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AFTER REPORTS

Women in Blues Showcase, 2015, Memphis

Women in Blues Showcase, 2015, Memphis

2015 Women in Blues Showcase, After Report

(Long, with as many details and names as I could remember)

First, let me start by saying that no matter how many times I go through all the notes, I still fear I will forget to name or thank someone. Feel free to call me out if your name got missed! Everyone who helped, deserves their kudos! And be advised… go to the bathroom first, grab a drink on the way back and then hunker down for a long read…

Memphis Bound…. on a mission to support WiB…

Tuesday, my friend (and a WiB sponsor) Patricia Shamroy Shaw and I landed and got settled in to town. Right away, I ran to the Center for Southern Folklore. Our graphic guru and my partner in crime, Terri Robbins had shipped the posters ahead, so we did not have to load our suitcases down. I grabbed a bunch and headed to Beale. No sooner than walking in Strange Cargo (they always post for us…shop there, please), I start running in to one WiB after another. Missy Anderson in the hotel, Terri Odabi in the store, Betty Fox on Beale, Jackie Scott (My P-town blues sister and I finally got to hug…made me so happy), Beartherer Reddy, and on and on.

I ran in to Doc Malcom at Memphis Music and as they always do, they got one of our posters up for us! He asked for an extra… had to give him one. The man is so supportive of all blues artists! Next, I got over to Tater Reds and gave Tater a big hug with his copy of the poster. Tater is another one on the block who has shared our info every year!

By the late afternoon I was already wiped out from walking and headed to the room to grab more lobby cards to run up to the Double Tree, but it turned out it was too soon for lobby cards. I had to go back again Wednesday morning! As we all know…once you hit Memphis, you cannot walk more than 5 feet without running in to someone! I had already run in to Betsy Paisley and Pat Pepin, Gil Anthony, Marshal Lawrence, David Mathews , Big D, Joe & Sarah Whitmer, found out Chefjimi and Leslie were in the same hotel, where I was. Logan Layman and her whole clan were there as well.

On a side note: It is really interesting trying to coordinate an event in a town you do not live in with people who are all over the world, some in town, some in different time zones. Between texts, calls and emails… I got totally confused more than once! I would swear someone was in Memphis who had not arrived yet. If my time lines are out of wack… you know why! It may say we met Wednesday and it happened Thursday. Don’t be surprised.

On to Wednesday. I headed in early the night before and was ready to hit the ground running. I went to the Double Tree once more, because it was time to get Lobby cards out. I got the showcase, and necklace lobby cards laid out and added our business cards around. Then ran to see Vinny Marini (Music on the Couch). He was getting set up and we bantered a bit and I left some info there as well. Then off to Club 1-5-2 where I placed more of our cards on the table of the 2nd floor IBC store. Of course, I hung out a bit and handed out some necklaces. I had planned on waiting til around check in, but since WiB’s were already out and about… the box was in my hand and as soon as Terri got to town, I got some in her hands as well! I had carved 101 necklaces. We could not get to all the female blues artists at IBC in time or when they were not on a stage! There is a list of those we are 100% have a necklace, below!

Betty Fox gave me the 1st copy of her new demo! It was lucky timing as I wandered Beale. I got a few moments in the sun with Beareather Reddy (or was that Tuesday?). After the orientation I stood outside the New Daisy hawking “Women in Blues”, “Women in Blues” and held up my WiB bag. We found more female blues artists, gave them a necklace, gave or showed them the lobby card we had placed to mention what the necklace meant, filled them in on the showcase and in my later notes, you will see that many women in blues artists who were playing in the IBC came to support their sisters in blues at the showcase. That part was very charming and heartwarming. More on the sappy stuff in a bit.

