And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to announce the winner of their 2021 regional blues challenge…

Memphis Lightning Band consisting of Lightning Thiboutot, Red Thiboutot Sr. and Stephen Jeremia. “Lightning” will now represent the Suncoast in the 37th edition of The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge! This event will be held January 18 through the 22nd, 2022 along Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

What an exciting day it was – even though we got off to a late start (some of which we had no control over), the 4 bands that participated put on a great show and the audience appeared to be having a wonderful time.

After drawing for the performance order for the 25-minute sets, Randy Stephens & The Groove Makers started the show, and set the tone with a fine set of original blues music. It is always tough to go first during these competitions. But Randy and the band delivered the goods and set a high bar for the rest of the afternoon.

Following was the eventual winner, Memphis Lighting Band. To say this set was high energy is an understatement. The band presented a set of original material, punctuated with storytelling and a performance that kept the crowd engaged and enthused. The band left the stage receiving much applause.

Veterans of this competition, Memphis Rub Band put on a fine performance of original material. Including songs previously not heard by the many MRB fans in attendance. Arguably this band was never better than they were on July 25th and on another day might have won the competition with their score.

Finally, JSanti & The Gamblin’ Shame took the stage with the largest group of musicians of the day. The ensemble included a group of singers who contributed memorable vocal harmonies. While falling short in the scoring this band showed promise for future competitions.

Approximately 300 faithful blues lovers attended and showed their support. On veteran IBC Challenge performer commented this might have been the largest IBC challenge crowd they had seen. And thanks to the attendees, we were able to raise funds to provide financial assistance to our winning band for their trip to Memphis in January.

Believe it or not, putting on an event like that is a huge amount of work! Your Board has been working on this for the past 7 months, especially our Treasurer and Suncoast Blues News editor, Scott Morris!

Many other people to thank…

Our 5 judges: Mark Thompson, Mark Goodman, Rick Lewis, Velma Glover and Jose Ramirez.

Nicole Wanvig for single-handedly putting together the Silent Auction. Steve Wanvig for being the event timekeeper.

Bill Hubbard, who was not able to attend, but put in many hours on our planning committee.

And to my fellow Suncoast Blues Society Board members: Cheryl Spradling for along with myself work hard at the door taking care of the large walk-up crowd; and Jesse and Pat Smoot who took care merchandise and memberships.

Special thank you to Josh Rowand and his ‘Pitbulls’ (Deny Rowand and Richie Corricelli) who worked their butts off setting up the stage and then tearing it all down afterwards. The sound in the room was awesome!  And put on a show of their own while the Board tabulated the judges scores.

Josh Rowand and The Pitbull of Blues Band hosted a great jam. This band knows how to host a jam party! Including in the “musical mayhem” were 2021 Suncoast Blues Society IBC Youth Showcase representative Trey Wanvig, whose wonderful gold-top Gibson was the envy of some musicians; his playing the same for others! “Detroit” Michael Hepner added keyboards to the “Pitbulls” and was joined onstage by “Lightning”. The guitar work between the area’s “young guns” of Lightning and Trey – this might have been the first time they played together. Let us hope it is not the last! Wow!

Steve Arvey joined the jam and our “singing judge” Velma Glover came onstage and showed why with Sugar and Spice she made the final stage at an earlier IBC in Memphis. A surprise guest, former NFL great, 3-time Super Bowl winner with the Oakland Raiders and now a Bluesman Henry Lawrence joined Velma in a smoking version of Steppin’ Out.

And of course, thanks to all of you – the best Blues fans in Florida! – for your continued support through your membership, buying our merchandise, and attending our events!

Next up… Suncoast Blues Society Annual Beach Bash on August 29th at the Sunset Beach Lions Club.

See you there – Terri

 

2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

Hello Suncoast Blues Society Members & Supporters
Just in case you haven’t yet heard (lol), this Sunday, July 25th, your Suncoast Blues Society will hold their regional Suncoast Blues Challenge to determine what band to send to Memphis for the 37th International Blues Challenge in January.

The event will take place at 10th Street Live, 1330 US Hwy 301, Palmetto.
There is also a restaurant, El Sombrero, so food and drinks (full bar) will be available.

We are excited to announce the 4 bands that will be performing:

  • JSanti & Gamblin’ Shame
  • Memphis Lightning
  • Memphis Rub Band
  • Randy Stephens & The Groove Makers

Performance slots will be drawn on the day of the competition so plan to arrive early and get a good seat, or you may bring your own chair. Show starts at 2pm – doors open at noon.

