(Memphis, TN) – It is the beginning of a new year and besides all the other things this brings… Near the top of the list is the International Blues Challenge. This year, held January 31 – February 4, 2017, it is shaping up to be one of the all-time best.
Heading to Memphis within the next two weeks will be 119 Bands, 101 Solo/Duo Acts and 37 Youth Showcase Acts representing 133 Blues Societies/Associations from around the globe. The energy is electric with Facebook covered up in conversations between old friends planning on their meeting again to new folks, meeting on the social media site before getting to Memphis.
Once again, this year Music On The Couch is the place to find the most IBC coverage. We’ve already had the first two of the three preview shows, which you can check out at your convenience.
Preview Show #1 Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, Tracy K, Billy “The Kid” Evanochko and Lucious Spiller. Listen here.
Preview Show #2 features Matt Isbell, bandleader of Ghost Town Blues Band. The band made the final stage in 2013 and came back in 2014 to take 2nd place. We then held a Roundtable with 3 venue coordinators; Kyle Deibler, 2-time KBA Recipient and long-time Rum Boogie Café Coordinator. Greg ‘Slim Lively’ Johnson, President of the Cascade Blues Association and KBA Recipient and Pat Pepin, renowned Sax player and three time IBC Challenger. Dr. Janice Johnston then came by to talk about the Health Clinics held during IBC and ways folks can help the H.A.R.T. Fund.
Preview Show #3 airs on 1/23/17 and will feature Joe Whitmer, C.O.O. of The Blues Foundation, A Roundtable with IBC Judges Mick Kolassa, Ricky Stevens, Julia Magness, and Suzanne Swanson who will receive a KBA this year. And then Joey Delgado of the Delgado Brothers comes by to talk about their time last year leading to their Band Challenge win and what it has meant to the band since then. Live Stream Monday 1/23.
We’ll talk about the incredible Showcases and other special events planned for this year in our next column
Vinny Marini is owner/host of Music On The Couch, Live, Uncut & Uncensored Conversations With “Musicians You Should Know.” The show streams live on Monday evenings at 9:00pm Central. All interviews can be found on the home site.