Board Members of the Atlanta Blues Society accepting the Keeping the Blues Alive Award at the luncheon during the IBC in Memphis TN. L to R: Richard L’Hommedeau, Carlin Smith, George Klein, Barb Hilke, Deb Pruitt, Dave Black.

For a February day, it was unusually bright, sunny and warm – the perfect setting for the innaugural “Mardi Gras in Stone Mountain”, with an umbrella parade, live music and much merriment. Locals showed off thier outstanding Mardi Gras spirit with Crews decked out in colorful costumes, wildly-decorated parade vehicles, dancers, steppers, and the always entertaining Feed & Seed Abominables marching band. Our own George Klein wore the King's crown this year! After the parade, we were treated to the hot blues rock of The Nikki Hill Band, with guitar slingers Laura Chavez and Matt Hill. Can't wait for next year!

Our February Gathering & Jam, was also our Annual Membership Renewal Meeting and was held on Sunday, February 16 at Blind Willie's. The host band was the fabulous Cazanovas, so you know a good time was had by all. We will have a more complete write-up shortly.

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.

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.

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 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 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

We had a fabulous Gathering & Jam on Sunday, October 20 at Full Throttle Road House in Mableton. Our host band, the Rockaholics pulled out all the stops and put on a great show and had us in awe of the talent on the stage. Elizabeth of Full Throttle was there making sure we are taken care of properly with great food and drink. The jam was off the hook and we had lots of new talented musicians and vocalists join in. It was a great afternoon of music, fun, and fellowship. Remember to bring your instruments and/or voices to the next meeting, at The Magolia Lounge on November 17. Hope to see you there.

Our September Gathering & Jam was held on Sunday, September 15 at Blind Willie's Blues Club from 3pm-6pm. Our host band, the Way Back Band, took us back in time, recreating an oldies radio show and playing all our favorite blues, rock, and R&B hits. You couldn't help but sing along, tap your feet, sway your head, and get out on the dance floor. Then the George Carlin show hit the stage with news about all the upcoming Atlanta Blues Society events, especially the upcoming Blues Stotts Benefit in November (see below for more info). Our Jam Master, Wes, got the jam going with each set of musicians showcasing their talents, including our 2019 Atlanta Blues Challenge winners, The Garrett Collins Project. It was a beautiful, although still hot day outside, and a perfect day of music inside Blind Willie's with friendly staff serving us cool drinks and spicy Cajun food. And it's all free and open to the public, come out to our next one and bring your music loving friends with you.

Saturday, September 14, 2019 in the small north Georgia community of Sautee Nacoochee, the blues was alive and well and the Atlanta Blues Society was there to represent and enjoy. Even a sudden thunderstorm couldn't stop the music, we just moved indoors into an air-conditioned gymnasium with a great stage. The day started off with the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable, a street band made up of volunteers from the Atlanta area. With their colorful attire, dancing choreography and family friendly fun music, they set the tone perfectly. Next up was the talented Andy Johnson, backed up by the equally talented Back City Woods band playing rock, country blues and southern rock. Next up was the Kerry Hill Band playing authentic blues and R&B and even a little jazz. The sun was out and shining and it looked like we might be spared the predicted rain, however the rain clouds rolled in quickly and production quickly and efficiently got us all moved indoors into the Gym and got the stage set up for the next band which was The Squirrelheads from Atlanta who regaled us with jumping New Orleans zydeco, rock & funk. Next up was the Markey Blue/Ric Latina Project who mesmerized us with searing vocals by Markey and hot lick guitar playing by Ric, not to mention the rest of the excellent band. Last, but definitely not least was the always fabulous Delta Moon and boy did we get a great set of music. Soon everybody was up and dancing and having a blast. These folks know how to throw a party with great music and we are so glad we came and experienced it and can't wait for next year. Click on the banner to go to their Facebook page and Like it.

This year's GABBAfest was fantastic. The new venue, the fabulous Grand Opera House was great and allowed more people to attend and enjoy the festivities. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the ABB, the music Friday night featured relatives of the original members of the band including Berry Oakley Jr. and his son Shaun Oakley, Melody Trucks, and Vaylor Trucks. Saturday night featured artists who were fans and associated with the band, including Alan Paul, who wrote a book about the band, Andy Aledort who played with Dickey Betts, and Junior Mack who played with Jaimoe and has been attending GABBAFest for many years. This year the Artists at Large stole the show, Ron Holloway, who has played Sax with many blues and Jazz greats including the Allman Brothers definitely showed his stuff playing with everybody. Paul Hornsby, a musician and record producer who worked with Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker Band, and Wet Willie played Hammond B3 and keyboards with many of the acts. Brandon "Taz" Niederauer, a young guitarist who played in the Broadway production of School of Rock, was a revelation and definitely the next great guitar 'star' on his way up, just incredible. Then there were the many after shows, the GABBA Member's Jam and the Sunday afternoon "Hangover" concert at the Big House were wonderful as well. Everybody enjoyed the weekend and had a great time.

The 2019 Atlanta Blues Challenge is "in the books"! Despite some growing pains that were experienced on Sunday, what with our continued growth and our first time in a predominately Rock venue, when the sun had set on the 2019 Challenge and the results tallied, it turned out to be our most successful Challenge to date. Thanks so much to our judges, volunteers, board of directors, Route 66 production and sound staff, which streamed the entire event live on Facebook, and everyone who attended our annual competition to select our representatives for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

2019 Atlanta Blues Challenge Results / Going to IBC
Youth Act: Menegerie
Solo/Duo Act:Mandi Strachota
Band Act: The Garrett Collins Project
2nd Place Band: Eddie 9V
3rd Place Band: Johnny Scales Band
People’s Choice: Red Sugar Blues

Route 66 Restaurant & Music Venue

For great food and live music, they’ve got you covered! FROM DAYTIME TO PLAYTIME, Route 66 IS the ultimate night out. It's where great food sets the stage for amazing Live Bands and Comedy Shows. VIP experiences, terrific BBQ cuisine, amazing cocktails... Pair it all with a state of the art and sound-proofed entertainment venue. Route 66 is truly where music and food feed the soul! Their website is • And check out their Facebook page:

It was a hot time at the MoonShadow Tavern at the Atlanta Blues Society's July Gathering & Jam. The parking lot was full, the place was packed and the air conditioner was a bit overwhelmed. The owners were helping out as servers making sure we had the great drinks and food that MoonShadow is famous for. Our host band, Rae & the Royal Peacocks, were hot, hot, hot, and kept the dance floor crowded. The jam was historic, one of our best ever! Wow, we are so lucky to have so much talent right here in Atlanta. It was a hot, fun time and everyone was having a blast.

