MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Blues Foundation’s 34th Annual International Blues Challenge (IBC) will be held in Memphis, Tenn. along historic Beale Street beginning Tuesday, January 16, 2018. The event will open with its International Showcase at the historic Clayborn Temple and will culminate with finals on January 20 at the Orpheum Theatre at the foot of Beale Street. In addition to featuring these final rounds of the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition, this year’s IBC will offer a host of seminars, showcases, master classes, film, networking events, and receptions for blues societies, fans, and professionals.
In conjunction with the 2018 International Blues Challenge, the Blues Foundation will honor 12 individuals and organizations with its 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards during a recognition luncheon Friday, January 19, 2018 beginning at 11 a.m. As determined by a select panel of blues professionals, the KBA Awards are presented annually, honoring those who make significant contributions to the genre.
Blues Foundation President and CEO Barbara Newman reports that “each year, our KBA Selection Committee does a wonderful job of pinpointing those individuals and organizations that are working behind the scenes to celebrate, promote, and bring greater awareness to the blues. Our 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive award recipients are all wonderful examples of blues flame keepers, each working in their own sphere of influence to move the genre forward while honoring its past.”
The 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:
1. Gary and Gillian Atkinson
2. Jonas Bernholm
3. Blues Society of Omaha
4. Byron Bay Blues Festival
5. Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival
6. Lucky Clark
7. European Blues Union
8. Tim Fik
9. Brian Kelm
10. Poor House Bistro
11. Albertina Wassenhove
12. Rueben Williams
Omaha Blues Society Blues Ed Program:
What happens when your 5-year-old daughter, who was enamored of classical music, suddenly puts down the violin she has played for a year and exclaims, “Momma, don’t you know I was born to the blues?” The Blues Society of Omaha has an answer to that question. Its BluesEd program, a youth artists’ development program, has consistently promoted the live performance of blues to younger generations, ensuring that this precious art form will live on long into the future. Begun in 2001, the BluesEd program has grown steadily over the last 16 years. Today there are seven established bands in two cities, with more than 50 students. The bands, which regularly perform at Blues Society of Omaha events, numerous well-known local venues, and many events organized by local charities, are in high demand and enjoy state and regional recognition. In 2016, BluesEd bands offered more than 80 performances during their five-month season (April to August). In 2017, the number of performances increased to 104. BluesEd now has nearly 200 alumni, with many actively involved in the blues music scene on both the local and national levels.
Pete’s B-Day Party w/ Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons w/ Redd Volkaert and Lloyd McCarter and the Honky Tonk Revival at Zoo Bar
Described by Rolling Stone as “pure Americana heart and soul”, The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash are the voice and vision of songwriter Mark Stuart. Since forming the band in 1995, he’s performed with most every major artist in the Country and Americana music community. Stuart was personally given permission to use the band’s name by Johnny Cash himself.
He was also honored by the Man in Black with an invitation to record songs at Cash’s own home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Two other iconic music legends, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, were also early believers who were instrumental in helping Stuart get his start.
With the release of their critically acclaimed debut CD “Walk Alone” in 1999, the Bastard Sons quickly proved they were no novelty act. With strong songwriting and great musicianship, the Sons’ quickly jumped to the forefront of the growing Alternative Country scene. No stranger to the road, their constant touring and hard work have built the band a loyal grass roots following both in the States and abroad.
Whether performing in front of thousands at a festival in the US or Europe, or playing all night in a Texas dance hall, for Stuart it’s all about respect. “The Bastard Sons never were, and never will be, a Johnny Cash tribute band.” It’s always been about honoring the musical ideals of our heroes, and paying respect to the originality, integrity, and independence that made those artists who they are. Our goal was always to find our own road, and to continue to keep the sounds and traditions of American Roots Music alive.”
Stuart and the Bastard Sons have released five outstanding CDs: “Walk Alone”, “Distance Between”, “Mile Markers”, “Bend in the Road”, and their latest “New Old Story”. Their music has been featured in Film, Television, and compilation CDs around the world.
Their new full length record, “New Old Story” is available via iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and Spotify.