Have Fun & Good Luck To ALL of the 29th International Blues Challenge Participants!

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… for us it started in 2010 with Sleepy Eyed Jay & Chicago Slim representing the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society:

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… in 2011 THE BUSH LEAGUE made their first appearance representing the Sedalia Blues Society and were semi-finalists in 2012 representing Natchel’ Blues Network Blues Society!

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… and in 2013 we are at  home cheering for great experiences for many that we know on their first trip and missing some great friends that we’ve made down there that are participating again!  The UnXpected representing DC Blues Society is participating in the Youth Category; in the band category there is Andrew Alli & Last Night’s Blues Band representing River City Blues Society, The Mike Lucci Band representing the Blue Ridge Blues Society, The Ghost Town Blues Band representing the Crossroads Blues Society, Anthony Rosano & the Conqueroos representing the Natchel’ Blues Network Blues Society, Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders representing the Minnesota Blues Society, RJ Harman & Company representing the Orange Blossom Blues Society, The Sugar Thieves representing the Phoenix Blues Society, The Selwyn Birchwood Band representing the Suncoast Blues Society and the Josh Vowell Band representing the Topeka Blues Society; then there is Erin Harpe & Richard Rosenblatt representing the Boston Blues Society in the Solo/ Duo Category!  These are just the people that we know that are going and/ or have met at previous IBC’s, the full list of this year’s talent can be found RIGHT HERE and all of the performers are something to check out!

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We’ve let our hometown people know to go up to the top floor of the Rum Boogie Cafe to the banquet room to meet up with Vinny ‘Bond’ Marini for his Music On the Couch internet radio show where he will have 5 minute participant interviews and live updates set up twice a day for 3 hours during the entire Challenge!

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To SEE some of the action LIVE you can go to DittyTV; a live, internet-based broadcast site that’s showcasing IBC bands all this week!

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This year you can follow along with what’s going on with The Official International Blues Challenge Mobile App for Android mobile devices!

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Check out the links above if you want to cheer on your hometown favorites or to just see and hear some great music and learn about some great musicians representing almost every corner of the earth that you might not have heard about otherwise!

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Magazine 33 article on The Bush League’s ‘Blues In The Bottom’!

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On December 17, 2011, The Bush League brought their second installment of ‘Blues In The Bottom‘ to The Canal Club in Richmond, VA.  Magazine 33 came out and reported on the event.  If you missed the first two ‘Blues In The Bottom’ events, be sure to keep an eye out for the next one coming soon!

 

http://virginia.magazine33.com/issue/winter-2011/article/blues-in-the-bottom

 

 

Blues in the Bottom

By Correspondent: Sarah Freiseis   Sat, Jan 07, 2012

Local artists stake their claim in the International Blues Challenge. Photos by Chandler Moulton.

 

Big ups to our local musicians putting this fine city on the music map.  Richmonders are shouting out and showing up when it comes to live and local.  Supporting local acts is easy when you genuinely enjoy what you are hearing, seeing, and above all, experiencing.

The Blues in the Bottom event at The Canal Club was a fundraiser to help two acts – The Bush League (Richmond) and Rooster Foot (Virginia Beach) – get to the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.  The competition is in its twenty-eighth year and will be held January 31 – February 4 in the Beale Street entertainment district.  The Bush League will participate in the group category and Rooster Foot will perform as a duo in the upcoming IBC.  The groups were eligible to move on because of a win in a regional competition; both, in this instance, from the one hosted by the Natchel Blues Network, which has been promoting the blues as a 501c3 non-profit organization since 1984 in the Hampton Roads area.

Beyond the IBC bound, the lineup for Blues in the Bottom also featured the Mike Lucci Band and Pigfoot Riot who got the night started off right, each bringing a unique energy to the stage through vivacious female vocalists.  The Richmond-based Mike Lucci Band is a self-proclaimed Chicago style variety of the genre with added emphasis on rockin’ rhythm and blues (and even known to throw in some rumba) that features Mike Lucci on the bass.  Pigfoot Riot is comprised of members of the River City Blues Society, a six-person ensemble with a raw edge that gets the audience movin’ off the bat.

Next came Rooster Foot, aka the Stainback duo.  Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Seth was joined by his father Keith to complete the sound.  “I grew up around music.  I’ve been playing since I was a kid,” said Seth.  “I moved out to Norfolk about three years ago – I’m a welder, I moved out there to work – and my dad moved out like two years after me because he just liked it there, and I started playing music again.  Someone said, ‘Hey, you need to enter this competition, it will help you out,’ so I did, and I got my dad to come with me ’cause he plays percussion.  I was filling out the form, and we needed a band name, so I put down Rooster Foot.”  He said there isn’t a particular process for him in writing and creating music.  “Words hit me, or a melody will hit me, sometimes I’ll write a song in ten minutes, and sometimes pieces of it will lay around for months.  It’s always different, but all my life anything that has to do with music has never been something contrived.  It’s always just been in me, it definitely comes from my heart, I can say that, it comes from my heart and soul.”  He went on to say he is currently working on an album due out in or around February.  “Recording over at Soul Haven Studios in Virginia Beach, so we’re about three quarters of the way done, so hopefully it’ll be out soon.”