Wednesday night, and camera in hand. I start working the IBC program and try to hit as many clubs with a female blues act listed. At some point on the journey I happened upon Peter Sloane who caught me dancing to non blues…woot woot. What can I say… it was ‘Happy’. After a few bars of the song I was back on track to the next club. In some cases, I had to cross reference lists to see if a band had a female artist. I charted a course and did manage to get a lot of female acts on video. But not as many as I wanted. The acts were spread out from one end of Beale Street to the other. Some clubs were on time but one or two had gotten off schedule and I walked in as a WiB act finished their last note… when I expected them to start. I missed many the first night because of that. And at least another 3 because of how far out their venues were. Not to mention, I missed even more because I would be ***taping in one club while another WiB was on stage at that same moment, over two blocks away.

ARGHHHHH, can I get a witness? One person, one small camcorder… so little time and no where near the technology of cloning myself.

Thursday is more running the Beale gauntlet. Somewhere in there I managed to see Hurricane Ruth, during the Blind Racoon Showcase (was that Wednesday or Thursday…so lost now). Thankfully, Pete “Bluesman” Lauro was handling sound and I got my hug in early. Plus, he was sweet enough to get a WiB necklace to Ruth as I had to make a meeting. I also got to go to Jenn Ocken and Greg Slim Lively Johnsons ViP event for the book “Blues on Beale Street“. Thanks to Kyle Deibler for giving me a ticket, I was able to attend and see everyone, even got to hug Jay & Pricilla and Rags & Lori. Earlier, Teeny Tucker and Robert Hughes (and his wife) had met me at the Center to look over the venue and not long after, they arrived at the book party, as well. It was really cool to see Sean Carney call Teeny up to sing. Sean is one of the few male artists who is a bad ass player and never ignores the WiB rules. He comes and posts female artists here on a semi-regular. Many of us have noticed that gracious side!

By Thursday night, most everyone had checked in with me. Andrea Zucker (the official WiB photog for this years showcase) and Paula Harris were settled in. I was able to connect with Freddy and her son at the cafe for a bit. Laura Cheadle and her Dad, James, were able to pop in my room for a quick visit. Danette Patton (documentary maker) was getting settled, and I knew I better turn in for the night. I had no shot of being at the Center early if I waited up to find out who was advancing on to the next round of the challenge. I honestly started Friday with no idea of what had happened. I wanted to know, I just had no time.

Early to the Center for Southern Folklore on Friday the 23rd. Judy, Jill and the staff are preparing. Mark Caldwell (Memphis Blues Society) is there to help me with set up and he helped backstage during the show, as well. Terri Robbins arrives soon after to help get banners up and handle necklaces, get the raffle prize from Jenn and Greg out of the box and other details. Betsy Paisley and Pete Lauro show up to set up the counter and get the basket out to raise donations for the Center, sell artists CD’s and check in artists (we raised them OVER $700 in cash donations to further their mission), Teeny and Robert arrive to set up the screens and prep for the show, John Lowe and Wally arrive to set up sound and an hour and a half BEFORE our start time… people were already arriving to stake out seating. Peter Sloan, Anthony Earl and others had camped out their spot to take photos. Leslie K Joseph had a good spot from her shots. An hour before the show and some artists are arriving and more audience. By the noon start time, it was already standing room and it only got more packed as the day progressed.

And man oh man did we have amazing artists on stage. Teeny opened up the show with a bit of history and then the ladies took over. Before I list all of the amazing women scheduled and those who sat in our lent talent to the showcase, I have examined the mistakes on timing and promise that won’t happen again! I know better for next time and take full responsibility. The artists were aware some shifting could take place, even if we did not announce that to the general public. That is why we did not publish the artist schedule in public, but the timing went way off, and that is on me!

