In Reverse Chronological Order (most recent, working back)
National Women in Blues, WiB Showcase 2019
When: January 24, 2019 Showcase.
Where: Alfred’s on Beale, Memphis, Tennessee
Live-streams, January 23 & 25, 2019, 12:00-4:00 EST
It’s that time of year again. We’re not talking about the jolly fellow in his red suit, but those amazing female blues artists and musicians who will grace the stage at the 2019 WiB Showcase, in Memphis Tennessee this January 24th, during the International Blues Challenge brought to you by the Blues Foundation. This will be our 7th edition in Memphis, our 3rd on Beale, thanks to the Blues Foundation! Live from Alfred’s on Beale Street and BB King Blvd. from 11:30am until 4:00pm, where you will be treated to an amazing line up of Women in Blues, along with some of their brothers in music!
Our showcase event supports, edifies, promotes and mentors Women in Blues! We don’t charge a cover fee to enter, but we do bring the bucket around, with everything collected going to Generation Blues!
It’s tradition now, for our MC to open the showcase. This year we have the amazing Terrie Odabi. Backed up by the all female house band, lead by band Director Meg Williams, with Savannah Wilde on bass, Lola on keys and Angela Kozarich on drums. As we do each year, we select by lottery, from the most amazing WiB artists in route to Memphis for IBC. Half are chosen from bands in this year’s blues challenge, with the amazing Redd Velvet closing out the show, with her blues music historical journey. Featured from one of her WiB Showcase performances in the Smithsonian Magazines African American Arts and Culture edition, Sept 2016. Our female artists drawn from ‘In IBC’ this year include, Dee Miller Band, Erin Harpe, Jennifer Milligan, Kathie Holmes, Julia Cruz Magness. Ilana Katz, Skye Downing, Andrea Staten, Libby Rae Watson, Michele D’Amour. And this year’s youth act is Veronica Lewis.
Not only will you see these women perform, you will have the chance to connect with other amazing female blues artists, as they love to come support their sisters in blues. Rumor has it that past showcase MC Teeny Tucker will be stopping in. Shaun Murphy (also a showcase alumni) could show up again! Past youth act Sarah Grace is hoping to arrive in time!
Thanks to the Blues Foundation, South Central Blues Society, Music on the Couch with Vinny Marini, Lori Graboyes, Marie Wilson and many others who help sponsor our showcase to bring you these amazing Women in Blues. Be there, Thursday January 24th from 11:30pm to 4:00pm, at Alfreds on Beale. Enjoy amazing music, good food and drink and lovely networking and the camaraderie of this sisterhood of blues women from all over the world!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Women in Blues, Inc. Presents
The 5th WiB Showcase in Memphis Tennessee
January 18th, 2017 at Alfred’s On Beale 11:30-4:00pm
It is with excitement and delight that the National Women in Blues announces this year’s Women in Blues Showcase 2018. Thanks in part to the Blues Foundation and the International Blues Challenge (IBC), we will bring our 5th edition of our women’s showcase to an appreciative Blues audience in Memphis. This is a free event with suggested $5 donation being gifted to Generation Blues, making the future of blues bright.
Our mission to support, edify, mentor and promote female blues artists is growing every year. We expect another packed house at Alfred’s. With this year’s opening artist and MC being none other than Rae Gordon, third place winner in the 2017 IBC Challenge. “Add equal parts of Janis Joplin’s pain, Aretha Franklin’s soul and Grace Slick’s power; mix them thoroughly, and add a big gob of gooey molasses and you have Rae Gordon’s voice” ~Positively Entertainment. Assisting her will be Blues woman Bridget Kelly Fik, and of course our Memphis anchor artist Redd Velvet, (featured in the Smithsonian Fall issue 2016 on African American Arts and Culture), honoring us with her first scheduled 2018 IBC appearance!
The list of showcase artists is amazing with women from around the world as well as top 3 finalists from last year’s IBC band division! Acts scheduled to appear include Kathy & the Kilowatts Duo, Marija Gasparic of Two Blue, Mary Washington Brooks, Mary Ann Casale, Regina Bonelli, The Angelina Hunter Trio, Lola Gulley, Ruth Wyand, Val Starr, The Souliz Band featuring Sugar and Spice and 9th Avenue Noise fronted by Laine Ford. This year’s all woman house band is fronted by Director Pam Taylor on guitar, Angela Kozarich on drums, Heather Newman on bass and Lola Gulley on keyboards. Find individual artists bio’s below!
There may be a few more WiB’s stepping in to assist the house band. You just never know who will be spotted during the showcase. Even past MC’s and performers like Shaun Murphy, Barbara Blue, Queen Delphine and others do stop in to support their sisters in Blues!
This year’s event would not be possible if not for the Blues Foundation’s support and some incredible sponsors. Sponsors include award winning photographer Patricia Shamroy Shaw, musician Bill Hammer, WiB Bridget Kelly Fik, the South Central Indiana Blues Society, Bluzpic Media, Memphis Blues Society & Mark Caldwell, and Crystal Visions Stained Glass. Additional sponsors include Broad4Blues’s Lori Grayboyes, Paul Gettelman, Ilian Katz, Barbara Blue, Christine A Wilson, and Dave Johnson. That is without mentioning the support and volunteer work from folks like KBA winners Kyle Deibler and Tim Fik who will keep the stage running smoothly. Or folks like Marie Wilson (artist manager), WiB Brigitte Purdy Rios from last year’s showcase will help artists and sell CD’s (we never keep a cut and all your money goes to the artist). Yippee Ki-ay is helping with this year’s live stream interviews where Erica Brown (Blues woman and host) will get you the low down on more WiB artists than we have room to showcase on stage! Watch for a release on the live streams, coming soon.
