I usually start the morning in the hotel lobby. Penny Lane has interesting guests coming in and it is a chance to listen and learn.
Thursday morning she had three young girls that have stepped up and helped “Raise the Roof” for the Blues Foundation by raising over $1,000.
Kiley Copple, Ava Bare, and Nora Bare from Indiana were in town and had a chance to get on the air with Penny Lane. This is a good job and when you realize they are not even teenagers the feat is all the more amazing.
The second days of the quarter finals has begun. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait for the blues. The afternoon is filled with Showcases and Youth Acts. There is also a big Canadian presence and this afternoon was the annual Great Canadian Polar Bear Blues Showcase Raise the Roof Fundraiser at the Kooky Canuck. Blind Raccoon is hosting a Roots and Blues Showcase.
Today was picked for a stop at a visitor site long overdue. We were able to take a Trolley to the National Civil Rights Museum. The display is stunning and thought provoking. The information presented covers many aspects and much of the debates about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Many school children of all ages were there for visits.
Next up was a quick stop in the Blues Foundation office. The Silent Auction items were on display and some had a price to buy now and avoid the auction stress.
While walking back to Beale Street, it was cold out and we decided to stop in the first place we came across to warm up. That ended up being Pearl’s Oyster House. Now I have been accused of writing more about food than blues. From my perspective they both nourish the soul. And you cannot get a good picture of a place like Memphis without knowing its dining specialties.
As we ordered, our waiter who also was the Head Chef suggested Char-Grilled Oysters. He said he would bring over a sampler for us. This dish is from another time and place. A combination of honey, butter, chipolte and parm cheese, the flavor tops the tasty chart. And they are on the happy hour menu. A definite must must try.
We don’t always walk in fact the Trolley that runs down Main Street has been a quick way to get around. It stops right across from the Orpheum at the top of Beale Street. Passes are available and a senior discount can also be had.
We got back to Beale Street and went to the Blues City Café where Jake Kulac and the LowDowns were playing. This was Connecticut’s youth band. Still in their teens, the 3 piece held the audience’s attention. There are a number of these youth bands that come to Memphis during the IBC and get a chance to play on Beale.
Next up was another stop at Tater Red’s for some things to bring back home. Tater even had some winter hats that could be in demand the rest of the week. Maybe not, as if you frequent blues events, you’ll notice that many in attendance have their own signature hat.
Not it was time to meet up with some friends who just arrived and head to Cozy Corner for my rib fix. While waiting for David and Charlotte, I saw two people I look forward to seeing at blues events. Bruce and Art are part of what keeps the blues going. Bruce Igulauer from Alligator Records has given us music to remember. Art Tipaldi, as an educator brought the blues to countless students and was instrumental in the early days of Blues in the Schools. Now, with Blues Music Magazine. It is always refreshing to see people that keep that frehness for the genre alive.
Back to Cozy Corner, sausage sandwich was a hit with all. And of course the ribs. They have extended their hours so an evening meal is now possible. Don’t forget desert, sweet potato pie or banana pudding were our table’s choice.
Now let’s get to some more music. Tonight was a chance to see the Solo/Duo act from Connecticut. Scheduling made it hard to catch both the band and solo/duo in the same night.
Swamp Shaka Duo with Tony C. were in Club 152, third floor. This has to be the most comfortable spot on Beale. Heavy leather couches provide the seating. If the music wasn’t so good. I probably could have nodded off for the evening.
Both Tony C and Swamp Shaka had told me how good the talent was in this room. They were right. We settled in to watch a number of the acts.
After hearing Sweet Danny Ray (Sweet Danny Ray &Rafael Tranquillno), I created the Tom Waits Raspy Voice Award. Buck held it for a couple of acts until John Latini (John Latini & Jamie-Sue Seal) took the stage.
This was Solo/Duo, so we headed over to Pig on Beale. The final two acts there were Colin John followed by the closers,
As we left the “Pig” you could hear the jams starting up. The street crowd is thin because of the really unseasonable cold.
For a list of the Bands and Solo/Duo acts moving to the semi-finals go to the Blues Foundation page: https://www.blues.org/#ref=index.
Next up some fried chicken, then the Women in Blues Showcase.