Road To Memphis
In 2002 my band and I won a blues competition sponsored by the Sonny Boy Blues Society in Helena Arkansas. We drove 20 hours from Santa Fe and arrived in the early morning hours to this historic delta town on the Mississippi river. Helena, Arkansas, is in the Mississippi Delta region where the blues was born and for us four boys from the New Mexican desert it was an honor to participate in a blues competition held in the mother land of blues music. This was the land of Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Robert Jr. Lockwood. For us to perform our original flavor of blues there was like a person from that region competing in a Green Chili cook-off in New Mexico.
When we won the Sonny Boy Blues Society’s Blues competition we were rewarded with the honor to represent them at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. This is the Super Bowl of Blues Competitions. At the time, 60 bands from around the world competed in the competition. The judges consisted of professionals from Alligator Records, Tone Cool Records, and even Sony.
It was amazing. Again, it was an honor in itself to be included among so many incredibly talented artists and bands. To be honest, we thought we had it made to at least advance to finals. That was until the very last band of our assigned venue performed. I don’t remember what they were called but they were a power trio of young guys from Oslo, Norway. When they dazzled the crowed with their first song my band members and I looked at each other and could tell by the look in our eyes that we might have just been sent packing for home. In the end however, we were selected to advance to the finals. It was basically like we were the Denver Broncos beating the New England Patriots to make it to Super Bowl 50. So again we felt like we had a feather in our hat just to advance among such talent.
We were happy to return to New Mexico to say that we made the final eight bands out of sixty international acts even if we didn’t make the top 3 finalists.
Next week I will have the honor to represent the Mile High Blues Society of Denver at this year’s International Blues Challenge which will be hosted February 1-4 in Memphis, TN. This time I will be performing in the solo/duo artist category. I find this fitting because I have mostly been performing solo over the last couple of years and even released a solo acoustic blues album, Stand, at the end of 2015.
If you find yourself in Memphis or have friends in the area who are interested in attending the International Blues Challenge, you may find information the event at The Blues Foundation Website.
Also, The Mile High Blues Society will be hosting a send off party for their band representative, Deep Pocket Thieves, and me in Denver Colorado, this Friday January 27th from 8pm till 12am at Ziggies Saloon.
Thank you all for you much appreciated enthusiasm and support. I hope to see you in Denver or Memphis!