Our January Gathering & Jam was bright & crisp, just like the weather. Missy Flapjack & the Butterworth Blues Band gave us an energetic and fun set and everybody loved them. We filled up the room and used very seat in the place. We had a regular raffle which was supplemented by merch from our host band, Hooray! We also began our special raffle for tickets to the upcoming Joe Bonamassa show at the Fox Theater, which we will continue at the next Gathering next month. Our jam was one of the best, and included some of our regular jammers and some fresh new faces, including Noah Teal, a 14 year old guitarist and singer who has clearly been studying the greats. Not to mention a rare sit-in by Bill Sheffield and an appearance by ABC winner Garrett Collins. The Gypsy Rose staff was excellent and made sure we were well served. Thanks to the new members who joined and don't forget - it's time to renew at our next Gathering at Blind Willie's. Host Band to be announced soon. Hope to see some of you in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge (IBC).

Save the Date
• Tuesday, Jan 28-Saturday, Feb 1, 2020-International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN
• Sunday, Feb 16, Membership Renewal Gathering, Blind Willie's, 3pm-6pm, Host Band is TBA
• Friday & Saturday, Feb 28 & 29, Joe Bonamassa at the Fox Theatre
• Sunday, March 15, Gathering & Jam at Madlife Stage & Studios, Host band is David T & Friends
• Sunday, April 19, Gathering & Jam at MoonShadow Tavern, Tucker, w/ Rockin Blues Review

We are saddened to share the news of the loss of Mike Watson, of the Mike Watson Band. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, band mates, and fans. Mike was a long time contributor to music in the Atlanta area, including the Montana jams which are fondly remembered by many music lovers. There was a benefit fundraiser for Mike on Sunday (planned before his death) and his funeral service was held on Monday. If you would like to contribute to help his family with expenses, please follow this Go Fund Me link. Rest In Peace Mike.

We wanted everyone to know that the Atlanta Blues Society has some major participation in the Women in Blues Showcase in Memphis during IBC week this year and we are so proud. Featured artists in the showcase include Lola (ABS Musician Sponsor), Heather Statham (ABS Musician Sponsor), and Mandi Strachota (ABS Musician Sponsor). Also helping to organize and produce the show are Marie Wilson (ABS Member) & Lisa Kitchens (ABS Board Member). You can expect some major female talent to be presented from around the country and the world, such as Gaye Adegbalola, Keesha Pratt, and Redd Velvet. Hope you will be able to make it out to this show and make sure to get there early as seating is always at a premium during this showcase. This year's WIB Show takes place on Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 11:30am-4pm at Alfred's on Beale, right in the middle of all the IBC action in Memphis, TN. All donations to benefit The Blues Foundation's Generation Blues. https://www.nationalwomeninblues.com/

The ABS "Smoke-Free Atlanta Celebration" on Sunday the 5th was a roaring success! Blind Willie's was almost full by 6pm, and it just got more crowded as the evening went on. Larry Griffith turned in a stellar performance, bringing his great personality and wit along with some very sharp playing by his whole band. Jontavious Willis thrilled everyone with his home-spun, down-home acoustic blues, and definitely left the crowd wanting more. The eveing was capped by yet another blistering show from Rae and the Royal Peacocks, whose talent and charm left the crowd ecstatic. All in all, an evening of stunning talent and a real tribute to the ABS and Lewis McTush, who have been working relentlessly with the Smoke Free Cities organization over the last 2+ years to help bring about a Smoke Free Atlanta. After a lot of campaigning, lobbying, meetings and trips to city council, as you may know, effective January 2, 2020 the City of Atlanta becomes Smoke Free in all bars, clubs, restaurants and music venues.

Attendees had a lot of fun at the Fundraiser for our IBC representatives to help them with their expenses in Memphis. This event was held on Saturday January 11, 2020 at the Magnolia Lounge in Forest Park. Playing at the event and representing us in Memphis was Mandi Strachota in the Solo/Duo category and The Garrett Collins Project in the Band category. Unfortunately our Youth entry will not be able to go to Memphis due to staffing issues. We were thrilled to support these great acts and wish them luck in Memphis! The Magnolia Lounge is a really great venue, and we hope to be holding more events there in the future.

