Keeping the blues alive.

The Blues Foundation has announced the 2015 recipients of Keeping The Blues Alive.

The 2016 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

The KBAs are awarded by a select panel of blues professionals to those working actively to promote and document the music. KBA Committee Chairman Art Tipaldi notes, “this year, the Board eliminated KBA categories as a way for the Committee to honor individuals who have excelled in a variety of KBA categories. Thus the slate of 15 winners includes individuals who have made a difference with their lengthy commitments to the blues. At the same time, the Committee made sure to continue to recognize larger, comprehensive entities like an affiliated organization, a North American festival, an International festival, a blues club, a record label, and a blues radio.”


2016 Winter Blues Bash

The Annual Winter Blues Bash!
The Annual Winter Blues Bash!

The 2016 Winter Blues Bash, scheduled for Sunday Jan. 17th 2016 at The Portland House of Music and Events on Temple St. in downtown Portland.  This is our annual fund raiser for our IBC contestants where we feature a prominent blues performer from the region.  We’re working on planning the event now, please contact us with your interest in forwarding this effort!

The featured band Sugar Ray and the Bluetones consists of Sugar Ray Norcia vocals and harmonica, “Monster” Mike Welch-guitar, vocals, Anthony Geraci-piano, Michael “Mudcat” Ward-bass, Neil Gouvin-drums.


New venue for Blues in Maine!

From Andrew Morse at Smokin’ Blues Grill in Hollis:

Hey, I’m looking to book blues acts at Smokin’ Blues Grill in Hollis. Send me a message if you are interested. I can have up to a three piece without drums.

He can be reached at 207-298-9436 or stop by 415 Hollis Rd, Hollis Center ME.


Hotels for the 2016 IBC in Memphis

The 32nd (2016) International Blues Challenge will be held January 26-30, 2016 in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee in the Beale Street Historic District.

The 32nd International Blues Challenge will begin Tuesday night (Jan 26) with the International Showcase. Wednesday and Thursday night (January 27-28) quarter finals will be conducted. Youth Showcase and Semi Finals will be held Friday evening (Jan 29). Saturday (Jan 30) IBC will conclude with Finals in the beautiful Orpheum Theatre.

– See more at:

Here is the list of downtown Memphis hotels with which we have negotiated room rates.
Tell them you want the International Blues Challenge, IBC or Blues Foundation block.
Some hotels have minimum and Saturday stay requirements and a non-refundable deposit.
Listed prices do not include sales and visitor taxes which are currently an additional 15.95%.
Some have breakfast and other amenities that may be included in the price.
Rates apply until stated deadline or until rooms are sold out.  Rates may or may not be available after deadline.
Comfort Inn Downtown @ $124.99 until than January 5, 2016
100 N. Front St. Memphis, TN 38103

Crowne Plaza @$119
300 North Second Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Doubletree Memphis Downtown @ $140 until January 8, 2016
185 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
(4 night minimum to include Saturday)

Hampton Inn & Suites at Beale Street @ $164 until December 29, 2015
175 Peabody Place, Memphis, TN 38103

Holiday Inn Downtown Memphis @ $139 until December 30, 2015
160 Union Ave Memphis, TN 38103
(3 night minimum to include Saturday)

Hotels of Court Square

Courtyard Memphis Downtown @ $149 until December 24, 2015
75 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
800.321.2211 until December 24, 2015
Sleep Inn @ $119 until January 4, 2016
40 North Front Street, Memphis, TN, 38103
901.522.9700 or 877.424.6423

SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown $151 until December 24, 2015
85 West Court Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Other Downtown properties

The Peabody @ $269 until December 16, 2015
149 Union Avenue, Memphis TN 38103

Residence Inn by Marriott Memphis Downtown @ $189 until December 6, 2015 for studio suite (maximum occupancy=4)
110 Monroe Ave Memphis TN 38103
(3 night minimum to include Saturday)

Westin Memphis Beale Street @ $169 until January 12, 2016
170 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

MEMBERSHIP has PRIVLEDGES – As an affiliate or a individual member of The Blues Foundation YOU have the ability to book your International Blues Challenge rooms before we release the information to the public.
Book NOW! This will be released on our website on August 1.
We look forward to seeing you on Beale Street in January 2016!

