Article on the 2010 Sedalia Blues Challenge in Lynchburg, VA’s The News & Advance Newspaper!


07.11.10 The News & Advance – ‘Sedalia Blues Festival’s top performer says genre’s draw is its room for variation’
By: Dave Thompson
Published: July 11, 2010

Wailing harmonicas, thudding bass, melancholy guitar riffs and, of course, sunglasses.

The Sedalia Blues Society’s 13th annual Blues Festival brought a few hundred spectators to Big Island on Saturday.

Some danced or swayed to the tunes as eight bands competed for two spots at the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, in February.

Tom Hunter, of Minneapolis, who played the event’s second set with his partner Jon Gunvaldson, said for him the festival was a way to get back on the road after taking a break from touring while his kids were in school.

“I was talking with one of the organizers, and he said ‘Why don’t you come down and play this thing? It’ll be good for you.’”

Hunter said win or lose the competition, just throwing himself into the music was the best part.

“I love the blues, so it’s nice … to go to a place where you can just play the blues.”

The event was headlined by country blues singer Rory Block and William “Big Bill” Morganfield, son of blues legend Muddy Waters.

Dave Richardson, of Bedford County, said he’s been into blues music since he was a kid.

“I’m a big blues fan,” Richardson said. “My mom grew up in Memphis. I kind of got exposed to that stuff at an early age.”

He said Block was a big draw for him, citing her rendition of the gospel hymn “Ain’t No Grave” among his favorite songs.

“That’ll just grab you by the heart strings,” he said.

Though many of the songs Saturday were melancholy or downright mournful, with plenty of string-bending and wailing, Hunter, who sings and plays keyboard, said part of the draw of blues music is that there’s plenty of room for variation, lyrically and musically.

“It’s really just expressive as heck. You can play happy, funny. It just doesn’t matter. The blues covers a lot of things,” he said.

“It’s just a really broad umbrella.”

Judges announced the competition’s winners after the last set, before Morganfield took the stage.

First place among the full bands went to Richmond-based band “The Bush League.”

Hunter and Gunvaldson won the duo artists competition. Hunter also won the Ree Breeden Outstanding Performer award, said organizer Harry Turner, who sits on the Sedalia Center’s board.

Turner also noted that nearly 1,000 people showed up for Block and Morganfield’s performances.

“Everybody’s very excited. We had another very successful event,” he said.



Click Link To Watch Video Connected With This Article!!!



On-line article on The Bush League playing the 2010 Sedalia Blues Festival and Blues Challenge!

Sedalia Blues Festival and Blues Talent Competition – 2010



The Sedalia Blues Festival returns July 10th with its sanctioned Blues Competition in the afternoon, followed by performances by headliners Big Bill Morganfield and Rory Block.

William Morganfield is the son of McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters) and has emerged in the past few years as one of the top young blues talents in America. Bill has played all over the world in the past 11 years, bringing pure joy to those who have had the pleasure of seeing his live performance.

Many men try to fill their father’s shoes when they join the family business. Few, however, must prove they are up to the task in front of an audience as large as the one that watched Big Bill Morganfield.

Morganfield didn’t take up the challenge until several years after his dad passed away in 1983. The blues world mourned the passing of Muddy. Muddy leaves not only a gaping hole on the blues scene but also a grief-stricken son who is contemplating how to handle the loss. Bill buys himself a guitar and retreats into a private world, intending to teach himself how to play and then pay homage to his famous father. Indeed, this was the beginning of Big Bill Morganfield as a Bluesman and the start of his blues journey. Click here to read more about the evolution of the great blues talent of Big Bill Morganfield.

Aurora “Rory” Block has staked her claim as one of America’s top acoustic blues women, an interpreter of the great Delta blues singers, a slide guitarist par excellence, and also a talented songwriter.

The Sedalia Blues Society will sponsor the 13th Annual Blues Talent Competition as part of the Sedalia Blues Festival.  Entries are no longer being accepted and the competing performers have been announced:


(Order of appearance will be determined on the day of the event.)

Definitely the hottest blues ticket in Virginia, this is a must on your summer calendar!  Beer, wine, and food available.  

Admission:  $15 in Advance, $20 at the gate, children under 12 free

Advance tickets are available through Friday, July 9, on this web site or by calling our office.  Event takes place rain or shine. No pets, no coolers!


13th Annual Blues Talent Competition


The 13th Annual Blues Talent Competition will kick off at 1pm. Winners will be named in both the Solo/Duo Category and the Bands Category, and both winners will receive cash prizes. Both winners will also go on to represent the Sedalia Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2011.



Article on Sleepy-Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim at the 2010 Carolina Blues Festival!

05.12.10 YES WEEKLY – ‘Blues On A Saturday: Carolina Blues Festival Shines On’ by Ryan Snyder



Wednesday May 12, 2010

Blues on a Saturday: Carolina Blues Festival shines on

By Ryan Snyder

For the past two years, torrential rains have cast a rather ironic damper onto the Carolina Blues Festival. Ultimately, what’s more conducive to a chronic case of the blues than an ugly, weatherwrecked day? There were no weather-related worries for the 24 th installment of the Carolina Blues Festival, hosted by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in downtown Greensboro on Saturday, as hundreds came out for the near-perfect weekend weather and a full day of blues.

