Tag Archives: Eden Brent

International Blues Challenge

photo by Seeing Redder, Flickr
photo by Seeing Redder, Flickr

If you are a blues fan, all roads lead to Memphis this week. Hundreds of blues musicians come from all over the U.S. and the world to take part in this annual five-day event, held January 20th to January 24th this year. Performers for the challenge are chosen by local blues societies to compete in three categories: Best Band, Best Solo/Duet, and Best Self-Produced CD–all for cash, prizes, and industry recognition.

Last year, over 250 acts competed in semi-finals in the clubs on Beale Street so expect an explosion of the blues this year, too.

International Blues Challenge
The Blues Foundation
421 South Main, Memphis TN 38103
Phone: (901) 527-2583
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/

photo by Barsnbands.com, Flickr
photo by Barsnbands.com, Flickr

Since the IBC is a showcase for new talent, many of today’s top blues artists competed in the past, including Tommy Castro, Eden Brent, Albert Castiglia, Susan Tedeschi, Delta Moon, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, Larry Garner, Super Chikan, and more. Here is a list of this year’s participants, many of whom will be the stars of tomorrow:

2015 Blues Challenge Entries
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/current-entries/

photo by Mario, Flickr
photo by Mario, Flickr

The official list of this year’s IBC semi-finalists has been released so check out these artists live in the Beale Street clubs as they advance to the next round.

2015 Blues Challenge Semi-Finalists
http://www.blues.org/international-blues-challenge/2015-international-blues-challenge/2015-semi-finalists/

photo by f8inMemphis, Flickr
photo by f8inMemphis, Flickr

The winners will be chosen at the IBC final battle of the bands on Saturday night in the historic Orpheum Theatre. Cheer on your hometown favorite or just go for the amazing talent on stage.

Here is a list of the 2015 IBC winners:

http://www.blues.org/2015/01/2015-international-blues-challenge-winners/

The Orpheum Theatre
203 South Main Street (at Beale) Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3000
http://www.orpheum-memphis.com/events/detail/2015-international-blues-challenge

photo by suz2337, Flickr
photo by suz2337, Flickr
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Levitt Shell Concerts

photo by Levitt Pavilions, Flickr
photo by Levitt Pavilions, Flickr

Every year the Levitt Shell hosts more than 50 free concerts and events and this year’s line-up includes Rosanne Cash, Davina & The Vagabonds, Chubby Carrier, and the Old 97’s. Here is a video by Mississippi blues piano player Eden Brent, live at the Levitt Shell.

As a visitor, you may not know the Levitt Shell isn’t just any other bandstand. It was built in 1933 as an outdoor performing arts pavilion in Overton Park in the heart of Midtown. Over the years the venue, originally called the Overton Park Shell, has hosted many great performances of light opera, ballet, and musicals.

Elvis10

The most significant concert in the shell’s history was on July 30, 1954 when a young Elvis Presley opened for headliner Slim Whitman and caused a sensation. Music historians regard it as the first rock n’ roll show!

Designed by architect Max Furbringer, the City of Memphis and the Works Progress Administration built the shell for $11,935,  and modeled it after similar structures in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York.  Over the years it fell into disrepair but was saved from demolition three times–in the mid-sixties, in 1973, and in 1984–by a group of dedicated people passionate to keep it. Extensively renovated and re-opened in 2008, the venue is one of  the few remaining band shells of  the original 27 built during the WPA era. All that history helps to appreciate this art deco gem while you spread out your blanket, unpack your cooler, and sit back to listen to some great music in the twilight.

Levitt Shell
1928 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
http://levittshell.org/