Road To Memphis

MBS Press Release Road to Memphis 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FMI Contact: Duane Little, Pres., Maine Blues Society, 207.240.6813 –


(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

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 Pete the Bluesman Lauro, Blues Editor at 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


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 and

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.

Distributed by: Mary E. Regan, Publicist – – Cell: (207) 420-1393 –

Call for Participation: International Conference on the Blues Oct 2-4

CFP: Delta State University to host 3rd Annual International Conference on the Blues
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Int Blues Con

Proposal Deadline: July 1, 2016
Delta State University is now accepting proposals for papers, presentations, workshops, and clinics for the Third Annual International Conference on the Blues, which will be held October 2 – 4, 2016.
Topics of general interest to scholars and enthusiasts are welcome: African American musical tradition and its influence on American music and culture; the Blues; folklore; history; ethnicity; and the Delta. Topics of interdisciplinary nature are also encouraged.

Papers are invited from all blues scholars, with a particular emphasis on young and emerging scholars (graduate students, recent masters and doctoral graduates, and junior faculty), as well as established scholars, authors, performers, blues enthusiasts, and independent researchers. A prize will be awarded to the outstanding young scholar paper.

You are invited to submit proposals for paper presentations, lecture-performances, panels, performances, and workshops. Offers to serve as moderators are also welcome. Papers will be 20 minutes in length, with an additional ten minutes for discussion, and should address a general audience.

Proposals must be submitted online via

Please include a description of the presentation, audio/visual equipment needs, and biographical information for all presenters. Please note that not all A/V requests will be granted. Presenters agree to appear at the conference at their own expense, which will include registration fees.

For more information, please contact Shelley Collins and Don Allan Mitchell at or visit

The International Conference on the Blues consists of two days of intense academic and scholarly activity and music. This annual conference falls in between the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival in Greenville, Mississippi and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas.

Academic presentations, Blues performances, a “Blues in the Round” jam session, and excursions to local historical attractions add appeal for all audiences.

Cleveland, Mississippi, recently named by Smithsonian Magazine as #2 of the top 20 small cities to visit in the country, is located 45 minutes from the Greenville (MS) Airport and approximately two hours from the Memphis (TN) and Jackson (MS) airports. Cleveland is home to Delta State University and the recently-opened GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, and is a ten minute drive from renowned Blues sights including Dockery Farms and Po’ Monkey’s Lounge. 




  • PRIVATE EVENTSMarcia Ball| $35.00 – $45.00The Texas-born, Louisiana-raised musical storyteller’s groove-laden New Orleans boogie,deeply soulful ballads and rollicking blues have won her an enormous, loyal and still-growingfan base. She’s received a total ten Blues Music Awards (and a whopping 44 nominations),seven Living Blues Awards, and five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted intoboth the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.Tickets are general admission $35 (standing) and $45 (seated).+ GOOGLE CALENDAR+ ICAL EXPORTDate: Time: Cost: Event Category:Event Tags:Venue 25 Temple St.  Portland, ME 04101 United States(207) 805-0134 www.portlandhouseofmusic.comPortland House of Music and Events(207)


There is still time to volunteer for the Maine Blues Festival: click on links below

volunteers: <>

 volunteers2016 Volunteer Schedule draft

F2016 Volunteer Schedule

Information Booths

Rite Aid: Booth Leader— Christy

(X2) 9:00-Noon—Laura Caret

Raeann Demos

(X2) Noon-3:00—Clay & Carol Johnson

(X2) 3:00-6:00— Courtney Estes

April Barter

6:00-9:00—-Rae Duval

Freedom: Booth Leader-Sue Guptill

(X2) 11:00-2:00—Deb Marlowe

Joanne Reedy

(X2) 2:00-5:00—-Dorothy Sullivan

Karin Sinclair

5:00-7:30—-Dave (Christy’s friend)

Andrea Winn

Village Green: Booth Leader- Anne Marie Ray

8:30-11:00—Terri Powell

11:00-2:00—Ted Marlowe

2:00-5:00—-Kevin Munson

Causeway: Booth Leader—Avis Hayward

9:00-Noon—Laurie Pelletier

Lisa Gilbert

Noon-3:00—Angie Cook

Brendon Cook (XL)

3:00-6:00—-Ashley Gallinari

Dawne Gallinari


Kevin Judkins


Bray’s Noon-3:00—Mike Brown

3:00-6:00— Lesli Olson

6:00-10:00—Jim Page

Sandy’s 6:30-900 —-Lorie Olson

Freedom 7:30-10:00—????????????

Merced’s 1:00-4:00—-Peter Eliot

Mitch Ambrose

4:00-7:00—-Steve Littlefield

7:00- 10:00—Chad?

