Last blues man standing

The world is full of blues fanatics who have spent a lifetime seeking out the most authentic, original and low down blues sounds out there. I am not one of these experts but if you live in Memphis long enough and keep your ears open you are destined to hear some truly great blues.

This is even more so the case right now during the International Blues Challenge (IBC) taking place in the historic Beale Stdistrict of downtown Memphis. Beginning tonight and continuing through the weekend, downtown Memphis will be crawling with every type of blues musician and blues music lover you could imagine and then some.

Local blues society’s across the globe hold competitions to select their representative to compete in this massive challenge each year and all you have to do is show up and enjoy. (More on how the challenge works)

Some of the mid-south talent represents the three styles of blues that get me goin’ and all are worth checking out if you find yourself in the middle of IBC or just downtown on any given weekend night.

  • Soul inspired blues: The Memphis representatives, Vince Johnson and the Plantation Allstars, are guaranteed to get you out of your seat and groovin’ with the best of ‘em. Their classic Stax style inspired blues is classic Memphis which is sure to serve them well in the challenge.
  • 21st century blues: Although The Ghost Town Blues Band received the runner up spot in the Memphis challenge, they will be performing not once, but twice during special events taking place on Beale during the IBC. This unruly foursome has a fresh mix of classic blues, gritty southern rock with a touch of festival jam which make this band unique and always entertaining.
  • Classic blues: To me, The Daddy Mack Blues Band (representing the Rosedale Mississippi Blues Society) is the quintessential classic blues band. Their songs arefrom the heart, emotional, hard-working, storytelling, raised in the delta blues.

For mote information about the IBC including a complete schedule check out The Blues Foundation

For another local’s view on the IBC check out the I Love Memphis Blog “365 Things to Do in Memphis #32: The International Blues Challenge”

Catch both Daddy Mack Blues Band and Ghost Town Blues band at their CD release party Thursday at Rum Boogie Café on Beale St. And Ghost Town Blues Band will also appear in a special showcase at the Rum Boogie featuring the best of Memphis blues Saturday afternoon.


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