The Top Ten Blues Record Labels – The ‘Independents’ (in alphabetical order)
Following my list of The Top Ten ‘Major’ Blues Labels, here is another top ten – the ‘independents’. Many to choose from but this is my selection. See what you think!
Armadillo – A UK label from the most unlikely hotbed of the blues, Sturminster Newton in Dorset. The label is spearheaded by the amazing talent of Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges (plays like BB King, sings like Sam Cooke) who has received several BMA nominations in recent years. http://www.bluearmadillo.com/
Blue Bella Records – An independent label from Illinois which has released all of Nick Moss’ albums as well as CDs by Kilborn Alley and Cash Box Kings, both former winners of Blues Blast Awards. www.bluebellarecords.com
Blue Corn Music – Blue Corn is a small label that also handles bluegrass and Americana artists but makes this list for releases by Ruthie Foster, Hadden Sayers and new signing John Nemeth. http://bluecornmusic.com/
Blues Leaf Records – New Jersey’s blues label included early releases by Janiva Magness and Albert Castiglia and currently has Anni Piper, Nicole Hart and Todd Wolfe.
Earwig Music – Another Chicago label with traditional blues artists such as David Honeyboy Edwards and Sunnyland Slim as well as contemporary acts like Travis Haddix, Rob Stone and Chris James and Patrick Rynn. http://www.earwigmusic.com/
Ellersoul Records – Headed by harp player Lil’ Ronnie Owens this Virginia label had sufficient Blues Blast nominees last year that it warranted its own segment of the awards show! Youngsters like Andy Poxon sit alongside veterans like The Nighthawks and 4 Jacks (Anson Funderburgh, Kevin McKendree, Big Joe Maher). http://www.ellersoulrecords.com/
Manhaton Records – A small UK label which boasts an impressive list of artists including award winning band King King, contemporary English bluesman Aynsley Lister, veteran Robin Trower and former John Mayall guitarist, Texan Buddy Whittington. http://www.manhatonrecords.com/
Nugene Records – A third UK label makes the list, mainly through exciting guitarist Matt Schofield and award winning singer/songwriter Ian Siegal, one of very few UK artists to receive a BMA nomination in recent years. http://www.nugenerecords.com/
Vizztone Label Group – Headed by former Tone-Cool boss Richard ‘Rosy’ Rosenblatt and with Bob Margolin seeking out talent, Vizztone has rapidly established itself as home to an interesting array of artists including Candye Kane, Gina Sicilia, Matt Hill, Chris O’Leary, Big Bill Morganfield and The Phantom Blues Band. Blues Blast Rising Star Award winner 2013 Doug Deming is also on Vizztone, as well as his harp partner Dennis Gruenling. http://www.vizztone.com/
Wolf Records – The Austrian label has a very impressive catalogue specialising in Chicago and Country blues. Magic Slim, John Primer, Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes and Eddie Taylor Jr. are all featured here. http://www.wolfrec.com/
You may agree or disagree with my selection, but that is all part of the fun! Put your comments or discuss this list (and other blues-related lists coming up on the Blues Blast website) on Facebook or other social media.