January 18th, 2018 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
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: 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!!
We don’t charge a cover fee to enter, but we do bring the bucket around, with everything collected going to Generation Blues!