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Luther “Houserocker” Johnson has passed away. Luther has been a family member since the beginning. He first started playing here as Luther Johnson and The House Rockers but because of inconsistencies in the band at times The Shadows brought him into the group. His moniker was changed to Luther “Houserocker” Johnson at the time since he certainly lived up to it and because people associated it with him. His nick name at the club in the earlier times was “Pocket Filler Johnson” because of the crowds he brought in that made the staff so much money. Luther and The Shadows recorded two fine albums for The Ichiban label and toured extensively around the country and over to Europe. He will be remembered for his fiery playing and his showmanship including his ever popular playing with his teeth. Many nights the crowd would knowing it was about time would start chanting "Teeth" to egg him on. He was always extremely nice to his fans and was loved by all that saw him. He will be greatly missed. RIP Luther "Houserocker" Johnson! (from the Blind Willie's website).

I personally believe that every ABS event is excellent, but every now and then everything aligns and the results are truly spectacular. Such was the case last Sunday at MadLife Stage and Studios. The moment Red Sugar Blues hit the stage the nearly packed house knew they were in for a great show. Red was her usual dynamic self and her band (including Atlanta guitarist master, Bill Hart) totally rocked the house. We didn't have a boat load of jammers, but those who came kept the show going at a fever pitch. Any musician that has never played on the MadLife stage doesn't know what they have missed out on. As always the service was great and the sound was superb. My hat goes off to the sound man, you all know how bad I am with names, but he will forever be my CG27 buddy.  – George Klein.   Here is a great PHOTO ALBUM from the meeting. And here is some video from the event:

One of the most colorful characters to emerge from the psychedelic 1960s was Dr. John the "Night Tripper." The mastermind behind the mystical voodoo funk of the 1968 album Gris Gris was Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, Jr., who up until that point had spent his recording career mostly as a sideman in New Orleans (where he was born on November 21, 1941) and Los Angeles. When the mist cleared along with the glitz and glitter, the world began to recognize Dr. John as a New Orleans rhythm & blues icon, carrying on the traditions of Crescent City legends like Professor Longhair, Smiley Lewis, and Huey ‘Piano’ Smith. He recorded more than 30 albums on his own while also playing piano or organ on sessions by blues, rock, soul, and jazz performers such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Luther Allison, Big Joe Turner, Johnny Copeland, Mike Bloomfield, Duke Robillard, Tab Benoit, Johnny Adams, Charles Brown, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Ringo Starr, Bill Wyman, Aretha Franklin, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In recent years he was a frequent guest-star on the New Orleans-set HBO drama Treme. We join the rest of the blues world in sending condolences to his family. May his spirit live on through his wonderful music.

Our May Monthly Gathering and Jam at our new venue sponsor Gypsy Rose Music in Roswell was fun, fun, fun. We had a packed house and we kept the bar so busy they staff could barely keep up. Our host band, Thunder Gypsy played a fantastic set and there was some dancing going on up front. We had a great jam with lots of new, talented jammers joining in. Everybody had a great time and we are so glad that a new venue with live music is on the scene in North Atlanta. See video and slide show below...

26th Annual Blind Willie McTell Festival in Thomson, GA
We had a great time at the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival on Saturday. It started off sunny and hot, and the first act, The Powers and Friends, were a group of young college aged guys, who were from the local area, but now live in Athens. They were a power pop/rock band in the style of the Beatles, early Byrds, Badfinger, etc. They were then joined by one of their sisters, then more friends and family members, including their Dads, who obviously were seasoned, professional musicians. They put on a great show and impressed the crowd. Next up was our own Sponsor Musician, Jontavious Willis, who captivated the audience with his musical abilities and humorous story telling. He sang some songs from early Georgia blues artists such as Blind Willie McTell and Barbecue Bob. He also predicted that rain was on the way, and as soon as he was done a big drenching storm came through and nearly blew away all the canopies. We survived and the music continued, although in an effort to get all the acts on the stage before the next rainstorm hit, they decided to shorten all the sets of the next acts so we would be done by 7pm. Next up was Ariel Posen, a talented blues influenced singer/songwriter from Canada. Then the Sisters of Slide, Rory Block & Cindy Cashdollar, hit the stage and gave us a history of the blues lesson, including songs from Blind Willie McTell and early, pre-Muddy Waters, McKinley Morganfield as well as some of their own songs. Next up was my favorite guitarist, Jack Pearson, who did an excellent set of blues, gospel, and southern rock for the amazed spectators. Next up was a young lady named Sierra Hull who played mandolin and who's sweet voice intoxicates. She and her band played progressive bluegrass, if you like David Grisman, Bela Fleck, or Alison Krauss, you would love them. Last up were the Jayhawks, an alt-country, folk band from the Twin cities, Minnesota. The clouds were getting darker so we decided to pack and go before the rain started again, but we really enjoyed the festival and will plan to go again next year for sure.  – Barb Hilke & David W. Daniels  (check out our Facebook pages for live videos of the acts and look for pictures on the festival website).

What a great Blues in the Schools Presentation we had
at the Gwinnett County Library in Lilburn!