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl | Damariscotta, Maine

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl, LINCOLN COUNTY’S ONLY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Damariscotta, Maine.

Admission is $25 in advance / $30 at the door. (no refunds on …
Volunteers receive free admission to all events & a DamBluesFest t …
Darrows Barn
Darrows Barn, at Round Top Farm, Bus. … The barn is not visible …
Photo Gallery
DamBluesFest & PubCrawl … FESTIVAL, Damariscotta …
Dry Camping is available for Friday & Saturday night for $10 …
2011 Photo Gallery
2014 Photo Gallery | 2013 Photo Gallery | 2012 Photo … 2011 …

Little Freddie King’s 75th birthday

Today is Little Freddie King’s 75th birthday. When he was 14 in McComb, Mississippi, King jumped onto a moving freight train, then jumped off in New Orleans, where he has remained for more than six decades. He taught himself blues guitar; endured a life of addiction and violence; survived Hurricane Katrina and his wife’s heartbreaking death; and has emerged strong, peaceful, and at the peak of his career.

My multimedia article “The Gutbucket King” tells his amazing story, complete with music and interview clips, archival pictures and documents, and photo portraits by Julie Dermansky. The New New South, an online magazine of Southern writing, has taken down the paywall in honor of Freddie’s 75th. Enjoy it for free at

2015 Maine Blues Festival, Naples ME

It’s once again Father’s Day Weekend and that means the Maine Blues Festival!  This year is the 10th ANNIVERSARY and will be celebrated with a fireworks show to honor the Maine blues musicians participating in the event.

Over 40 bands on 10 stages all over the causeway in Naples.

Come one, come all it’s going to be beautiful!  Find more information at


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


(Lewiston, ME – May 17, 2015): The Maine Blues Society has announced that the winners for the State of Maine to go on to the 32nd Annual International Blues Challenge competition in Memphis are: The Juke Rocket Blues Band (band winner) of Belfast and Mike and the Mojo (solo/duo act winner) of Portland. The Blues Foundation hosts the IBC which will feature about 250 acts in late January, 2016. It is the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition held on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

This was the 20th year the Maine Blues Society has had this competition which was held at Fast Breaks in Lewiston. When IBC nominee Mike Schools of Mike & the Mojo heard his name called after the judging, he thought it meant he was runner up. “I was pleasantly surprised to say the least”, Schools said. Mike who is the lead vocalist and guitarist is joined on stage by bassist Chris Hamer of Scarborough who was also ecstatic. They met about a year ago via the blues venue, The Tailgate Bar & Grill in Gray, where there is a popular weekly Sunday open blues jam. Schools himself has previously won various guitar and battle of the band competitions along the way and plays out at various venues in southern Maine. “It’s a major validation of the work I’ve put into the writing and relationship with the blues I’ve been developing over the last few years”, Mike said, adding that his biggest blues influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King, among others.

The event also took time out to pay tribute to the late great blues legend, BB King, who died this past week.

On the band side, this is the 3rd trip to Memphis for The Juke Rocket Blues Band who just released their “Hungry Soul” CD in April, and they perform traditional and high-powered blues. They previously went to Memphis in 2013 and 2014. The current members of the band which have been performing together for 4 years are: Carlene Thornton; lead vocalist, Ron Casillo; guitars & vocals; Steve Mellor, bassist & vocals; and Tim Woitowitz; Drums, guitar & vocals. “The past 2 times we went we had such a good time. We’re hoping that the 3rd time is the charm for us,” Tim said, adding, “plus the food is great in Memphis!” Carlene was featured in the Women in Blues concert in Memphis the last two trips they went there with Steve and Tim serving as backup musicians.

Other performers in the competition were: (Groups): Midnight Riders (Knox County), Hats Again (southern Maine);
(Solo/Duo) Jake Irish (Houlton) and Ryan Halliburton (Westbrook).

There were 5 judges for this competition and the 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 Also see: and Mike & the Mojo on

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 –