Blues fans have until March 2 to vote for their favorites in the 36th annual Blues Music Awards (BMAs). You must be a member of the Blues Foundation to vote, but the basic individual annual membership is only $25 and makes you a supporter of the international blues scene. Member votes determine the winners. See for more details.

Elvin Bishop, Sugar Ray Norcia and local audience favorite John Németh have six nominations each. Another local club favorite, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats have four nominations combined in the individual and band categories. Bobby Rush, Janiva Magness, The Mannish Boys and Jarekus Singleton have three nominations each. Curtis Salgado is nominated in the Soul Blues Male category and longtime Hoodoo favorite Sax Gordon Beadle is nominated in the Best Instrumentalist Horn category. See all the categories at

The awards will be presented in a ceremony Thursday, May 7, in Memphis, Tenn. In conjunction with the BMAs, the Blues Foundation will have the Grand Opening of the physical site of the Blues Hall of Fame. The Hall will also have various exhibits, starting with an extensive showing of the beautiful blues photos Dick Waterman has taken during a career dedicated to the music.

Matt Whipkey’s Underwater 
Local rocker Matt Whipkey plays at Waiting Room Friday, Feb. 20, 9 p.m. in a CD release party for his latest record, Underwater. In his follow up to Penny Park, Whipkey promises Underwater is an exploration of “lost love, friendship, death and indulgence” as the personal transcends to the universal. Expect sizzling guitar and thoughtful, soulful insights. See

Shadowboxing this Weekend 
Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers are back from several weeks on the road. In the last week Hoyer was the featured artist in the February 12 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. See The band also took home two awards in the Omaha Entertainment and Arts (OEA) Awards, the Best Soul/R&B Artist and Album of the Year.

The band has two gigs this weekend. Catch them at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Friday, Feb. 20, 9 p.m. and in Omaha at the Harney Street Tavern Saturday, Feb. 21, 9 p.m.

OEA Awards Highlights 
Matt Cox took home the Best Americana/Folk Award at the OEA Awards Sunday, Feb. 15. Other recipients included the Luke Polipnick Trio for Best Jazz and Hector Anchondo Band took the Best Blues honors for the second year in a row. Kait Berreckman was named Best New Artist. John Klemmensen & The Party were named Best Rock. See the full list of winners at

21st Saloon Blues 
Anthony Gomes plays The 21st Saloon Thursday, Feb. 19, 6-9 p.m. Next week Chicago’s Rockin’ Johnny Burgin brings his jump-blues and swing style to Omaha Thursday, Feb. 26, 6-9 p.m. Rockin’ Johnny has been on the Chicago scene for 20 years and spent time playing with Chicago blues legend Taildragger and toured as a sideman with Pinetop Perkins and Sam Lay before launching his solo career. His bands have been featured at the legendary Chicago Blues Festival, recorded for Delmark Records and toured extensively. Burgin has a new disc out this month. See

Zoo Bar Music
Lincoln’s Zoo Bar was featured as one of 20 clubs in Big City Blues Magazine’s “20 Years of Nightclubbing the Blues” issue (February-March 2015). The magazine is celebrating 20 years of publication. See

Mike Zito & The Wheel are back in the metro for a show at the Zoo Bar Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6-9 p.m. The band features Zito fronting a very talented group of musicians including Scot Sutherland on bass, Jimmy Carpenter on sax and Lewis Stephens on keys who has worked with Delbert McClinton and the late Freddie King. They threw down at the 21st Saloon on Feb. 14 for a special Blues Society of Omaha show, filling the dance floor all night long with their high energy show and high octane musicianship. The band is touring in support of the live disc Songs from the Road (Ruf Records).
Keep up with the Zoo Bar schedule at and keep up with late-breaking announcements at the Zoo Bar Fan Club on Facebook.

Hot Notes 
Catch Hector Anchondo solo acoustic at The Omaha Lounge Thursday, Feb. 19 and Thursday, Feb. 26, 7:30-10:30 p.m.

The Geezers are up at the Copacabana Cocktails and Cigar Bar, 17520 Wright St. Suite 108, Friday, Feb. 20, 9 p.m. The band features two fine guitarists including Tim Budig and Harvey Brindell, formerly of the Honeyboy Turner Band along with the Honeyboy Turner Band’s rhythm section. See

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Amelia White and the great Sergio Webb play The Depot Deli in Shenanadoah, Iowa, Friday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. calls White’s latest album, Old Postcard, “stunningly gorgeous.” The Depot is a great, fun venue for live acousic music just an hour’s drive from Omaha. See and They play Byron’s in Pomeroy, Iowa, Sunday, Feb. 22, 5 p.m. See

Don’t forget to check out one of my favorite stories from my January trip to Memphis in the February print issue of The Reader. You can catch more photos that go along with the story at

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