The Cash Box Kings

The Cash Box Kings

The Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 39th annual Blues Music Awards on Tuesday.

Ten of Chicago's Alligator recording artists received a total of 18 nominations.

Rick Estrin, leader of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, received seven nominations, including the B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year, Album of The Year (for "Groovin' In Greaseland") and Song Of The Year (for "The Blues Ain't Goin' Nowhere"). Estrin was also recognized with other nominations.

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, The Nick Moss Band and The Cash Box Kings were all nominated for the coveted Band Of The Year award. Nick Moss Band harmonica player Dennis Gruenling received a nomination for Best Instrumentalist - Harmonica.

In addition, The Cash Box Kings' "Royal Mint" and Elvin Bishop's latest "Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio" were nominated for Traditional Blues Album Of The Year.

Among other nominees for various awards were Selwyn Birchwood, Toronzo Cannon, Shemekia Copeland and Curtis Salgado.

The winners will be announced when the  Blues Music Awards are presented May 10 in Memphis at the Cook Convention Center. More on these and other artists on Chicago's Alligator Records at alligator.com.


There are many places now offering "open mic" and "open stage" events throughout the Region. Below are a few of those peppering the area.

• Tuesdays are happening every week for music lovers and players from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Finnegan's Irish Pub (1074 Joliet St.) in Dyer as two members of The Fresh Hops -- Stephan Cook and Ian Gill -- along with long time local music makers -- Scott Larson and Josh Hanchar (of The Picks)-- host an open jam featuring top Region talents. The weekly Fresh Hops & Friends open stage welcomes all genres of music. All back line stage gear provided, just bring your instruments. More: 219-865-9896.

• Acoustic Open Jams are hosted every Wednesday by Cousin Dave from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Town Pub (214 E. Commercial Ave.) in Lowell.

• Tonight and every Thursday, Paul Henry's Art Gallery (416 Sibley St.) Hammond, hosts The True Acoustic Jam from 7 to 11 p.m. "No amps!! No mics! Just you, the music and the audience," is the gallery's slogan for this completely, unplugged gathering of musicians and singers. Those who perform or bring a food item to the gallery's "pot luck" food jam get $2 off the regular $5 cover charge. More: 219-678-5015.

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• Region music performer/guitarist Mark Rongers of The Newports will be guest hosting tonight's weekly electric jam at Bottoms Up (1696 Thornton-Lansing Rd.) in Lansing from 8 p.m. to midnight. More: 708-418-3877 or BottomsUpOnline.com.

• Drummer Andy Sutton brings the "jam" concept up a few notches every Sunday at Region Ale Tap House & Eatery (1080 U.S. 41) in Schererville with his Sunday Jazz Brunch from noon to 3 p.m., which features Sutton's Calumet Jazz Band backing an invited, weekly guest host. Assorted jazzers and funksters from the Region are welcome to join in and top talents take advantage of having a place to play a genre of great American music. No cover, all ages, family friendly and good food help make this event a success. This Sunday's guest host is veteran jazz/R&B vocalist Janel Peers. More: 219-322-BEER or regionaletaphouse.com.


• The multi-talented, Anthony Ramos, who originated the critically-acclaimed roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical "Hamilton," is performing music from his debut solo project, the "Freedom EP," at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) in Chicago. General Admission seating: $22 in advance/$25 at door. All Ages event. More: 773-525-2501.

• Northwest Indiana R&B vocalist Nicole Garza makes her solo vocal debut at 8 p.m. tonight at Chicago's famous Redhead Piano Bar, with Tom Linsk accompanying her on piano. "It'll be just the two of us, singing all the favorites and taking requests," said Garza. More: NicoleGarza.com.

• Party band Pandora Rocks performs Saturday at R-Bar (9521 Indianapolis Blvd.) in Highland. More at 219-922-8008, R-barandgrill.com and pandorarocks.com.

The Picks perform a variety of classic rock favorites and some current hits on Saturday at The Track Lounge (318 N. Jackson St.) in Crown Point. More: 219-663-9838.

Buddy & Pals (1206 E. Summit St.) in Crown Point has a solid weekend of entertainment starting tonight with country music done acoustic style by Jimmy Sarr, followed by more of the same, only plugged-in, by Gone Country on Friday, and wrapping up on Saturday with The Crawpuppies brand of pop/rock covers and originals. More: 219-662-0088 or buddyandpals.com.

• It may be a little bit of a road trip, but the popular Northwest Indiana band, James Neary and The Bevy Blue, headline one of the Midwest's coolest rock venues Vegetable Buddies (129 N. Michigan St.) in South Bend on Saturday. Opening the show is Fragile Soul. Tickets: $15 general admission. More: jamesnearyandthebevyblue.

Leroy's Hot Stuff (333 West U.S. Hwy. 20) in Porter welcomes the blues sounds of The Chicago Kingsnakes (featuring guitarist/vocalist Jim "Ang"Anderson) at 8 p.m. Friday.This gig will feature Gary, Indiana's  Ralph Kinsey sitting in as special guest on the drums for the group. Anderson hosts the 89.1FM - Lakeshore Public radio program, “Confessin The Blues,” at midnight on Fridays. On Saturday, Leroy's Hot Stuff features the Southern-Fried rock of Southern Jack at 9 p.m. More: leroyshotstuff.com or 219-926-6211.

• Starting tonight and running through the whole weekend, blues guitar legend Buddy Guy is in residence at his namesake club Buddy Guy's Legends (700 S. Wabash Ave.) in Chicago. Tonight's special guest is Toronzo Cannon. Tickets: $55. For more information on the weekend's shows, call 312-427-1190 or buddyguys.com.

Memorial Opera House Business Director Scot PJ MacDonald will guest at noon Friday on 89.1FM - Lakeshore Public Media's "The Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges" radio program. MacDonald will talk about the historic venue's upcoming new season. Stream live at lakeshorepublicradio.org.

Opinions are solely those of the writer. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.