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Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) Award

Twenty individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Blues music will be honored with The Blues Foundation's 2006 Keeping The Blues Alive (KBA) Award during a recognition brunch Saturday, January 28, 2006, in Memphis, Tennessee. The KBA ceremony will be part of the International Blues Challenge (IBC) weekend of events that will feature the semifinals and finals of the 22nd IBC competition as well as seminars, presentations, and receptions for Blues societies, fans, and professionals.

Unlike the Blues Music Awards, the Blues musicians’ most sought-after honor voted on by thousands of The Blues Foundation’s members, the KBAs are awarded to non-performers on the basis of merit by a select panel of Blues professionals. Board member and KBA Chairman Art Tipaldi commented on this year’s recipients, “Each year the committee sifts through many worthy submissions in the process of determining the most deserving, whether that decision is based on a particular event of the past year or on years of contributions. After more than twenty years, one might think we would be running short on candidates, but the opposite is true. The sifting remains very difficult.”

Tickets to the KBA ceremony are included in the Big Blue ticket package available online at www.blues.org. The IBC weekend, commencing Thursday, January 26, 2006, is sponsored in significant part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission, Greater Memphis Arts Council, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, bandvillage.com, Budweiser, XM Satellite Radio, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise and Strings & Things. Additional sponsors include: Bar-B-Bar BBQ Sauces, Beale Street Merchants Association, Center for Southern Folklore, Delta Groove Productions, Doubletree Hotel, FedEx, Gibson Guitars, Ginnin’ Cotton Records and sonicbids.

Media Sponsors include Big City Rhythm and Blues, Blues Festival Guide, Blues Revue, BluesWax, Downtowner magazine and Living Blues.

2006 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipients

Blues Club: Chord On Blues
St. Charles, Illinois

Chord On Blues, which has been open since 1996, is a 14,000 square foot facility, located on the river in beautiful downtown St. Charles, Illinois. Just an hour west of Chicago this Blues club gives a home to national touring acts as well as Chicago regulars, every Friday and Saturday night.

Blues Organization: Detroit Blues Society
Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit Blues Society (www.dbsblues.com), celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2005, is a longtime affiliate and strong supporter of the Blues Foundation. Together, they sponsor the Detroit Blues Society's annual Blues Challenge - Motor City Breakdown. Over 30 acts compete annually during the preliminary rounds. Recently, Joe Weaver, Kenny Martin, and Stanley Mitchell, Motor City R&B pioneers, received Detroit Blues Society's highest honor - A Lifetime Achievement Blues Award - and join Eddie "Guitar" Burns, Uncle Jessie White, Bobo Jenkins, The Butler Twins, Clarence & Curtis, John Lee Hooker, Eddie Kirkland, Mr. Bo, Sir Mack Rice, Lazy Lester, Johnny Bassett, Alberta Adams, Duke Dawson, Howard Armstrong, Robert Jones, and Famous Coachman in the exclusive club. Detroit Blues Society is a proud sponsor of Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine Gimme 5!initiative to raise funds for New Orleans musicians. The Detroit Blues Society is the engine for the Motor City where hundreds of Blues bands reside and Blues music is performed every night of the week.

Education: David Berntson
Tulsa, Oklahoma

David Berntson has been actively involved in teaching the Blues for many years. Each year, David packs his harmonicas and heads out into school districts to share his love of Blues history combined with his own musical skills. A typical Berntson program includes obvious messages about the history of the Blues, but David’s messages and stories also emphasize the importance of character development and wise decisions to successful lifestyles. Often, David travels with hundreds of harmonicas, which he provides to students through his endorsee arrangement with Hohner harmonicas. Blessed with a deep love of the Blues and an educator’s gift, David Berntson continues to teach the Blues to hundreds of new students each year at schools, festivals, and performances around the country.

