Connecticut Music Awards 2013: BEST BLUES
Balkun Brothers

The Balkun Brothers, based in West Hartford, have played over 100 gigs in the past year (their busiest yet), and though primarily New England shows, they've also recently branched out to Texas, Tennessee and California. They released their debut album God Bless Our Fallout Shelter in early September and are currently supporting that. Their music is a mixture of Delta blues and electric blues. "We have an original sound that we have been crafting since our inception in 2010," says drummer Nick Balkun. "Our biggest influences include Gary Clark Jr., Muddy Waters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimi Hendrix, Primus, Led Zeppelin, Jack White, Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, James Brown and Buddy Guy. We are huge fans of early '90s rock as well as the traditional era of blues in the '50s and '60s." Frontman Steve Balkun won the 2012 Connecticut Blues Society solo/duo Challenge, was a 2013 International Blues Challenge Grand Finalist and was placed in the top 10 finalists of the 2013 Guitar Center and Joe Bonamassa's Bluesmasters Competition. Steve even played with Bonamassa last month at the Mint in Los Angeles. —Mike Sembos