Posted: 11/04/2012 (10:57 pm) | Filed under: Feature,News,What's Happenin

The International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo finals took place at Winston’s OB on 11/4.  The five finalists were Cadillac Wreckers, Phil Diiorio, Robin Henkel & Whitney Shay, Ben Powell, and Missy & Heine Andersen.  They all turned in stellar performances, but Ben’s interpretation of the one-man-band tradition brought down the house.  Our thanks to all these fine performers, and to judges Dave Good, Barney Roach, Karl Cabbage, Sharon Mack and Ken Boozer.  We wish Ben great success in Memphis.  Mark your calendars now for the IBC send-off party on January 19 from 1-5 at Humphrey’s Backstage!



Leon Russell is coming to the Belly Up in Solana Beach, Oct 22.

Posted: 10/21/2012 (2:30 pm) | Filed under: Events,News

Leon Russell is coming to the Belly Up in Solana Beach, Oct 22.

Russell is a music legend and perhaps the most accomplished and versatile musician in the history of rock ’n roll. In his distinguished and unique 50 year career, he has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music. Although not classified as blues for purists at all, this Grammy Winner has certainly has straddled the borders and influenced generations of fans and musicians.

Opening for Russell is the blistering-hot blues-rock of The Blitz Brothers. Tickets are only $25. Showtime is 8 pm.

2012 IBC Almost Didn’t Happen, But Its Turning Out to be the Best Solo/Duo Competition We’ve Ever Had!

Posted: 10/21/2012 (1:57 pm) | Filed under: Feature
This year’s International Blues Challenge solo/duo competition was nearly a non-starter.  No one had registered early to receive a discounted entry fee.  Ben Powell was the first to enter, and for a time we thought he would be the only one.  At the very last minute, we ended up with a roster of eight contestants:  Ben Powell, Cadillac Wreckers, Phil Diiorio, Whitney Shay & Robin Henkel, Missy & Heine Andersen, Gary Kemmer, Mint & Irv, and Harmonica John Frazer.  Round I on 10/13 was lightly attended, but the performances were all excellent.  Ben Powell and Cadillac Wreckers were selected to move on to Round II.  On 10/20, Gary Kemmer was a no-show, so only three acts took the stage:  Missy & Heine Andersen, Phil Diiorio and Robin Henkel & Whitney Shay.  They all turned in such stellar performances that the judges gave them almost identical scores.  Therefore, all three advanced to the finals on 11/4 from 1-5 at Winston’s!  Here’s what blues impresario Michael Kinsman had to say about Round II:
“To anyone who missed yesterday’s second prelim for the IBC, you missed a spectacular show. There were only three acts, but each was extraordinary.  I can’t wait for the Nov. 4 finals at Winston’s. This lineup of five acts is unbelievably talented: Ben Powell, Cadillac Wreckers, Missy & Heine Andersen, Phil Diiorio & Whitney Shay & Robin Henkel.  This shapes up as one of the best final competitions BLUSD has ever had.”
This is a show you don’t want to miss, folks…five bands for only $10 donation!  Come on out to cheer on your favorites, and be one of the first to find out who’s going to Memphis in January!

San Diego Blues Festival Sept 22

Posted: 09/16/2012 (10:26 pm) | Filed under: Events,News,What's Happenin


The second annual San Diego Blues Festival is gearing for the Sept. 22 show that will feature blues stalwarts such as Tab Benoit, Janiva Magness and Kim Wilson & His Blues All-Stars.

The event at Embarcadero Marina Park North also includes Henry Gray with Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Zac Harmon, Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers, Missy Andersen, Taryn Donath, Ben Powell and the Randy Oxford Band.

All proceeds from the event benefit The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, a nonprofit agency that in 2011 distributed more than 20 million pounds of food to residents of San Diego County.

General admission tickets are $10 plus a donation of two cans of food. VIP tickets are $75. Tickets are available through the festival website

Parking is available for the event under the San Diego Convention Center for $11 and at an outside lot behind the center for $10. The trolley also stops just two blocks from the event. Many festival goers will elect to park free at the Old Town Transit Station and take the trolley downtown.

Last year’s event attracted 4,000 people and attendance is expected to increase this year. Info:

Regional IBC (International Blues Challenge) Duo/Solo Competition 2012

Posted: 09/03/2012 (1:51 pm) | Filed under: Events

The Blues Foundation presents the International Blues Challenge in Memphis every winter.  Bands from around the world compete for wider recognition and a coveted spot performing on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.  2004 IBC winner Zac Harmon said that winning the competition was worth more than $100,000 in publicity.  BLUSD sends a band or solo/duo act each year, and the results thus far have been very impressive.  Nathan James and Ben Hernandez won for best solo/duo act in 2007. Aunt Kizzy’s Boys placed second in the band category in 2006.  Sue Palmer won for best self-produced CD in 2008.

BLUSD’s Regional IBCs for the 2013 Solo/Duo  IBC will be held  on 3 dates starting on October 13, 2012 at Humphrey’s Back Stage Live from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Scheduled to compete are local blues artists Ben Powell, Cadillac Wreckers, Mint & Irv, and Harmonica John.

Our second preliminary round will be held on October 20, 2012 also at Humphrey’s Back Stage Live from 1:00 – 5:00 pm, and will feature local blues artists Missy & Heine Andersen, Gary Kemmer, Robin Henkel & Whitney Shay, and Phil Diiorio.

Two highest-scoring acts from each of our preliminary rounds will advance to the finals which  will take place on  November 4, 2012 at Winstons in Ocean Beach from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.

BLUSD uses the same scoring system as the Blues Foundation which is listed here.

If you have any questions about this event, just send an email to Janine Harty gro.dsulbnull@tnediserp .