The winners of the band competition for 27th International Blues Challenge are:
1st Place: The Lionel Young Band (Colorado Blues Society)
2nd Place: The Mary Bridget Davies Group (Kansas City Blues Society)
3rd Place: Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues (Windy City Blues Society)
The Solo/Duo results are:
1st Place: George Schroeter & Marc Breitfelder, from Germany, sponsored by Baltic Blues.
2nd Place: Harrison Kennedy, representing Canal Bank Shuffle in Ontario, Canada.
This year’s competition was wildly fierce. There was a stunning amount of both raw and well-refined talent from across the globe. And the Challenge this year was truly an international affair, with many competing bands being from various countries, and a great number foreign blues societies sending extremely talented representatives to compete. Both Solo/Duo prizes went to well deserved artists from out of the United States. The Blues Foundation stated that “for the second consecutive year a non-American act won the solo/duo category thus solidifying the global scope of the event.”
Rob Blaine from Chicago won the Best Guitarist Award. The prize included a beautiful custom Gibson 335, emblazoned with the Blues Foundation logo, and a Category 5 amp. Rob Blaine’s winning is hardly surprising. We recently took a listen to his album Big Otis Blues and were thrilled with what we heard.
This year was the first year for Best Harmonica Player, an award presented by Lee Oskar, a multi-talented harmonica player and manufacturer who is noted for being a member of the band War. Stephane Bertolino, who along with her band AWEK, was sponsored by the French blues society Blues Sur Seine, won the award.
The Best Self-Produced CD award went to Get Inside This House by Joe McMurrian of the Cascade Blues Association in Portland, OR.
The finalists in the solo/duo category were: Back Porch Stomp –(Washington Blues Society, WA), Izzy & Chris (West Virginia Blues Society), The Juke Joint Devils (Massachusetts Blues Society), The Mighty Orq (Houston Blues Society, TX), Big Jim Adam & John Stilwagen (Colorado Blues Society) and JT Blues (Billtown Blues Association, PA).
The finalists in the band competition were: Randy Oxford Band (South Sound Blues Association, WA), Stevie J & the Blues Eruption (Central Mississippi Blues Society, MS), Grand Marquis (Topeka Blues Society, KS), Alex Wilson (Grafton Blues Association, WI), The Sugar Prophets (Illinois Central Blues Club),
Mark next year’s calendars for the 28th International Blues Challenge, which will commence January 31-February 4, 2012.