BEST BLUES ARTIST (2010)

Willie Murphy

After 40 years of playing music, Willie Murphy is not only still alive and kicking, he's still producing some of the most soulful, barrier-breaking rhythm and blues around. With the release of his two-CD album A Shot of Love in a Time of Need on Red House Records this year, Murphy returned to the radar of West Bank fans, delivering a record that both reflected on his lengthy and impressive career and pushed forward with a set of new tunes. A mainstay of the West Bank folk and blues scene who has collaborated with everyone from Spider John Koerner to Bonnie Raitt to his long-running local R&B group, Willie and the Bees, Murphy has shunned major-label deals and shrugged off moves to larger pastures to stay in his hometown and hone his craft. Judging by the sold-out crowd at his last CD-release show, Minneapolis is pleased to have him all to ourselves.