Best Blues Artist - 2012
Though the renewed interest in pre-WWII blues among some younger St. Louis musicians has produced some interesting music over the last couple of years, many blues purists still see singer-guitarist Marquise Knox as the most likely candidate to push the music forward in the future. Immersed in the sounds of Mississippi, St. Louis and Chicago blues since his birth just 21 years ago, Knox was mentored as a teenager by, among others, the legendary Henry Townsend, who knew Robert Johnson and recorded in every decade from the 1920s to the 2000s. Heralded as a potential star since before he was old enough to have a driver's license, Knox now is showing every sign of being able to deliver on that promise. His most recent recording, Here I Am, shows real progress in his singing, playing and songwriting, and Knox has been logging serious mileage playing club dates and festivals in both the U.S. and Europe. In a town filled with veteran blues musicians — many of whom might plausibly be candidates for this award — Knox's youth may have helped him get noticed initially, but his real talent and continued growth have helped keep him deservedly in the spotlight.