The music kicked off at 1 p.m. with the placid acoustic duo of Sleepy-Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim to an even slimmer crowd, as too many missed out on the PBPS Solo/Duo Challenge winners’ from Richmond plaintive ode to the early Delta sound on songs like their original “Gotta Woman.” Numbers started to roll through the gate for Full Band Challenge winner, Greensboro’s own Charlley Ward Band. The performance itinerary moved forward through the history of blues itself, with Ward’s band representing the genre’s early popularization through the same shimmering vibrato that would usurp the lonely Delta tone.

The mid-afternoon draw of the Matt Walsh Blues Band seemed to confirm it, as his snarling, 1950s Chicago style was almost a little too abrasive for the gray-haired sea of onlookers to fully appreciate. Walsh is quite a blues anomaly in that, he’s almost a little too hip for this crowd. His tall throwback coiffeur, near-perfect Howlin’ Wolf imitation and all-around dirty sound are far from the middling, unobjectionable and gentrified brand of blues that this crowd typically gulps down. That said, he’s really good.

As was mentioned in last week’s preview of the blues festival, the headliner designation for Debbie Davies and Robin Rogers appeared to be completely arbitrary, since a) Davies is a little too obscure for practical marketing purposes, Rogers even more so; and b) the more widely recognized Tinsley Ellis was scheduled to perform immediately after. Even the “ladies’ turn” angle that the festival adopted to promote them came off as passively sexist, as if last year’s 6 p.m. performer Diunna Greenleaf was somehow irrelevant because she didn’t play guitar.
Ellis took the lower billing in stride, however, and praised his friend Davies as the right choice for this particular festival.

“The next-to-last slot at a blues festival is a very sought-after slot and always has the biggest attendance due to the fact that blues fans are much older now and want to get home early,” Ellis said via e-mail. “I love and really respect Debbie. Known her since the ’80’s and really enjoyed jamming with her again that night.”

Ellis’ words also provided a tacit explanation as to why it gets easier every year to navigate the 30 feet immediately in front of the stage.

More of the nearly comatose, second-wave baby boomers that compose the festival’s primary audience resign themselves to the comfort afforded by the sea of foldout lawn chairs under the stage’s canopy. It gives the appearance that there’s a full crowd witnessing the shows, when in actuality three or four standing listeners could occupy the space of one languorous age casualty.

It’s not a very enthusiastic or energetic crowd by any standards, as Ellis’ comments suggested, and the headliner booking this year reflected that. Davies is an extremely talented guitarist with little to no appeal to an audience below 40. She’s certainly technically gifted, but her style is almost too clean to be truly compelling and interesting to a discerning listener.

Ellis, on the other hand, was fiercely aggressive, almost dangerous as the closing act. It’s only too bad that over half of the audience had dispersed by the time he took the stage, because his gut-wrenching axe wielding defined the evening and left promise for the festival’s 25th installment. His rhythm section of the masterful drummer Jeff Burch and the intimidating bassist known as the Evil One sent his show precariously into metal territory, which may also serve to explain why many in the crowd were long gone by the time Davies reemerged to help Tinsley on “Key to the Highway” and “Shake It for Me.” The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society does a commendable job of keeping the blues alive in a region with one of the richest relevant musical traditions in the country, but without a little bit of imaginative and adventurous thinking, nothing will preserve its audience the long run.



Article on Sleepy- Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim winning their way to Memphis for the 2010 IBC!


09.23.09 YES WEEKLY – ‘The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge – Solo/Duo Competition’–solo_duo-competition.html



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge – Solo/Duo Competition

The 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge – Solo/Duo Competition at Zion Bar & Grille Sunday was another success.

Twelve acts competed in the Solo/Duo Competition portion of the 24th Annual PBPS Blues Challenge.

Congratulations to our Winners – Richmond VA´s Sleepy- Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim. They will represent the PBPS in the Solo/Duo competion of the International Blues Challenge to be held January 20-23, 2010 in Memphis.

Rick Tobey´s Chickenhead Blues from Wilmington, NC came in Second Place and Danny Wicker of Stony Point, NC took Third.

Thanks to: all at Zion for being wonderful hosts, Shiela and her crew for sacrificing a Jam, our Judges for their taking the job so seriously, Trustees and volunteers for all the help, and of course the Competitors for putting on a great show and the fans for supporting it.

Sleepy-Eyed Jay and Chicago Slim also receive bookings at the Carolina Blues Festival presented by YES! Weekly to be held May 8, 2010 In Greensboro´s Festival Park, The Asheboro Fall Festival, October 3-4, 2009 and will open for Blues Legend Duke Robillard at the Garage in Winston-Salem on October 21. Also a special Shout out to our dedicated timekeeper JoAnn and the Lady in charge of this shootin’ match Chris Roulhac.