Dennis Gruenling wins the 2019 Blues Music Award for "Instrumentalist - Harmonica"...and after 26 Nominations in his career, Nick Moss takes home his first win for "Traditional Blues Male Artist" of 2019! The Blues Music awards are the highest honor in the Blues Music community, and the event is always in front of a sell-out crowd in the Cook Convention Center in Downtown Memphis, TN. Full of artists, journalists, record label owners, fans, legends, and all types of blues lovers from around the globe, the event was a night to remember for the Nick Moss Band!
Not only did we perform two of our originals from our twice-nominated Alligator Records debut "The High Cost Low Living", but the band also backed up Billy Branch and the legendary vocalist/songwriter William Bell on stage for the event!
Growing up in Chicago and standing tall at 6’2”, Nick Moss dreamed of playing both music and sports. When kidney surgery sidelined his athletic hopes, he dove headfirst into the blues. His mother was a huge blues fan, even taking a young Nick to see bluesmen like Muddy Waters live in concert. Originally a bass player, Moss got his first professional break touring and playing bass with legendary West Side Chicago guitarist Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. He next toured with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (longtime Muddy Waters’ drummer), leader of the Legendary Blues Band. Finding himself in need of a guitarist, Smith insisted Moss switch instruments. Combining his natural talent with non-stop woodshedding and playing every open jam session, Moss quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought-after players. Bluesman Jimmy Rogers (famous for his pioneering guitar work with Muddy Waters and for his solo hit Walking By Myself) hired Moss to join his touring band and became his mentor. Moss’ other influences include B.B. King, Freddie King, Earl Hooker, Magic Slim and other groundbreaking players.
Moss formed his own band in 1997 and released the first of his 12 solo albums a year later on his own independent Blue Bella label. He’s received 22 Blues Music Award nominations and has earned legions of fans around the world, playing over 100 shows a year. Moss has shared stages with Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gary Clark, Jr., David Hidalgo and many others, and is an in-demand guest, always welcome to sit in with his musician friends around the world. Elmore calls him “one of the best guitarists on the scene today.”
As a teen, Dennis Gruenling heard the Alligator recording Harp Attack! (a summit meeting of James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch) and decided that blues harmonica was his life’s calling. Gruenling was inspired by blues harp masters including Cotton, Little Walter and George “Harmonica” Smith as well as by saxophonists, including Lester Young and Red Prysock. A self-taught player and a natural entertainer with seven solo albums to his credit, Gruenling’s giant, fat-toned harp work, raw-boned singing and untamed energy are a perfect foil for Moss’ hair-raising guitar playing and straight-from-the-shoulder blues vocals.
With the release of The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling will do what they do best: barnstorm the globe, bringing their muscular, high-energy show to clubs, concert halls, roadhouses and festival stages night after night. It is a show that is not to be missed. According to Moss, “I’m a shy person, but when the band and I get on stage, the music takes over. We can’t hold back and the energy just comes pouring out. We get carried away and the audience gets carried away with us.”