Now, on to the artists who performed in the 2015 WiB Showcase, in no particular order: Annika Chambers, Laura Cheadle, Lady Bianca, Bridget Kelly Fik, Pat Pepin, Beareather Reddy, Liz Mandeville, Freddye Stover, Veronika Jackson, Lucy Hammond, Eleanor Tsaig, Teeny Tucker, Logan Layman, Mandy Lemons & Verlinda Zeno, Redd Velvet, Rachelle Coba, Patti Parks, Paula Harris, Terrie Odabi… not to mention that Donnah Dahl, Tracy K, B.b. Queen & Chuckee Zehr sat in… and some of the male artists who joined in (other than current band members), included Owen Owen Owen, Tas Cru, Sonny Rock, Billy The Kid Evanchenko, Tim Fik, Sturgis Nikides, Jeff Jensen and of course Ben Rice with Lucy and Robert Hughes with Teeny. I may even be missing a name or two of WiB’s who sat in as well as some of the coolest men in blues. Feel free to tell me so I can edit them in! Teeny MC’ed the first half and B.b. took over for the second half, with Niecie Blues pitching in and even going so far as being a runner of info (she played last year and came to help her sisters this year).  Markey Blue ended up missing the showcase because she got a baby illness…lol, ask her… it’s funny!

I was a moving target. I swear one other WiB said she was going to sit in with one of her sisters in blues. It was truly amazing how many incredibly talented people took the showcase stage. Sad I missed some of the performances but really glad the audience got to see you all. One year, hope to have enough help to not miss a single set!

And the ladies who came to the showcase in support was outstanding. Some had necklaces and others came to get them and many got to speak with the documentary maker, instruments were loaned, call and responses given. We did try to point all these women out, and some were in the room when their names got called. Yes, we got them to stand and wave so media could find them. A few WiB’s we called out by name, had already moved on to their next obligations. We were still happy these ladies were part of the showcase and we did sell some of their CD’s as well as those in the showcase. Those on our list of WiB’s who came in support include, Amanda Rey, Sarah & Reagan Kimberly (the youngest in the bunch at 10 & 12), Betty Fox, Joanne LeBlanc, Cat Rhodes, Leslie Barkman, Mz Peaches, Gail Selkirk, Tamara Nicolai, Ali & Jen Fisher (Mojo Bag). Eef Guitar, Tullie Brae, Ashanti Karimah Marshall of Two Blue (not to be confused with 2Blue), Ellie Johnson and more. Not to mention…some of our coolest WiB supporting sisters, Karen Lovely who came to intro our MC & performer Teeny Tucker’s set, Niecie Blues who basically helped with anything and I think might have sat in as well (she played last year), and Dalanah Gail Bowen who not only came, talked to the documentary maker AND she loaned out her bass player to several artists… I swear I was told she got to sit in on stage, as well. Maybe others did and I missed it. That is how crazy a day it was. The house was packed in the back hall and the store front. Like sardines. Attendance was estimated at between 500-600 people throughout the day.

Just so you know… I only I found out late in the day that Bridget Kelly, Lucy Hammond, Lady Bianca and Terri Odabi had all advanced to semi-finals… not to mention Betty Fox, Dalanah & Owen, Christine & Brat Pack, Libby Ray Watson, Rae Gordan and a bunch more. I had no clue they were all in the semi finals and several made it to finals as well! I was really tickled to hear about the WiB’s who made it through and I know there was at least one female guitar shredder in a finals band.

I promised a list of ladies that got a necklace: Arley Hughes, Tullie Brae, Barbara Blue, Moon Anderson, Monica Morris, Josie Lowder, Katfight Keys (Gail Selkirk & Chuckee Zehr), Donna Dahl, Christine from Brat Pack, Missy Anderson, Jackie Scott, Amanda Rey, Betty Fox, Cat Rhodes of Cat Rhodes and The Truth, Monica Lynn Chase, Willow from The Bonnevillian, Tamara Nicolai, Brenda from Two Blue, Britt from Leif de Leeuw Band, Angie C from Chris Canas Band, Veronicka from Red Wine Serendade, Kimberly Dill of Sister Lucille, Leah Tussing from the Rafael Tranquilino Band, Leslie Barkman, Susan Barrette of Coyote Bill Boogie Band, Nancy Reid of Root2 Music, Caryn Schroeder of Big N Tasty Blues Band, Hurricane Ruth, Ellie Johnson, Rae Gordon, Kelly Authier, Cara Hatfitz of Hatfitz and Cara, Jennifer Milligan of Lil Red & the Roosters, Libby Rae Watson, the lady of Loose Cannon (one at least and genius marketing band…usb drive on a chain) and more, including those who came to the showcase in support and the ladies who played the event, pretty much every woman in blues artists who is named, got a necklace…. and a few more as some notes are missing! Out of 101, 5 returned home with me, 2 were replaced, meaning 93 necklaces were wandering around IBC and that was not even ALL the WiB’s I saw. I kept walking in clubs and seeing more on stages when I could not speak with them. The youngest female artists to get one, was 10. The most mature, was past retirement, and as a lady should never lie, I have not asked the lady her actual age!! My Momma would turn in her grave, if I was to ask! I honor my Momma…