There was a great turn out, surprisingly more adults were there than kids, but they were ready to learn about the blues from us and hear the music. Thanks to our wonderful talented musicians, Carlos Capote, Larry Griffith, SaNa Foster, and young Logan Roach (he was the star for sure). We got to learn about all aspects of the blues from it being the basis of all other musical genres, including Jazz, Rock & Hip Hop to Blues Therapy lessons. Amazing. To see a Facebook live broadcast of the event, go to Barb Hilke's Facebook page or click here: Facebook Live Stream

ABS April Gathering & Jam
Sunday, April 14, 2019  •  Full Throttle Road House, Mableton, GA  •  3pm-6pm

Our April Gathering & Jam will be held on Sunday April 14, 2019 from 3pm-6pm at Full Throttle Roadhouse in Mableton, GA. Our host band will be Dani Mac & Company. We will be rocking into spring at the Full Throttle who will provide drinks and food and Dani Mac and Company will be rocking the music, be prepared to have a fun time. We will have a jam with full backline so please bring your instruments and/or voices. This is a free event. The venue will be smoke free for this event.

March Gathering & Jam
Our next Gathering & Jam will be on Sunday, March 17, 2019, from 3pm-6pm at Darwin's, Sandy Springs. Our host band is the Real Deal Blues Band and they will keep us grinnin' & dancin'. It's St. Patrick's day so make sure to be wearing of the green and ready to party. Darwin's will be ready to serve us up some great food and drinks and maybe some Green beer or specialty green drinks. We will have a jam so make sure to bring your instruments and /or voices and show us what you got. 

Annual Membership Meeting
Sunday, February 17, 2019, Blind Willie's
Once again, we filled up Blind Willie's to standing room only and were treated to great music from Mudcat and Little Joey. We announced our new President, Carlin "CNote" Smith, and new Co-President George Klein (the George Carlin show). Deb Pruett will once again be our Membership Chair, Sara George will once again be our Treasurer, and Barb Hilke will remain as our secretary. Remaining on the Board for the next 2 years will be Wes Gifford, Dustin Peterson, Dave Black, and Rich L'Hommedieu. We also introduced our 2 new Board Members Jon Harmon & Lisa Kitchens. We also gave a financial report which showed that even though we lost money on the Georgia Roots 'n Blues Festival we are still solvent thanks to our growing membership, thanks to all those who renewed and joined. This year we will not have the Festival and instead will sponsor music showcases in our Sponsor Venues, the first one being a Women in Blues Showcase. Please let us know if you can help out with our showcases as we will need volunteers to make them successful. We gave an Honorary Lifetime membership to Brian Sumner, who throughout the years has given us donations which were double matched by his employer. We brought our Keeping the Blues Alive trophy for everyone to see and will bring to the next few gatherings. Our jam was off the chain with new band Sponsor , Ever Lovin' Diehards, showcasing their talents, and new lifetime member Eric showing us his awesome guitar skills. We raised $300 for our Blue Flame Fund with our raffle. A great time was had by all.

What a great Holiday Party we had this year!  The Helene S. Mills Multipurpose Facility is just perfect for this event. Plenty of nice table seating and lots of dance floor. The winners of our Atlanta Blues Challenge played for us, first up was our Band winner, Rae & the Royal Peacocks who played a stellar set of original music for us. Fat Matt opened up the delicious buffet for us and Spike was already serving us beer, wine & mixed drinks. Next, Santa Clause arrived and helped us award the first batch of door prizes. Then, our Solo/Duo winner Kathie Holmes played her unique blues flute, keys, and vocals set. Meanwhile, our Marine from Toys for Tots arrived and was floored to see all the new toys we had accumulated and eventually had to call in the reserves and a big truck to come and help take them away. We gave away the rest of fabulous door prizes again with Santa's help and then our youth act winner, No Solution, regaled us with their wonderful set. We awarded each act their prize money and collected tips through out the night, which we promised to match and split between the acts to help with their expenses to Memphis where they will represent us at the International Blues Challenge ( IBC). The night ended with a Christmas Jam w/ Santa, aka George Price, playing guitar and singing "I'm a Pole Man" which had everyone up and dancing. Then Diane Durrett, who had dropped by, came up and belted out a song. We calculated the tip money collected and we took in just over $1,000 (wow thanks everybody), which we matched and presented to each act. Make this event your beginning of the Holiday ritual, just like the Capote family does, and make sure to attend next year.

Jody Williams, 1935-2018. Joseph Leon Williams was born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 3, 1935, and moved to Chicago as a youngster. He joined schoolmate Bo Diddley to play the streets as a teenager and within a few years had honed his chops enough to become a valued session musician at Chess Records and other labels. His crisp fretwork enlivened such classic records as ‘Who Do You Love’ by Bo Diddley, ‘I Wish You Would’ by Billy Boy Arnold, and ‘Evil’ and ‘Forty Four’ by Howlin’ Wolf. He also accompanied Willie Dixon, Jimmy Witherspoon, Otis Rush, and Jimmy Rogers among others. Williams also worked regularly in the Chicago clubs and toured with big package shows backing blues, rock ‘n roll, and doo-wop acts. The handful of early sessions on his own produced the influential instrumental ‘Lucky Lou,’ the model for Otis Rush’s ‘All Your Love’ and later the Fleetwood Mac and Santana classic ‘Black Magic Woman.’ Another instrumental, ‘Moanin’ for Molasses,’ was later covered by Sean Costello, and ‘Billy’s Blues,’ recorded with Billy Stewart, was lifted for the Mickey & Sylvia smash ‘Love is Strange’ in a case that went to court for copyright infringement. Williams ended up with neither a composer credit nor royalties for ‘Love is Strange,’ and remained wary of playing his original uncopyrighted music for anyone to this day. After a few more years of working the clubs, he married and learned electronics to find a suitable job to support his family. He worked for years as a technician for Xerox and as an ATM machine serviceman until longtime fan and producer Dick Shurman convinced him to bring out his guitar again. Williams began recording anew in 2002 and toured widely to warm receptions around the world.

