2014 International Blues Challenge Representatives!!!

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The DC Blues Society chose our album, ‘Can Of Gas & A Match’ to represent them in the Best Self-Produced Album category at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN!!!
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There is still more rounds of judging before we know if we (and by ‘we’ I don’t mean just the band and the blues society, ‘we’ includes; manager extraordinaire Kenya Watkins; recording engineer Ari Morris and his assistant Ryan Proctor from Young Avenue Sound; Gebre Wadell from Stonebridge Mastering; Keith Ramsey of Metro R Media for the entire visual presentation of this CD; Photographer Chandler Moulton for the pictures used in the CD; Smokey B for the liner notes; Zack Lowe and Revolve for our CD production here in RVA; Memphis musician Jeremy Powell for playing keys on 3 tracks on the album [Don't Touch My Liquor, '59 Chevy and .38 Special]; and songwriters Chioke Murray, John Dinsmore and Gwen Frederick, thank You ALL!!!) make the finals in that category but our name is in the hat! We will let you know as soon as we know if we make that final cut and if ‘Can Of Gas & A Match’ makes it back home to Memphis!
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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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THE BUSH LEAGUE’s Studio Album Name Is Announced On WRIR!

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If you checked in at wrir.org or listened locally to 97.3 on your FM dial to River City Limits on Saturday, October 6 you heard us announce the name of the studio album recorded at Young Avenue Sound by Ari Morris back in June!  Can Of Gas & A Match!!!  That’s right, and it will be available online on December 11, 2012!  Below is a video of us in the control room at the recording studio in Memphis, TN right after we recorded ‘Mexico’ listening to the playback!  Get ready cause it’s coming!!!

THE BUSH LEAGUE            Can Of Gas & A Match            December 11, 2012

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Updates!!!

In addition to performing throughout Virginia lately, (Capital Ale House again for RCBS’s Brews & Blues, our first Southbound Jamboree in Rustburg, On The Rox in Shockoe Bottom, Babe’s in Carytown, The Canal Club, The Comfort Zone Sports Bar & Grill in South Hill and last, but certainly not least, a private Horseshoe Tournament in Lunenburg!) we have been making moves with the studio album that we recorded in Memphis, TN at Young Avenue Sound back in June!  Ari Morris at Y.A.S. just finished mixing the album and we are moving with the mastering, registering, production, marketing and promotion to get this out by the end of this year!  With us helping Kenya (our manager extraordinaire!) get this done it will be just this short of a miracle to hit our deadlines, but we all like a challenge!  That’s right, it’s just us doing this and we are all getting a very good education in this business that they call show!  We will keep you informed as the ‘to do’ list gets checked off!

We are still playing as much as we can during this time to raise loot to get all of this done!  Check out the dates that we through the rest of 2012 in the SHOW DATES tab above, there are a few more that may be added to that list soon so check back often to see where you can catch us next!  And if you aren’t near any of our upcoming shows we do have two (2) upcoming radio appearances scheduled before the year is out!  This Saturday October 6th will be doing a live in-studio performance (and announcing the name of the new album!) on the River City Limits show on WRIR 97.3LP FM Richmond Independent Radio from 5pm – 7pm EST and on December 10th from 10pm – 12am EST we will be back on the Music On The Couch online radio show along with Terry Evans and John Lee Hooker, Jr. to promote the new album!

Many more surprises are in the works and we will let you know as soon we get it all finalized but know that moves are being made and we will be so very happy when this process is done and we have a finished product to make you so very happy also and then we can move on to the next project on the ‘how in the world are we going to get this done’ list!

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Magazine 33′s article on The Bush League’s summer trip!

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We were so happy the Chandler was able to work it out to come to Memphis and document our time on Beale Street and well as in the studio in mid-June!  Here is the article that he wrote for Magazine 33!

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http://virginia.magazine33.com/issue/summer-fall-2012/article/bush-league-in-memphis

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The Bush League in Memphis

By Photojournalist and Field Events Coordinator: Chandler Moulton   Tue, Aug 28, 2012

 

This was an amazing road trip for Richmond’s own The Bush League. Not only did they play in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge, but they took the opportunity to work with the student of a master to record their upcoming CD! Magazine33 Photojournalist Chandler Moulton accompanies the group on their journey.