Festival: Beale Street Music Festival
Memphis, Tennessee

With a sound that is duplicated and revered around the world, it’s not hard to understand why Memphis in May developed the Beale Street Music Festival, which annually attracts over 120,000 music fans from throughout the United States and around the world. Four stages of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Blues, Soul, R&B, alternative, and new rock, the Beale Street Music Festival hosts the legends and the leaders in the industry, but the Blues is without question the musical genre that separates Beale Street Music Festival from other great music festivals. Over its history, the Beale Street Music Festival has hosted the legends of Blues including Memphis blues legends Albert King,
Bobby "Blue" Bland, B.B. King and Furry Lewis. Stevie Ray Vaughan's last Memphis performance was at the Beale Street Music Festival. Other blues legends who have graced the stages include:
Gatemouth Brown, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside, Luther Allison, Charlie Musselwhite, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin just to name a few. And while Memphis in May salutes Memphis’ musical heritage through the Festival, it also puts the Blues in the international spotlight with coverage of the event by media from all over the world including CNN, the BBC, Rolling Stone, Cashbox, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, People Magazine, Amusement Business, Pollstar, and others.

Film, Television, or Video: Lightning in a Bottle
Antoine Fuqua, Director; Alex Gibney, Producer;
Martin Scorsese, Executive Producer
New York, NY

Lightning in a Bottle captures the magic night of February 7, 2003, when renowned artists across music genres and generations commandeered the stage at New York City's Radio City Music Hall to pay tribute to their heritage and passion: the Blues. Billed as the kick-off concert to the Year of the Blues, this film allows fans across the world to enjoy performances by legendary performers like B.B. King, Ruth Brown, Mavis Staples, Solomon Burke, Honeyboy Edwards, and younger names like Shemekia Copeland, Keb’ Mo’, and others as they join forces in this once-in-a-lifetime salute to the Blues. In addition to stellar performance footage, the DVD includes back stage interviews with many performers, historical photographs, and special sound check performances.

Historical Preservation: River Music Experience
Davenport, Iowa

The River Music Experience is a one-of-a-kind center located in downtown Davenport, Iowa. The mission of the River Music Experience is to present an entertainment experience that celebrates American roots music and the role the Mississippi River played in its proliferation across the country. It delivers its mission by providing an educational, hands-on experience using traditional exhibit displays and hi-tech interactive exploration centers. The showpiece of the new style exhibits is the 81-foot long interactive River Wall, showing the journey that Blues and other American root music forms took up and down the river. It is here that the main focus of history and heritage of Blues and its influences is presented. The River Wall is stocked with archival photographs, video and audio clips, which allow the viewer to trace the path of the music along the “Big Muddy.” Additionally, the RME offers Earports, an electronic database, which profiles thousands of musicians and two theaters, where visitors can access documentaries showing musicians influences and styles. The River Music Experience looks to become the model for future music museums.

Internet: Blues Bytes
Bill Mitchell, Tempe, Arizona

Before you buy a new Blues CD, check out this online review site. Since its first online issue in December of 1996, Bill Mitchell’s Blues Bytes has delivered ten issues of CD reviews each year. Each monthly issue contains in-depth reviews of the best of that month’s current crop of Blues recordings. In addition to recordings, the Blues Bytes staff, committed writers from around the country, also review newly published books about the Blues. Once on the site, there is a thorough listing of all its back issues since its 1996 inception. In addition, there is also a very lengthy alphabetical index of every artist where you can read past CD and book reviews.

Journalism: Sean McDevitt
New York, New York

Sean has been a supporter of the Blues long before his current position as contributing editor of the nationally distributed magazine GuitarOne, where he writes a monthly Blues column featuring an artist interview and a photograph. He also writes Blues CD reviews and performance reviews. Prior to bringing Blues artists to a large national audience for GuitarOne, Sean wrote about Blues for Guitar, Guitar World, and many other publications. He's also written and edited for CNN/Money.com, the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal, the Westchester (New York) Journal-News, Sports Illustrated, and Money magazine. An Indiana native, he now resides in New York City.

