The ABS been working relentlessly with Lewis McTush, Entertainers Speaking Out and 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. As a form of saying thank you to the Atlanta Blues Society for everything we did to help bring about this welcome change, the organization is sponsoring the “SmokeFree Atlanta Celebration”. The event will be held at Blind Willie’s on Jan 5, 2020 from 6 to 9:30, and being aware that we have the inside track on great Blues music, they have asked us to involve local entertainers that have been willing to speak out and put the show together. The performers are as follows: 6 to 7 Larry Griffith Band, 7:15 to 8:15 Jontavious Willis and 8:30 to 9:30 Rae and The Royal Peacocks and – we are providing backline so the show should run smoothly. The organization has provided monies to compensate the musicians, Blind Willie’s and to provide a Free Buffet, so there will be No Cover required to attend the Celebration.
We will be having a Fundraiser for our IBC representatives to help them with their expenses in Memphis. This event will be held on Saturday January 11, 2020 at the Magnolia Lounge in Forest Park. Playing at the event and representing us in Memphis will be 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 will start at 8:30pm with Mandi playing first and then The Garrett Collins Project. Please come out and support these great acts and wish them luck in Memphis!
Save the Date
• Saturday, Jan 11, IBC Fund Raiser at Magnolia Lounge, 8:30pm
• Sunday, Jan 19, Gathering & Jam at Gypsy Rose Music, Roswell. Host Band - Missy Flapjack &
____the Butterworth Blues Band, 3pm-6pm
• 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
• Sunday, March 15, Gathering & Jam at Madlife Stage & Studios, Host band TBD
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
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