Local bluesman Bob Corritore’s combed-back hair and splashy suits are pretty slick, but it’s his harmonica skills that are hard to beat. In 2012, he took home Living Blues magazine’s award for Most Outstanding Musician – Harmonica, and now he’s up for it again in 2017.
Corritore says that with musicians the likes of Charlie Musselwhite in the running, he doesn’t expect to win. But he tells New Times that he's “completely humbled to be nominated by such an outstanding magazine."
Living Blues was founded in 1970 as the country's first all-blues oriented publication. The University of Mississipi acquired it in the '80s and continues to publish it on a bimonthly basis. They've offered these readers' choice awards for more than 20 years in categories that include a focus on specific instruments, like the aforementioned harmonica, guitar, and keyboard.
There are also awards for the best male and female vocalist, and best male and female artist of the year categories. The latter category has seen luminaries like B.B. King, Shemekia Copeland, Koko Taylor, and Buddy Guy take home winning certificates.
Corritore has been into the blues since he was barely a teenager in his hometown of Chicago. Hearing Muddy Waters at age 12 was life-changing enough to have him pick up the harmonica the next year, and he hasn’t stopped playing since. He landed in the desert in the early ‘80s and has continued to perfect his craft. He’s played with a slew of blues greats and has his own band, The Rhythm Room All-Stars, named for the Phoenix club he opened in 1991.
Regardless of any awards or accolades, Corritore’s still going to be doing his thing, but the nomination definitely gives him a sense of pride.
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“It’s really reinforcing,” he says, “and a complete honor to know that this particular group feels that I am worthy of such an honor. It’s huge and makes me feel like a million dollars.”
Voting for all categories in Living Blues’ annual nominations is open to the public at the Living Blues' website. All ballots must be received by July 15. Winners will be announced in the August/September issue. They will also be posted on the magazine's website on August 1.