When: January 29th, Noon until 4pm
Where: Alfred’s on Beale, Memphis, Tennessee
Cost: FREE (suggested donations of any amount encouraged, for Generation Blues)
Exciting news for the women in blues, as this year’s event is moving in to the fray, with support of the Blues Foundation as part of its International Blues Challenge (www.blues.org). Thanks to their help, this year’s showcase is taking place at Alfred’s on Beale, in the heart of downtown Memphis, near the corner of S. BB King Blvd! Not only will you be able to enjoy great Women in Blues performers and some of our finest blues brothers, but the menu is tasty with award winning Baby Back Ribs, not to mention the fried green tomatoes! Plus, when the semi-finals start, you will be near those venues without having to rush. Always a bonus during IBC week!
The National Women in Blues, Executive Producer Patricia Shamroy Shaw and Yippee ki-ay Blues Radio, teamed up with the Blues Foundation to bring you another amazing line up of female blues performers, from around the world and right in the Delta. This year is also the start of a tradition. Our one guaranteed set, is held for Redd Velvet. The National Women in Blues likes tradition, and she has agreed to return each year, as our Memphis anchor. We did this in Wilmington, with our regions Grandmother to the blues, Rose Lucas. It seemed fitting, on top of the fact that we have all seen this woman bring grown men to tears. Her performance is subtle, yet powerful and is a perfect tradition to hold tight.
The line up just goes on. Women from as near as Memphis, and as far as Australia. From DownUnder, comes Chris O, a solo blues artist from the Blue Mountains in Australia playing acoustic blues, fingerpicking originals and classics with a real roots flavor. Singing vintage blues and cooking up sounds of the Delta from greats such as Memphis Minnie and Skip James, stirring in a load of her own songs, all with that traditional vibe. Traveling like a pack pony, she carries her “band” around with her – lap slide, dobro, uke, and even a few plain ole guitars. In 2014 her blues CD “Peckman’s Plateau” shot into the Australian Blues Airplay Charts, staying there for five months. “Roll up for vintage jellyroll and jinx with the Mama from DownUnder!”
Working up the coast of the states, Regina Bonelli, a singer/songwriter/keyboardist from NYC. She recently released her acclaimed debut all-original album, “Open Up the Door,” which is receiving major airplay here in the US and worldwide. Regina sings and plays piano and organ on the record. Ms. Bonelli has been composing and performing since she was a teenager, sharing the stage with the Temptations, Martha Reeves and Odetta, to name but a few. Her music spun on Siriusxm, on their Picks to click and rack of blues for 5 months. Her songs come from the heart…the self-penned lyrics and music are the blues of a single mother dealing with life’s ups and downs while trying to make it all work.
Heading to the heartland of the states, Queen Delphine, who is part of a Blues Band called Queen Delphine and The Crown Jewels in Indianapolis Indiana. Queen Delphine is a Blues “Belter” in the styles of Koko Taylor and Big Mama Thornton that has had the privilege of opening up for an internationally and nationally known Southern Soul Blues artist Mel Waiters (Got My Whiskey and Hole in the Wall) as well as singing for Carol Woods (Plays Mama in the stage play Chicago) and Melinda Doolittle (American Idol Season 6-3rd place finalist) with rave reviews. She has also performed at various outdoor festival and other notable establishments such as The World Famous Slippery Noodle (Indianapolis Indiana), The Point (Indianapolis Indiana) and Buddy Guys Legends (Chicago Illinois). Queen Delphine recently released her first CD entitled “Come and Get It” consisting of original songs written by her and her husband Lee O Ellis Jr.