Here's the new SmokeFree Atlanta Food Truck. Look for it every Wednesday in Woodruff Park from 11am-2pm at Wednesdays in Woodruff Presented by SmokeFree Atlanta. Join us each week in August and September for Wednesdays at Woodruff, a lunchtime concert series presented by Smokefree Atlanta and Entertainers Speaking Out, a coalition that works to cultivate healthy, smoke-free environments. Each Wednesday we'll have a live band performing in the Reading Room, plus beach chairs and umbrellas set up by the Water Wall. Whether you're interested in a lunch hour with entertainment or a peaceful spot in the center of the city, wind down your summer in Woodruff! We are looking for paid ambassadors to spread the word about the benefits of smoke free environments. If you have the passion for this effort, are a good communicator, and have some extra time to attend various events or functions as an Ambassador, please contact Lewis McTush for more information, 404-271-0871,

The Atlanta Blues Society's November Gathering & Jam at Darwin's was the best ever and the place was packed. Lola's Band was fantastic and Lola wowed the crowd with her soulful voice, funkified keyboard style and high energy stage presence. The jam was off the hook, lots of great players and vocalists took the stage to play in front of the crowd. Darwin's staff kept us well fed and served up the best drinks. A great day for a great gathering! Sponsored by SmokeFree Rights for all.

“A Wonderful Day of Great Music and Friendship”
That’s how you sum up the 3rd Annual Atlanta Blues Societies Georgia “Blues and Roots” Festival held Sept. 29, 2018 at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre in Mableton, Ga. It was such a memorable event, one that doesn’t present its self very often, but folks this was the one! The atmosphere, the electricity that was felt all day, and the fellowship of all that was there just radiated from the fans to the artists performances. Kicking it off was Black Jack Ketchum, WRFG Radio Air Shifter and the fest’s MC once again for this event. He welcomed the crowd and introduced on stage David T and Friends. This Local favorite band got the crowd up and dancing early on playing that full band blues sound. They really got things started. Followed by an Atlanta icon and smooth operator Mr. Larry Griffith and his band. Larry had the crowd with his mellow and at times drivin’ blues riffs complements that soulful voice. After a wonderful performance the crowd was in for a treat, one of many that happened throughout the day and into the night. Larry introduced the very special Georgia’s own Ms. Beverly Guitar Watkins to come on stage and join the band. She immediately showed why she is and where she stands in the history of Blues in the Southeast. We witnessed a presentation from the Atlanta Blues Society to Ms. Beverly Guitar Watkins who is the recipient of this year’s Georgia Music Legend award.  After witnessing that deserving honor we went right into getting your dancing shoes on because Charlie Wooton and Zydefunk got the funk on. Great New Orleans sound with a little twist right here in the ATL. During their set we also witness one of Atlanta’s finest, Kathie Holmes sitting in with the band on keyboards. It was a dancin’ good time. Before their set was over we had Ms. Beverly come out and show her stuff once again on guitar. Next up was a band all the way from San Francisco; The Stone Foxes. They certainly had some blues roots in its many forms and the crowd enjoyed their set. They were a pleasant surprise on this year’s bill.  Prior to the end of their set the untiring Ms. Beverly once again was asked to join them on stage. You could just see all eyes from the band members on Ms. Beverly seeing how she worked that guitar.

As the day progressed, raffles were held for prizes and CD sets, Green Egg Smoker, a wonderful guitar signed by all the festival artists, and the Grand Prize of a weekend stay at a donated condo in New Orleans. The story about the winner is one worth repeating. Jon and Geri Harmon, very supportive of ABS, bought a table for the fest. Unfortunately something came up and they couldn’t come to the show and they dedicated the table back to ABS to sell and donated the price they paid. Low and behold they won the condo in New Orleans. How’s that for magic on a magical day. When Albert Castiglia took the stage he and the band were immediately in command form the first note. Everyone in the stands knew they were in for an incredible show. His bluesy rock tunes were simply amazing to hear. At times there was utter silence except for the sweet sound of that hard driving blues. During Albert’s performance, local blues keyboardist and vocalist Lola joined in singing a soulful tune that took everyone’s breathe away. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better on stage walks in Ms. Beverly ready and raring to go on guitar with Albert and the band. So far she has played with every band that performed after her original performance. Closing out this fantastic event was the legendary Chicago Bluesman Mr. Carl Weathersby and his band. He told me he had the A-Team with him and it showed. With veterans Bass, Drums, and keyboard at his side, Carl’s performance was nothing short of magical. His soulful blues sounds reflect the influence of Albert King. Throughout the performance his mellow voice and at times the hard hitting guitar licks were a sight to see and hear. When he broke out with “Cross Cut Saw” the entire theater went crazy. He put on an absolutely amazing show. In the closing songs of Carl’s set, yes you guessed it, the tireless the ageless Ms. Beverly “Guitar” Watkins once again joined the fun with Carl. They played some back and forth riffs that were simply stunning. You could just see the how they were enjoying the moment leading each other into their own solos. It was the most incredible performance I for one have seen on stage in a long time.

There was much disappointment when at last, it all had to end, but folks to witness the true magic of the day, the enchantment in the air, and the common theme of enjoying great Blues Music made it out to be a wonderful day. This sentiment was best described when Tom Dausner, our volunteer photographer, thanked George for allowing him to shoot one of the most memorable musical events he’d ever been to.

Many heartfelt thanks go out to all the performing artist and guest, Black Jack, Carlos Capote, the ABS Board Members, the ABS Volunteers, the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater staff, special shout out to ABS Backline extraordinaire, Rich L’Hommedieu, stage manager Dustin Peterson along with Kurt Hansen, Cobb County Police, concession workers and anyone else we missed in helping to share this great memory.

Attention, Canton Music Shoppe is now hiring instructors.  They also wish to announce that Little G Weevil will be teaching guitar so please come by and meet him and see what's new at the Shoppe! 149 Reinhardt College Parkway, Suite 11, Canton, GA 30114

Another great Blues Stotts! Our 4th annual musical celebration to honor the life of Larry Stotts, a founding member of the ABS. A great day of music, fellowship, raffles and a special treat of Larry's Red Beans and Rice was enjoyed, with proceeds going to benefit Cystic Fibrosis, a cause dear to Larry's heart. 

Atlanta Blues Challenge Results
It was a great day at the Hard Rock, full of great music, good times and the best competition ever. This event selects our representatives for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January. Thanks to our judges, volunteers, photographer, Time Keepers, Scorers, Videographer, Audiographer, Emcees (George Carlin), Hard Rock Production. It takes a village to put on a successful Challenge. Sponsored by Smoke-Free Rights for All. Here are the results:

• Youth: No Solution
• Solo/Duo: Kathie Holmes
• People's Choice - Rae & the Royal Peacocks
• 3rd Place - New Dirt
• 2nd Place - The Garrett Collins Band
• 1st Place - Rae & the Royal Peacocks

You will be able to see all of these acts at our Holiday Party on December 2 (see Save the Date) You can also see one of the contestants, The Juke Joint Dukes, at our next Gathering & Jam on Sunday September 16 at Madlife in Woodstock,GA.