The Blues Foundation is hosting the 36th Annual International Blues Challenge to find the best undiscovered blues talent on the planet as blues fans and blues artists from around the world descend on Beale Street in Memphis to compete. Join this IBC event page to receive the latest updates and information about passes, IBC merchandise, advertising and sponsorship, hotels, and the daily schedule of events. In addition to world-class blues music, enjoy music industry panels, workshops, master classes, afternoon jams, late night jams and more throughout the week. Will-call passes will be available beginning Mon, Jan 27th and the 2020 International Blues Challenge officially kicks off Tues, Jan 28th with the International Showcase. Quarterfinals and Semifinals will take place Wed - Fri, Jan 29-30-31. IBC Finals will be held Saturday, Feb 1st at The Orpheum Theatre-Memphis.

The Atlanta Blues Society's annual Holiday Party happened Sunday December 1, 2019 at the Helene S. Mills Multipurpose Facility from 2:30pm-6:30pm. This is also our Membership Appreciation event and a Toys for Tots Donation collection benefit, so please bring a new, unwrapped toy. The winners of the 2019 Atlanta Blues Challenge will be our featured music, and this will also by a fundraiser for acts going to Memphis to represent us at the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. We will be presenting our winning acts with their prize money and will match tips collected for those acts going to Memphis. The following acts will play

Youth winner - Menagerie, featuring Victoria Day
Solo/Duo winner - Mandi Strachota
People's Choice - Red Sugar Blues (Not yet confirmed)
Band winner - The Garrett Collins Project

Our November Gathering & Jam was held on Sunday, November 17, 2019 from 3pm-6pm at the Magnolia Lounge, 3920 Jonesboro Rd, Forest Park. Our host band was Blues Generation – playing their New Orleans-soaked blues for our listening & dancing delight. The beautiful Magnolia Lounge will be served up great food and drinks.

5th Annual Blues Stotts the best ever!
Thanks to all the folks who came out to make this the best Blues Stotts ever. Our benefit event to honor founding member and greatest blues fan Larry Stotts was a huge success. The music was incredible. The food and drink plentiful and well served by the wait staff. We had great raffle prizes, including a signed Fender guitar. Thanks to everybody's generosity we will be presenting a check to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a cause near and dear to Larry's heart, in the amount of $1,490.00

Celebration of Life for Beverly “Guitar” Watkins Saturday, October 12, 2019 Time: 11 AM Location: MT. EPHRIAM BAPTIST CHURCH 1202 West Marietta Street, Northwest Atlanta, Georgia 30318 2 Day Public Visitation Location: Goolsby Mortuary, Inc. Thursday, October 10, 2019 Time: 11 AM until 8 PM Friday, October 11, 2019 Time: 11 AM until 8 PM Family Hour, Friday 7 PM- 8 PM Survived by a son, Stanley Watkins, brother, Willie H. Watkins and a host of nieces, nephews, grandchildren, cousins’ other relatives and friends.

Bricks for the Blues Campaign
Are you up for your shot at Blues Immortality? Every once in a while a stellar opportunity comes along for those of us that will never be nominated, let alone win a BMA,  win the IBC or have our name on the marquis of the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. Several years ago the Blues Foundation offered us the opportunity to not only contribute to the creation of the Blues Hall of Fame, but to have our names permanently installed on the wall inside. The Atlanta Blues Society, Darwin's and several of us availed ourselves of that opportunity and gained some Blues Immortality. The only problem is that you have to go inside and look for our names.

Well, our second chance is here with The Bricks for the Blues Campaign and the cost for Blues Immortality is much more reasonable this time. The Blues Foundation has been given permission to replace the sidewalk in front of the Blues Hall of Fame with bricks engraved with the names of the donors. Your Blues Society has purchased an 8"x 8" brick for $500 and has been given permission to have all of us that buy an 8x8 brick to be grouped together and have a permanent place in Blues History. Even though only one person can pay for each brick, but with 6 lines of engraving (one should say"ABS Member(s)" as many as five can go in on a brick.

