Best Blues Artist - 2008
Some say St. Louis has more working blues musicians than any other city in the USA. Others in places like Chicago or Austin might find such a claim statistically suspect, but there's no question the Gateway City has a wealth of blues talent on display every weekend in local clubs. With elder statesmen such as Henry Townsend, Johnnie Johnson, Oliver Sain and Bennie Smith having passed on in recent years, the spotlight now falls on the generation of mid-career musicians who are carrying on the St. Louis blues tradition, as exemplified by the band Rough Grooves. Guitarist Rich McDonough is considered one of the top players in town, and singer and harmonica player Eric McSpadden is equally esteemed for his authentic yet contemporary approach to the blues. Bassist and singer Sharon Foehner and drummer Joe Pastor, both bandleaders in their own right, add additional dimensions to the music while also providing solid support.