The Atlanta Blues Society's October Gathering & Jam was at the Moonshadow Tavern in Tucker, GA on Sunday October 21, 2018 from 3pm-6pm. Our host band is Frankie's Blues Mission, as the name implies, these gentlemen are on a mission: Their purpose is to present the blues, jazz, R&B and zydeco in the best of the African-American tradition with all the energy they can muster. As usual, we will had an open jam, and the jammers shined!

The Atlanta Blues Society's September Gathering & Jam was a great old time blues party. William 'The Bluesman' Reed & the Juke Joint Dukes were preachin' the blues to the crowd from the great stage at Madlife Stage & Studios in Woodstock, GA. The jammers sounded and looked great with the state of the art sounds & lights at Madlife.

The ABS July Gathering & Jam was a great time with lots of great music. Our host band New Dirt, Patrick Vining's new project, regaled us with some of the best blues in this town, guitarist Colin Alvarez was on fire and Patrick's vocals were on the spot. We had a great jam, with lots of great players and singers including Clarence "The Blues Man" Turner of Mark Wenner's Blues Warriors who stuck around after the Nighthawk's show the night before. You never know who will show up at our jam. In partnership with Entertainers speaking out 4 all to have a smoke free workplace.

New Dirt
Long time, excellent Atlanta vocalist Patrick Vinings’ new band is New Dirt. A new twist on a style that is old as dirt. Blues, Country, Rock & Roll, and Gospel spanning decades combine to create your latest favorite: New Dirt. Available for parties, weddings and any fun occasion, come see us out and about in the Atlanta area.

Sunday June 24,
2018: Tullie Brae at Darwin's... Video:

The ABS June Gathering & Jam was on Sunday June 24, 2018 at Darwin's Burgers & Blues. Host band the Tullie Brae Band impressed with a set that was diverse, soulful and delivered with passion and joy. Don't forget they will be back at Darwin's in September!

Tullie Brae Band
Tullie's self-penned original material ranges from Delta Blues to Rock infused Contemporary Blues music that tells the stories of love, happiness, heartbreak, pain and life experiences. Tullie's love of people inspires and energizes her and in return the audience is touched by the magic that takes place during her time on stage. She has headlined several Blues festivals as well as shared the stage with blues legends and new blues stars. Tullie and her band are a power punch that always leaves you wanting more. Get "Tullie-ized"! Tullie is endorsed by Hammond Organ USA.

The Blues Music Awards Winners

All the results!!

Contemporary Male, Keb' Mo'
Historical LP, A Legend Never Dies, Luther Allison, Ruf Records
Acoustic LP Doug MacLeod
Contemporary Blues Female, Samantha Fish
Traditional Blues Male, Rick Estrin
Soul Blues Female, Mavis Staples
Contemporary Blues Album, TajMo, Taj Mahal and Keb Mo
Traditional Blues LP, Right Place Right Time, Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Soul Blues Album, Robert Cray &Hi Rhythm
Soul Blues Male Artist, Curtis Salgado
Rock Blues Artist, Mike Zito
Acoustic Artist, Taj Mahal
Traditional Blues Female, Ruthie Foster
Rock Blues LP, We're All in this Together, Walter Trout
Instrumentalist Vocals, Beth Hart
Harmonica, Jason Ricci
Guitar, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Drums, Tony Braunagel
Bass, Michael Mudcat Ward
Horn, Trombone Shorty
Piano, Victor Wainwright
Emerging Artist,Southern Avenue
B.B. King Entertainer of the year, Taj Mahal
Song of the year, The Blues Ain't Going No Where, Rick Estrin
Band of the year, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
Album of the Year, TajMo, Taj Mahal and Keb Mo

Great time at our May Gathering & Jam, Blind Willie's was, as usual, the utmost host venue and our host band Funky Bluester were living up to their name with their Funky Bllues, R&B, and Rock n'Roll, southern style. Thanks to Spike and the waitstaff for keeping us properly fed and hydrated. We had a fantastic jam with lots of great singers & players and a very special guest, Carl Weathersby, who will be headining our Georgia Blues & Roots Festival on Sept 29. Those that stuck around were treated to a virtuoso set of blues by the man who learned his chops from Albert King and is every bit as good of a performer. Torch passed! You don't want to ever miss this legendary performer.

Congratulations to Jontavious Willis! for winning the Best Self-Produced CD award from the Blues Foundation for his CD Blue Metamorphosis.  We are very proud.

Congratulations to the Blues Grammy winners:

Best Traditional Blues Album
• Blue & Lonesome Winner: The Rolling Stones

Best Contemporary Blues Album
• TajMo Winner: Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo'

Best American Roots Performance
• Killer Diller Blues Winner: Alabama Shakes

IBC Recap from our band entry, ThunderGypsy:

We survived our very first IBC week in Memphis, TN and what a week it was!! 
Unfortunately, we did not advance after the Quarterfinals, BUT we got to play BOTH Wednesday and Thursday on the stage of the Original B.B. King's Blues Club!  Both nights we played to a packed house and received GREAT response from each night!  

In addition, during the afternoons, we were able to meet and talk with other musicians, industry professionals and really soak in all the heart and soul of Memphis!!  It was truly a wonderful experience!!  Videos and photos will be on our FB page as well as on our website, so be on the lookout!

We want to again Thank all of you that helped us get to Memphis.  Your donations, encouragement, good vibes and prayers really enabled us to embrace this experience and we are truly grateful!  Now... if Mother Nature could have given us a break....