Capt’n Jack’s 1:00-4-00—-Josh Pollard

4:00-7:00—-Cathy Fiske


River Queen Kevin Judkins (all 3 cruises)

Crossing Guards

Merced,’s 1:00-3:00—Tina Christophersen

3:00-5:00—Thomas Nash

5:00-7:00—Neola Lussier

Evergreen 12:00-3:00—


Freedom 12:-3:00— Stacey Thurston



Bray’s 11:30-2:30—Erv Reedy

2:30-5:30— Amy Maheux

5:30-8:00—Amy Maheux

All day Gophers:

Jeff Preble, Chad Pinkham, Ruth York,


Road To Memphis Guide

The attached document contains much pertinent information on the 2016 Road To Memphis showcase taking place on Sunday May 22nd.  Give it a read to be the best prepared you can be.

Hello all…My name is Jason Simonds. I will be running the sound system during the Road To Memphis competition. I also have a blues band that competed in the RTM a few times.  I just wanted to highlight something Duane mentioned the other day, in a thread on Facebook about the rules and scoring system, and to let you know a few details about the stage setup  Bunker Hill Sound will be providing at the RTM.

Duane said…..
“Typical scores are …. 
1-3 – Typical of a beginning blues band.
4-5 – Typical of a local weekend band.
6-7 – Typical of an advanced local band but not yet ready to headline a major blues club.
8-9 – Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs.
10  – Typical of those who play the main stage at major festivals”
Each category is judged on a 1 to 10 scale, and then a multiplier is applied at x4, x3 and x2 resulting in the category totals below, see the attached score sheet.

Blues Content    40pts

Vocals                   30pts
Talent                   30pts
StagePresence 20pts
Originality          20pts

total                   140pts

RTM scoresheet

For the top 3, you are on your own.  For the bottom two I can toss out some … thoughts.. ideas and opinions.  I’ll start with a question.  

Do you go out to see national acts?  

I ask, because that is who you are being judged against, and compared to, in the above scoring system. ( the scoring system is what it is) What I am about to say, might come off as critical, but it is not meant that way, it is meant to help your act score well in the above criteria…. the intent is to help… it is meant as constructive suggestions from someone that has competed and from the guy that did sound for the RTM last year and is doing it this year and someone who has seen a  lot of national acts in the past few years.

How “professional” is your appearance, demeanor and sound… especially when compared to nationally touring acts? How “tight” is your sound? How together are the members of the band? How comfortable is everyone on stage? How professional is everyone on stage? Does the band come across individuals or is it a focused group? All of the above, is why I ask if you go to see national acts. Beyond having good music, an act has to be able to make a presentation of their music.  In my veiw, the goal of this competition is to create a way for local blues acts, to get a shot at national exposure and recognition. A leg up into the next level. Sort of acting as minor leagues for the blues industry.  It is a very successful process, with hundreds of acts arriving in Memphis every year from all over the world and many going home with not only experience, but gigs on a national level.

A coordinated look of any kind scores points. … it does not hurt to have some polish… of the total 140 points an act can score 20 are for stage presence, so all things being equal the act that has a good stage presence will win, or conversely the act with great presence may score the same overall as an act that has a better score in other areas. 

Talk to the audience and the judges, let them know who you are and why you do what you do…. make eye contact… but keep the talk short… not too much… make sure you tell the judges when a song is an original.. if they are all original, mention that a couple of times to make sure they know. If there is a short backstory tell it… have some ramble ready in case someone breaks a string or has to adjust something… Be a star, but be humble too.   

The only other advice I could give would be make it all original if you can. Originality is another potential 20 of the 140 possible points.

Running the stage…..

There will be a backline. As of the writing of this guide there will be a SoulTramp Tweed12 Amplifier on stage. This is a hand built $2500 amplifier designed to create classic sounds. There will be one other guitar amp on stage. At this point we are awaitng confirmation on the drums set and bass rigs.

Everything will be mic’d. The drumset, amps will be mic’d. Bass direct if we can, and keys through the PA. This will accomplish two major goals. The first concern is time, starting at noon sharp and allowing for 20 MINUTES PER ACT, there is nearly 5 hours of just playing time, let alone any time used for changing acts. By using a backline we will facilitate much faster change overs on the stage, that will result in a much faster flow for all of us. The second goal will be overall volume. Certainly adjust your volumes as you would in solo’s and for effect, but try to maintain a level that doesn’t get too loud. If it needs more, the PA can compensate through the mains. The vocalist is at the mercy of the PA system, but the on stage amps can create real issues for the overall sound. Have someone check your rehearsal balances so you know where you need to be on the day of competition. When the stage amps get too loud it means the PA system has to get louder so the vocalist can be heard…. and then it all gets too loud. Please consider, once your competition set starts, you are on your own. If you are too loud, I am not allowed to do more than adjust what I can from the board. If the on stage amps are cranked up, there will be nothing I can do and your overall sound will suffer.
Speaking of Volume… please keep a mind to overall volume. The judges have a long day ahead and with a random draw, everyone has an equal chance of being first, or last.  If everyone can tame their overall sound it will help the judges do their job as best they can.  

