As part of the International Blues Challenge’s series of events happening in Memphis every winter, a competition amongst self produced CDs has been taking place since 2005. The Cascade Blues Association has participated in this competition since its inception and have done nicely with our entries, several making the semi-finals and especially well with the two discs we have submitted by Joe McMurrian, who placed in the finals in 2007 and winning the overall prize in 2010 with his disc Get Inside This House.

The Cascade Blues Association opened entries for the 2014 event at the end of August with a deadline for submitting in early October. We received eight entries: Dave Mathis’ In Your Face, Franco Paletta & The Stingers’ I Like It Just Like That, Hank Shreve Band’s I’ve Had It, Holfar Blue’s Blue Suede Cadillac, Jim Mesi Band’s I’m Ready, Rae Gordon Band’s Blue Lemonade, Roseland Hunters’ self-titled EP, and The Strange Tones’ At Home With The Strange Tones.

A committee of four met and listened through the individual discs, scoring them in categories of blues content, talent, sound quality, originality, cover artwork and liner notes. All entries were strong candidates, but when the score sheets of each member of the committee were compiled, the winning disc selected to be sent to Memphis this year was the Rae Gordon Band’s Blue Lemonade. Next we will send four copies to The Blues Foundation where it’ll will be reviewed by their judges. There are three rounds before a disc makes it to the finals, with the winning disc being announced on Saturday, January 25th at the finals of the International Blues Challenge.

Thanks to all the acts who submitted their music to be considered and congratulations to Rae and the band.