Our President (self titled Chief Bottle Washer=CBW) Michele Seidman and VP Terri Robbins are beyond themselves with excitement. This year’s showcase is bound to please. Come and join us on Thursday afternoon of International Blues Challenge week. We start at 11:30 with our MC opening the show and keep going til 4:00pm with a lineup that will knock your socks off. Alfred’s on Beale has great food and drink available to satisfy your every need. Trust me when we say, get there early if possible. Seats fill fast and standing room is the norm at the National Women in Blues yearly WiB Showcase, in Memphis!
The National Women in Blues has helped showcase 100’s of blues women through various events and efforts. We will continue our mission of support, edification, mentorship and promotion for as long as we keep running. Although our event is FREE, we do ask for donations (suggested at $5) that go directly to Generation Blues. Your dollars help keep the future of blues bright, all while you get to hear incredible blues women perform. Talk about a win, win!
We will see you at the 5th WiB Showcase in Memphis Tennessee, January 18th, 2017 at Alfred’s On Beale 11:30-4:00pm
FULL BIOS In no particular order:
Rae Gordon: Muddy Award Hall of Fame Winner Rae Gordon started her singing in the piano bars of Los Angeles and opening up for comedians. This gave her the approachability and sense of humor that she is known for, making sure every audience member has a good time. Now based in Oregon, she brought her new band of only 8 months to the International Blues Challenge in 2017. Their brand of coming out hitting with a gritty horn driven soul married to a back porch swampy slide blues helped get them 3rd in the contest that was swept by all women fronted bands. It is an honor for her to MC the Women in Blues show just a year after an incredible experience like that to continue to support and promote women in blues, not only in Oregon but everywhere. The Rae Gordon Band recently won the Muddy Award for Best Contemporary Blues band by the Cascade Blues Association, the best NW Recording for the new CD “Better Than I Was” and is the recent winner of Willamette Week’s Best of Portland for Blues, up against such greats as Ural Thomas and Curtis Salgado. She is most proud of receiving the CBA’s Back What You Believe In award for her work in music and charity. She will be featuring Kivett Bednar on guitar from RGB and looking forward to connecting with great people and talent from around the world.
Pam Taylor: Pam is a modern roots singer/songwriter/guitarist, born and bred in the South, well versed in the blues. Her debut album Hot Mess hit #1 on the Roots Music Report, #3 on Sirius XM BB Kings Bluesville and #25 on The Living Blues charts, making a name for herself in the blues world. When her band broke up in 2014 she was mentored on guitar by the legendary blues woman, Debbie Davies. It was time well spent… in 2016 she was was nominated for a “Jimi Award” for Best Guitar Heroine. Earning the right to play the blues by overcoming addictions, depression and physical ailments, she serves up a positive message along with her music; Knowing how it healed her, she plans to carry this message to others in hopes it will heal them too with her new modern roots record “Steal Your Heart” which is available now.
Redd Velvet has been the anchor artists for the WiB Showcase since it’s early beginnings in Memphis. Featured in Fall 2016 Smitsonian Magazines issue on African American Arts and Culture on her performance, being called “unmistakably regal” in bearing. Author Touré said “It’s church and theatre and history and testifying all at once. And Redd has us in the palm of her hand. She received classical training from Andrew Gainey of the New York City Opera, and internationally renowned mezzo soprano Mildred Allen of The Metropolitan Opera who encouraged her to pursue a career as a classical vocalist. Her role as Zerlina, the peasant girl in Mozart’s ” Don Giovanni” proved her vocal ability as a mezzo soprano. But her southern roots kept her anchored to the music that made her a powerhouse vocalist that blows life into the blues.
Bridgette Kelly Fik: Inspired by classic & electric blues, the Bridget Kelly Band has placed their unique stamp on the blues genre, with high-energy live performances and a hybrid sound that mixes Texas and Memphis Blues with various Southern Blues traditions. The powerful and sultry vocals of singer Bridget Kelly and the incendiary lead guitar work of Tim Fik forge a signature hybrid sound that combines classic urban blues with riff-driven rockin’ blues guitar; held together by a dynamic rhythm section comprised of Alex Klausner on drums and Mark Armbrecht on bass. The group has recently expanded their sound by adding keyboardist Chris Alexander and sit-in drummer Christine Alexander to their live shows. The Bridget Kelly Band is heading to Memphis once again this year to perform their original music at the International Blues Challenge, representing the Blues Society of Northwest Florida.
Kathy & the Kilowatts Duo: Kathy Murray developed her vision of the blues in the formative days of the Austin music scene, jamming with luminaries like Stevie Ray Vaughan, W.C. Clark, and members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. A blues singer and songwriter par excellence, she burst on the Austin music scene with her band Kathy & the Kilowatts, wowing audiences with a tremendous live show, and sharing the stage with everyone from Marcia Ball to Koko Taylor. Winners of the Heart of Texas Blues Challenge, Murray, and guitarist Bill Jones, are competing in the International Blues Challenge in the Solo/Duo category. Recent events include an Australian tour, and the recording of 15 Murray originals for a CD titled “Let’s Do This Thing”, Austin’s current submission to the IBCs Self-Produced CD Award competition. Murray has won the Australian Blues Association’s “Song/Songwriter of the Year Award” with her original song, “Call Me Mrs. Blues”.
Marija Gasparic: Two Blue, from Zagreb, Croatia. Proud mother of four children. I have been involved in music for as long as I can remember. As a child I finished elementary music school for piano. But found my true love in singing. For a past few years I’ve been doing exclusively singing and percussion in various combinations. For a year now I am a singer in B# band, a blues band from Zagreb. This made it possible for me to get involved in blues on a more serious level, which was always my dream. I started to write songs with the guitarist of B# band – Nenad Maderic, we wanted to see how they work live in front of an audience. So we entered 9th Croatia Blues Challenge and won solo/duo category. Living a dream… Very excited to be here!
