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Cool Nights, Hot Bands — Memphis, 2007

[Cool Disposition] [Papa John & Clint] [Other Diversions] [More Pictures]

Cool Disposition, Papa John & Clint Heat up Beale St.

Story & photos(unless noted otherwise) by Jake Jacobson

Neon on Beale St.
Neon on Beale St.

Although the weather was unseasonably cold for Memphis, blues enthusiasts from all around the world warmed up to some terrific music provided by the 63 solo/duo acts and 93 bands that competed in this year's International Blues Challenge.

Harold Tremblay & Mickey Bauer
Harold Tremblay & Mickey Bauer.

The semi-final competitions were held at the bars on Beale St. Thursday and Friday nights, February 1st & 2nd. The finals took place on Saturday the 3rd. Band finals were held for the first time this year at the Historic Orpheum Theater on Saturday afternoon and the Solo/Duo finals were held at the New Daisy Theater on Saturday evening.

Dan Scwalbe on guitar.
Dan Schwalbe — focused.

The Greater Twin Cities Blues Music Society was well represented this year with nearly thirty musicians, family, friends and Society members attending the festivities.

Cool Disposition at Pat O' Brien's

Marty Bryduck on drums.
Marty Bryduck — solid.

Cool Disposition performed at Pat O' Brien's before very enthusiastic crowds of dancers and flashing cameras. The band played a tight set of original tunes both nights.


Marty & Greg Beach.
Mickey & Greg Beach — Smiling!

Mickey Bauer's vocals were smooth and his between-song-patter kept the show moving right along. Harold Tremblay's harp playing was on the money and the sports coat really looked sharp. Marty Bryduck and Greg Beach provided a solid rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively. Veteran IBC competitor, Dan Schwalbe, served up his own brand of focused and tastey guitar licks. All-in-all, the band appeared to really be enjoying themselves on stage.

Papa John & Clint Hoover at Sweet Polly's

Papa John & Clint.
Papa John & Clint.

Meanwhile, Papa John Kolstad & Clint Hoover played at a quite different but equally jam-packed venue, Sweet Polly's. Sweet Polly's is a long, narrow old-time bar. The performers were seated by the front window with their backs to Beale St.

Clint Hoover takes a solo.
Clint takes a solo.

The competition was tough. The acts preceeding Papa John & Clint on Friday were Stefania Calandra and Frank Fotusky. Fotusky, representing the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation, is a talented fingerstyle player. Stefania, from Southern Italy, seemed to win the favor of the crowd with her unusual vocal style, alternating from Italian to English with her lyrics.

Papa John Kolstad.
Papa John

Papa John put on a great show. He introduced the audience to the Minneapolis "whomp bom" style of blues and gave a little history lesson about the milling industry by way of setting up his "Mill City Blues".

Clint played very well in support of Papa John. His soaring harp solos garnered appreciative applause from the audience. Together the duo performed a well-honed set with enough dialog to add a pleasing, homey flavor to the act.


Other Diversions in and Around Memphis

Roz, Judy, Melody & Lynn.
Roz, Judy, Melody & Lynn at Ground Zero.

Besides all that great music, some of the Society Board Members found time to journey down to Clarksdale, MS. Clarksdale is the location of the intersection of U.S. Hwy 61 and 49, the "Crossroads of the Blues". Clarksdale is home to Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club, Red's Lounge, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, and the Delta Blues Museum among other things.

Lynn, Mary Kay,Judy, Jake & Melody at Stax.
Lynn, Mary Kay, Judy, Jake & Melody at Stax.
(Photo by Gregg Harcus)




Memphis offers plenty of diversions for visitors: Sun Records, Stax Recording Studios, the Gibson Guitar Factory, the Rock'N'Soul Museum, the Cotton Museum, the Fireman's Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum and, of course, Graceland.

If this sounds interesting to you, you should plan to keep your calendar open for the first week in February 2008. Judging by the turnout this year, there should be a pretty good group making the trip to Memphis next year. There was a lot of good music, food, friends and fun.

Scottie Miller CD Chosen For IBC

"Best Self-Produced CD"
Livin' Between the Black 'n White

The GTCBMS Board of Directors have selected Scottie Miller's CD, Livin' Between The Black 'n White, as this year's representative for the "Best Self-Produced CD" competition at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

[Cool Disposition] [Papa John & Clint] [Other Diversions] [More Pictures]










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