Best Blues Band: The Hector Qirko Band

Runners Up: Labron Lazenby and LA3, Relentless Blues Band, Jon Worley and the Cornbread Blues Band

Nearly 25 years in—the HQ Band will celebrate its first quarter century together this summer—and they're still at the top of the local blues scene. (It's not Memphis or Chicago, but check out the runners-up and you'll see that's no small accomplishment.) Some of the credit goes to experience, since you're bound to learn something about playing with somebody when you do it for that long. But most of it goes straight to the players, who are among the best in Knoxville, or just about anywhere else: agile and imaginative drummer Steve Brown, rock-steady bassist Jim Williams, deep-lunged saxophonist Dirk Weddington, and Qirko, a guitarist who's as soulful as he is proficient. (M.E.)

Runners Up: Labron Lazenby and LA3, Relentless Blues Band, Jon Worley and the Cornbread Blues Band