Well, it happened again this year. The International Blues Challenge (IBC) takes place shortly after the BluesNotes is going to press so we cannot give you any details right away about the outcome. And by the time you receive the paper chances are more than likely that word will already have spread on how our representatives for the Cascade Blues Association and the other outstanding acts representing the various Northwest societies fared. But I’m liking our chances and hopefully the word will be favorable for the musicians from our area.
This year’s IBC will not only feature nine acts from the Northwest, but for the first time a showcase will be held with all of the regional acts displaying their talent in one location. It is pretty much impossible to catch all the acts you want to on Beale Street during the event, so this gives friends and fans an extra chance to see our groups in Memphis.
For me, it is also a special week as the book that I have collaborated on creating with Baton Rouge photographer Jenn Ocken, Blues On Beale Street, Memoirs Of The International Blues Challenge, is being released with a special VIP party and live music from our good friends and past IBC winners Jonn Del Toro Richardson and Sean Carney. I cannot wait to see and hold a physical copy of this work that we’ve been busy putting together for the past two years.
I hope that everybody has a chance to attend this year’s Red & White Blues Dance at the Trail’s End Saloon. Originally titled the Sweethearts Dance, we changed the name because a number of people felt that they were not welcome to attend if they didn’t have a sweetheart. Well, we don’t want anybody to feel left out, thus the new name.
This event is one of only four that we regularly hold each year, other than the Journey To Memphis. It is also the only one we ask for admission for from our members. The purpose of this event was created to offer a winter time happening from the CBA, but also to try to recoup some of the heavy expenses we incur annually from the summer picnic, holiday party and Muddy Awards. We rely on memberships and BluesNotes advertising to make ends meet during the year, and we receive a good chunk of our income from our merchandise booth at the Waterfront Blues Festival. That Waterfront money is pretty much exhausted with the three late year events, so it is tight making ends meet without holding this show that really does not bring in too much our way, but every penny counts to keep the CBA in business. Believe it or not, the CBA does not roll in money, we wish that we did so we could offer more great events and to offer the musicians in town paid opportunities. We thank those acts who generously offer to perform for us, who tell us that they’ll always be available to us if asked.
Over the years the event has brought great performances from a number of artists. Among those, but by all means not everybody who has played, include acts like The Strange Tones, Duffy Bishop, Mary Flower, Boogie Bone, Atomic Gumbo, Too Scoops Moore, Robbie Laws, Bill Rhoades, Rollie Tussing, Madman Sam, and who could ever forget the set at the very first Sweethearts Dance that found our late pal The Original Snakeboy teamed up with Watermelon Slim. This year’s show will be another fun line-up with Rae Gordon & Gaddis Cavenah, the Bottleneck Blues Band, and Jesse Samsel & the East Wind Band.
We hope that you can make this show; it’s not just another night of great music, it is also a means of helping the CBA keep up with our expenses. And we want to thank you in advance for your support, at this show and all CBA events.