Mary Washington Brooks, a native of Florida, she has been singing and writing blues for more than 40 years. Appearing in such festivals as the Riverwall Blues Fest and the Palm Beach Sunfest. Formerly on the Emerald Record label in Nashville. “The blues is really a statement about real life. When I write songs they are mostly about my experiences or someone I know experiences. I sing and write from my SOUL.” Her independent CD Blues Without Walls gaining a lot of press. Washington-Brooks is no ordinary singer, She is in total control of every note, or breath needed to get across the passion that she radiates to the audience when she performs. In a recent performance at “Cheers” a local nightspot near Fort Lauderdale, she performed with six other singers in a show hosted by the South Florida Blues Society titled “The South Fla’s Blues Diva’s Show”, she was clearly a standout among the others but not just for her vocal talent, in fact she seems to have everyone mesmerized with her sexy appearance and on stage personality. Watching her perform, it becomes increasingly apparent that her command of lyrics and the stage is not accidental.
Mary Ann Casale is an eclectic singer-songwriter who always delivers a true, honest, performance. Her voice is rich, pure and refreshingly melodic – her guitar playing, a deft finger picking style reminiscent of one of her early and most revered influences, the Reverend Gary Davis. Born on Long Island, Mary Ann started playing music at a very young age. She acquired a taste for jazz and blues from her uncle, a musician and composer well known to the New York City music scene who introduced Mary Ann to the guitar and brought her to see several of the blues greats who came to play the city’s clubs. Mary Ann’s music ranges from sultry jazz blues to country blues, with tinges of rootsy folk and Americana– but foremost always soulful.
Regina Bonelli, Inspired by early Blues and R&B legends of the 60’s and 70’s, Regina began singing and playing piano at the tender age of five. Ten years later, after picking up a guitar, she was performing. As the years went by, she had two children and raised them on her own. Life and love gave Regina more than enough inspiration to sing the blues. Her new single, “Don’t You Put Your Hands On Me” is already being broadcast on radio stations both in the US and abroad. The original song, produced by Tomas Doncker and James Dellatacoma for True Groove Records, tackles the issue of domestic violence and is in advance of her upcoming album. It features Tomas Doncker, Michael Hill and some of the county’s premier musicians. She also wrote the songs, both music & lyrics, on her stunning debut recording “Open Up the Door.” Bluesman Michael Hill produced and played on the record. This collection of tunes represents modern blues with a ton of soul and storytelling at it’s finest. The album was a #1 Pick To Click and featured in the “Rack Of Blues” on Siriusxm BB King’s Bluesville radio and is still receiving airplay around the globe. Regina’s scorching vocals, songwriting and keyboard playing are garnering worldwide attention. and pic
The Angelina Hunter Trio: Angelina brings her signature sound of soul infused vocals and dynamic guitar solos to new levels in this latest line up. Performing as a true blues/funk trio creates a musical space which allows Angelina to bring forward the best of her expert tone and touch on the guitar and vocals alike. Angelina’s career spans thousands of shows from intimate clubs to major festivals and has toured extensively throughout Canada and the United States. Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, the Angelina Hunter Trio is made up of Angelina Hunter, Sandy Hunter (drums), and Adam Bell (bass).
Lola (Gulley): Lola is a dynamic blues and R&B singer/keyboard player who has been igniting stages in the Atlanta area and is just beginning to break out as a national artist. Blessed with a deep soul voice, a funkified keyboard style and an intense, high energy stage presence, Lola combines traditional blues with hard-edged R&B to create her own brand of contemporary, tough music. Lola is honored to be named among “Atlanta’s Queens of Blues” along with the dynamic Francine Reed and Sandra Hall. Atlanta Council Member Kwanza Hall presented the ladies with a proclamation naming September 29, 2013 Atlanta Queens of Blues Day in Atlanta!! Lola has shared the stage with The Pointer Sisters, Bobby Womack, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Betty Wright and Chubby Checker. Lola is a proud winner of a 2011 Jus Blues Music Award – Contemporary/Traditional Blues Artist Female and a 2007 recipient of BluesCriitic.com’s Best New Female Artist award! Her sophomore CD with Wilbe Records “Cleanin’ House” has been recently released by Wilbe Records.
Note: She is sticking around to work with the all female house band at this years showcase, to support her sisters in blues!
Ruth Wyand: Guitarist, songwriter, foot drummer and singer Ruth Wyand is well versed in various styles of blues from Piedmont Picking and Delta Slide to the origins of Classic Female Blues Singers. As a “one woman blues band” Ruth performs at festivals, universities and clubs across the US, UK, Europe, Kuwait and New Zealand. With her intricate picking style, alternating thumb bass, bottleneck slide, multiple foot drums and raw blues vocals she generates enough power to fuel a full band explosion. Ruth is the music director for two nonprofit programs that gives kids, Veterans and Special Needs children and adults the opportunities to learn instruments and play in bands. She received a North Carolina Arts Council grant for a Blues in the Schools program. This is her second trip to compete in the IBC. In 2017 Ruth was only woman in the solo/duo category to make it to the finals.
Val Starr is an extraordinary singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist who writes songs gleaned from everyday life, love and loss. Val Starr and her band The Blues Rocket, including her husband and bassist, John Ellis, are based in Sacramento and have shared the stage with many top blues performers including Tommy Castro, Coco Montoya, Rick Estrin, Chris Cain, E.G. Kight, Albert Cummings and more. Their 4th all original blues CD, “I always turn the blues on” was released in August, 2017 to favorable reviews and continuous national and international airplay. Val has been performing since age 18, but it wasn’t until she found the blues that she discovered her true musical calling. “I had been singing covers for so long, imitating other singers; I forgot what my own voice sounded like. I may not have the typical female blues voice, but I know I was always meant to sing the blues.”
The Souliz Band with Sugar and Spice: Part Saturday night juke joint holler, part Sunday morning hallelujah, Sugar and Spice’s powerful, gospel-tinged, blues drenched vocals, move you to your soul. This power house band with 2 WiB was a top 3 band in the 2017 International Blues Challenge. The Souliz Band is packed with seven lifetimes of musical experience. They’re a great combination of well rehearsed professionalism, combined with the true love what they do. Although An Excellent Band In Its Own Right, the biggest attractions are its two featured female vocalist: Myra Glover (Sugar) And Velma Glover (Spice). Raised In Such A Musical Atmosphere, It Comes As No Surprise That Both Myra And Velma Are Natural Performers.