IBC or Bust. Thank you again to our sponsors, Swift Eyes Innovations Inc, Patricia Shamroy Shaw, Crystal Visions Stained Glass & Terri Robbins, SweetWater Farm, Xanadu Music & Books in Memphis & John Lowe, Sunday Wilde, Sound Reflections, Mary4Music, Blues-E-News, Blues 411. And a huge shout out to the Blues Foundation for running events like the International Blues Challenge. None of us would have the opportunity to showcase so many artist to so many people, if not for this incredible event. Consider becoming a member. It will be worth every penny!

When you check the ***video… there is one lady I could not identify. I was not sure which night I got them on stage to cross reference in my notes. Help me. If you know who they are, I can still add their name via the youtube system! I know it has Annika Chambers, Laura Cheadle, Lady Bianca, Bridget Kelly Fik, Pat Pepin, Tracy K, Lucy Hammond, Teeny Tucker, Logan Layman, Freddye Stover, Veronika Jackson, Mandy Lemons & Verlinda Zeno, all from our showcase. I missed footage from Bearether Reddy, B.b. Queen, Liz Mandeville, Eleanor Tsiag, Redd Velvet, Patti Parks, Paula Harris and Terri Odabi…. during the showcase. Chuckee Zehr and Donna Dahl can be heard on some sets, but not seen. If ANYONE has even 30 seconds footage of those ladies… I would really love to get it posted and shared. Anyone? Also in this video, I know I have Cat Rhodes, Rae Gordon, Betty Fox, Lea Tussing, Leslie Barkman, Lady Bianca, Arley Hughes, Cara Hatfritz, Christine from Brat Pack, Amanda Rey, Brenda Meyer (2Blue, not to be confused with Two Blue), Maegan Aguilar, Monica Morris & Josie Lowder, Lauren Williams (The Blood Orange Martinis), Jackie Beaumont, Gail Selrkirk and Chuckee Zehr, Samantha ‘Sammi’ Chong, ….and the one who’s names I could not properly cross reference. If you know who that WiB is…let me know!

Ok, this after report was very long and pretty detailed. I tried to put you on the ground with me. Running from stem to stern and feeling like you got to come along. I hope you are not as exhausted at the end of this report, as most of us were when we left Memphis! It took me time after getting back home to realize… this was an amazing event and we nearly doubled our attendance this year!

Power to the women in blues… you and the supporters made this a reality!

Michele

CBW of the nWiB

PS…did I spell your name wrong? Tell me…I’ll edit it!


National Women in Blues Showcase, 2013, Memphis

National Women in Blues Showcase, 2013, Memphis

2014 Women in Blues Showcase, After Report

We wanted to take some time on this after report as the feedback is still coming in, as are photos. I have to say WOW. I am glad we went showcase style because this year I did not have anyone already slated to perform who got turned away.

We had Shaun Murphy as our MC this time and she came out of her shell! It was so great to see. I knew her performance was going to be amazing but many thought she may be too shy to MC but she did a great job sliding in sponsor info, talking about the Blues Foundation and IBC info as well as introducing the other artists. And lets be honest… when it came time to perform, that fiery redhead did an incredible job. But I knew she would. The fact she took to the MC position so well is what surprised me and now she is double trouble because I think she may get asked to MC other events in the future!