Literature: The B.B. King Treasures
Dick Waterman, Oxford, Mississippi

Few people have done more for the Blues than Dick Waterman. As agent and manager in the 1960s, his Avalon Productions directed the careers of Son House, whom he personally rediscovered, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Mance Lipscomb, Arthur Crudup, Fred McDowell, and on a band level Waterman managed Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Magic Sam, Luther Allison, and J. B. Hutto. To add to an already stellar career Waterman, for B.B. King’s 80th birthday celebrated this past September, helped the King give us gift after gift in his book The B.B. King Treasures. King gives readers eight inserts filled with facsimiles of treasures from his personal collection. In addition to his lengthy interviews with King, Waterman collected personal stories from people like Bill Ferris, Bruce Iglauer, Little Milton, Bobby Rush, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Pervis Spann, Charles Evers, Eric Clapton, Steve Miller, and King’s personal management friends Sid Seidenberg and Floyd Lieberman. Also included is a CD with King’s personal introduction to the project, a 1974 interview with Bill Ferris, three cuts from a 1970 interview, three cuts from King’s speech to the National Press Club in 1996, and three more from King’s XM radio interview with Bill Wax on Martin Luther King’s birthday in 2004, and many other surprises. This is a Blues lover’s treasure.

Manager: Jim Bateman
Bogalusa, Louisiana

Jim Bateman spent the last 29 years as manager/friend/co-producer/confidante of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, epitomizing the very best of what a manager should be. He has been instrumental as a manager in directing an important phase of Chris Thomas King's career, and is currently managing the Benjy Davis Project, a young group from Baton Rouge. Gatemouth's last recording was as a guest artist on the group's current album. Jim nurtured Gatemouth's career, assuring his needs were always met and offering constant support and guidance. Jim arranged lucrative tours and record contracts for Gatemouth, making him among the most honored and best paid artists in the Blues. During Gatemouth's recent health crises and subsequent passing, Jim Bateman was there, offering his help and assistance every step of the way.

Photography: Paul Natkin
Chicago, Illinois

Paul Natkin has been photographing musicians around Chicago and across the country for almost 30 years. He is well known in Rock circles (touring with the Rolling Stones and Keith Richards), but also has a deep love of Blues and Jazz artists. He is well known for photographing artists from Frank Sinatra and Madonna to Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters. He claims that if you name a musician, he's probably photographed him or her. His credits include countless record jackets and magazine covers, including recent album covers for Mavis Staples, Michael Burks and the Seigel Schwall Band.

Print Media: Blues Festival Guide
Reno, Nevada

Recognizing a real need in the Blues community, the Blues Festival Guide was first published in 2003. Today it publishes over 100,000 copies that are distributed free of charge at many bookstores, record stores, festivals, and to all U.S. Blues societies. Contrary to the title, this annual publication is not merely a listing of festivals; there are stories focusing on people, places, and trends related to the Blues. This is the one magazine to find before you plan out your summer Blues festival odyssey.

Producer: Bruce Bromberg
Pacific Palisades, California

Start in the late sixties with the Bihari reissues or Lightnin’ Hopkins’ California Mudslide record, jump into the 1970s with records by Lonesome Sundown, Phillip Walker, and Johnny Shines, then move into the 1980s and look at all the music by Robert Cray, Joe Louis Walker, and Ted Hawkins and you have a small sampling of Bruce Bromberg’s body of work as a producer in the Blues. Bromberg has also been instrumental as the reissue supervisor for most of the Testament recordings of Fred McDowell, Otis Spann, Louis Myers, and J. B. Hutto. The over 150 records Bromberg has worked on since are a true measure of his one-of-a-kind talent.

Promoter: Ted Boomer
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Ted Boomer has been promoting the Blues for over 30 years, as an independent promoter, as owner of four nightclubs, as founder of the 12th annual Windsor Bluesfest and 7th annual London Bluesfest, and as co-founder (along with Barry Streib) of the 5th annual Thunder Bay Bluesfest. Five years ago, Ted and his wife Louise started the Canada South Blues Society, which has grown to over 800 members in Windsor and London, and has presented 85 shows.

Publicist: Cary Baker, conqueroo
Sherman Oaks, California

Cary Baker began his life in the Blues when he published a Blues fanzine in high school in Chicago. For over 25 years, Cary has been one of the hardest working and most effective publicists in the music business and has kept his love for roots music at the forefront. As VP of Publicity at Capitol Records, I.R.S. Records, Discovery Records, and Morgan Creek Records, he worked to spearheaded publicity campaigns for R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Shelby Lynne, Delbert McClinton, Cheap Trick, Loudon Wainwright III, Alex Chilton, Susan Tedeschi, Tina Turner, Steve Vai, Bobby Rush, and Sue Foley. In 2004, Cary opened his own publicity firm, conqueroo, small c, where he represents some artists like J.J. Cale, Caitlin Cary, Robert Cray, Marshall Crenshaw, Rodney Crowell, Hank III, Peter Himmelman, Ellis Hooks, Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Willie Nile, Dan Penn, Bobby Purify, Martin Sexton, Billy Joe Shaver, Michelle Shocked, Chris Stamey, Tres Chicas, Tony Joe White, Buckwheat Zydeco, and the Ponderosa Stomp festival. He also operates the reissue label Conjuroo Recordings, which released one of the year’s most acclaimed Blues reissues, Blind Arvella Gray’s The Singing Drifter.

