The International Blues Challenge, in its 25th year, held 164 acts, comprised of 100 bands and 64 solo/duos. This is the world's largest gathering of unsigned blues artists.
Winning first place for best Blues band was J.P. Soars and the Red Hots from southern Florida. J.P. Soars' guitar is not something to be missed. His melodic riffs in "Gypsy Woman," a song for which he may have achieved the most acclaim this year, bring new meaning to the song brought to us first by Muddy Waters. J.P. Soars, as a lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, has begun to etch his career into the blues lodestone, and has a growing fan base eagerly looking to what direction he will turn to.
The IBC is a non-profit event that works to uphold blues history and education. The Blues Foundation, with the help of member Blues Societies from all over the world, created the IBC as an international lighthouse to illuminate Blues talent. Many of these organizations have had events to choose who will go on to the IBC and be judged by a panel to represent their area. The winners of these regional competitions go on to compete on Beale Street, the home of the Blues.
Coming in first in the solo and duet category was Little Joe McLerran, from Oklahoma. His sound hearkens back to an older blues. Without a doubt, his acoustic sound is not something that can easily be forgotten. His soft voice and deft fingers bring us back to the time of Robert Johnson.
The locale also is home to many other musical experiences, such as Al Green's Full Gospel Tabernacle, where the Reverend will serenade you. Two electric guitars, bass and drums accompany his sweet, fierce gospel.
[originally posted: http://www.madisonbluessociety.com]