Janelle Frost is a multi instrumental female vocalist. This is her second WiB showcase and her second trip to compete in the IBC. Playing bass for Diedra previously, this amazing switch hitting musician will be playing guitar for Queen Delphine (aka Harriet Ellis) at the showcase. Also joining them, Sonny Rock, a well known touring/session drummer with Mr. Tas Cru, The Smokin’ Aces Blues Band, Lex Grey & The Storm Front Band. Sonny wrote a book, ‘Safety First’, recorded several records, produced several, is a drum teacher and kick box instructor. Born in New York in1961 and moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980’s. He has played drums behind many great artists including Bryan Adams, members of The Who, Kiss, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Jones, The Cult, Peter Frampton, Leslie West, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, and Heart, and has backed up WiB at previous showcase events. We have some great brother in blues sitting in, you were told! Also sitting in with the Queen, on bass Leigh-Anne Stanton, whose bass career began in the mid-seventies playing in the high school dance band; after a 25-year hiatus during which she focused on her day job, she picked up the bass again in 2000. She became a full-time musician when she retired from corporate life in 2011. Leigh-Anne is having a blast in her current role with Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin, an Ottawa-based four-piece original roots rock/blues band. The band won the 2014 Maple Blues Award for Best New Act; in 2015 Leigh-Anne was nominated as Bassist of the Year. The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues awards program.
Heading to NYC, we bring have Patti Parks, a riveting artist, who is known for her soulful blues. Her original CD “Cheat’n Man” has been heard all over the world. One of her recent interviews included her program “Nurs n Blues” a music therapy program for kids escaping drugs in a WIB documentary to be aired in Australia. She is four time winner of best female blues vocalist from Nightlife Magazine. This is Patti’s second year performing at the WIB Showcase in Memphis and her back up at the showcase includes some amazing blues men, Tas Cru, Erik BoYd, Guy Nirelli and IBC contender drummer Pete Holguin. We never joke about the great men who support the women. These guys make the world sweeter.
This year’s youngest performer is Grace Kuch, a 12-year old blues guitarist from Colorado who has had an amazing musical journey thus far in her life. She began with piano at a young age and played bluegrass mandolin starting at age 7. After getting her first electric guitar at the end of 2013, she was absolutely called to the blues. Ever since, she has been on an incredible music pilgrimage, playing blues festivals and attending music camps across the country. Grace has been in love with music since she was born and that passion continues every day as she is magnetized to the blues. Her natural style aligns with the advice of many mentors, say more with less. At IBC 2016 she is accompanied by AJ Fullerton & Grace Ritter. Catch her set at the WiB or Youth Showcase!
Donna Dahl is a Twin Cities based singer-songwriter and drummer. Dahl performs with Dave Lambert & The Motivators, and is half of the high-energy duo Brother Sun Sister Moon, recently nominated for a Jimi Award for Best Roots/Blues Album. Her 2015 debut at the International Blues Challenge was coupled with BSSM’s well-received debut release, and is currently followed by a second album with many of Dahl’s songs and collaborations.
Amanda Rey & West Street Blues Band are “No strangers to the blues scene”. Amanda Rey was born in Memphis, TN, and spent most of her youth in between family homes in Holmes County, Mississippi and Washington County, Arkansas (Fayetteville) finally making the Ozark area her permanent home in 2003. Performing from a very early age in church and piano recitals, music always has been her passion and drive. Influences include Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Stevie Nicks, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and Ray Charles.
Tullie Brae credit’s her gift to her roots within a musical family where she began singing in a church where her dad was an apostolic preacher. As a gospel vocalist and multi instrumentalist Tullie was also influenced by the similar sounds of (took out extra space) blues, soul and rock n roll. Now you can find Tullie as a Hammond endorsed performer on the main stage of various festivals, club dates and film’ings while hearing her on domestic and international radio including BB Kings Bluesville Sirius XM.
Crossing the pond and coming back to the states, we get to present Eef, the tall-Dutch-girl-with-the-red-guitar who moved to the US in 1999 and currently lives in Denver CO. With her band ‘Eef and the Blues Express’ she represented the Colorado Blues Society (CBS) at the IBC in 2015. She won the CBS Members Choice Award for ‘Best Songwriter’ in 2012. She has self-produced four albums that get airplay at blues stations all over the world. When performing she likes to get down and funk it up. The blues is alright!
