recap of the 2015 Blues Music Awards show. This package comes with a nearly two-hour DVD of the performances and an accompanying 12-song CD. The DVD is divided into 3 sections: PBS Show, Additional performances and a scroll of nominations. DVDs of past years showcased spectacular evenings of never to be duplicated music, speeches, and jam-worthy pairings – and the 2015 film is no exception.
After the acoustic send off with Dave and Phil Alvin performing “Key to the Highway”, from their nominated album, Candi Staton accelerates the DVD into high gear with her soul/blues blasting of “Three Minutes” (with nominees Lisa Mann, Deanne Bogart, and Bruce Katz as part of her back up band). The DVD then features winners in selected categories. The format of the PBS Shows section is performances augmented with award presentations.
Outstanding performances here include stunning acoustic finger picking finger picking work by John Hammond, Eric Bibb and Keb’ Mo’. Full band treatments include John Nemeth backed by the horn driven Bo-Keys, Elvin Bishop’s hilarious “Old School” backed by his touring band (which copped the Band of the Year Award), Kid Andersen and Charlie Musselwhite (perennial harp nominee and this year’s winner).
The stand out performances of the night were the finale in this section. Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt’s poignant tribute to BB King with “Baby You Lost Your Good Thing Now” was a soulful reminder of the reach of the King. At this time, King was in hospice care at this time and passed away a week later. That was followed by newcomer Jarekus Singleton’s resounding slow blues indictment, “Crime Scene”. Another newcomer, Selwyn Birchwood (winner of the Best New Artist Album) closed out the section with his “Love Me Again”.
The 45 minutes of additional performances feature songs by nominees, in some cases, backed by all-star bands. Sugaray Rayford sings “Bricks in my Pillow” supported by Mike Welch, Bob Corritore, Jimi Bott, Anthony Geraci and Willie J. Campbell. Mark Hummel’s Golden State / Lone Star Revue features Hummel, Little Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh, Wes Star and RW Grigsby on “Never No More”. Sugar Ray Norcia and the Bluetones show off the talents of Nocia, Welch, Geraci and the rhythm section of Neil Gouvin and Mudcat Ward. John Nemeth and Elvin Bishop team up for a back porch version of “Country Boy”. Finally, do not miss Vanesse Thomas’ performance. She shows off the vocal delivery and stage presence that Rufus Thomas, her famous father always brought to his shows.
The Blues Foundation DVD of the event is the perfect way for fans around the world to enjoy this highlight reel of the best night of the Blues. Blues Music Awards DVDs, from 2011 to 2015, can be ordered from the Blues Foundation web site. [ ]