by American Blues Scene·Comments Off on Horojo Trio and Hector Anchondo Come Away With Multiple IBC Wins
One act came from Ottawa and other from Omaha but they both proved to be outstanding at this year’s International Blues Challenge finals, which took place February 1st in Memphis’ historic Orpheum Theatre. The HOROJO Trio, representing the Ottawa Blues Society, left Memphis with a first place finish in the Band Division, while JW Jones (the “Jo” in HOROJO) took home the Gibson Guitar Award for Best Band Guitarist. Hector Anchondo, from the Blues Society of Omaha, triumphed in the Solo/Duo Division as well as earning the Memphis Cigar Box Award as the Best Solo/Duo Guitarist.
Felix Slim also found much success at the 36th Annual IBC awards ceremony. The Long Island Blues Society representative picked up the Lee Oskar Harmonica Award for the Best Harmonica Player, while finishing second to Anchondo in the Solo/Duo category. Anchondo and Slim, in fact, share the bond of being former finalists who now have won an IBC award.
This year’s winners also underscore the international aspect of the IBC. Slim, after becoming one of Spain’s leading bluesmen, spent several years living in Greece being influenced by its music before moving to New York City. Anchondo credits his Hispanic background for the Latin-inspired blues sound. Placing second to the Canada-based HOROJO Trio was the Jose Ramirez Band, which is led by Ramirez who was a major blues star in his native Costa Rica before relocating to America.
Receiving recognition too at this year’s IBC Awards was the Pitbull of Blues Band (of the
Southwest Florida Blues Society), which nabbed the third place spot in the Band Division. The Moonshine Society (Virginia’s River City Blues Society) enjoyed a sweet time in Memphis as their album Sweet Thing was named Best Self-Produced CD.
While the Challenge served as a centerpiece of IBC Week, The Blues Foundation also presented a varied lineup of unique events. This year’s recipients of the Foundation’s highly esteemed Keeping the Blues Alive Awards were celebrated at a special ceremony. Other highlights included a screening and Q&A for the landmark documentary, Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads, the memorable “Leading Your Own Career with Bobby Rush” workshop, and the thought-provoking “Blues Women — Creators, Conductors, and Catalysts” keynote panel. Additionally, the Blues Hall of Fame opened its new Women of the Blues exhibit along with hosting a Janiva Magness book signing and a panel discussion addressing “Music Across Borders.”
On Thursday May 7, The Blues Foundation presents its other signature event, the Blues Music
Awards. The 41st annual BMAs will be held at Memphis’ Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from individual seats for $80 to full boxes of 10 for $2,500 per box, with most seats $150.
The International Blues Challenge is sponsored by ArtsMemphis, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Memphis Tourism, the Memphis Airport Authority, AutoZone, BMI®, Four Roses Bourbon, Gibson Gives, Old Dominick’s Distillery, the Consulate General of Canada, Hohner Harmonicas, Silky O’Sullivan’s, and Visit Clarksdale.
The Blues Foundation is a world-renowned Memphis-based organization whose mission is to
preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 173 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.
COMPLETE LIST OF INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE’S 2020 WINNERS
Winner: HOROJO Trio (Ottawa Blues Society)
2nd Place Band: The Jose Ramirez Band (DC Blues Society)
3rd Place Band: The Pitbull of Blues Band (Southwest Florida Blues Society)
Winner: Hector Anchondo (Blues Society of Omaha)
2nd Place Solo/Duo: Felix Slim (Long Island Blues Society)
GIBSON GUITAR AWARD (BEST BAND GUITARIST)
Winner: JW Jones (HOROJO Trio)
Ivan Král, a former member of Patti Smith Group, has passed away at the age of 71. He died at his home in Michigan on Sunday, following a battle with cancer.
The Czech guitarist and producer played with Blondie in 1974, just before teaming up with Patti Smith Group as a founding member. He wrote for and played guitar/bass on some of Patti Smith’s most influential albums: Horses from 1975, Radio Ethiopia from 1976, and Easter from 1978.
Ivan filmed a documentary on the New York punk scene with Amos Poe called The Blank Generation, and he also wrote songs performed by David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
I’m remembering Ivan Král today with an arresting, immortal work of art — and one of my Patti favorites — which he co-wrote:
by JD Nash·Comments Off on World Premiere Video: Benny Turner “Who Sang It First?”
Life and times have changed over the course of his eighty years, but the heart of international blues icon, Benny Turner still belongs in East Texas.
Born in Gilmer, Texas on October 27th, 1939, Benny, the younger, bass-playing brother of Freddie King, has made the blues his business for over six decades. Touring the world as a sideman throughout his sixty-plus year career, Turner recently appeared for the first time as a bandleader. Whether as a highlight at the 25th Anniversary Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland, or as the honoree at the inaugural Lone Star Blues and Heritage Festival in his home state, Turner still thrills his audience.
Now, just in time for Black History Month, Benny brings us “Who Sang It First,” a co-write with Pennsylvania songwriter Jim George based on his original composition, “Black Is Beautiful.” George describes his original song as a “tribute to all the black pioneers and artists who have paved the way, invented the music and enriched all our lives.”
The video was shot by Scott Rosenbaum of Red Hawk Films (Sidemen: Long Road to Glory) in the cotton fields of Delta County, Texas and the picturesque landscape of Salmon Lake Park where Turner celebrated his 80th birthday at the Lone Star Blues and Heritage Festival.
“Who Sang It First,” features Turner on bass and vocals, Will McFarlane – Guitar, Jack Miele – 2nd guitar, Clayton Ivey – Wurlitzer, Joe Krown – Organ, Justin Holder – Drums, and Tiffany Pollack and Kassie Netherland Miele – Background Vocals. The song itself was recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and released via Nola Blue Records.
“‘Who Sang It First,’ is about blues history, which is black history,” Turner told us. “Shooting the music video in East Texas honors my personal history too. As a young boy in Gilmer I rode on the cotton sack with my brother when he picked cotton. Recently I celebrated my 80th birthday at Salmon Lake Park in Grapeland. I’m proud to bring all of that history together to share an important message: never forget who sang it first and why!”