IBC Winners:
Band - The Keeshea Pratt Band, Houston Blues Society
2nd Place- Fuzzy Jeffries & the Kings of Memphis, Memphis Blues Society
3rd Place - Artur Menezes - Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society
Solo/Duo - Kevin B.F. Burt, Central Iowa Blues Society
2nd Place- Daniel Eriksen, Olso Bluesklubb (Norway)
Guitar winner - Artur Menezes
Harmonica - Kevin B.F. Burt
Cigar Box - Kevin B.F. Burt 

January Meeting and Jam Video

November Gathering & Jam
The November ABS Gathering and Jam was this Sunday, November 19th, at Madlife Stage & Studios in Woodstock.  The host band for this meeting was the Sweet & Salty Blues Band.  With the smoldering soulful vocals of Hurricane Red and the gospel inflected preaching style of Dr. Poppa, they bring the blues straight to you in rich harmonies that run deep. Add the gritty sax of the good doctor rooted in a half century of playing the blues and your heart is gonna sing and your feet are gonna move. You do not want to miss the burning southern stylings of Hurricane Red on vocals, John Paul Barry on guitar, Chris Pollard on bass and Derek Able on drums. Loose and rootsy with shades of funk, gospel, and hints of jazz, Sweet and Salty is a rich jambalaya for your soul. 

Well, if you missed this year’s “Blues Stotts” benefit and memorial at Blind Willie’s, you midded a heck of a show! Double sets from Garrett Collins & Bennie Mobley, The Cazanovas, The Clarksdale Regulators (fronted by Mick Kolassa) and two amazing sets from headliner Jeff Jensen absolutely riveted the crowd.

October Gathering & Jam
Our most recent monthly Gathering & Jam on Sunday, October 15 at the Red Light Cafe was beyond a hit. Ira Malkin and the Vipers captivated the crowd with a set of tight, highly skilled performance. The Red Light, as ever, provided warm hospitality repleat with craft beer, appetizers, entrees, and desserts.  The jammers came out in full force and provided exceptionally robust, skillful sets, all ably orchestrated by Wes Gifford. Speical thanks and kudos to Carlin “C-Note” Snith, who handled the MC duties with enthusiasm and aplomb. See you in Woodstock, Nov. 19th!

The second annual Georgia Blues N Roots Festival was a show no one who loves live music and the Blues should have missed. The day opened with Rae and the Royal Peacocks followed by a special show case led by Little G Weevil's band, joined by Danny Vinson and Maurice Nazzaro with special guests, Eddie Tigner and Sandra Hall. At the end of their performance the ABS presented both Eddie and Sandra with Georgia Music Legends Awards. The Broadcast kept the crowd cheering while Tinsley Ellis and Bernard Allison finished off the spectacular evening. Ginger and Louis Norvell won the $1000 Big Green Egg package presented by Bob Atkinson while the signed Epiphone SG guitar was won by Toni Stanfill and Frank Gallo, who just became our newest members. Thanks to all of your board members and volunteers, especially Rich L'Hommedieu and Dustin Peterson for keeping the music going and back stage moving like clockwork and Wes Gifford for showing up early to get the vendors set up. Special thanks to all who attended and made this years festival even a bigger success than last years.  Two years in the black – Way to Go!

The Atlanta Blues Challenge was a tremendous success, and with the amount of talent on display it was a tough decision for the judges.  We are very excited for the 1st place winners to represent us at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in January 2018.  Here are the results of this year's competition:

Youth Category:
   1st Place - No Solution -
they win $400 and will represent us in the Youth Showcase at the IBC in Memphis.

Solo/Duo Category:
   1st Place  - Dos Blues Guys -
they win $300 and will represent us in the Solo/Duo competition at the IBC

Band Category:
   1st Place  - Thunder Gypsy -
they win $750 and will represent us in the Band competition at the IBC
   2nd Place - David T & Friends
   3rd Place - Sole Travelers

People's Choice:
Dani Mac & Company -
they win $250 and will play, with the 1st place winners at our Holiday Party on Dec 3.

Please make your plans now to come to Memphis with us for the IBC and cheer on our acts and see and hear the best new up and coming acts in the competition, as well as prominent touring acts in the showcases.  It's an experience you will never forget but be warned it is addictive, you will want to go again and again.


Best Self-Produced CD Award
Each year, since 2005, the Blues Foundation holds a competition for the best Self-Produced CD, in conjunction with the International Blues Challenge in January. The Blues Foundation is looking for high quality blues recordings from "up and coming" artists that might not otherwise reach the International Blues Market. The Atlanta Blues Society, as an affiliate member, is allowed to enter one CD into this competition. The CD must have been released between November 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017. We will need to get 4 un-opened CDs from you by the deadline in order to be considered. Entries must be received by us or postmarked by October 1, 2017.  Please read the official rules posted below, especially the rules about previously nominated for Blues Music Award criteria. If you would like to submit an entry, please notify us immediately at so we can determine if the CD is indeed eligible for submission and arrange to get the CDs from you.

Deadline for you to submit to the Atlanta Blues Society is October 1, 2017

Please welcome our new vendor sponsors:

Montie's Public House
1860 Corporate Blvd NE
Atlanta, GA 30329 (Brookhaven)
  Fanatics Sports Bar
6175 Mableton Pkway SW
Mableton, GA 30126

July Gathering & Jam
Thanks to Montie's Public House and the Kerry Hill Band for hosting our July Gathering and Jam.  There was an enthusiastic audience for drummer/singer Kerry Hill and his band.  Later in the afternoon, the jam commenced and the dancers took to the floor.  As always, it was a fun afternoon, with friends, a raffle, good food, and most importantly: the music.  If you haven’t been to an ABS meeting lately, you’re missing out!