I won’t get too specific on each performance as we had so many and this would get incredibly long to read. Suffice it to say we had a ton of powerhouses all over our stage at the Center for Southern Folklore.

The first set was played by Mandy Lemons and her band. The rocked the house down. Then came Carlene Perkins who is always amazing and thank goodness for her drummer Tim who helped me with sound for the 2nd year in a row! Right after, Amy Hart got on stage with some great musicians and had everyones attention. Next up was the Ori Nafty Band with Eleanor Tsiag on lead vocals, proving once again that blues travels the world! Niecie Blues was next and dang the woman has fun on stage. Right after that we had Gracie Curran who is amazing from the get go. Then Tracy K took the stage and low and behold we needed a bass player and luckily, Logan Layman stopped in and stepped up to the plate! Debra Devi was next and she rocked it down and then had to get to her lecture that afternoon at A. Schwabs. Yes, musician and author! Shaun Murphy allowed me to intro her for her set and she did not disappoint as per the usual! Next to take the stage was Redd Velvet and she went on without any musicians. I must admit stole the show. Her last tune she was getting call and response from ladies in the audience and she pulled Erica Brown up out of the crowd and everyone was floored. Around this time we switched it up to the store front from the back hall and Lauren C Mitchell took the stage much to everyones delight. Next up was Annie Mack who was so humble she forgot to tell me she was in the semi-finals later that same night. Laura Cheadle was next to grace the stage and what a sweet performer she is. We got Octavia next blowing her harp and making folks smile. Our last performer was to be Lady Rose who did an amazing job but instead of calling it a day, we had the good fortune of having some extra women who were willing to do a set for us. Bridget Kelly Fik came up and knocked out a few and so did Lucy Hammond.

Now, on top of all these women who took the stage, we also had many great WiB’s pop in to join us. I lost the list with all their names but from memory we had Markey Blues, Anna Marie, Brick Fields, Annika Chambers and more. So bummed I lost that list. Shoot, Laura Chavez stopped in also and I wish she had been able to stick around because I would have put her on the stage just to be able to brag she has graced the WiB stage 3 times! She performed at our 2nd fest in 2007 with Lara Price, then the following year with Candye Kane. It would have been fun to say she was the only one to play a WiB stage 3 times! Hoping to make that happen yet. Paula Harris and Rachelle Coba had last minute gigs but were supporting us in spirit. Tamara Nicolai had planned on slipping in but also got a last minute gig and called just to say she was sorry she was not there.

It was a long day for me. I got to the hall at 9:30am and did not leave until nearly 6, shortly after our last extra acts performed. I was plum wore out. Tuckered to the core. Yet, everywhere I went I was stopped by people who said that the WiB showcase was one of the best side events at IBC. A lot of our ladies have reported being stopped and thanks for doing the showcase. Male musicians fussed at me that Redd Velvet brought them to tears in public. Got to love that! Terri Robbins (my sidekick) was even thanked at the airport on her way home. I am still getting emails and calls thanking me. I admit it is hard to take the praise as it took many people and tons of great talent to make this showcase come together. But it was so worth the effort.

I will get some video out soon and expect more photos and video to be sent to me to add to the collection. I have to get our video edited but for now have used Anthony Earls photos again because he managed to capture incredible shots of the artists and indeed the spirit of this wonderful day.

I want to thank all of you. Not just those who helped put the event together (did some of that earlier this week), not just the artists who graced the stages, but all of the people who came. This year we had even bigger numbers than last year. Proving once again that people really do love hearing women sing the blues!

Next year? Yes, there is talk but slow down before asking me. I am still recovering from this year and we have plenty of time to plan. I also really want to thank the Blues Foundation for adding us to the schedule on their web site. That meant a great deal to all of us.

