Photos by Carl Speer

This year’s Empire Awards are in the books, and what a great party we all had as they were presented to the talented musicians
and others who are very deserving of these awards. Yes, a whole heaping bunch of fun was had by all. From the moment Robb
Boatsman took the stage with his wonderful band Rampage, it was evident that a party was going on. Robb also was nominated

The second award was for
Best Radio Program with nominations of Blues Therapy
(KWCW, Walla Walla, WA.) Friday’s Blues Show (83.5 Moscow, ID.) and Blowtorch Blues (online).
It went to Blowtorch Blues, which is hosted by Ted Todd.
Even though Blowtorch Blues has won this show many times before, Ted said he was surprised
by this as he is not in the airwaves, but now has a radio program that is streaming live. A lot of
people listen to Ted, although he wasn’t sure if they were or not. In fact they must have, because
the votes came in to put his show on top. Congratulations once again.

The next award which was for
Best Blues Drummer. Nominees were Luther Hughes of The Filter
Tips, Ken Danielson of Bakin’ Phat and Mark Miller of the Kenny James Miller Band.  
Ken Danielson was voted the best on the skins this year, and rightly so. Ken has played around
this area for a long time, and has played blues with some fine musicians, so it is about time he won
this award. We have all heard him play, and his award was solidly obtained by the beat he lays
down and the energy he brings to his band. Congrats, Ken.

Best Female Vocalist had as nominees Michelle Morgan “Mush” of the Coyote Kings, Patrice Thompson Rose of Hoodoo Udu,
and Anita Royce of The High Rollers. All these women have powerful voices and command the stage with great performances, but
Anita Royce took home the award. She said she appreciated all the love in the room. Anita won this award way back in 1998 and
has been singin’ ever since, and finally she has it again. At the root of it all is that the lady loves to sing. Keep singing Anita Royce,
and our congratulations.

Best Male Vocalist nominees were Dave Allen of Bakin’ Phat, Robb Boatsman of Rampage, and Ray Roberson of Roberson BZ &
Flores. The winner was Dave Allen. When we said earlier about Dave coming into his own with his band Bakin’ Phat, and that
applies to his blues vocals as well. He has developed his own style that people love, and delivers the blues, including his originals,
in his special way. Dave will have to keep on singing now, as his band is on the move upwards. Congratulations, Dave for vocals
that put tunes out there with meaning and soul.

Best Male Performer had as nominees Robb Boatsman of Rampage, Ray Roberson of Roberson BZ & Flores, Gary Yeoman of
Voodoo Church. The big man Gary Yeoman himself had his name called, and he was surprised and happy that he had won
this award.

He credits the fine musicians he plays with in his band Voodoo Church for his success, and mostly he just plays the Sunday Night
Jam at Daley’s, but a lot of people and other musicians know him, and they all voted. Actually he won this award in 2010 as well. If
you are reading this and have not read about our December Blues Boogie article, do that. You will find out some interesting things
about this fine man. Keep it up Mr. Yeoman, ‘cause we hope to see you performing your blues for a long time to come.

Nominated for
Best Acoustic Blues Act were Jeff Aker, Robb Boatsman, and Pat Coast. The winner just happens to be the
incomparable Pat Coast. Mostly we have known Pat for his electric blues, as he has won Empire Awards for Best Vocalist in 2003,
Best Blues Guitarist in the years 1999 through 2001, and Best Blues Slide Guitarist in the years 2002 through 2004, putting him
into the Hall of Fame in both guitar categories. Lately he has been enjoying his acoustic act a whole bunch, and apparently others
have as well, because they sure voted for Pat. Congrats once again.

Best New Blues Band had nominations for The High Rollers, The Sidemen, and the Jesse Weston Trio. These are all fine new
bands. The qualification of this category is that a band must have new personnel within the last two year period (from August to
August that is, when the nominations take place).

All these bands qualify. The winner of this award went to The High Rollers. Anita Royce, vocalist and one of the guitarists for the
band, was in the audience along with her bassman Art Donnelly and keyboardist James Lorentz, so the three of them came up to
accept their awards. Anita said that two of their group were missing, their young and very talented blues guitar player Forest
Govedare, for whom much applause quickly erupted, and also for their energetic drummer Doug McQuain. The members of the
band that accepted the award were highly pleased to be acknowledged this year, and they hope to keep The High Rollers rollin’ on
as they should. Our best to them all.

This year we added a brand new category that you got to vote for, and it is
The Best Blues Event (non-festival). Nominated
were Acoustic Blues with Brandon Santini (Oct. 12th , Valley Eagles), I.E.B.S. Empire Awards (Nov. 12th, Valley Eagles), and the
Gary Yeoman Benefit (Aug 12th , Daleys). People voted for the Gary Yeoman Benefit, and Gary came forward to receive this
award. He said that he really didn’t do anything for the benefit except hit three deer. As you may know, summer before last he had
a horrible accident on his motorcycle when deer came out suddenly in front of him. His injuries were extensive, and to help him we
got behind this benefit which earned enough money to pay half of his expensive helicopter ride to the hospital. Gary acknowledged
his good friend Ryan Dunn for being a driving force behind this benefit, along with the help of others. The benefit had such good
bands volunteering to play, and it was voted the best. Congrats to all those that made it happen.