June Gathering & Jam
Sunday's gathering and jam at The Vista Room was another spectacular event. As it was our first time there, it took the staff a few minutes to realize that everyone came hungry and thirsty. They adapted quickly and did an excellent job of taking care of the 100+ attendees. The room was packed with members, guests, kids, musicians and dancers. The Breeze Kings lived up to their reputation of always putting on a great show. Unfortunately we had more jammers than time and weren't able to go past 6:00 so Wes wasn't able to get everyone up, but we are working on ways to streamline the jam. Please bear with us and thanks for your continued support. – George

May Gathering & Jam
Well folks, we are running out of superlatives to describe our monthly gatherings. Last Sunday at the Moonshadow Tavern quickly turned into another great blues party. The Tom Hill Band fired up the packed house and kept the dancers going non stop for the first hour and then our crew of talented jammers took over and added more fuel to the fire. Everyone was having such a great time the management gave Wes permission to go on till 6:30 in order to give everyone a chance to play. As always, the staff at Moonshadow did an excellent job getting everyone well fed and keeping them very well served. We raffled off 2 bottles of that wonderful Cathead Vodka along with 4 ten packs of CDs to benefit the Blue Flame Fund and Blues in the Schools. I had decided to dust off my camera and take a few pictures to add to the mix and am glad I did. I forgot how much fun photography can be and only took 2 shots of guys in the witness protection program. Thanks to all who attended, played, sang and danced, especially Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Assn. for attending and handing out discount coupons for their events. Keeping the Blues Alive - George

Review of last Saturday's Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival
  by David W. Daniels, new ABS member and music lover:
Awesome, awesome festival! The first band we heard--Sugar Ray and the Bluetones--played it "old school" with a stand up bass and some piano riffing for most of their set. Sugar Ray's voice is as sweet as his name! They played an energetic, well received set of songs that were particularly meaningful considering that Sugar Ray had just received news of his mother's passing (and had wrestled with whether to share with the audience or not). Next up was the "blow you away" stylings of the Marcus King Band--the leader (Marcus King) who IMHO is going to be the next Derek Trucks in terms of eclecticism and flat out shredding. The Dude is an incredible guitarist, dynamic vocalist on the higher end of things, and leads one hell of a tight band that is obviously influenced by early Chicago, Buddy Guy, and Allman Brothers Band. At age 20, it is remarkable how energetic and dynamic he and his band present themselves. After that, the pace was slowed down to acoustic blues with Alvin Youngblood Hart who did justice to the legacy of Blind Willie McTell. Any blues festival worth its salt will have at least one act that strips the blues to its heartfelt, emotional core; in Mr. Hart, this was represented perfectly. Then it was boogie time once again with the modern electric/R&B/funk sounds of Mingo Fishtrap. Coming from the Tower of Power school of socially relevant boogie, these guys "brought it" nonstop and had at least half the crowd on their feet and shakin' their stuff. The last act is probably one of the most unusual bands I've ever heard--the Wood Brothers, who mixed acoustic sounds with an occasional "dirty" electric piano and who created a unique swirl of sound that was equal parts folk, rock, blues, country, and jazz. Oliver Wood is probably one of the most underrated Southern Rock guitarists around, and his high pitched voice is completely unique. Chris Wood (who used to gig with the modern jazz group Medeski, Martin, and Wood) is as skillful with both standup and electric bass as anyone I've heard, and does it with a self deprecating, almost devilishly fun, style (he stopped playing several times to dance to their music). He also did some occasional harmonica. Their percussionist/keyboardist, a Clark Howard lookalike, was definitely no nerd when it came to his jamming percussion on a modified guitar, then later behind a drumkit AND keyboards.

All in all, this was a stellar festival! It was nice to be somewhere outside of the Atlanta crowds and general mayhem, where the audience seemed truly appreciative and respectful of each band. Also....lots and LOTS of dancing, which to me is mandatory when the music is good. This was my first Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, but I definitely do not plan for it to be my last!!


  R.I.P. Gregg Allman 1947 - 2017

As the distinctively raw and soulful voice of the Allman Brothers Band, as well as one its main songwriters and keyboard player, Gregg Allman was a major contributor to the movement that became known as southern rock, which included the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band. Allman, who has died at age 69 after treatment for liver cancer, also enjoyed a long though intermittent career as a solo artist. A recent interview on Dan Rather's cable show “The Big Interview”, gives a fascinating look at Gregg's life and times.


  R.I.P. Ellyn Webb, 1954 - 2017

Ellyn Webb, proprietress of Northside Tavern, passed away Thursday morning.  Today’s service was full of music and stories of friendship, in a room filled with her birth family, her musician family, and all the friends she gathered around her. Ellyn contributed in so many ways to our blues community here in Atlanta, not only at Northside, but also as a founding member of the Atlanta Blues Society and serving on our board for the first five years of our organization.  We appreciate all she did and she will be remembered for many years to come.  She left big shoes to fill.


  Lonnie Brooks, 1933 - 2017

With the deepest sadness, we the Baker Brooks family announce the passing of our father, Legendary Blues musician Lonnie Brooks at the age of 83 in Chicago, IL on 4/1/17. Please respect the family's privacy during this time of grief.


  James Cotton, 1935 - 2017

The Atlanta Blues Society mourns the passing of James Cotton, inducted into The Blues Hall of Fame in 2006. We join the rest of the blues world in sending condolences to his family. May his spirit live on through his wonderful music.



  Chuck Berry, 1926 - 2017

The Atlanta Blues Society mourns the passing of Chuck Berry, inducted into The Blues Hall of Fame in 1985 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award that same year. He was one of the first to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  We join the rest of the blues world in sending condolences to his family. May his spirit live on through his wonderful music.

April Meeting & Jam

Well, if you let the weather keep you away from The Arena Tavern last Sunday for the ABS Gathering, you missed another amazing turn out and show. Although it may have been raining outside, Thunder Gypsy blew the crowd away and was surely reigning inside. Even though the patio was packed to the gills with music lovers, Taryn Phillips and her staff did an excellent job of keeping everyone fed and in good spirits. Michael Miller came in from another event and served up free drinks to the enthusiastic crowd. After the jam, Thunder Gypsy tuned up and finished the show with several more songs. Thank you for the continued support of Your Blues Society.

ThunderGypsy's sound can best be described as soulful rocking Blues, covering an eclectic mix of music that spans the decades. The spirit of the Gypsies is evident in their music as they take you on a musical road trip from Atlanta’s Southern Soul to the rockin’ Blues of Macon, Ga., from the classic sound of the Memphis Blues along the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter and even up to Chicago and St. Louis for their rocking electric Blues. We will have a jam after Thunder Gypsy's set so please bring your instruments and/or voices and show us what you got.

