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Musicians playing at Blues Fest win awards

June 02, 1999

Two blues musicians performing this weekend at the Western Maryland Blues Fest in Hagerstown are recent winners of the W.C. Handy Blues Award.

Gatemouth Brown, who will perform on Potomac Street just off Public Square from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, received the award for "Blues Instrumentalist - other."

Rory Block, who will perform in City Park from 3:45 to 5 p.m. Sunday, won the "Acoustic Blues Album of the Year" category for his album, "Confessions of a Blues Singer."

The awards were presented last Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

The Blues Foundation, a nonprofit Memphis group, organized the event.

Howard Stovall, executive director of the group, said the awards are often referred to as the Grammy Awards for blues musicians.

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The musicians are nominated for the awards by a group of blues aficionados, which includes radio disc jockeys.

The winners are selected from the list of nominees by 15,000 people, including subscribers to blues magazines, Stovall said.

Shemekia Copeland, who will perform on Potomac Street off Public Square from 1:15 to 2:05 p.m. Saturday, was nominated for "Contemporary Blues - Female Artist of the Year." She did not win the award.

The Western Maryland Blues Fest runs from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, with performances at the Maryland Theatre, around Public Square and at City Park.

Directions to the festival can be found at the event's Internet site at www.blues-fest.org.

- Dan Kulin

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