9th Avenue Noise (fronted by Laine Ford): Laine Ford discovered the upright bass, her “soul” instrument at 12 and hasn’t sat down since. As one of the leads of Colorado-based 9th Avenue Noise, Laine and her bandmates Eric Jones (keys), Mario DiBartolomeo (guitar) and Braedon Rudolph (drums) won a Front Range-wide competition to represent the Mile High Blues Society at IBC. Inspired by other women musicians like her bass teacher Susan Phealan, Laine, now 14, knows that laying down the bass is what keeps the blues thumping. She is honored to be joining other inspirational artists at the WiB showcase!
Angela Kozarich is a Columbus, Ohio based drummer who focuses on blues, jazz, and classic rock. Known for her clean playing style and metronome like timing she has received the attention and praise of many seasoned musicians. She has had the opportunity to play with blues artists such as Anson Funderburg, Tom Holland, Bob Margolan, and the Texas Horns to name a few.
Heather Newman: Originally from Omaha, NE, Heather Newman has made her mark in the blues scene after moving to Kansas City in 2015. She toured and wrote with Nick Schnebelen before splitting off to form her own soul blues band that has gained international recognition after the release of her studio album, Burn Me Alive. She has created an energetic, fun, and soulful stage performance with a killer original set. A powerful and sensual vocalist and solid bassist, she locks in with her band members to produce a deep, emotional, one of a kind blues medley with various styles of the American Roots genres.
Erica Brown (live stream host) From 1998-2008, as frontwoman for the Award-winning Erica Brown Band, Erica electrified audiences all over the Rocky Mountain region with the band’s brand of searing blues rock. The band won nearly every award the region offered, including Best Blues Band (Westword Magazine) Best Underground Blues Band (Denver Post) and The Rocky Mountain News’ Best of in the Blues Category. The band released two critically acclaimed CD’s, “Body Work” in 2000, and “Rough Cut Stone” in 2003. Erica was dubbed “Denver’s Queen of the Blues”, a moniker that was used by the Altitude Network in their concert showcase feature “OnStage”, which was broadcast to five million households in 2005. Her vocals were featured in the Sony Pictures movies, “The Fan”, with Wesley Snipes and Robert DeNiro in 1996, from her vocal contribution to Rock/Punk/Industrial pioneers Foreskin 500’s song “Deliver Me”. In 2006, she fronted the band and was the lead female vocalist of Foreskin 500 spinoff disco/electro/house music band Cherry Bomb Club, with the CD of the same name. In 2013, Erica’s effort with Dan’ Treanor’s Afrosippi Band, “Tangled Road” garnered the Band 3rd Place Honors in the International Blues Challenge sponsored by the Blues Foundation! That, along with the new CD, “Tangled Road Again” has Erica and Afrosippi on everybody’s front burner!! Erica is a busy lady, and shows no signs of slowing down!!
2017 Showcase info below, with full press release to follow!
FREE EVENT-Donations Accepted for Generation Blues
National Women in Blues & Yippee Ki-ay Radio present the Women in Blues Showcase. THURSDAY, Feb 2nd at Alfred’s from 11:30am-4:00pm, as part of The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, 2017.
FOR IMMEIDIATE RELEASE:
NATIONAL WOMEN IN BLUES & YIPPEE KI-AY RADIO PRESENT
The 2017 WiB Showcase
THURSDAY February 2nd, Alfred’s on Beale Street, downtown Memphis Tenn.
The National Women in Blues and Yippee Ki-ay Radio bring you the 5th edition of the Women in Blues Showcase, as part of the Blues Foundation’s 2017 International Blues Challenge (blues.org). This will be our 2nd year at Alfred’s on Beale and we are so excited. Our showcase and livestream interviews will all be at this location, giving you the chance to enjoy food and drink along with incredible female blues artists. Watching them perform in the showcase or sitting in while we interview artists from around the world.
This years line up is packed full of talent. Not to mention, we are bringing back our favorite blues storyteller, Redd Velvet (featured in Sept Smithsonian Magazine) to close and we are trying something new to open the show. Also featured in the same magazine issue, is our MC Erica Brown, who will do an opening set to warm up the crowd with our first ever, all female house band, lined up by Janelle Frost. Featuring Pam Taylor, Eef, Tk of Southern Ave, Leigh Ann Stanton and Pat Pepin. The house band will also back up some of our artists who came to town, without their own bands in tow. Also on hand will be Niecie Blues to intro MC Erica Brown and our all female house band.
Our performers are Women in blues, both in the IBC challenge and out. From mature to youth, from the states and as far as Japan. This is an event that is sure to get you excited.
Our showcase line up opens with MC, Erica Brown and the 1st WiB All Female House Band. Then we feature a dozen amazing women in blues. (Line up in no particular order) Sharon Hazel Township. Lee Shropshire / Eight O’Five Jive, Rebekah Easley Ellis / Rae and the Royal Peacocks, Kimberly Dill / Sister Lucille Band, Kim Reteguiz, Bridget Kelly Band, Libby Rae Watson, Brigitte Rios Purdy, Nacomi Tanaka & The Blues Temple – Japan, Little Laura Lamun / Allen-Lamun Band, Youth act Campfire Soul with Sarah Grace & Reagan Kimberly and closing set from Blues Storyteller, Redd Velvet.
You think that is an amazing list? Here is a sneak peek at some of the women in blues we will be interviewing in livestreams, during IBC week. On Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2:00-4:00pm Central Time (1p-3p EST, MT 3p-5p, PC, 4p-6p). Our guest include, Mandy Lemons, Elizabeth Hangan, Veronica Lewis, Erin Coburn, Kaz Hawkins, Grace Kuch, Tullie Brae, Shari Puorto, Connie Lush, Lola Gulley, Hurricane Ruth Lamaster, Mary Jo Curry, Sharla Cook, Radka Kasparcova, Larea Edwards & Deep Pocket Thieves, Amanda Rey and more TBA!