Radio (Commercial): Bill Wax, XM Satellite Radio
Washington, DC

Bill Wax of XM Satellite Radio, champions the Blues 24 hours a day. While programming an entire national Blues channel by himself can be described as a Herculean task, Bill has been able to call on his experience of over 20 years as a Blues DJ on non-commercial radio. He still finds time to attend major Blues festivals and Blues Foundation events throughout the year. He started in radio in the late 1970s at KOPN in Columbia, Missouri. After relocating to KBOO in Portland, Oregon, as Program Director, he hosted a Friday night Blues and R&B show for two years before heading to Washington, D.C. There he hosted a weekly Blues show on WPFW, which was later expanded to become The Blues Plate Special, a daily lunchtime Blues show Bill hosted for six years. Bill also served as Executive Producer of National Programming for Pacifica Radio. Many of the artists heard on XM's Bluesville channel are receiving royalty checks for the first time in years, some for the first time ever.

Radio (Public): KPFT Radio
Houston, Texas

KPFT has championed the Blues since it first hit the airwaves in 1970, playing ten hours of uninterrupted Blues every Sunday, with additional Blues throughout the week. The various shows and volunteer hosts perform an amazing job, bringing news, events, new and old music to a huge audience along the Upper Texas Gulf Coast. The non-commercial station is almost entirely listener-sponsored and derives a large portion of its support pledges from the Sunday Blues programs every year. The Blues is a core thread in the community-based radio tapestry that is Houston's Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM - 90.1 in Houston and 89.5 in Galveston, Texas.

Record Label: M.C. Records
Mark Carpentieri, Huntington Station, New York

Mark Carpentieri started M.C. Records in 1991. To date, M.C. Records has 20 releases with distribution all over the world. The label's albums have been nominated for more than 30 W.C. Handy Awards and four Grammy Awards. M.C. Records has released recordings by Odetta, Pinetop Perkins, Gary U.S. Bonds, Kim Wilson, Sleepy LaBeef, Big Jack Johnson, Joanna Connor, R.L. Burnside, and, most recently, Angela Strehli. M.C. Records most ambitious project has been Shout Sister Shout, A Tribute To Sister Rosetta Tharpe released in 2003 with Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Joan Osborne, Michelle Shocked, Marcia Ball, Sweet Honey on the Rock, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Janis Ian, Victoria Williams, Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli, Marie Knight, and the Holmes Brothers.

Retailer: Twist & Shout
Denver, Colorado

For an unprecedented fifth year in a row, Twist & Shout, Denver’s premier independently owned record store, was chosen in 2005 for the prestigious Retailer of the Year at the Annual Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) for their outstanding achievement in music retailing. Jill and Paul Epstein opened their store 17 years ago with a dream to serve Denver’s eclectic music fans. In an age of huge mega-stores where the music choices are dictated by corporate driven mentality, the Twist & Shout remains the perfect example of what every independent record shop should be. With its knowledgeable staff, in-store performances, and deep catalog, every independent music storeowner should follow the Twist & Shout template.

Sponsor: BMI
New York, New York

BMI's roster of affiliated songwriters, composers, and publishers is unsurpassed and includes outstanding creators in every style of musical composition, but of particular importance is its dominance in the Blues music genre. BMI has supported the work of Blues writers since its founding in 1940, at which time the major performing rights organization did not include many Blues-connected individuals in their membership. Blues continues to be a central element of BMI's repertoire with 94% of the performers in the Blues Hall of Fame being BMI songwriters. As a result, BMI has been an anchor sponsor of the Blues Music Awards since the early nineties. Playing such a major role in the Blues’ biggest night illustrates how important the music is to BMI.

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