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Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

Lil' Ed Willams (third from left) is nominated for the Blues Music Award's  B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award. He & The Blues Imperials are nominated for band of the year.  

Zoo Bar staple Lil’ Ed Williams is one of the five nominees for the 2019 Blues Music Awards top prize -- B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.

Williams, who is has been playing the Zoo for decades is also nominated with his band, the Blues Imperials for Band of the Year, a category that also includes frequent Zoo visitor The Nick Moss Band.

The Moss Band and Dennis Gruenling are also nominated for album of the year and traditional blues album for “The High Cost of Low Living,” and Moss is nominated for traditional blues artist.

Also nominated for two awards is Tinsley Ellis, who is up for blues rock artist and blues rock album for “Winning Hand.”

Other Zoo favorites/regulars that were among the nominees announced Wednesday are: Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz, Hadden Sayers, Curtis Salgado, Lindsay Beaver, Too Slim and the Taildraggers, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Samantha Fish, Rick Estrin, Selwyn Birchwood, Toronzo Cannon and James Harman.

The 40th Blues Music Awards will be presented on May 9 in Memphis.

The nominees for the 40th Blues Music Awards are:

Acoustic Album:

"A Woman's Soul" — Rory Block

"Black Cowboys" — Dom Flemons

"Global Griot" — Eric Bibb

"Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues" — Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson

"Wish The World Away" — Ben Rice

Acoustic Artist:

Ben Rice

Guy Davis

Hadden Sayers

Harrison Kennedy

Rory Block

Album of the Year:

"America's Child" — Shemekia Copeland

"The High Cost Of Low Living" — The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling

"Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues" — Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson

"Rough Cut" — Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager

"Why Did You Have To Go" — Anthony Geraci

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year:

Beth Hart

Bobby Rush

Lil' Ed Williams

Michael Ledbetter

Sugaray Rayford

Band of the Year:

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars

Larkin Poe

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials

Nick Moss Band

Welch-Ledbetter Connection

Best Emerging Artist Album:

"Burn Me Alive" — Heather Newman

"Free" — Amanda Fish

"Heartland And Soul" — Kevin Burt

"Tough As Love" — Lindsay Beaver

"Wish The World Away" — Ben Rice

Blues Rock Album:

"The Big Bad Blues" — Billy F Gibbons

"High Desert Heat" — Too Slim and the Taildraggers

"Live At The '62 Center" — Albert Cummings

"Poor Until Payday" — The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

"Winning Hand" — Tinsley Ellis

Blues Rock Artist:

Billy F Gibbons

Eric Gales

J.P. Soars

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Tinsley Ellis

Contemporary Blues Album:

"America's Child" — Shemekia Copeland

"Belle Of The West" — Samantha Fish

"Chicago Plays The Stones" — The Living History Band

"Hold On" — Kirk Fletcher

"Wild Again" — The Proven Ones

Contemporary Blues Female Artist:

Beth Hart

Danielle Nicole

Samantha Fish

Shemekia Copeland

Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist:

Kenny Neal

Rick Estrin

Ronnie Baker Brooks

Selwyn Birchwood

Toronzo Cannon

Instrumentalist — Bass:

Danielle Nicole

Michael "Mudcat" Ward

Patrick Rynn

Scot Sutherland

Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist — Drums:

Cedric Burnside

Jimi Bott

June Core

Tom Hambridge

Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist — Guitar:

Anson Funderburgh

Christoffer "Kid" Andersen

Laura Chavez

Monster Mike Welch

Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist — Harmonica:

Billy Branch

Bob Corritore

Dennis Gruenling

Kim Wilson

Mark Hummel

Instrumentalist — Horn:

Doug James

Jimmy Carpenter

Kaz Kazzanoff

Mindi Abair

Nancy Wright

Vanessa Collier

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano):

Anthony Geraci

Bruce Katz

Jim Pugh

Marcia Ball

Mike Finnigan

Instrumentalist – Vocals:

Beth Hart

Danielle Nicole

Janiva Magness

Michael Ledbetter

Shemekia Copeland

Song of the Year:

“Ain't Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough

“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci

“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge and Richard Fleming

“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper

“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley

Soul Blues Album:

"Back In Business" — Frank Bey

"Every Soul's A Star" — Dave Keller

"I'm Still Around" — Johnny Rawls

"Love Makes A Woman" — The Knickerbocker All-Stars

"Reckoning" — Billy Price

Soul Blues Female Artist:

Annika Chambers

Barbara Blue

Candi Staton

Thornetta Davis

Whitney Shay

Soul Blues Male Artist:

Frank Bey

Johnny Rawls

Sugaray Rayford

Wee Willie Walker

William Bell

Traditional Blues Album:

"The Blues Is Alive And Well" — Buddy Guy

"The High Cost Of Low Living" — Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

"The Luckiest Man" — Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters

"Tribute to Carey Bell" — Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty

"Why Did You Have To Go" — Anthony Geraci

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist):

Fiona Boyes

Lindsay Beaver

Ruthie Foster

Sue Foley

Trudy Lynn

Traditional Blues Male Artist:

Anthony Geraci

Cedric Burnside

James Harman

Lurrie Bell

Nick Moss

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or

On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.


Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment reporter and columnist.

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