Best Blues Festival had nominated Bronze Blues, and Brews (Joseph, Or.), Rock Cut Blues Festival (Orient, Wa.) and the
Wallace Blues Festival (Wallace, Idaho). People from our area attend all three, and they voted for the Wallace Blues Festival just
as they did last year.

The crew from Wallace came down out of the Idaho Hills, and there were a bunch of them receiving their award for a job well done.
Craig Heimbigner books the entertainment for this event, so he is pictured with the wonderful Wallace people, and all is as it should
be. Congratulations to everyone connected with this fine festival.

Nominated for the
Best Blues Club or Venue were Bobbi’s Bar (Plummer, Id.), the Spokane Valley Eagles, and the Viking Tavern
(Spokane, Wa.). The Viking Tavern prevailed as the winner, and they have indeed booked some great entertainment this last year.
Bands like Big Mumbo and Charlie Butts and the Filter Tips play there fairly regularly. Thanks to all the Viking management and
staff for havin’ the blues and congrats for picking up this award.

Keeping the Blues Alive is a special award which goes to one outstanding individual each year who has done his or her part to
support our organization and blues music in general in our area. This is very important, as Ted said as he held the unveiled award,
as without it we would not have a blues society. He said that the winner of this award is just such an individual. Nominees were Al
Blum, Craig Heimbigner, and Anita Royce. All have done much for the blues society, but of course one must prevail, and people
voted for Anita Royce. Of course, she took over the newsletter about a year and a half ago, and she mentioned that when she
came up to receive the award. She said she sure enjoys writing articles and editing other’s articles to make a good newsletter and
hopes to keep on doing just that. She also said that without Ted there would not be a blues society, as did Dave Allen when he
hopped up on the microphone earlier to thank Ted as well. And in the end it is all of us together and the love we have for each
other and the blues that keeps us going. We are a great blues family, musicians and fans alike. Thanks Anita, for Keeping the
Blues Alive.

Before we could get the music going again we had a couple of drawings to get out of the way from items donated to our blues
society. First, a ticket was drawn for an autographed Seahawks jersey, and the winner was Neil Elwell. Then came the
drawing for
the beautiful guitar donated last year by Robb Boatsman and Bobbi Doupe’, as well as signatures of all the musicians that played at
our events throughout the year and framed by Artistic Framing. Eligible were all who paid for a membership in this last calendar
year. The beautiful guitar was won by Michael Jewel of  Mallot, Wa. We are still trying to get in touch with him, so Michael, if you are
reading this and have not been in contact yet, get back to us.

Our headliner band was James King and the Southsiders, and they were great. They played energetic dance music, and James
King with his saxophone came out into the audience, to the delight of us all. Their juke joint style of blues and dance music kept us
hoppin’ till the night was through.

Their female drummer, Suze Simms, was fascinating and also used to be the vocalist for The Red Hot Blues Sisters. Steve Blood
played a great solid guitar with tone to die for. The rest of the band had their groove on and kept our dancers hoppin’.  The night
finally wound down, and now what we have to look forward to is another great awards party next year. Thanks go out to everyone
for making it a fun night.
The 19th Annual Inland
Empire Blues Society
2013 Empire Awards
By Anita Royce
for this year’s awards and he gave an award-winning performance with that guitar of his. The
rest of the band, which included Randolph Knowles on bass Wayne Curtis on drums, was solidly
After the preliminary shakin’ stopped and people returned to their seats, it was time to see who
would take home awards this year. Let us just say that all the nominees were very deserving
candidates for their awards, and in many cases it was a close vote. Just being a nominee means
pick one and one only in each category.
Robb Boatsman and Rampage
Ted introduced this year’s Master of Ceremonies, none other than the wonderful Tony
Frederickson. Tony is the current Vice-President of the Washington Blues Society, the current
means he is a busy guy, and we surely do thank him for making the trek over to our side of the
state. Tony also could also have had an award for the professional way he looked and the fine
job he did for us. His two helpers, Maggie and Lori were also full of energy and kept the awards
rollin’ out to our winners.
Tony Fredrickson
Master of Ceremonies
Our first award for Best Writer for Inside Blues had as nominees Craig Heimbigner, Kay
Randleman, and Anita Royce. Craig Heimbigner was voted best writer for this last year, and he
was all smiles as he came up to get his award. He also won the award last year, so good goin’
Craig. If you are voted for again next year, you will be a Hall of Fame Blues Writer. How about
Ted Todd
Best Blues Bassist went to Mark Cornett of the Kenny James Miller Band. He won the
award last year as well, so maybe we have another potential Hall of Famer. We featured
Mark in a Bio in our publication over this last year, so look him up if you are unfamiliar with
him. He lives in Montana, but his band plays over here often enough that people know well
who he is and how well he plays that bass. Great bass player, and well deserving of this
award once again. We send him our best.
Mark Cornett                      archive image
Charile Butts
Craig Heimbigner
Best Blues Instrumentalist (Other) is a category of the players of those instruments
that do not have a category of their own. The nominees this year were  Charlie Butts
(saxophone, The Filter Tips), Seth Marshalek (saxophone, The Sidemen),  and  Ben Rose
{lap steel, Hoodoo Udu).  The player who prevailed was Charlie Butts with his saxophone.
Charlie has won this award several times starting in 1996 and including 2000, 2002. 2005,
2009, 2011, and now this year, making him one of our most award-winning musicians won
without actually getting three in a row for the Hall of Fame. Whew! We are sure he blew
that horn of his just as well in the years he didn’t get an award, but most of all we are all
glad he is still doin’ it. Great goin’, Charlie.
Best Harmonica Player nominees were Dave Allen of Bakin’ Phat, Tuck Foster of  The
Mossrites, and Jesse Kunz of The Fur Traders. Yes, the winner was Dave Allen. Dave has
also won this award twice before, so that shows people are payingattention to him. Now
with his newest band Bakin’ Phat he has really come into his own in a big way, doin’ what
he loves. Dave blows a mean harp, as they say, and can play right up there with the best
of the best. Dave, that means you must keep playin’ for us now, and maybe winning this
award some more times. The best to you and congrats.
Dave Allen
Nominees in the Best Blues Guitar category were Robb Boatsman of Rampage, Dennis
Higgins of Bakin’ Phat, and Ken Sederdahl of the Kenny James Miller Band. The winner
was Dennis Higgins for his superlative guitar work.