Headliners the Bush League have often referred to their sound as FuB&RR, standing for Funk, Blues & Rock and Roll.  Guitarist Shane Porch (aka Chicago Slim) said, “I think our sound is different because it’s not textbook, it’s projecting the feelings inside of you, we are ourselves in the music, and I think that’s what we have to bring to the table.”  Royce Folks (bass) added, “We play off of each other, it’s all organic, and we play off the crowds also.  Even if we played the same setlist, it would be different every time.”  The band took a moment before going on stage to talk to Magazine33 about that night’s event as well as the upcoming Memphis competition.  Folks explained that the Blues in the Bottom event was the second of its kind, “We’re just trying to get more blues acts, and to have more blues related things here in the area.  This time we’re using it as a fundraiser to get down to the International Blues Challenge.”  Vocalist JohnJason “Sleepy Eyed Jay” Cecil, who also happens to be co-founder of the band (the other being Folks), said they have had the opportunity to attend this esteemed event before.  “There has been some iteration of this band going to the International Blues Challenge for three years in a row.  Shane and myself went first as a solo/duo category winner, and then the band won at the Sedalia Blues Festival, and now we just won again for the Natchel Blues Network, so what it’s become now is … a whole lot of fun.”  He said because acts come from all over the globe, it has almost become like a homecoming of sorts, “because we’ve made friends now, it’s like, ‘See you in Memphis.’”

The band has released two self-produced live albums since forming in early 2007.  Porch said, “I think the next move after Memphis is probably going to be towards a full-length studio album.”  Gwen “Platinum Plaque” Frederick played drums on their latest album which included songs “Mexico”, “Gotta Women”, and “Don’t Touch My Liquor” they also played at the 2011 International Blues Challenge.  On the night of the Blues in the Bottom event, the guys were joined on stage by double duty drummer Rod Hyner of Pigfoot Riot.  In terms of live music, Porch added, “Simply put, our songs have a framework, and we play with that framework every night, but as long as we get from point A topoint B, and we know the general path to get there, we make it, and that’s how we do our music.  It works … and people like it.”  When asked about the future of the blues, JohnJason said, “The blues isn’t going anywhere.  People have their interpretations or perceptions of what it is, but the fact of the matter is, blues as a genre of music is just as varied as any other sort of music, and since blues is the progenitor of all American music, it just stands to reason it won’t going away.  We’re not going to let it go anywhere.”

It is incredible that in just a matter of weeks these guys will be playing the clubs of Beale Street, an infamous stretch of town where so many music greats have graced.  In addition to evenings filled with playing music, the days will provide seminars and workshops, closing by paying homage to the blues community with the Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) awards ceremony.  Rooster Foot and the Bush League will participate in a “Battle of the Bands” style competition for a panel of judges, and not that they need it, but we wish them luck and look forward to hearing more about their incredible adventure.

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We Are Now Card Carrying Members!

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That’s right, The Bush League is now a Corporate Member of The Blues Foundation!  We did this to show our support for the organization that has been dedicated to preserving blues music history (The Blues Hall of Fame, The HART Fund), celebrating recording and performance excellence (The Blues Music AwardsThe International Blues Challenge), supporting blues education (Website, Worldwide Blues Society Affiliates, Blues in the Schools) and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form for 32 years now!  As corporate members, we get to vote on this years nominees for the Blues Music Awards, a link to our website located on the The Blues Foundations website, and we get membership cards, decals and a lapel pin!

 

The Bush League Membership Cards for River City Blues Society (RVA) and The Blues Foundation.

 

Through our participation in our local and many close by blues societies’ blues challenges for participation in the  International Blues Challenge (2010 Sleepy Eyed Jay & Chicago Slim - Piedmont Blues Preservation Society, 2011 The Bush League - Sedalia Blues Society, 2012 The Bush League - Natchel’ Blues Network) we’ve had many opportunities to share our music and our love for blues music that we would not have had otherwise.  We’ve also made some great friends, had many unique experiences and grown a greater  appreciation for live music in general, blues music and its far reaching influence specifically!

Currently, The Bush League is also a member in good standing with the Natchel’ Blues Network Blues Society, the DC Blues Society and Richmond, VA’s River City Blues Society (card shown above), of which our bassist, Royce Folks was voted onto the Board of Directors in December 2011.  All of the blues societies mentioned in this post are just a few of the 180+ affiliate organizations of The Blues Foundation from around the world!  If this sounds like something that YOU would like to support also contact your local blues society or join the The Blues Foundation directly to help Keep Blues Alive!

 

Click Picture To JOIN!

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Catching up!!!

So much has happened since that last post!  We will be giving short posts over the next few days to catch you up!  Well we did not move past the semi-final round of this years International Blues Challenge but we had a most awesome time for the rest of our stay in Memphis, TN!  The semi-final round was at The Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street and our set time was  6pm.  Joining us at The Hard Rock that night was RJ Harmon & Company, The Chris Canas Band(both came with us from The Flying Saucer), Miss Julia & The Cruzers and The WIRED! Band.  The Wired! Band, representing the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, WA was the band that moved on to the finals from our club and they then went on to win this years challenge!