We strive to level the playing field for female blues artists via promotion, support, edification, and mentoring. Through this event, all of our female artists get to feature their own talents and support of their sisters in blues. We have some fine brothers in blues along for the ride, who know we share our spotlight, as long as you don’t take it away!
The National Women in Blues is now a 501-c and welcomes any support we get. This year’s main sponsor at Yippee Ki-ay Radio has been a huge help in so many ways. Not to mention sponsors and support from Crystal Vision Stained Glass, Patricia Shamroy Shaw, Bluzpik Media Group, Sweet Water Farms, Mary4Music, Kyle Deibler, Music on the Couch, Preserving the Blues, Sound Reflections and a huge thank you to Sandy Robertson and Scott at Alfred’s, for lending out such a perfect location to showcase Women in Blues!
We look forward to seeing you all there! Thursday, February 2nd, at Alfred’s on Beale, 11:30-4:00, during IBC week!
BIO’S ON ALL OUR SHOWCASE PERFORMERS AND ALL FEMALE HOUSE BAND
Our performers are Women in blues, both in the IBC challenge and out. From mature to youth, from the states and as far as Japan. This is an event that is sure to get you excited. Our showcase line up, in no particular order….
Showcase opener & MC, Erica Brown, has been singin’ the blues all her life, and has truly seen and lived the Blues. As she shares her gift with the world, the world has taken notice, from publications like Living Blues and Chicago Blues Guide in the US, to Blues Matters in the UK, and Rootstime in Belgium. 2016 has been a banner year for Erica, from co-hosting the Women In Blues Showcase in Memphis, Tennessee during International Blues Challenge Week (Erica herself is a 3rd Place Winner of the Challenge in 2013), to having her photo featured in Smithsonian Magazine’s historic National Museum of African American History issue, to a nationwide Blues tour honoring Willie Dixon with Platinum-selling artists Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which also included Chicago Blues Royalty Ronnie Baker Brooks, Billy Branch, and Mud Morganfield, (collectively, the “Big Head Blues Club”), this Blues Woman is forging a path for others to follow and enjoy. She has also received the honor of co-hosting the 2017 Women in Blues Showcase in Memphis!! Long Live the Blues!!
House band leader Pam Taylor is an American roots musician born and bred in the South, well versed in the blues. Her debut album Hot Mess hit #1 on the Roots Music Report, #3 on Sirius XM BB Kings Bluesville and #25 on The Living Blues charts, making a name for herself in the blues world. When her band broke up in 2014 she was mentored on guitar by the legendary blues woman, Debbie Davies. She then teamed up with fiance, Robert Johnson to form Stolen Hearts and released an album called Dirty Southern Soul in 2015. Now now she is back in the studio recording her next solo album. Although she has many awards and nominations under her belt she finds the most rewarding aspect of her career to be the impact her music has on people. After earning the right the sing the blues, by overcoming addiction, depression and physical ailments, she serves up a positive message along with her music; Knowing how it healed her, she plans to carry this message to others in hopes it will heal them too. Look for her new album to be released in March 2017.
Eef, the tall-Dutch-girl-with-the-red-guitar, 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, and this year she and the band are back to represent the Pikes Peak Blues Community. Eef won the CBS Members Choice Award for ‘Best Songwriter’ in 2013. She has self-produced four-and-a-half albums, and her music can be heard on blues stations across the United States and far beyond. When performing she likes to get down and funk it up. She has shared the stage with many great musicians, and with The Blues Express she has opened for Coco Montoya, Tinsley Ellis, Nick Moss, Deanna Bogart, Bernard Allison, and more. The blues is alright!
Leigh-Anne Stanton is a multi-award winning bass player who is a member of the Murray Kinsley and Wicked Grin band (www.wickedgrin.ca ), known for performing full-tilt original roots rock and blues at festivals and venues throughout Canada. Wicked Grin represented the Ottawa Blues Society at the IBCs in 2014 and the same year won the Maple Blues Award for New Artist of the Year. In 2015 Leigh-Anne won as Bassist of the Year. The Maple Blues Award is Canada’s national blues awards program. Wicked Grin recently started touring in the U.S. and Leigh-Anne is excited to be playing throughout the U.S. (including here in Memphis this week during the IBCs) as a member of Tas Cru’s touring band, The Tortured Souls.
Tikyra “Tk” Jackson is a 21 year old Memphis native who has made a name for herself in a short time. She is the drummer for the band Southern Avenue who was just recently signed to Stax Records with a debut album set to be released in February. Tk grew up in the church and started out playing piano and singing at a very young age. She picked up drums around the age of 9 and hasn’t missed a beat since. With gospel and blues sharing such a familiar tone and sound, Tk quickly found a new love for the blues and its community. No matter if she is singing, playing drums, or just enjoying live music, her high spirit is contagious and it comes through her drumming. She hopes to continue to create music for years to come, spreading peace & love.
Pat Pepin, who has performed Blues & roots music around the country, winning 2010 IBC Best Self Produced CD & having competed in IBC in 2002, 2004, and 2008. Pat also appeared in The National Women in Blues Fest, Giving Hunger the Blues Fest, South Florida International Blues Fest, North Atlantic Blues Fest and more. Many know her from her viral video Living at Walmart. During her three-decade musical career she has shared the stage with many of today’s leading blues artists. She is a featured performer at blues festivals, on recordings, & received the coveted “Mojo Boogie” award during the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
Sharon Hazel is a native Californian who got her start playing live shows in Chicago where she attended DePaul University. She was later accepted in the music program at Mesa College in San Diego CA for guitar. In San Diego she recorded two indie albums. Sharon played every instrument on both albums. Now in St Louis, Sharon and her band, Sharon Hazel Township, has played all over the midwest including Busch Stadium. Sharon Hazel Township was a 2016 Riverfront Times Music Award Nominee for Best Singer/Songwriter.