In order to take advantage of being able to be grouped together the Blues Foundation is asking us to act before the middle of March. How cool would it be for the ABS to not only have a permanent place for the world to see, but to have a boat load of our members listed with us. If you have any questions please run them by us. Be Immortal!! Thanks, George

The Atlanta Blues Society has grown steadily for the past 8 years, our membership is now over 400 people and we have over 6500 people following us on social media. Growth can be painful at times, and we want to make sure that we treat everybody fairly and evenly when it comes to our monthly Gathering jam.  At each gathering we provide backline and mics for a jam which is run by our Jam Master using a sign-up sheet.  We have come up with the following guidelines that should be followed by participants of the jam: 

The jam is open to everybody, regardless if they are a member or not.  While we would love to have participants join as members and help us in our mission, we realize that sometimes the best way to attract new members is to show them how we go about our mission of "keeping the blues alive".  Having a free and open jam is one way we do so.

All participants should sign the sign-up sheet as soon as they get there, jammers will be grouped together by the order in which they signed in, depending on the various instruments they play and/or sing.  Please help the Jam Master by writing legibly and if your name is hard to pronounce, write it using pronunciation symbols. For example, my last name Hilke is pronounced hill-key.  So I would sign in as Barb Hilke (hill-key), Guitar.

Only sign up yourself, do not sign up people who are not in the room and ready to play.

Try to have some idea of what songs you would like to play before coming up.

Please make sure your instruments and/or voices are ready before you are called up.

Each set of jammers will be allowed 3 songs or 15 minutes of playing time.

Please check with the Jam Master before plugging into amps to make sure the correct amps are used with each instrument.

With this format it is very hard to accommodate whole bands who only want to play with each other, you must be willing to play with other jammers as signed up.

If you signed up for the jam and were not called up, please make the Jam Master aware of this.
Remember, the purpose of the jam is to have fun. 

Our intent is to offer an opportunity for those that look forward to playing with others have a chance to do so.  Following these guidelines will help make the jam run as smoothly as possible.  We believe the interaction of people playing music together for the first time leads to interesting interpretations of songs and builds the community. We want everybody who signs up to be able to play and we want everybody to have a good time.

Blind Willies Blues Club in Virginia Highlands is an Atlanta icon showcasing legendary blues bands for over 32 years. Hundreds of local and national blues greats have left their mark on this historic stage. Years of loyal fans and regular patrons have also contributed to making Blind Willies a true Historic Landmark in Atlanta. All the years of good times have taken its physical toll on Blind Willies. We are asking our friends and family to help us with the REBIRTH of Blind Willies Blues Club! Over the next few months, we will be hosting events to help us with our updates and revival. Your contributions will help ensure we can continue this long-standing Atlanta Blues tradition. The Blues Community is a true family. We are counting on our Blues family to help us continue to keep the Blues alive and bring you the best local and national blues bands you love for years to come! As part of the Rebirth of Blind Willie's, the venue has gone Smoke Free as of the day after Thanksgiving, so those of you who stayed away because of the smoke, come on out and check out this legendary Blues Club. The blues sound just as good without the smoke – and the smokers can still go outside– so its a win/win. Come on out to Blind Willie's soon and show them you appreciate the changes they are making to keep the blues alive and available to all. Other changes they are making are earlier shows during the week and on Sundays. They will be closed on Mondays. • http://www.blindwilliesblues.com/

News from Killer Blues Headstone Project
From : Killer Blues Headstone Project: killerblues.net
104 headstones have been purchased! We have funding for the next 2 headstones but have 30 more in need.  • That means we still need to raise $20,000 • In 2018 so far we have received donations ranging from $1 to $1,000 and each one was appreciated. The following link will take you to an excellent interview with KBHP founder, Steve Salter, on Youtube: Click HERE.

 Be sure to visit the following social networking sites:


(or, just go to Facebook and search the Atlanta Blues Society)

Check out the new CD reviews from Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
in our Review section.


The Atlanta Blues Society has a new address, please send all mail to:

The Atlanta Blues Society
P.O. Box 146
Tucker, GA 30085-0146
Our only email address is

From time to time we will move older items from the front page to the Archives Page.  
If there is an item you would like to review and you don’t see it here, check the archives!

We need your help. Please Click Here to eMail us -
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