We also got to visit with Vinny ‘Bond’ Marini on his blog talk radio show “Music On The Couch“.  We were the first band to sit on the couch for his 5th episode during the International Blues Challenge LIVE Broadcasts in the upper lounge of Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street, Vinny even plays ‘Death Of Robert’ from our latest CD The Bush League ROCKS!  RVA’s River City Blues Society 2012 IBC representative, The Bobby ‘BlackHat’ Walter Band came in to sit on the couch a little after us, take a listen to the episode below!!!

Listen to internet radio with Vinny Bond on Blog Talk Radio

Our first two gigs in 2012 were AMAZING!!!!

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Thank you to everybody that came out to River City Blues Society‘s Friday After Work Brews & Blues concert series at Capital Ale House’s Downtown Music Hall on Friday the 13th!  What a way to start 2012; sharing the stage to a packed house with Andrew Alli, Pete ‘The Kidd’ Turpin, and Wes Hill on harmonicas, Geo Jacopec and Brian ‘Smokey B’ Benson on guitar and a special vocal appearance by Markiss ‘Blowfish’ Branch!  Photographer Chandler Moulton of wrote an awesome blog post in Area Code Greetings caught a few pictures:

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Andrew Alli Nr. 1Pete Turpin A.K.A. The Kid Nr. 1Shane Chicago Slim Parch Nr. 5Shane Parch (l) Geo Jacopec (r) Nr. 2Royce Folks Nr. 5

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…and our friends the Underhill’s also wrote a fantastic blog post about the night in their blog Blues, Food and Gardening!  I am so happy that we stayed after our set because the band after us was phenomenal!  The Michael Clark Band from the Tidewater area of Virginia stepped on that stage and threw down for 2+ hours for their first set!  Please check them out the next time they play near you!

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Saturday night at O’Bank’s Cafe & Grill was just as amazing!  Some old friends came out and we met some new ones and we definitely gave them all a show that they will remember for a while!  Our next show at O’Bank’s Cafe & Grill will be on Saturday March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day!  Hopefully it will be nice enough outside to use the deck again because I’m sure that that night will packed!

We have two full shows, two more Blues Mondays and a fundraiser appearance before we head to Memphis, TN!  : )

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HELLO 2012!!!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR Everybody!  2012 is holding a lot of promise for some very fun and interesting times!  Our first gig of the year is on Friday the 13th at Capital Ale House’s Downtown Music Hall for River City Blues Society‘s FREE weekly after work Brews & Blues concert series from 5PM – 8PM!  There are 3 more gigs on the schedule now (O’Bank’s Cafe & Grill in Ashland, VA; The Stoney Badger Tavern in Lynchburg, VA; and the 7 Below Lounge @ Gibson’s Grillin Richmond, VA) before we head over to Memphis, TN for the 2012 International Blues Challenge (IBC) from January 31 – February 4, 2012!

Junior Kimbrough’s ‘All Night Long’ released 1992

The bands that will be in attendance are the best of the best in blues from all over the world!  You can check out the list of this years entrants **HERE**, we are especially excited by the first name on that list from the Arkansas River Blues Society, David Kimbrough, Jr.!  He is the son of one of The Bush League’s major influences Junior Kimbrough and we will have the chance to see, possibly meet and share he stage with him while we are in Memphis!  With this being our third year in a row attending the IBC in some incarnation, we know that those type of opportunities are the possibilities that this event brings about!  The experiences that we’ve taken away from Memphis thanks to this event sponsored by The Blues Foundation have been invaluable in helping us grow as a band!  30 Days til we jump in the van!!!!!

One of the benefits of our representing the Natchel’ Blues Network at this year’s IBC is that we will participate in this year’s Blues at the Beach Festival taking place September 7 – September 8, 2012 on the 17th Street Stage in Virginia Beach, VA!  This being the hometown of The Bush League’s bassist Royce Folks (who is also the newly elected Member-At-Large on the River City Blues Society‘s Board of Directors!) is going to make that day very special!  After Memphis we have a handful of gigs scheduled in the spring until the blues festival near the end of the summer.

burgers * bourbon * beer & the blues!

Keeping us going weekly right now though is The Bush League’s BLUES MONDAYS at Current Restaurant in RVA’s Shockoe Slip near the Canal Walk.  It is a blues and blues-influenced open mic/ jam session that gets started at 7Pm every Monday night!  We are so thankful for the management and staff for giving this a shot and we are even more thankful to all that come out and participate!  This has been a group effort to put on so I also have to thank Tabb Justis of the Metro Richmond Music Council and Shaun Peace for their behind the scene’s support, thank you so much guys!

Considering that we have all of that on our plate right now, with a few things still waiting for confirmation and it is literally Day 1 of 2012, we are very happy for the path that brought us here and thankful to EVERYBODY that’s supported us along the way!  We can’t wait to see what surprises are just around the corner and we are so happy that you are right here with us along for the ride!!!

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