Lee Shropshire of Nashville based Eight O’Five Jive’s ability to rouse and inspire audiences with their style of jump and swing blues has garnered them the Nashville Industry Music Award (NIMA) for “Best Live Blues Performers” two years in a row (2014, 2015), and “Best Blues Band” (2016). They also earned a Blues Blast Magazine award nomination, as well as the Nashville Blues Challenge top prize for both 2016 and 2017’s International Blues Challenge. Their debut album, “Too Many Men,” showcased the band’s first take on some lively jump blues by legends including Little Esther Phillips, Big Jay McNeely, Big Maybelle and more, as well as two hot originals, “Young Enough To Be My Son” and “Misery Loves Company, both written by vocalist Lee Shropshire.” The material spans a style in American history from the 1940’ to the 1950’s when blues was influenced by jazz, doo-wop, swing, and big band music. Their brand new release, “Swing Set,” combines all these elements to provide for a raucous, saucy, and side-splitting blend of all these elements with lots of energy to spare. This round offers all but one original song line-up, and retains the impact of the era they so deftly recreate. Eight O’Five Jive’s gourmet combination of these classic ingredients proves their mix of sophistication and irreverent fun to be a tasty, irresistible recipe.
Rebekah Easley Ellis / Rae and the Royal Peacocks, Rebekah “Rae” Easley walked into BB King’s Chicago club eight years ago and instantly fell in love with the authenticity and rawness of the Blues. Back home in Atlanta, Rae became a devotee of a local Blues jam and, along with noted Atlanta guitarist Danny Vinson, formed Rae & The Royal Peacocks in the summer of 2016, paying homage to the legendary Auburn Avenue music venue and highlighting the high-energy juke joint Blues style. With the addition of other talented musicians, including Valerie Waters on keys, Rae & The Royal Peacocks endeavor to bring danceable, old-style blues to new audiences everywhere.
Valerie Waters is a classically trained pianist who grew up with music in the family. She started playing piano at age 3. Fast forward a few years, Valerie accompanied choirs in high school and started playing by ear. In college she started playing in bands. Her first projects were blues and reggae, then she performed in Birmingham’s 1996 City Stages music festival with “Latin Sounds,” a 13-piece salsa/merengue group, also with “Los Calientes,” a New Orleans-based salsa band for the 1997 Birmingham Heritage Festival. From there, lots of weddings, private parties, clubs, venues and solo work in Alabama and Georgia. Joined Rae & the Royal Peacocks for a shot at winning the International Blues Challenge in Feb 2017! Recordings: CD “Perfect Monday Night” with RubberJean, smooth jazz CD “It is What it is” with Between 9&7. Recently contributed to Colin Alvarez’s blues/rock album to be released in 2017, and an EP with Rae & the Royal Peacocks.
Kimberly Dill / Sister Lucille Band, Kimberly Dill lead vocalist of Sister Lucille Band has been performing for audiences since she was six years old. Early on in her career, Kimberly performed on the stage of the Grand ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium Opening for country Legends like Kitty Wells and Jack Greene. She also recorded 3 singles at Hilltop studio with the infamous Nashville guitar legend Brent Mason. When country music lost its soul Kimberly found hers on Beale st and in the family of musicians she found in Memphis! Sister Lucille band made it to the semi- finals in 2015 and recently won “The most promising blues act for 2016” from the Music Pioneer Awards. They have been touring the country playing blues Festivals sharing the stage with many amazing Musicians. With Kimberly’s soulful Powerhouse vocals, and Jamie Holdren’s heartfelt, ear blistering guitar solo’s , they are sure to turn some heads!! Along with the Thunderous rhythm section that backs Kimberly , Eric Guin on bass and Kevin Lyons on the drums..Come out and hear this Female fronted band who loves singing the blues to and for the women.
Kim Retguiz is the lead singer/songwriter for Kim Reteguiz & The Black Cat Bones. Kim and the BCBs, known for their hybrid Blues sound, currently hailed as “uniquely Floridian,” mix Funk, Soul, and Latin Fusion with classic Blues. She is the 2015 Jax Idol winner, and her group is the two time winner of the George’s Featured Artist for the annual Springing the Blues Festival for 2012 and 2015. Along with Cat McWilliams of the Cat McWilliams Band, she is the creator of the annual scholarship give-away music event Women Who Rock the Blues, a sold out event for the 2nd year in a row. Kim Reteguiz attended the University of Mississippi on a full vocal scholarship and studied Opera, Classical Music and Music Theory during her first year of college. She is a graduate from the University of Florida where she studied Mass Communications and Education while on a vocal scholarship. Kim also works with local favorites such as Smoke Stack, and performs in duo projects with Jared Bell and Shawn Pfaffman. Her next big project is with Shawn Pfaffman as they head towards the Road to Memphis for the worldwide International Blues Challenge. Kim Reteguiz & The Black Cat Bones first LP titled Leavin’, produced by Christopher Flowers of A1A studios, drops Winter of 2017. An IBC duo EP with Shawn Pfaffman is also in the works, due to drop late Winter 2016. Kim Reteguiz currently lives in Jacksonville, FL.
Inspired by classic & electric blues, the Bridget Kelly Band has placed their unique stamp on the blues genre, with high-energy live performances and a hybrid sound that mixes Texas and Memphis Blues with various Southern Blues traditions. The sultry vocals of singer Bridget Kelly and the incendiary lead guitar work of Tim Fik forge a signature hybrid sound that combines female urban blues with riff-driven rockin’ blues guitar, all held together by a dynamic rhythm section comprised of Alex Klausner on drums and Mark Armbrecht on bass. The Bridget Kelly Band were IBC Semi-Finalist in 2015 and 2016, and rankled #3 in a Women-in-Music poll conducted by Blues-E News in July of 2015. With the release of their 2nd CD: “Forever in Blues” (June, 2014) the group gained serious media attention, with positive reviews from music critics in the U.S. and Europe, and Sirius XM radio airplay on B.B. King’s Bluesville. The group’s latest release: “Outta the Blues” (May, 2016) rose to #11 on the Contemporary Blues chart, and hit #1 on the RMR Electric Blues Chart for six weeks in July and August of 2016. Favorable reviews and airplay on Pandora, Spotify, Jango, and Internet radio have helped to expand the band’s international fan base. The Bridget Kelly Band is scheduled to release their 4th all-original music album — “Bone Rattler” — in the summer of 2017.