With her powerhouse voice and soulful vocal delivery, Carlene Thornton has amazed audiences from Maine to Massachusetts. This gifted singer is equally comfortable playing live onstage or lending her voice to original songs in the recording studio. As lead singer for the Juke Rockets Blues Band, Carlene has carved out a loyal following, especially with fans of blues queens like Janis Joplin and Shamekia Copeland. Carlene is the authentic item–a modern blues mama with a dynamic musical presence.
Cashbox Magazine has described Niecie as a “raw and soulful…..rocking blues powerhouse” who has shared the stage with the likes of Koko Taylor, Larry McCray, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, former Allman Brothers Johnny Neel, Outlaws guitar slinger Chris Anderson, and the legendary Shaun Murphy. A workaholic who relentlessly pushes herself to improve her craft, Niecie has been topping playlists and radio charts around the world including France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Currently, Niecie sits at #34 for Top 50 Blues of All-Time on APD Radio charts along with Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Elvin Bishop, Joe Bonamassa, Janiva Magness, Billie Holiday and many icons of the industry. Niecie was recently voted one of the Top 25 Women In Music by Blues-E News Magazine.
And ONE amazing band, that is comprised of a field of Women in Blues for all to envy. The Diva’s on Fire will be performing. Each woman on her own, a powerhouse. Lectric Liz Lottmann, Co-Founder of Divas On Fire, has been performing for 40 years, starting in Memphis as a Sam Phillips recording artist and touring just about everywhere through all those years in blues and R&B bands. She is a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree from the NW Arkansas Music Awards organization and is a blues ambassador and inductee in the Arkansas Blues Hall of Fame. Her roots are in the Arkansas cotton fields and in Memphis sound. She says that Divas On Fire is the most artistically satisfying group she has been in for many years. This is her third year at the IBC’s.
Rachel “Brick” Fields, Co-Founder of Divas, hails from Arkansas where she began her music career over two decades ago in NYC. She is an international award-winning touring and recording artists whose original works can be heard on blues, gospel, folk and children’s radio stations world-wide. She is the founder and owner of Ozark Mountain Records and Brick Fields Music and has participated at the IBC’s twice as a competitor and once at The Blind Raccoon Blues and Roots showcase, as well as a guest of the King of Beale Street showcase.
Dawn Cate, is the daughter of Arkansas music legendary guitarist Earl Cate of the Cate Brothers. Dawn has been bringing her blue eyed soul to the regional audiences of Northwest Arkansas for over 20 years through her appearances with well known regional acts such as “Earl and Them” as well as with “Earl’s Garage” and “Dawn Cate and The Rhythm Kings.” Dawn is an IBC virgin!!
Leah Spears – Blackmon, Leah Spears of Fayetteville, AR is currently the driving force of a successful multi-award winning Northwest Arkansas band “Leah & The Mojo Dr’s He”. Her prolific voice radiates her influences of classic country, jazz, blues, and rock & roll. Leah & The Mojo Dr’s represented The Ozark Blues Society at the IBC’s in 2013 along with solo/duo winner Ray Bonneville. This is Leah’s 2nd year at the IBC’s.
Ocie Fisher was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. She joined her church choir at a very young age and blossomed quickly with vocal talent. Ocie is in the Northwest AR Music Awards Hall Of Fame and is a 4-time Female Vocalist of the Year. She sang with the Arkansas Gospel Mass choir that was nominated for a Stellar Award in 8 categories. Today Ocie sings with Divas On Fire and with the Ocie Fisher Band. This is Ocie’s 3rd year at the IBC’s!!
Guitarist, Jody Andrews began her guitar studies at the age of 19 under the well known regional guitarist Gary Hutchison. Having started in the music business at the age of 13 with her father by her side at the local bars on Saturday night and then in church on Sunday morning, she later began playing regionally with Gary Hutchison, a few other blues/rock, soul and funk bands and later a stint with the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Jazz Band. She has been the guitarist for the popular NWA band Leah & The Mojo Dr’s since 2011 and still joins up with Gary Hutchison who states that after 20 years of musical partnership she remains his favorite rhythm guitarist to work with when time allows. You can find them co-hosting the annual International Guitar Show Pro Jam in Dallas each October. This is Jody’s 2nd year at IBC’s.
