UK Blues Awards 2022

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UK Blues Awards 2022 - PowerHaus Camden, London (UK) - 15 May 2022

The UK Blues industry spotlights promising and refreshing new talents

For the first time after two years the UK Blues Awards, powered by the UK Blues Federation, returns to its live stage. Richard Dunning, Chair of the UK Blues Federation, opens up the show, obviously happy about the return of live music, since the Blues industry still shows a loyal fanbase of live music lovers, as we could clearly witnesses on the nearly sold- out Powerhaus in London.

The host of the Award show was no other than Radio 2 legend, Paul Jones, who charmingly presented the evening. He expressed his pure love that he’s always had, and after he retired from BBCs Blues show, he now was truly happy about the honour to present UK’s creme of the Blues Music Industry.

The first Blues award was the Jules Fothergill Young Blues Artist Of The Year, where in particular the offspring generation under 25 gets acknowledged. On his third consecutive win of this award, Connor Selby might not be a newcomer anymore, however with his live acoustic-performance later on, he has clearly proven why he has well- deserved this award. His soulful voice on top of excellent guitar skills, provide him the perfect package for a successful and long journey on the way to climb from Young Artist to become a UK Blues legend. Next year he may not be “young” enough to win this award, but great enough to qualify for the many other awards, the UK Blues federation offers.

The emerging Blues artist of the year, sponsored by Outlaw records, is probably the most exciting award as you can witness rising Blues stars first hand. This year’s winner was Emma Wilson, who has made some noise in the past years with reaching international album charts and airplays. Emmas voice is a Must- Hear and brings a bit of all ever legendary female Blues singers: Janis Joplin, Etta James or Aretha Franklin can be found in this powerhouse vocalist. She finished the first part of the show with a stunning live performance along with her band, who played an excellently tight and extravagant set.

The second part of the show rewarded many of the key players and most important “behind- the scene” people of the industry:
Carlisle as best Blues Festival of the year, the Tuesday Blues at the 100 Club in London as best Blues Venue of the Year, Bob Salmons as Ynsung Hero of the Year and Paul Young’s successor, Cerys Matthews, as best Blues Broadcaster of the Year. The UK Blues industry wouldn’t be where it is today, without the support of those important key players. In all of their speeches you could clearly tell how much love they have for this genre and how much dedication they show to support all the great Blues artists out there.

The award show got even more emotional, when the ‘Blues Unsung Hero of the Year’ award announced Alan Pearce as a winner. Alan, who was the founder of the Blues Matters magazine, sadly passed away earlier in the year. Probably all Blues artists somehow got in touch with Alan, who truly dedicated his heart and soul to the Blues Music.

On the artist side, for Best Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year and Best Blues Instrumentalist, Dom Martin has received two awards. He gained big sympathy by the audience for his likeable, authentic and humorous speech. When he later entered the stage to perform some of his songs, he left everyone speechless. As he said, he used to be a drug addictive, but Blues Music helped him to overcome it and gave him identity. The audience could witness that from Dom on his live performance. This was not just a show, Blues music is his life. Dom is probably one of the most emotional acts who are out there in the industry and a must seen!

Nominated for 3 awards ‘When Rivers Meet’ have cleaned it all up. Best Blues Singer of the Year, front woman Grace Bond was moved to tears when she received the award, cause singing was all she ever wanted. With their album ‘Saving Grace’ the band has won their second award in row for the Best Blues Album of the Year, sponsored by the White Noise Studios. After they had their Debut in 2019, this has been a pretty rocket start to the top. No wonder ‘When Rivers Meet’ also won this Year’s Best Blues Band Award.

The show was closed by a stunning performance of the Multiple award winning band ‘When Rivers Meet’, showing clearly, that this band is about to making waves.

The UK Blues Music Future looks bright and promising and it needs to be said: It is a truly intimate and loyal genre, where music creators, music lovers and music supporters work closely together to keep the Blues alive.

Cheri Lyn

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