The Blues Foundation
International Blues Challenge #33
From January 31st until February 4th, 2017 The Blues Foundation’s 33rd International Blues Challenge was held in Memphis. The annual showcase is the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians. “The IBC makes careers, forges relationships between artists and industry veterans, and unites blues fans in their love for the music”.
This is only the second year that the IBC has been documented with a recording featuring winning performances. Once again the cd is produced by Blues Foundation President Barbara Newman in conjunction with Frank Roszak Promotions. Contributors include Tony Rambo, mastering; Ken Bays, liner notes and song compilation; and Jen Taylor of VividPix, design. The inside photos are by Laura Carbone and Scott Allen.
The fourteen tracks are drawn from solo/duo division and band division finalists. The recording kicks off with first place band winner Dawn Tyler Watson’s gospel styled “Shine On”. Watson represents The Montreal Blues Society.
Finishing in second place in the band competition are The Souliz Band (featuring Sugar and Spice). Spice is Velma Glover and she authored their song “Good Lovin (Hot and Fresh from the Oven)”. The Souliz Band is based out of Tampa and they represented The Suncoast Blues Society. As a direct result of their IBC performance The Souliz Band played a complete set at the 2017 Daytona Blues Festival held this past October.
Third place in the band competition went to Rae Gordon and The Backseat Drivers. The band hails from Portland and they represent The Cascade Blues Association. Included is their song “Elbow Grease”.
Other performance highlights by finalists in the band competition include the Cincinnati based Johnny Fink & The Intrusion (representing The Dayton Blues Society) playing their song “Let’s Hear Some Blues”; The SOBO Blues Band from Jerusalem (representing The Israel Blues Society) playing the “Catfish Boogie” with some very cool tempo changes; Chicago native Sam Joyner and his band (representing the Vicksburg Blues Society) and his song “Onions Ain’t The Only Thing (That’ll Make You Cry)”; and the Montgomery, Alabama based King Bee band (representing the Magic City Blues Society) playing their tune “Dangerous”. These performances are all worthy of airplay.
The first place winner in the solo/duo division was Al Hill. The Michigan born Hill now lives in Nashville and represented The Nashville Blues Society. Hill is impressive on piano as he sings “Don’t Dig Today”. Hill also received an invitation to perform at The 2017 Daytona Blues Festival.
Second place in the solo/duo division went to Brody Buster’s One Man Band. He won the local competition held by The Kansas City Blues Society. Included is his song “2029”. Buster was invited to play between sets at the 2017 Bradenton Blues Festival held in early December; and to a crowd of three thousand.
Solo/duo performances include North Carolina’s Ruth Wyand and The Tribe of One, a hot one woman band (representing The Triangle Blues Society) with her song “I Don’t Have Proof (But I Believe You’ve Been Lying)”; Sugar Brown (from the Toronto Blues Society) and his song “Meet Me in The Country”; Felix Slim (from Spain representing the Asociacion Musical Blues Hondarribia) and his soon to be classic “I Hate You Cause I Love You”; Wes Lee (representing The Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola) performing “Chains That Bind”; and Wilmington, North Carolina’s Randy McQuay (representing The Cape Fear Blues Society) with his song “Til I Get To Memphis”. If you’re a DJ you could program a whole show just around this recording.
These blues acts represent the future of our music. Congratulations to each of these finalists. If you were unable to attend the IBC or even if you were there; these are the up and coming acts you need to listen to. This fine stocking stuffer can be yours by going to The Blues Foundation’s online store and purchasing a copy. Better hurry before Father Time buys them all.