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Buddy Guy joins other Chicago writers in winning ASCAP book awards

Buddy Guy plays with Quinn Sullivan at his South Loop bar Buddy Guy’s Legends. | Sun-Times Photo

Chicago blues icon Buddy Guy won the Timothy White Award for Outstanding Musical Biography for the writing of “When I Left Home: My Story” (Da Capo Press), an autobiography co-written with David Ritz and released last year.

The award is under the umbrella of the Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music, which are awarded annually and are named after the former president of the performing rights organization in New York City. Now in their 45th year, the awards were announced Thursday.

Chicago music journalist and former Downbeat editor Aaron Cohen was also nominated for his liner notes to “Clifford Brown: EmArcy Takes Volume 2: The Singers Sessions,” released by Verve/Universal Music Enterprises.

Cohen says he was “humbled to be in such incredible company.”

“I’m grateful for ASCAP’s recognition and for the set’s producer Harry Weinger for valuing high-quality sounding music and beautiful packaging in this age of inferior sounding downloads,” he says.

Also representing Chicago is banjo musician and independent music scholar Stephen Wade, who is honored for “Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience” (The University of Illinois Press), which documents the singers and groups heard on the historic Library of Congress field recordings made between 1934 and 1942 that today are considered the foundation of American song.

The book was an 18-year project that took Wade deep into Southern Appalachia, the Great Plains and the Mississippi Delta. Wade, who now lives in Washington, grew up on the North Side and studied at the Old Town School of Folk Music in the early 1970’s under banjo master Fleming Brown.

The awards include a cash prize and an invitation to a ceremony and reception at ASCAP’s New York offices on Nov. 14.