 

 

All over the world, around this time of year, groups and solo performers are competing to represent blues societies at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) sponsored by the Blues Foundation and held yearly on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.  While competing in Memphis does not guarantee a group will be discovered and become superstars the competition can provided a leg up. Watermelon Slim, Susan Tedeschi, Tommy Castro, and Super Chikan, to name just a few have all performed at the IBC.
This year’s IBC competition saw 119 bands and 86 solo/duo acts filling the clubs up and down Beale Street for the quarter-finals and semi-finals from Wednesday to Friday night with the finals at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday.  This year, The Bush League,  representing the Natchel Blues Network from the Hampton Roads area advanced to the semi-finals and caught the eye of Vinny Marini.  This led to the group being interviewed on Marini’s “Music On The Couch:  Musicians You Should Know” internet radio live podcast; The Bush League also garnered an appearance at the Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis and the 40th Bentonia Blues Festival in Bentonia, Mississippi.  The festival is hosted by Mr. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – one of the oldest players in the country blues tradition, and proprietor of the Blue Front Cafe (part of the Mississippi Blues Trail) which his parents opened in 1948.  The Bush League shared the stage with the likes of Lightnin’ Malcolm, Roosevelt Roberts Jr., and Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks, and front man John Jason Cecil serving as the festival’s Master of Ceremonies.

But that’s not all!  The Bush League’s appearance at the 2012 IBC resulted in other exciting occurences for the group:  Young Avenue Sound Engineer Ari Morris ran sound in the club as the Bush League played during the first round of the IBC.  Morris approached Bush League bassist Royce Folks after the set and told him that he wanted to record the group.  Kenya Watkins, The Bush League’s manager told me:  “[I]t just kinda fell in our laps as we were looking to record here [Richmond] but once we found out who Ari had worked with, including [the late] Jim  Dickinson, we knew he was the right guy for this project.”

For those not familiar with Jim Dickinson, he is credited with recording what has been called the last great record on the Sun Label, “Cadillac Man”, “My Babe” by the Jesters, playing piano and singing lead on both sides, even though he was not an actual member of the group.  Dickinson also played on Aretha Franklin’s Spirit in the Dark album, The Rolling Stones track “Wild Horses”, and Bob Dylan’s album Time out of Mind.  Dickinson produced Big Star’s (perhaps the most influential band you’ve never heard of) Third, as well as co-produced Alex Chilton’s Like Flies on Sherbert.  Other artists that Dickinson produced include Mojo Nixon, Jason and The Nashville Scorchers, The Replacements.  His sons Luther and Cody make up two-thirds of the North Mississippi Allstars.  So, Morris’ education at the University of Memphis has been augmented with lessons from one the masters.

Joining The Bush League both at the Hard Rock Cafe and in studio for a few songs was Jeremy Powell, keyboardist with Beale Street stalwarts Vince Johnson and The Plantation Allstars. Memphis musician (Ghost Town Blues Band) and producer (Daddy Mack Orr Band) Matt Isbell told me that Jeremy had only been playing for a few years and was growing as a keyboardist and performer.
The Bush League’s upcoming CD was recorded in one day, in an open studio (except for Cecil, who was stuck in a small dark isolation booth for his vocals), and except for one song (four takes), the tracks were laid down in two or three takes (one cut was laid down in one take) with a bare minimum of punching.  Fans of the blues and especially fans of Richmond blues should be on the look out for this disc.  Having lived in Memphis for three years prior to my return to Richmond at the end of 2011, I jumped at the chance to accompany The Bush League to Memphis.  While I didn’t accompany the group to Bentonia, (friends and Todd Snider kept me in Memphis) hopefully, the photographs from Hard Rock and Young Avenue Sound do justice to what was a great experience for the group in the city that is considered the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll:  Memphis, Tennessee.

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Memphis 2012, Part 2!!!

 

Reservations are made, deposits dropped and schedules are confirmed so now it’s official, The Bush League is headed back to Memphis, TN for another musical jaunt to the mecca of the blues!  This time we head down there on our own terms and will see how the city is in the summer time!

 

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis on Beale Street

We start our trip on back on Beale Street with a gig at Hard Rock Cafe Memphis on Friday June 15  and end that weekend recording at Young Avenue Sound!  We played the semi-finals of The Blues Foundation‘s 2012 International Blues Challenge at the Hard Rock Cafe Memphis and our performance that night parlayed us this gig!  We only played 4 songs that night so we can not wait to give them a full The Bush League show!

 

Young Avenue Sound Memphis, TN

One of the sound guys during our quarter-final shows during The Blues Foundation‘s 2012 International Blues Challenge at The Flying Saucer was Ari Morris, sound engineer at Young Avenue Sound.  We exchanged information when we ran into each other later that week and lucky we’ve worked it out that we could schedule recording time around the same time as the gig on Beale!  We will then be added to their most awesome and diverse clientele list!

 

This is going to be a trip (in all senses if the word)!   We are working on ways to document all of this so that we can share as much of this trip with all of you as possible!  Stay tuned cause I’m sure that we’ll come up with something crazy!  The fun times continue…