Greenville musician nominated for blues awards

Published 12:26 am Friday, December 26, 2008

A Greenville blues musician has received four nominations, including Best New Artist Debut, for the 2009 Blues Music Awards.

The Blues Foundation announced the nominations Tuesday and Greenville pianist Eden Brent was selected in four categories — Acoustic Album of the Year, Acoustic Artist of the Year, Best New Artist Debut and Pinetop Perkins Piano Player.

Brent earned the nominations for her latest CD, “Mississippi Number One.”

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“I feel so honored,” Brent said Wednesday after learning of the nominations. “I’ve looked at the list of other nominees and to be recognized with the likes of B.B. King, it’s just amazing.

The group Mannish Boys leads all nominees with six nominations. Tied with four each are Brent, slide guitarist Elvin Bishop, songstress Janiva Magness, soul man Curtis Salgado and former truck driver Watermelon Slim.

King, a Mississippi native, was nominated for two awards, Traditional Blues Album of the Year for “One Kind Favor” and Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year. King will be up against fellow Mississippi bluesman David “Honeyboy” Edwards of Shaw, who was nominated in those categories for his album “Roamin’ and Ramblin’.”

Homemade Jamz Blues Band, of Tupelo, are the youngest nominees at 9, 14, and 16 years of age and Jackson musician Bobby Rush was nominated for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year.

The 30th annual awards show will be held May 7 in Memphis, Tenn.

“It is so nice to be mentioned among so many of my friends, as well as stellar artists that I have looked up to for so long. It was a wonderful surprise,” Brent said.

Brent’s love of music began at home with her family, and continued through high school, where she played flute in the marching band, all the way to the University of North Texas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music.

It wasn’t until she began studying under the late, great Greenville bluesman Boogaloo Ames that Brent really found her musical footing. Brent spent 16 years learning the art form from Ames, earning the nickname, “Little Boogaloo.”

Since launching her solo career, she was named a 2004 inductee into the Greenville Blues Walk, the 2006 winner of the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, and has headlined venues across the world, including the Kennedy Center, the British Embassy, and tours in South Africa and Norway.

Brent has taken her success in stride, and this week’s nominations have only reaffirmed her dedication to the blues and the Delta.

“I’m happy that I’ve been recognized with this album, ’Mississippi Number One,’ because it really is a tribute to Mississippi, and in particular, this area,” Brent said. “The Delta can really share in this recognition, because were it not for the people here, and the experiences I’ve had here, I wouldn’t have anything to write about.”