For now, I will sign off but as photos and video come in, more will get posted. The Women in Blues are just too incredible to miss. So, if you missed our event, check out a WiB gig near you soon! Buy their CD’s and download the music (legally please). Keep supporting women in blues and sure enough the playing field will be level. My goal has never been to take over the field… just even things out. With your continued help, we can make that happen.

Stay tuned for more details on the campaign to get our own 501 status and to build the new web site with a WiB directory!


 

Memphis Tennesse, National Women in Blues 2013

Memphis Tennesse, National Women in Blues 2013

WiB Jam 2013 After Report: 

Let me start by thanking again everyone who helped make it happen. These folks especially because they know without them, I never would have been able to lead the jam at IBC Memphis 2013. Thank you Kyle Deibler, Terri Robbins, Pat Pepin, Betsy Lynne Paisley, Heidi Tuba Ho Knochenhaurer, John Lowe, Brian Wells, Eric Hughes, Victor Wainwright, Vinny Marini, Yellow Dog Records, Sweet Water Farms and of course The Center For Southern Folklore for allowing us use of their space.

Next I want to thank all the women who came to jam. Far more than I ever imagined took a spot on the stage and gave their music to a room packed with WiB supporters. I am gathering the list now and will be sharing it along with video and photos that are being gathered from multiple sources! Please keep an eye for that as I am expecting some great photos that perhaps you all will want to share with others and will make sure to set them for tagging!

Now I will get to the good bad and ugly, and it is mostly good with just a tiny bit of bad that can be fixed next time.

First the bad. We were set up to jam from Noon – 3:00pm. We actually ended up going til 4:00!! Even with an extra hour, some of the women who came to jam did not end up getting on stage. Not many but in most cases the delays with so many female blues singers in the house, a lot of the ladies had to leave and get ready for other events, and even some for semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge. To those who did not get on stage my sincerest apologies. It actually bugged me so bad I snuck off and had a quick cry and pout then snuck right back to lead the jam. If I had been in your shoes I would have felt a bit slighted or frustrated. If I left any of you feeling that way, my sincerest apologies and I will do all I can to make sure that does not happen at our next event. Better planning and more time to settle details should help prevent it happening again. Just know I will work on that and I do feel and understand if you felt frustrated or slighted. I never intended or meant for it to happen. That may not give a ton of comfort but I hope you know it will serve to lessen the potential for repeating that error on my part.

The only other bad I heard is that we did not have enough female instrumentalists which did mean we allowed a few men on stage. Mostly men from bands that were there behind a WiB in the blues challenge to begin with. This is something I tried to make clear had potential of taking place but many came to this last minute and were not aware. The one exception to the ‘male’ artists who was not from a band with a female up front would be Tom Holland who graciously came to watch all the ladies and sat back and enjoyed for some time. We finally let him do the closing tune with Cassie Taylor!

THE GOOD…AND PLENTY OF IT SO SIT BACK FOR THE RIDE!!!

We knew for sure that 18 women would come jam. You will see them on the poster I attached here. But we had nearly 40 show up. Their ages spanned from 16 to nearly 70. We even had a 12 year old female instrumentalist who debated getting up but felt content to watch the older ladies lead the way. The women did cover songs and originals. They did ballads and rockin’ tunes. The styles of blues were as varied as the women themselves. You heard a little Chicago, Memphis, Delta, Porch, even some with a funky or jazz edge. A hint of rock and gospel whispered through the Center too! No one argued about what was pure or modern. No one fussed or cared if one was old or new school. The women on this really came together. I loved this fact. I see so many debating what is or is not blues and if it should be kept like a museum piece or allowed to evolve. But not at our jam. The women just allowed each other to express themselves the way each knew how, from my perspective. I only heard one tiny fuss about ‘keys’. That was it. Come on ladies… ya’ll know for a roomful of women, that is pretty darned amazing!

