The Grand Rapids singer and harmonica player’s much-acclaimed tribute to Gary Primich earns best self-produced album honors at Memphis awards show.
The Grammy Awards get revealed tonight but Grand Rapids’ Hank Mowery and producer Tommy Schichtel already earned their national recognition on Saturday in Memphis, Tenn.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
The International Blues Challenge hosted by The Blues Foundation named Mowery’s “Account to Me” the best self-produced CD of the year, a prestigious honor for the album recorded at Grand Rapids’ Goon Lagoon studios in tribute to late bluesman Gary Primich.
The award capped a busy and satisfying few days in Memphis for Mowery, who played with fellow blues musicians and earned pats on the back from a host of artists and industry executives, including Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer, VizzTone records president Richard Rosenblatt and harmonica player Dennis Gruenling.
“The weekend was really great,” Mowery told Local Spins. “A lot of great music and a great vibe. The other artists were very, very supportive.”
Mowery said Iglauer even told him he had two copies of the “Account to Me” CD, which was released on Old Pal Records.
“He went on for a few minutes about how he loved the production and how we didn’t try to sound like anyone and just made a great CD,” said Mowery, noting the Alligator Records honcho even gave him a couple of “I’m not worthy” bows.
Ironically, Schichtel noted that when Mowery first approached him about recording at Goon Lagoon’s vintage analog studios, he told the singer and harmonica player that he “wasn’t interested in making a blues album.”
Eventually, the pair produced an album which took an approach unlike most conventional blues albums. “That’s why it’s been so well-received,” Schichtel suggested. “It’s pretty fresh and classic at the same time. Everyone involved with that record had one goal: making this record great. They let the songs go where the wanted to go. Nothing forced.”
Schichtel said he was humbled to be part of the project and vowed that his next recording with Mowery would be “just as good.”
Mowery’s “Account to Me” album was among five finalists for the best self-produced honor at the Blues Foundation’s 30th International Blues Challenge.
The album’s 10 tracks feature some songs written by Primich – a highly respected bluesman who died in 2007 – as well as tunes that he started and Mowery finished in the studio with the permission of Primich’s family.
Mowery also contributed his own songs to the album, which has made its mark on a number of U.S. charts, including the Roots Music Report and the Blues Underground Network’s USA Top 10 Blues/Blues Rock Chart.
Read more about the album in this Local Spins story.
Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.
Copyright 2014, Spins on Music