Five On Friday - International Blues Challenge Bands

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, February 11, 2011

Check out the other participants by clicking on his link above...and join in!

You can register for free at and type in a band name and BAM the song will be there to assist in building your playlist.

Travis lays out some guidelines for this meme and they go like this:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to to make your play list of five songs. Choose a particular theme to share with us. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

3. I don't know how to make a specific linky, so be sure to leave me a comment to let me know that you participated.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

Last week, here in Memphis, TN the Blues Foundation held their annual International Blues Challenge. It is not called competition, it is called Challenge, because that is what it is. Over 100 bands and almost 90 single/duo entrants compete over the first two nights in some 20 venues. They stay in the same venue the first two nights, but the judges change.

Night one is 25 minute set, get off the stage, the next band has 10 minutes to get set up. No chit chat, no tuning of instruments (you do that before you hit the stage. Same set of drums for all, the drummers just bring in their cymbals. Same keyboard for each. One night a lower D key on the B3 in one club was broken. All the bands had to deal with it (well those who used the B3).

Then 44 bands and the same number of entrants move to day 3 where they each get 30 minutes to perform. Same rules. If you go over even 1 second, you get points deducted. There is a time-keeper that holds up signs - and most make efforts to make sure the band sees the signs) at 5 minutes, then 2,1 30 seconds and the dreaded YOU ARE OUT OF TIME!

Then the finals. 8 bands, 8 solo/duo. 20 minutes, on off 10 minute set up time...

Break a string? As one guitarist did...well he found a spot and quickly switched guitars. Mic goes wonky (as it did for one band in the finals) hold it tighter and make it work. It is a CHALLENGE, not a competition.

These are some of the pictures I took over the course of 5 days. I took over 1,300 and I would bet at least 1,100 are usable and 600 are print worthy. These people are just loved by the camera...I could not even screw them up!

For my Five Songs...five selections from the bands themselves.

"Nutin To Lose" - Chrissie O'Dell and One Hot Mess (Long Island Blues Society)
"Organ Jelly" - Ron Yarosz and The Vehicle (Western Pennsylvania Blues Society)
"God Loves The Blues" - Toni Dodd and Southbound Blues (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society
"Drivin Wheel" - Lionel Young Band (Colorado Blues Society)
"Delta Swing" - Erin Harpe and The Delta Swingers (Boston Blues Society)

And I had to add a 6th to give you the beautiful rendition of the Sam Cooke song "Bring It On Home" as the Lionel Young Band presented it to close their sets. It was a show-stopper indeed and at the finals, it brought the assembled crowd at the Orpheum Theater to its feet in thunderous applause. THAT is why they were named winners of the band Challenge!






5 Of Your Sparks

  1. Jay Says:
  2. Good times dude! Looks like it was just one big party. As it should be.

  3. j Says:
  4. It looks like so much fun. My music-loving daughter would have a ball at something like this.

  5. JAY: Maybe you will come visit during it next year

    Jennifer: It is and always will be the best collection of blues musicians in the world

  6. Travis Cody Says:
  7. That was outstanding.

  8. DrillerAA09 Says:
  9. Having done a little net surfing, I can honestly say, I need all of these artists in my collection. Chrissie O'Dell and Toni Dodd are outstanding. The other bands are just too good not to have in my playlists. Some of their music is a little hard to come by, since they are not on ITunes or Zune.


Music On The Couch