Libby Rae Watson is an authentic Blues woman who has been playing blues for over 40 years! In the 70’s, she was a 22 year old girl venturing into places many would dare to enter. Recording, documenting, and learning blues from the greats…Big Joe Williams, Son Thomas, Johnny Woods, Furry Lewis and many others. But it was her friendship with Sam Chatmon that influenced her the most and shaped her style of finger picking. She has performed at numerous festivals and venues through the years! Don’t miss this unique solo blues woman in her element! She performs for YOU! 2014- runner up Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola Blues Challenge, 2015 and 2016- winner of Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola Blues Challenge , 2015 and 2016- semifinalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, 2016- Artist of the year award from the Mississippi Delta Society of Indianola
Brigitte Rios Purdy has felt that need to sing about her own inner feelings and emotions since she was a child. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brigitte Rios Purdy has soon expressed since a very young age the great desire to become a singer, with a particular inclination to soul, blues and R&B. After a short stint with Tim Bogart’s Blues Band, it didn’t take too long for the young American singer and songwriter, thanks to her pure and silky singing voice, to be noted and asked to do studio’s background vocals for legendary bands like The Who. As well as singing background vocals for the Legendary Paul Rodgers for the Muddy Waters Jimmy Hendrix tour. Brigitte Rios Purdy has also graced the stage with giants of the blues like Walter Trout, Tommy Castro and Sugaray Rayford. Her profound, love and admiration for the late great B.B. King pushed the American artist to compose her very first song called Lucille, Don’t You Weep, a blues ballad with clear references to King’s most beloved guitar. Encouraged by the positive comments of the music press worldwide, since her debut single, the American artist has then never stopped recording new material. Another of the original songs coming from Purdy’s repertoire, currently on constant heavy rotation on some of the biggest blues/rock radio in America, is her brand new single called Blues Angel. The tune is a superb blues ballad with tinges of jazz, with a flawless vocal performance from Purdy. The Californian artist is, though, not just a great blues interpreter but she has also recorded few catchy songs with a more blues/rock approach, like Rise Like The Water and Shot Heard Around The World, part of the original material belonging to the repertoire of this rising star in the music business.
Nacomi Tanaka is the busiest blues singer and guitarist in Japan. Played many times at Japan Blues Festival, Taiwan Blues Bash and played at Little Walter Music Festival in Alexandria, LA from 2014 to 2016. In 2015,Honored by BLUES E-NEWS MAGAZINE ,announcing the result of voting for top 25 Women In Music around the world, Nacomi is ranked #SEVEN! She has released three albums and her fans love her soft ,deep and natural beautiful voice and they also love her laid-back style blues guitar and her warm,friendly personality. Nacomi Tanaka & The Blues Temple – Japan.
Little Laura Lamun, aka “Little Laura” loves to sing, and her joy is contagious. She has been performing since the age of 5, making money singing since age 11, and there was never any doubt in her mind what she would become. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, she received her BFA in Voice, Theatre and Dance from Wayne State University in Detroit, where she immersed herself in the local live music scene, and honed her skills touring the midwest. After graduating with a Master’s Degree from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she played lead roles in major rock musicals from coast-to-coast, most notably “Audrey” in Little Shop of Horrors, and originating a role in the Off-Broadway show “Beehive – the 60’s Musical” in San Diego for both its initial run of 2 years and a subsequent 10-year reunion, in which she sang spot-on interpretations of The Shangri-Las, Brenda Lee, Dusty Springfield, Janis Ian and Joni Mitchell. Laura’s cover of “Woodstock” which was the closing number of the show, is recognized on Joni’s website. In 2007 she answered the Blues call, when she began a lifelong musical collaboration and love partnership with multi-instrumentalist & bluesman, Dave Allen. Finding old school blues, funk and classic rock they grew up with as their inspiration, they write all their own material. The two discovered they love to sing together, and their distinctive duet sound is unique in current blues, drawing comparisons to Delaney & Bonnie. The Allen-Lamun Band is known for upbeat, inspirational blues and energetic live shows. Their latest CD, “Maybe It’s A Good Thing” has all 12 songs in international radio airplay and was nominated for Album-Of-The-Year at the Nashville Industry Music Awards. Little Laura’s future aspirations are to play the European Blues Festival Circuit and share the stage with her musical idols.
Youth act, Campfire Soul has been captivating audiences since bursting onto the Houston Blues Scene in 2013. Fronted by the powerful and soulful vocals of Sarah Grace Kimberly (14), and backed by the seamless drumming of her sister Reagan Kimberly (12). These two young Women in Blues are performing timeless Blues classics and their own original music all with modern twists that defies their age. Campfire Soul is already headlining local Blues venues and are veterans of several Blues festivals. The Kimberly sisters are especially proud to be part of a blossoming youth Blues scene and are part of a groundbreaking Blues in the School program in their hometown of Houston, TX. Campfire Soul represents the future of the Blues and they are ready to light up the Women in Blues Showcase in 2017.
Closing out the showcase is Blues Storyteller, Redd Velvet. At four years old Redd put her first act together banging on an old upright piano and using a hairbrush for a microphone. As a child, she sang regularly at her grandfather’s church in rural Alabama and eventually became the featured soloist in a travelling gospel group. At age 17, Redd successfully landed the role of ‘Maggie’ in the Studs Terkel ‘s musical “Working” bringing the house down performing the musical’s show-stopping number “Cleaning Woman”. Redd received classical training, under the tutelage of Andrew Gainey of the New York City Opera, and internationally renowned mezzo soprano Mildred Allen of The Metropolitan Opera who encouraged her to pursue a career as a classical vocalist. Her role as Zerlina, the peasant girl in Mozart’s ” Don Giovanni” proved her vocal ability as a mezzo soprano. But her southern roots kept her anchored to the music that made her a powerhouse vocalist that blows life into the blues. Redd’s debut CD ” Womanhood 101″ was cited as “a new and exciting chapter in contemporary blues” by Living Blues Magazine.
