Best Blues Artist - 2011
Big George Brock
Whether the endpoint is St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis or somewhere else, the path of the blues inevitably seems to lead back to a starting point in Mississippi. Although he's made his home in St. Louis for most of his adult life, that's where Big George Brock is from, and the sounds of his home state still resonate in every note he sings and plays. One of a dwindling number of bluesmen of his generation still working, Brock occupies his own niche, with a sound both rougher and more idiosyncratic than such great Chicago bands as Muddy Waters, but more polished than the minimalist juke-joint combos still found in the deep South. Although he's unquestionably moving a bit slower as he closes in on turning 80, Brock is still a potent and attention-grabbing force when shouting the blues or blowing his harp, as he demonstrated with an impromptu version of "Got My Mojo Working" at the Old Rock House last September following his induction into the new St. Louis Blues Hall of Fame. He's still a draw on the festival circuit in Mississippi and elsewhere below the Mason-Dixon line, too; let's hope Big George will get his mojo working back here in St. Louis a few more times in 2012.