Best Blues Artist - 2006
Joni Mitchell said you don't know what you've got till it's gone. William Bell said you don't miss your water till the well runs dry. William DeVaughn said be thankful for what you got. It's a good thing that Bennie Smith, the patriarch of St. Louis electric blues guitar, got to play one last festival, see his many friends and fans, and receive a mayoral proclamation before he passed away September 10. Smith played with more significant blues and R&B artists and mentored more young musicians than we've got space to list here; suffice it to say that his place in local music history is secure. He suffered a number of health problems over the years and earlier this year was diagnosed with lung cancer. That, however, didn't stop him from plying his trade; he released a CD this summer, and most weekends could be found playing and singing the blues on some local barroom stage. Here's hoping that Smith realized how much he was loved and respected. We'll miss you, Bennie.