It has been fun having Penny Lane and the radio crew in the lobby. New guests appear everyday. And of course it is fun to walk into the lobby to the sound of live blues.
For some reason Friday seems to have a slower pace to it. Thursday often is a late night as people wait to learn who moves on to the Semi-final round.
One of the highlights at the IBC is the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. These go to for non-musical contributions to the Blues. Authors, teachers, journalists, photographers and more are honored. For a complete list, go to: https://blues.org/#ref=kba_index.
One more food stop to mention, that is Gus’s Fried Chicken.
This is one the list of the nation’s best. Rachel Ray, the Food Network, and Guy Fieri all have it in the top ten. WARNING expect to wait in line like some of your elite pizza places. The doors open at 11 and we arrived at 11:30. All the tables were taken and about 15 people were in line ahead of us. Luckily, Barry Seelen and his wife Annie had room for two. So Jerry and I ate, when our friends decided the wait was not for them.
Barry’s band from Houston Brad Absher & Swamp Royale made it to the Semis. The Band and fans were at Gus’s.
Next stop was Women in the Blues at the Center for Southern Folklore. The crowd filled the space and was enthusiastic. I think that all the time spent watching acts gets everyone a little antsy. With so much music to choose from some sit for the whole show while others try to get a taste of everything.
Jerry and I went to Rum Boogie to see Vinny and Music on the Couch.
It was the right time as the Balkun Brothers were going on the Couch.
Vinny runs a good show, fun to watch and listen to his questions. Interviews and music in a room with seating space.
Next up was visiting clubs with music before the IBC judging started. Clubs up and down Beale Street had entertainment going.
Jake & the LowDowns were at Blues City Cafe again. The Youth Group from Connecticut did a good job in Memphis. A capacity crowd was there to catch the show.
Here is a sight you do not often see. On the wall at the Blues City Cafe.
The cold weather appeared to be responsible for the small almost non-existent street crowds. Usually the streets are filled with the tumblers, people buying drinks to go and just hanging out. It is a good place to meet and greet.
While trying King’s Palace Award Winning Gumbo, I spotted Brad Webb. He had just finished a set with Blind Mississippi Morris. Brad is a well known Memphis music personality. Guitar player, record producer and the like.
While finishing dinner, Ted Drozdowski, The Scissormen and wife Laurie came in. Now living in Nashville, we still appreciate his Connecticut roots. Not to mention the fun he brings to a Scissormen show.
Speaking of Connecticut, the two IBC reps were eliminated. That left the Balkun Brothers representing the Massachusetts Blues Society, but from Connecticut. Also Jake & the LowDowns, the youth band had a second appearance. Plenty to do before the Semis started. It should be noted that the Friday performances of the Youth Bands were to packed houses. There was no walking room in the two clubs I visited. This was going to be a challenging night for wait staff as well.
Once the youth bands were done, the semi-finals began. I had one interest in the Solo/Duo and one in the Bands. As I said, the Balkun Brothers in Solo/Duo and Absher and Royale form Houston with Barry Seelen.
Balkun Brothers were in the Handy Blues Hall. Tight quarters with a good crowd.
The chance for network exists at the IBC without even trying. Because of so many like-minded people in one place conversations are easy to start. Case in point, before the Balkun Brothers went on I was settling into a chair as it was being vacated. Turns out the man getting ready to go out was from Mary4Music.com. It is called The Internet’s Most Comprehensive Blues Network. Check them out at: http://mary4music.com/.
People will be out late awaiting the Finals listing. But that means just one venue for the finals, the Orpheum Theater.