Another great thing about our event was the sheer volume of people who showed up to watch and support the WiB jam. In my head and in planning I had anticipated maybe 80-100 people would come. After all, we were not on any schedule and it was not until I arrived in Memphis that there had been chance to put up a single poster or start getting hand bills out. Vinny Marini had done us a few radio plugs and the ladies on our poster and some WiB supporters shared the event and poster on their walls and in various blues groups. We sent out the event invite to plenty of people but we knew the KBA’s were taking place with a limited number of tickets and hoped we would at least get a little over flow. When we did a final tally while trying to compensate for the flow of traffic and comings and goings of new audience members. We came up with somewhere between 250-300 people having supported the WiB jam! OMG was I a bit shocked by the sheer numbers. At most points it was standing room only with a lot of folks standing. I was so happy for all the women who had CD’s and other merch to sell! Many of them did manage to make some gas money home via supporters who came to enjoy the day with us.

My favorite bonus comments did not actually happen at the jam itself. Nuts, right! But later that night I was running in and out of clubs trying to support various bands in the semi-final rounds of IBC by catching sets. I was stopped many times and thanked for running the event by people who had come to see all the women in one place. It was nice enough so many people stopped and thanked me after the fact but what was really great was that several people, including a few groups of 3-4 people said they heard about the WiB jam on the local public radio that morning. But they had not been aware of the IBC and because we told them all about it, they bought tickets for the semi-finals to support some women they had seen that day and catch some of the top blues acts from around the world! We helped sell at least a dozen or more wrist bands for the Blues Foundations event! That really did feel like a bonus to know we were also giving back a little to them because without the IBC there would not have been such a golden opportunity to gather so many incredible women in one place. Timing was everything!

Now I am back home nursing my own variation of the travel bug and pondering how much fun that was. Sure there were a few little kinks behind the scenes that I will keep to myself. But they did not effect the event or the women and that is all that matters. There are always gonna be things behind the scenes and that is part of what I do. Deal with it so you don’t have to! My goal and mission has never strayed. I have always been straight up about it. I make no bones how I feel about Women in Blues getting the short end of the stick and how it needs to end. The first recorded blues song was done by a woman. When WWII broke out and all the men folk went to war, who kept blues alive? Women. And I don’t mean they just sang. Those women wrangled musicians, sewed costumes, cooked dinner for the band, handled bookings and more. Tell me how many men have done that! Yet, in this one genre, I see a lack of equality I don’t see in almost any other genre of music. It made it hard for me to find female mentors though many men taught me well. It makes it harder to mentor other women. It leaves the WiB’s tweaking their tunes and style to get radio airplay on stations other than blues format and to book enough gigs to survive. Is that right? No.

So, on I go promoting my sisters in blues. Fighting to level the playing field. Striving to insure that they are treated as more than a side note. The women are behind me. The strong men with big ‘cahonies’ are behind me. Now, who wants to help me further this mission? Who wants to go to their next blues festival with 20 on the line up and not see only 1 woman artists listed? Who is with me? If you are… be a member of our National Women in Blues group on Facebook and keep an eye for me to post ways you can help. It won’t be long before I make a call to arms, as this jam proved my point. There are plenty who want to hear and see women sing the blues and more than most would have you believe! Now I know those numbers will multiply and make the case for me. And until I make a call to arms, you know you can influence radio folks and booking agents. Let them know you want more WiB’s. Request their songs and if the DJ does not have it, tell him why the station should have it. Get your blues society to have more than 1 WiB on stage. Write letters to the editors of your favorite blues publications and blogs asking them to feature your favorite WiB’s! Join me in the fight to give WiB’s their due!

Just remember, I am straight up, expect everyone to stay on mission and when I fuss I am seldom mad, only adamant! I am prone to remind people that my hometown sister Ruth Brown was never shy or coy when fighting to get artists their due. Don’t expect me to be either!

Michele
aka Woman WiB CBW
PS…to ANYONE I forgot to thank at any point….THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
This was not done by me alone and credit goes out to so many people who helped make this all happen.

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