Diane “The Beast” Rudolph is from Miami, FL. She studied drum set with Michael Pieski and Steve Rucker and started working professionally in 1989. Diane relocated to the Ozarks in 2006 and then to the NW Arkansas/ Rogers area in 2012. She is the drummer for local rock band Eye for a LiE and also works as a freelance session player and fill in drummer. Diane is an IBC virgin!!
Bassist Alma Blecher of Aguilar Pangasinan, Philippines began playing music in church then eventually with bands outside church. She moved to the United States in 2002 where she continued playing bass in various projects and later met drummer Diane Rudolph on the local music scene. Shortly after Diane invited her to join Divas On Fire and the two of them have been the driving foundation of the music that creates the sound of this phenomenal group of women Divas On Fire. Alma is an IBC virgin!!
Keyboardist Patti Unruh of Tulsa Ok is a life-long Classical Pianist who now adds Rock and Blues to her varied repertoire. She moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2000 where she founded Rock band Rhythm of Mars LLC, a progressive rock band who has released 3 CD‘s and earned 7 songwriting awards. Patti is an IBC virgin!!
Tori Rudolph, the young Diva apprentice, was born in South Florida and has been singing in church since she was four years old. She has performed in numerous high school and college productions, including singing with SONA, U of A Concert Choir and Master Chorale. In additon to providing soprano harmonies for DOF, Tori also enjoys writing music and plays guitar and flute.
As always, our event is FREE to the public and we do accept and encourage donations for Generation Blues, to assist aspiring blues artists with needed funds to attend blues camps and workshops. We will have a raffle of an exciting “cornucopia” of blues music, and Memphis goodies from various downtown stores, like Tater Reds, Strange Cargo, Memphis Music, Schwab’s. We also have a unique word burning being donated by Megan Ratts from Candlelit Designs. You will have to show up at Alfred’s and see all the different items being auctioned. All of the silent auction proceeds and any donations at the door go directly to the Generation Blues Fund, a program of The Blues Foundation.
Over the years we have been able to give stage to so many incredible women in blues, not to mention some great brothers in blues who lent a hand on stage and off. Our WiB showcase in Memphis has featured amazing women like Teeny Tucker, Shaun Murphy, Cassie Taylor, Lucy Hammond, Sunday Wilde, Debra Devi, Mandy Lemons, Paula Harris, Gracie Curran, Beareather Reddy, Laura Cheadle, Logan Layman, Freddy Stover, Anikka Chambers and so many more. The variety of women and styles of music is all in an effort to support these women, and level the playing field. Without politics and favoritism, each year our artists contact us to show interest, after we post a “call to action”. They are chosen first come, but the numbers who are interested grows. Next year there will be a lottery to give more WiB’s the opportunity to join us. There are so many incredible women who deserve a spotlight, and we hope to continue to feature more, each year. As for our blues brothers, we do share our spotlight and are honored they share their talents with us.
These blues artists are ready to strut their stuff and give you one of the coolest Friday afternoons, ever! Extra thanks to The Blues Foundation, Patricia Shamroy Shaw, Sweetwater Farms, Mary4Music, Sound Reflections, Tater Reds, Music on The Couch, Blues-E-News, and thank you to Sandy Robertson at Alfred’s, for lending out such a perfect location to showcase Women in Blues!
We almost forgot to give some well deserved shout out’s to some folks pitching in time to help keep the showcase running smooth! Peter Blewzzman Lauro and Betsy Paisley keep the ‘merch’ moving! Thank you Mark Caldwell from the Memphis Blues Society! Shout out to Anthony Earl, coming back to do official showcase photography! Lori Grayboyes from Broad 4 Blues.
With your CBW Michele Seidman and VP Terri Robbins at the helm.
As always, our event is FREE to the public and we do accept and encourage donations for Generation Blues, to assist aspiring blues artists with needed funds to attend blues camps and workshops.