Dennis is the driving guitar force behind his band Bakin’ Phat, which is goin’ somewhere
for sure. He also plays regularly at the Sunday Night Jam with Voodoo Church, and he is
again we won’t be surprised. Hold onto your hats, everyone.
Dennis Higgins
players  don’t do it. Hence, we have this special category. Doghouse Boyz and
Laffin’ Bones frontman Neil Elwell scooped up this award. He is an accomplished
slide guitarist and well deserving of this award. What we hope is that we hear a lot
of that his slide playing this next year. Congrats to you as well, Neil Elwell.
Neil Elwell, archive image by Erika Jones
Best Female Blues Performer nominees were Sara Brown of The Sara Brown Band, Anita Royce of
The High Rollers, and  Michelle Morgan “Mush” of the Coyote Kings. That cute and well dressed little
redheaded Irish gal Sara picked up this award. She skipped up in her red laced high heels and sweetly
and energetically thanked everyone. Sara always puts on a great performance with her band, The Sara
Brown Band. Good going Sara, and keep performing while belting out those blues tunes for us all. Sara
won this award last year as well, so is she headed for the Hall of Fame? Perhaps, but we will have to wait
till next year to see if that happens. The best to you Sara Brown.
Sara Brown
Best Keyboard Player was a category with three great keyboardists as nominees who all
should have had this award, but we had to pick only one. We had James Lorentz of The
High Rollers, Jesse Weston of the Jesse Weston Trio, and Steve Carver formerly of Big
Mumbo. Steve took home the award, and since it is his third year in a row getting this this
Gary Yeoman
The High Rollers
Best Blues Band this year had nominees of Bakin’ Phat, the Kenny James Miller
Band, and Rampage. And the winner was Bakin’ Phat. As you see, three of the Bakin’
Phat players won awards this year. This is a band that is goin’ somewhere. They, as
many of you already know, are going to Memphis as our region’s finalist in the
International Blues Challenge. Some of us are going to follow them there to cheer
them on as they compete. Bakin’ Phat is a fine fine band, playing the blues for love of
the blues. Many congratulations to their members which are Dave Allen on vocals,
Dennis Higgins on guitar, Pat Potter on bass, and Ken Danielson on drums.
Dennis, Pat, Dave & Ken of Bakin’ Phat
Each year our Northwest Region picks it’s own Best Album, and projects nominated in this
Secrets by The Coyote Kings, and Pan Fried Blues by Bakin’ Phat. All are fine CD’s. The
Coyote Kings received this award, and Robin Barrett came forward to claim it. It takes a lot
of work to put an album together, and they did a fine job of it. Rob brought out a box of
their CD’s and made everyone an offer of getting one by leaving what they could in
payment in the box as they took a copy. It is a CD that you would enjoy, and if you have
not heard it you are missing out. Michelle “Mush” Morgan has great vocals that make it
really come alive. Good going, Coyote Kings
Robin Barrett
Wallace Blues Festival Supporters
Each year we have a special category called the Musician’s Choice Award, voted on by
musicians, for an individual who is very deserving but has not won an actual Empire
Award. This year Paul Mata had his name called, and when he came up to receive it he
said that he had thought people forgot about him. We can not see how that would be, as
he is a guitar icon in our area. At any rate, he was thrilled to receive his plaque. He did,
however, tell us all to go put on some T-Bone Walker, the father of electric blues. Yup,
Paul Mata is also the real deal as a player and well deserving of this award.
Paul Mata
James King
Suze Simms
Steve Blood
© 2013 Inland Empire Blues Society