For the first time in its 29-year history, the Blues Music Awards will be held in the Mississippi Delta. Long known as the birthplace of the blues, the poverty-stricken Delta has taken a back seat to Memphis, headquarters of the Blues Foundation, which puts on the biggest event in the industry. But not this time. Dozens of blues acts - Jimmie Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Omar Dykes among them - are set to attend the event, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Grand Casino Event Center in Tunica. The festivities will kick off at 3 p.m., with Gov. Haley Barbour unveiling a Blues Trail Marker on U.S. 61 in Tunica.
Jay Sieleman, executive director of the foundation, said the group chose Tunica for a couple of reasons. First, the venue in Memphis usually used was already booked. Second, the Delta made sense. "Rather than switch dates," he said, "we thought, how can we take advantage of the situation. From our point of view, historically this is great. The Delta is the birthplace of the blues."
The Ledger has a list of the nominees but for more information visit: www.blues.org