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 #36 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.
WOW, 2017 is off to an amazing start, before 2016 is over!
January 29th, 2016
FREE, DONATIONS ACCEPTED
2016, brought to you with support of the Blues Foundation as part of it’s International Blues Challenge, and by Patricia Shamroy Shaw (WiB Executive Producer, 2016), Yippee Ki-ay Blues, Sound Reflections, Mary4Music, Sweet Water Farms and more! CBW Michele Seidman and VP Terri Robbins at the helm.
The featured artists in 2016 included, Queen Delphine (aka Harriet Ellis), Amanda Rey, Eef Guitarr, Chris Okunbor, Niecie Blues, Donna Dahl & dave Lambert, Carlene Perkins Thornton, Regina Bonelli, Tullie Brae, Diva’s On Fire (with members, Lectric Liz Lottmann, Leah Spears Blackmon, Jody Andrews, Dawn Cate Bonner, Alma Blecher, Ocie Fisher, Tori Rudolph, Diane Rudolph, Patti Unruh), Patti Parks, Grace Kuch and our favorite Memphis anchor, Redd Velvet!
We were also able to do live stream interviews with more WiB, with the help of Hosts Erica Brown, Karen Lovely, Twyla Birdsong and Freddye Stover. They sat on Vinny’s couch (lovingly loaned) upstairs of Rum Boogie and got talked with Pam Taylor, Logan Laymen, Shaun Murphy, Sandy Scott from Redbeat Rocks, Bridget Kelly, Lee Shropshire, Libby Rae Watson, Sister Lucille, Barb Diab, Connie Hawkins, Southern Avenue, Shakura S-aida, Sunday Wild, Thornetta Davis, Lara Price, Carolyn Fe, Amanda Fish and Memphis’s own, Barbara Blue.
So many stopped in the showcase at Alfreds, so we could give them a shout out. Darlene Lotina of Lyin Preachers, LyinPreachers.com, Pam Taylor of Stolen Hearts www.stolenhearts.com, promoting Dirty Southern Soul, Julie Nobel of Miss Whiskey, www.misswhiskey.net, promoting One Cold Night, Elizabeth Hangan, Singer and Bass Player out of California, Diane Durrett of Soul Suga, www.dianedurrett.com, promoting Soul Suga, Barbra Diab of The Smoked Meat Band, www.barbaradiab.com, promoting To Blues With Love, Laura Lamun of the Allen-Lamun Band, www.allenlamun.com, promoting Maybe it’s a Good Thing, Terri Odabi, www.terriodabi.com, promoting Evolution of the Blues, Angel Forrest, Angel Forrest Band from Montreal, www.angelforrest.ca, promoting Angels II, Lola, Keyboard player & Vocalist, www.lolagulley.com, Kalo, of Kalo, www.kaloblues.com, promoting Dear John, Lara Price, www.laraprice.com, promoting I Mean Business, Libby Rae Watson, www.libbyrae.com, promoting Sweet ‘n’ Salty, Amanda Fish, Amanda Fish Band, www.amandafishband.com, promoting Down In The Dirt, Madi Heath, Chrysocolla, twitter.com/chrysocolla-1, Skye Downing, of Trimmed & Burning, www.skyedowning.com, Hurrican Ruth LaMaster www.hurricaneruth.com , promoting Winds of Change, Anna Scionti of Miss Whiskey, www.misswhiskey.net, promoting One Cold Night, Carolyn Fe of Caorlyn Fe Blues, www.carolyn-fe.com, promoting Bad Taboo, Angela M Kozarich of Mojo’s Muse, Delanie Pickering, www.facebook.com/delaniepickeringmusic, promoting Down Not Home, Sunday Wilde, www.sundaywilde.com, working on a new album.
PRESS & MEDIA NOTE:
2015 National Women in Blues Showcase
This event was held at The Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, during the International Blues Challenge.
2014 National Women in Blues Showcase
This event was held at The Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, during the International Blues Challenge.
The National Women in Blues All Star Jam 2013
This event was held at The Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, during the International Blues Challenge.
The Third National Women in Blues, 2008
Wilmington, North Carolina
This event was held in two locations. Night one at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, and The Cellar Downtown (new name now). Opened like the past 2, by Rose and Charlie Lucas, then a multi media event and performance from Gaye Adegbalola. Day two started with a jam, with Pat Pepin, Sarah Cole, and more, with help from guys like John Korell (RiP) and more. The lineup included Peggy Ratuz, Patty Benson, Sarah Lemieux and Candye Cane with Laura Chavez.
The Second National Women in Blues, 2007
Wilmington, North Carolina
This event was held under the parking structure of downtown, overlooking the USS North Carolina Battleship. Unlike the first, this was a two day event, with two headliners. Including E.G. Kight and Deanna Bogart. Also in the lineup, Robin Rogers, Sophie Kay, Sarah Lemieux, Michele Lundeen, Suzanne Thomas and The Blues Church, Sandy Atkinson, Patty Benson, Lara Price and Laura Chavez (Lara & Laura), The Grit Pixies, Big Red and the Soul Benders, and Juke Joint Judy. With guest sit in from Sarah ‘Stone Cold’ Cole and Ken Tucker.
The First National Women in Blues, 2006
Wilmington, North Carolina
This event was held in the old Riverclub, long closed, but not forgotten. The first festival was opened by Rose and Charlie Lucas, which became tradition. The line up included Michele Lundeen, the Queen of Steam, The Grit Pixies, Valerie June, Big Red and the Soul Benders, Nikki Sharp with the Dynamic Therma-tones, and Michele and The Midnight Blues.