So Friday we learned who made the semi finals. This year it was the Balkun Brothers Band, they would be playing at Blues City Cafe. They had a strong response from the club audience and were really in high gear.
Spent the morning with breakfast at Aunt Polly’s, a favorite of the Connecticut crowd and then made my final rounds of the stores.
Friday was also the Youth Showcase. Jake Kulak & the Lowdown were back this year. Playing together for a year has made them a better band. In addition, Indiana DJ Penny Lane’s son, Carson, was playing at the same venue. I had seen him play with Blind Mississippi Morris when Penny was doing her show from my hotel lobby last year.
Carson Diersing and Evan Hawk from Indiana Blues Society.
Next up, the Pina Brothers from the Kansas City Blues Society.
Then it was Jake’s turn.
Went up to Blues City Café for the Balkun semi-final. Another narrow club making photos hard but fine for the sound. The Youth band from Australia was just finishing up.
I met the Mother and learned they had been on the road since Christmas. They visited family in England and saw New York City and Washington, DC while here in the USA. A lot of tourists come in for the music some I a regular basis. I met a family that comes over each year for the IBC, King Biscuit, and Chicago Blues Fest.
Balkun Brothers Band watching the Youth.
The Balkun BrothersBand on Stage.
It was hard to get a shot of Nick on stage but I did manage to catch him outside.
After the Balkun show, I met up with my friend Ric, who moved to Memphis some years ago. We found a spot to talk and then visited the Ernest Withers Gallery and took a tour with his grandson Ernest. I picked up an I AM A MAN t-shirt and some cards. They go along with my posters.
We dropped into the Blue Note Bar & Grill. Looks like a place to spend some time in on my next Memphis visit.
And a vocalist was called up.
Hit a couple of more clubs as the semi-finals were finishing. Caught a little of the Youth jam at BB Kings.
Stopped in the Rum Boogie for a bit of the Bob Margolin jam. This is an IBC tradition.
A long night with a lot of blues and I still didn’t hear everything that was going on.
Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org. BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella. My weekly Blues Beat column appears in the New Britain Herald, Bristol Press, Middletown Press and Torrington Register-Citizen.