Advance ticket sales are still available for $10 at suncoastblues.org/shop or $15 at the door.
There will also be a raffle and silent auction so bring your cash and/or credit cards!
Income from the show goes to support the winning band’s travel expenses to Memphis.

We have 5 highly qualified judges:

Mark Thompson – Former President of Suncoast Blues Society and writer/reviewer for several blues publications.

Jose Ramirez – Delmark Recording artist, Blues Music Award Nominee in 2021, and 2nd place IBC winner in 2020.

Mark Goodman – photographer; received 2008 Grammy for “City That Care Forgot”-Dr. John & The Lower Nine. Been judging in Memphis since 2007.

Rick Lewis – a long time blues lover since seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1983, as well as a professional concert photographer specializing in the Blues Music Genre. This is his 3rd time being a judge for the Suncoast Blues Society IBC.

Velma Glover – 2017 IBC Winner, Velma “Spice” Glover, is a home grown, born into the Blues, singer/songwriter/producer, and performer. Spice is the daughter of the late local Blues Chanteuse, Loretta Glover, and without a doubt carries a bloodline of the Blues within her veins.
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You are going to want to stay till the end – whenever that might be – for an after-competition show by Josh Rowand and The Pitbull of Blues Band, including surprise guests, while the judges score sheets are tallied.

Josh is no stranger to the IBC. Having placed third in the 2020 competition, the band successfully made it to the final stage at The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. They know what it takes to make it “All The Way TO Memphis”.

So come on out and join us for a fun and unique day of blues music – we guarantee you will more than get your money’s worth!

Thank you again for supporting live music!
Madame Pres – Terri

And now, let’s meet our contestants!


JSanti & The Gamblin’ Shame

Having been displaced from NYC due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JSanti (John Santiago) moved to Sarasota, FL. Upon doing so, he was invited to a jam session at the “Experimental Farm Road Compound” where music and humans of a like-mind communicated and connected. Upon this meeting, J met Andrew LeachMiranda Becker, Sabrina McClenithanZeena Brown and Sean Adam Walsh.  Soon after, he would meet Marcus James, also displaced from NYC.

After having played some music with Experimental Farm Road, he was introduced to Clint Justesen, of Wild Horses. The magnetic and resonant energy between these people led them to enter the 2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge, where they will perform their very first show, showcasing JSanti’s original music, with much more to come from the group’s diverse gathering of songwriters

Memphis Lightning 


Known for our Explosive Stage Show, and High Energy Roots, Blues and Rock n Roll! Memphis Lightning was born out of tradition with a pedigree second to none. Having the chance to learn from some of the best, Memphis Lightning are the real deal. Their energetic performances will bring you back to the days when the Juke Joints were rockin’ and the Blues was King. Featuring Lightnin’ on Guitar, he is backed by his father Big Red and Lil’ Stevie!So bring a friend and get struck by Lightning!!!

Memphis Rub Band

Memphis Rub is a 4-piece blues-rock band from the Sarasota/Bradenton area of Florida, performing a blend of blues, rock, funk and R&B.

The band features “Hurricane” Gary Drouin (guitar), Scott Matzke (bass/vocals), “Barefoot” Dan Ryan (keyboards), and David Wells (drums). In 2016 Gary and Scott decided to form a band and name it after the city that calls itself the “Home of the Blues”, the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll” and the “Cradle of American Music”. Dan was next to join the band and David came on board in 2019. The Memphis Rub Band performs at a variety of venues and festivals up and down the Suncoast, putting their spin on tunes by musicians such as Delbert McClinton, Tommy Castro, Ace Moreland, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and others. The band also writes and performs original music. In 2018 Memphis Rub released their first album, “Taste”, and songs from the album have been played on area radio stations including WMNF and WSLR.

Randy Stephens & the Groove Makers

Performing in Sarasota County for 10 years now RSGM plays regularly in and around the southwest area. Randy’s Groove Makers have had the pleasure opening for many acts over the years to include Albert Castiglia, Pat Travers, Larry McCray, and Biscuit MIller & the MIx.

Randy Stephens has a new original album coming out with ‘Devil in the Details’ on Sony Records to be released September 2021. The Groove Makers have evolved from a Power Trio into a mighty quartet with award winning guitarist Randy Stephens at the helm, guitar/vocals, “Detroit” Mike Michael Hepner on piano/keys for the late Brian Lee, Jessie Stephens on bass guitar, and Mark Richards on drums.