With your permissions, I will help you get your volumes right before your set starts, but only if you directly ask.  I have no desire to do other than help you sound the best you can, but I also appreciate that we are all artists and want certain levels of control of our sound. I am here to work with and for you. There will be a basic monitor mix setup to start, please feel free to ask for adjustments during your warm-up. Look farther down for giving me feedback on monitor mix needs or nots.

If there is a techincal issue during your performance, bring my attention to it, tell me what is happening, and how I can fix it, and/or if you need me to make a switch on something. Done smoothly it could even increase your score. (see the above note on having a ramble ready) Don’t put up with something that will affect your score. In this competition you are being told in advance that you will have 20 MINUTES. You might consider budgeting 20-30 secs for potential technical issues.

Stage flow… there will be 13 acts as I type this up.The challenge on the day will be getting everyone on and off stage in a timely manner with as little stress on the incoming act as possible.  We are going to try to have gear stacked in front of the one door (that we will close off) on stage right. ( see attached Stage Map)  Once your act has completed, please move your gear straight fwd off the stage, to allow the next act to come in from the side. If you can, please remove your gear from the premises once your act has played to make it easier for the rest of the acts to setup and tear down. When your set is done, your priority is to get off stage as quickly and safely as possible, so the next act can setup and get ready as soon as is possible. In the same breath, if your act is up next, be ready to go. Please read a copy of the IBC rules.  

Please wait to bring your gear in until after the draw for play position.  If you are the first act, you will get the time you need to setup, but please expedite it as much as you can. Ask for help from one of the other acts to lug gear. If you are the last act, you have my empathy, as I have had to play in both slots, first and last. At this point there is only one keyboard in the competition. We will work with this on the day to expedite the storage and setup.

Be respectful of other acts when they are playing and you are waiting to go on or waiting after…. this is especially a concern during quieter passages… suddenly the band quiets down and the people in the room become louder than the music from the stage… also, please ask your guests to also be mindful of their talk during performances.

Cell Phones OFF.  ( I forget sometimes myself)

On a personal note… try not to be too hung over when you show up…  😀   … and don’t blurt out an obscenity when your band gets called on to be first up in the rotation. ( ask me how I know )

There is a considerable amount of personal, musical and other work to bring an act, your act, to the stage… years and years of individual work and a ton of group work, but the working bands also have another mountain to be done, and I think that is where many acts fall short.   I know for my own part, and in hind sight, I was way too nervous and no where near as relaxed on stage as I needed to be..we rushed things, didn’t take enough time with the audience.. .eye contact was lacking… we made a lot of little mistakes… and they all add up.. or rather they don’t add up…to the higher score.  My advice to all, is to create the set you will use, and run it down with all the talking you intend to do as well… and video tape it… watch it back each time and adjust.  Be genuine, be fun and be relaxed, but also be sharp and on point.

Please send an email to

for the subject please use your “Band Name at Road To Memphis” 

In this email please descibe your act. 
How many members? 
What instument(s) do they play, do they sing, do they have a mic preference? 
Direct Insert Box?(acoustic guitars, etc) 
Horns? ( I have an AKG Clip on that just rocks) 
Keyboards? Does the Keyboard want a stereo feed or will a mono line work?

Any preference on lead vocal mix.. reverb/echo etc?

Any effects needed at a point during a song?

The lighting system will be set to a red blue wash. It can do more if you want it to.

A generic stage map has been attached. Up front will be two 15” wedge monitors, Mon #1 & #2, they can be aimed as you wish with a mix changed independently to whatever you want in them. Mon#3 and #4 will be 12” wedges for either the keys or third front-person and the drummer. There will be a 300wt 15”sub on stage to help the lower end of the keys/guitars and kick in the PA.  If you have not been in the room at Fast Breaks, the stage space is similar to the one at the Tailgate, without the risers, even to the door on one side of the stage. RTM-Guide


On Sunday, May 22nd, we will hold the 2016 Road To Memphis showcase to select the acts to represent Maine at the 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN.  This showcase will be held at Fast Breaks, 1465 Lisbon St, Lewiston starting at NOON and will last until the last act has performed and we’ve crowned the winners.  At this writing there are 7 bands and 4 solo/duo acts.  The judging will be according to the IBC rules published by the Blues Foundation.


Come Join us in the signature event.