MBS Press Release Road to Memphis 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FMI Contact: Duane Little, Pres., Maine Blues Society, 207.240.6813 – firstname.lastname@example.org
MAINE BLUES SOCIETY ANNOUNCES “ROAD TO MEMPHIS” MAINE NOMINEES FOR 2017
(Lewiston, ME – June 11, 2016): The 21st Annual Maine Blues Society (MBS) Road to Memphis showcase on May 22nd at Fast Breaks in Lewiston produced two winners who will represent the state of Maine at the 33rd Annual International Blues Challenge competition in Memphis next January. The MBS event’s winners are: (Band category): Between Dead Stations of Bangor and (Solo/Duo category)
L.C. Williams & the Driver of Winterport.
BAND WINNER (received $500 from MBS): Jacob “Jake” Irish of Between Dead Stations whose band name is based around original music—“an anti-commercial radio ploy, Jake said has been performing and writing music for 6 years now said, “I was speechless and overwhelmed with joy and excitement that we are going to have another chance to go down” to Memphis when his band was chosen the winner. “We are not a cover band by any means. We write—we have just under 40 songs now and have been writing for about 7 years now,” he said. Irish, whose entire family is made up of musicians, recalled his chief influences. When I was a young boy, one year for Christmas, my father gave me a bunch of cassettes and they were all Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Moore and John Lee Hooker. I was a little bit disturbed as all the kids were getting your typical radio play music tapes,” he said. But once he heard it, it changed his mind. “I would say John Lee Hooker and Jeff Healey are my biggest influences.” His band members are drummer Mike Constantine aka“Mike E. Stix” who has over 15 years of experience and bassist James Morang, with 7 years of experience playing in bands. Jake said, “I would have bands come in and back me up and they were both in other bands.” In fact, Jake and bandmate Mike previously won the Road to Memphis solo/duo category for Maine in 2014. “Having gone to Memphis previously (in 2014), we made it a point to pay attention to detail and see what everybody was looking for (the judges),” he said. Irish watched how the competition was doing. “We’ve been applying that knowledge to our showmanship,” Jake said, adding, “I felt like we had some very good competition. We were confident.” The band, which plays statewide, will start to book fundraisers to help with the expenses to next January’s blues challenge in Memphis. They are also planning some New England gigs as well. FMI, see www.reverbnation.com/betweendeadstations.
SOLO/DUO WINNER (received $250 from MBS): L.C. Williams & the Driver of Winterport – (Lauren Williams & Trent Souder). Harp player Lauren Williams said, “I was very pleased and surprised,” at learning they had won the Solo/Duo category. “I felt like there were definitely a few contenders,” she said but she is very happy and grateful. “It’s such a good opportunity to focus your energy on your goal. It makes you write originals and polish your act and it makes you become more of a performer rather than just doing gigs,” she added. The duo performs mostly around the Bangor and Bar Harbor areas but have some Portland area gigs coming up. Trent Souder has played guitar since he was a kid and just got deeper into it. In terms of Lauren’s harp, she said, “The harmonica will take you into it (the blues),” joking that when she was learning the harmonica, she had held it with the wrong hand for a while before someone pointed it out. She and Souder met in San Diego years ago when both were working for Greenpeace. In the winter, they go to St. Petersburg, Florida. Their band, The Blood Orange Martinis was a contender 2 years ago in Memphis in the first round. “It was fantastic being immersed in the blues scene”, Lauren said. She actually lived in Memphis from 1976 to 1985. She said her dad, who still lives in the Memphis area, was “overcome with the emotion of it all” when he saw her perform at the IBC. Neither parents were musical although her dad sings in his choir. “This time we will take advantage of the pre-publicity opportunities in Memphis,” Lauren said. Souder and Williams represented Maine in the band category two years ago under the name, The Blood Orange Martinis. Of her last trip to the IBC, Lauren said, “We were impressed with the amount of talent out there. You saw everything from an acoustic trio from Italy to a band with horns with an R&B sound—the variety of acts was interesting,” she said. “The best ones did rise to the top. I felt we were the middle of the pack.” This past winter, the band recorded and put out their own initial CD, L.C. Williams & the Driver’s “In Another Bar” available on CDbaby.com. Pete the Bluesman Lauro, Blues Editor at Mary4Music.com reviewed it, stating she had a “blazing harp.” Lauren said they hope to join Between Dead Stations to do some gigs between now and Memphis. FMI, see www.lcwilliamsandthedriver.com.
The Blues Foundation hosts the IBC which will feature about 250 acts in late January, 2017. It is the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition held on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Other performers in the competition were: (Groups): Black Cat Road (Peru); Continental Shakedown (Lewiston/Auburn); Juke Rockets Blues Band (Belfast); Memphis Lightning (Brunswick); Mojovator (South Portland); and Preservation Blues Band (Portland). (Solo/Duo): Ryan Halliburton (Westbrook); Rich Filteau (Waterville); Chris Garrahan (Biddeford); Hollerin’ Heather & Memphis Mojo Mike (Portland); and Lee Bell (Bangor). Talent was judged on several factors: originality, stage presence, vocals, blues content, and overall talent. MBS’s Duane Little said the next step on the Road to Memphis will happen during the coming fall when more fundraising events happen after the various blues festivals in the state take place to help the nominees with their travel expenses to Tennessee. The winner of the IBC solo/duo act will receive a $2,000 cash prize, an ad in the Blues Festival Guide and great gigs. The First Place band act winner will receive $2,500 cash, an ad, and great gigs. FMI see www.blues.org and www.mainebluessociety.com.
The Maine Blues Society was established in 1989. Our mission is to encourage, promote and expand the enjoyment, development, performance and preservation of the blues. Our intent and purpose is not only to support the blues as a musical idiom but as an art form, culture, profession and as a foundation of America’s heritage.
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