 

 

 

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

If you showed up for the Suncoast Blues challenge in 2019 you know it was a heck of a good time and we are gearing up to do it again at 10th Street Live in Palmetto.

We’ve got another great crop of competitors and we will have five impartial parties, well-versed in Blues to judge the event. Deadline for competitors to register is July 1st.

It’s going to be a blast and you’ll get to hear some great music topped off by a special performance from Josh Rowand & The Pitbull of Blues Band so wear your dancing shoes!

Doors will open at 1 PM and music starts at 2 PM.

Tickets are on sale now

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, which goes toward the winners’ trip to Memphis.

Be sure read Suncoast Blues News as each week we will be telling you more about our competitors.

 

 

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present the 2020 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winner Hector Anchondo!

Hector will be performing one night only in the intimate setting at St. Petersburg’s the Hideaway Café.

This SBS sponsored event will follow CDC COVID-19 safety protocols,  therefore the Hideaway Café is limiting sales to 45 tickets and face coverings are required.

Hector has assembled a powerhouse local band. Backing Hector on drums is Hideaway Café’s favorite Sam Farmer, with Florida legend and Damon Fowler band member Chuck Riley on bass.

Show time for the Tuesday November 17th show is 7:30 PM.  Doors open at 6PM.

Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the Hideaway Café website, or at the door.  Tickets will go fast, so do not delay!

You will not want to miss this unique performance at St. Petersburg’s Original Listening Room.

2021 International Blues Challenge Update

2021 International Blues Challenge Update

2021 International Blues Challenge Update

The following post is from Michael Freeman, Chairman of The Blues Foundation

Dear Blues Friends,

This past weekend, as I presided over the quarterly meeting of the Blues Foundation Board of Directors, one of our key agenda items was The International Blues Challenge. I am writing to share with our blues community that our Board voted unanimously to cancel this years’ IBC and look ahead to the first quarter of 2022 when we can hopefully come together in person to celebrate the blues via this signature Blues Foundation event.

Leading up to this Board decision, we wrote expanded rules that would have allowed our affiliated blues societies to choose their challengers outside of a live judged event. In response, many have reported back to us that they and the musicians in their communities are not enthusiastic about proceeding. It has become clear to us that without full engagement of artists, industry, blues society leadership, and fans, we could not produce an event with the musical diversity and quality you have come to expect. After much discussion and careful consideration of all options, including a virtual IBC, we universally agreed that this special and unique Blues Foundation program is meant to be experienced live and that it would not be safe or feasible to attempt to produce it this winter in the midst of a pandemic. The Board concurrently voted to suspend nominations and selection of Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipients until the fall of 2021, with plans to honor those selected during the 2022 IBC Week, where they can be celebrated in person with their family and friends surrounding them.

 

We recognize that the International Blues Challenge has grown in scope and recognition throughout the world, and we do not want to leave a vacuum in its absence this year. Please be assured that we will be using the time and resources normally directed towards the IBC to develop unique content and virtual activities for this winter. This is not intended to replace the IBC, but to give the blues world and our membership a way to remain connected as we all continue to heal through this pandemic that has uprooted so many of our plans and our lives. 

While we will miss coming together on Beale Street this January, we choose to see this as an opportunity to expand our mission in new ways. We are hopeful that open travel, live music, and the ability to congregate in-person will quickly be safe again, and I encourage you to save the dates for the 37th International Blues Challenge – February 1st through February 5th, 2022.

 

Please stay safe and be well.

Suncoast Blues News Update

Suncoast Blues News Update

Suncoast Blues News Update

2021 International Blues Challenge

Greetings Blues Fans, your Blues Society needs to update our membership on some recent decisions.

As you are aware the current situation with the pandemic has just about shut down our live music scene in the Tampa Bay area.  The SBS board reviewed the new rules and guidelines the 2021 International Blues Challenge competition, which were set up to use virtual submissions from contestants.

SBS Logo

 

Sadly, we decided that we will not be able to hold a competition this year, or send contestants to Memphis, if the competition even happens. 

Without the ability for the Society or the bands to hold fundraising activities, we are uncomfortable with the financial commitment to send competitors to Memphis.  This was a painful decision for us, but under the current circumstances, we feel it is the best one for us this year.