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Album Of The Year 2021

Blues & Roots Radio Worldwide

From the many albums featured on Blues & Roots Radio in 2021 we asked a panel of jurors from the station based around the world to pick twenty to go forward to be

considered for the 5th annual Blues & Roots Radio Worldwide Album of The Year Award.


They then were given the very difficult task of choosing one winning album, we thank

them for their precious time and diligence, our annual award will be presented at a

convenient time in the coming weeks and all social distancing restrictions will be

observed, congratulations to The Mary Stokes Band.




In preparation for a Dublin gig, the Mary Stokes Band rehearsed in Displace Studios on the evening of April 11, 2019. They gathered together on the studio floor just as they would on stage, and ran through some of the songs from their set.

It was a lively rehearsal, and it was all recorded upstairs in the control room by engineers Tom Lee and Darren Roe. They really enjoyed themselves, and felt the recordings captured the energy and dynamics of a live gig. A few months earlier, they had done the same thing in Sonic Studios rehearsing two songs with their friend Shobsy O’Brien, lead singer in the Irish band State Lights. He was joining the band the following night on Whelan’s main stage as their guest vocalist, duetting with Mary.

They recorded the duets from that rehearsal and included them here. Coincidentally, that was the first recording session with the remarkable Guitarist Sarah Michelle who had just joined the band. Since that night, they have developed a strong friendship and an exceptional working relationship with Sarah. Her creative musical virtuosity, commitment and genuine feel for the blues is featured throughout this album.

In combination with their kicking rhythm section of bassist Chris Byrne and drummer Robbie Barrett, augmented by Dermot Stokes on Piano and Brian Palm on Harmonica, this record offers a snapshot of a formidable blues band in full flight. Last Christmas (2020) the band released a single; a version of Bessie Smith’s ‘At the Christmas Ball’. As the bassist and drummer were stricken with a flu when they were recording, they didn’t make it on to that record.

Recently The Mary Stokes Band returned to the studio and recorded the song again with the full band, beautifully capturing a nostalgic, festive feel. It is a bright addition to this album. Forefront in all of these recordings are Mary’s passionate and expressive vocals delivering her blues with the power and conviction for which she and her band are widely known. Renowned producer Pete Holidai expertly mixed the songs to maintain the authenticity and raw excitement of a blistering live show, so feel free to turn it up good and loud… 


Congratulations to all the nominees and artists who have been featured on Blues & Roots Radio.  The 2021 award winner was announced on December 24th 2021, and the full show will
be aired over a two week period between Christmas and New Year.



Blues & Roots Radio Album Of The Year Award 2020

Spirits In The Water - Dione Taylor


Due to the pandemic the award was presented to Dione in Toronto social distancing precautions were taken.

Blues & Roots Radio Album Of The Year Award 2019

Cross The Line - Sandy McLelland

Due to the pandemic the award was presented to Sandy by his publicist, Graham Steele, on behalf of Blues & Roots Radio at a live event in London, UK. 

Blues & Roots Radio Album Of The Year Award 2018

Backroads - Lloyd Spiegel

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The award was presented to Lloyd at the Melbourne Blues
Appreciation Society in Melbourne, Australia in early 2019

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Blues & Roots Radio Album Of The Year Award 2017

Every Soul's A Sailor - Stephen Fearing

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The inaugural award was presented to Stephen at
Hugh's Room Live in Toronto, Canada in early 2018

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