The 2017 Atlanta Blues Society
Board of Directors:

George Klein - President, Sponsorship Chair
Carlin Smith - Vice President, Merchandise Chair
Sara George - Treasurer
Barb Hilke - Secretary, Board Liaison to Bus Committee Chair Crystal Moss (member)
Deb Pruett - Membership Chair
Wes Gifford - Publicity Chair
Dustin Peterson - Social Media Chair
Dave Black - Monthly Gathering Chair
Rich L'Hommedieu - Blues in the School Chair
The board started their 2 year term on March 1, 2017. See their pictures and bios on the Board of Directors Page of our website.

Now, we need your help, if you would like to serve on one of the committees or be a volunteer at our events please let us know either at one of our gatherings or send us an email at:

2017 International Blues Challenge

There aren't enough superlatives to tell Rae and The Royal Peacocks, Dos Blues Guys and Garrett Collins how very proud we are of their performances and demeanor in the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis last week. Rebekah, Danny, Valerie, Art and Harold totally blew everyone away with both of their sets in the Quarter finals and were equally superb in the Semi's. Andy was excellent and when Bennie lit into his Chicken Hot Dog song one of the judges went hysterical. Garrett wowed the onlookers with his guitar playing and original music. The 50 or so ABS members in attendance cheered them on and were quite vocal about where they were from, as one of the venue coordinators announced "Atlanta is in the house". What a great group of ambassadors. Congratulations!! - George Klein
2017 IBC Finalists
Best Self-Produced CD - High Temperature, JW Jones, Ottawa Blues Society.  Georgia connection, Chuck Leavell wrote the liner notes
Best Acoustic Guitar - Al Hill, Nashville Blues Society
2nd Place Solo/duo - Brody Buster's One Man Band, Kansas City Blues Society
1st Place Solo/Duo - Al Hill, Nashville Blues Society
Harp Award - Brody Buster, Kansas City Blues Society
Gibson Albert King Guitar Award - Ben Racine w/ the Dawn Tyler Watson Band
3rd Place Band - Rae Gordon & the Backstreet Drivers, Cascade Blues Association
2nd Place Band - The Soulz Band ft Sugar & Spice, Suncoast Blues Society
1st Place Band - Dawn Tyler Watson, Montreal Blues Society

March Meeting & Jam
What a fabulous Gathering and Jam we had at Darwin's on Sunday afternoon.  The new Sandy Springs location of Darwin's was ready and waiting for a big crowd and boy, did they get one.  The place was packed to the gills with standing room only.  Our host band, David T & Friends, filled up the stage and  filled up the room with great music.  The large band includes horns, keyboard, drums, bass, guitar and great vocals.  They had the crowd at Darwin's enthralled. Lindsey and Akin were working hard cooking us yummy food and serving great libations.  We then had a great jam, ending with legends Frankie Robinson and Albert White.  Our raffle included the usual Cathead Vodka and CD Packages plus a generous donation from the Galaxie Agency in exchange for promotion of their upcoming show at City Winery.  Thanks to our generous participants we made a lot of money for our Blues in the Schools account which will be used to fund a scholarship to a deserving young blues player to a session at the Atlanta Rock 'n Blues Camp this summer.


  Congratulations to William Bell on winning the Grammy award for Americana Album of the Year, This is Where I Live on the Stax label.  We are very proud as William was our 2015 Honorary Lifetime Member recipient, go to the following page to read his BIO, which now needs to updated!
Also congratulations to Bobby Rush for winning the Best Traditional Blues Album (Porcupine Meat on Rounder label) and to Fantastic Negrito for Best Contemporary Blues Album (The Last Days of Oakland on Believe Global/Blackball Universe).



The Chicken Raid is an annual two-day music festival and benefit honoring the late Atlanta country blues legend Mr. Frank Edwards (1909-2002). The Chicken Raid offers a range of regional and national talents, with artists’ ages spanning the teens to the 90s. Proceeds from this year's festival will benefit the Edwards' estate.

2017 performers include blues mentors Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, Roy Lee Johnson, Eddie Tigner, Macon’s own Robert Lee Coleman, Albert White, and Perry GA’s Essie Mae Brooks. Additional highlights include West Virginia’s The Company Stores, South Carolina’s Freddie Vanderford, and longtime favorites The Rockaholics, Lola, Chickens and Pigs, and Mudcat. 

The event will be held on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 at Northside Tavern in Atlanta, GA, located at 1058 Howell Mill Rd. Tickets are available at the door and are $15 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday, with 12 hours of music each day. Music begins at 2pm Saturday and Noon Sunday, with Sunday again kicking off with an acoustic gospel invitational. Children are welcome in the afternoons and BBQ plates from Fat Matt’s Rib Shack will be available for purchase.

A community website has been designed for this event, featuring footage of Mr. Edwards performing his classic tune 'Chicken Raid.' Please visit for additional photos of the last 15 years of Chicken Raid performances.

There are no operating costs -- equipment is loaned and there's a small indispensable regiment of volunteers who keep things running smoothly. Except for the occasional gas stipend for out of town performers who donate their talents, ALL DOOR MONEY goes to the oldest living generation of performers, OUR MENTORS. Over the past few years we've been blessed to find so many of these legacy artists in our region who've become regular names on the bill. For some of these artists, this is a rare, but annual, occasion to perform for fair compensation.

Born in Washington County, GA, Frank Edwards left home at 14 to play guitar and harmonica alongside Tampa Red and Tommy McClennan. He recorded eight sides for OKeh in 1941 with Washboard Sam and upon being discharged from the Army in 1949 he recorded several sides for Regal. Frank spent the next few decades playing on street corners, juke joints and restaurants before hitting the festival circuit during the folk revival of the 1960's. In 1972, Edwards recorded the album "Done Some Travelin'" produced by Pete Lowry for the Trix label. When not onstage, the iconic "Mr. Frank" was a familiar face at the clubs, supporting other blues musicians in Atlanta. In 2002, Edwards recorded a CD of new songs and set favorites, “Chicken Raid,” for the Music Maker label.

February Membership Meeting & Jam
Wow, it was a lovely Sunday afternoon in Atlanta and we packed Blind Willie's out to standing room only for our Annual meeting. The sun was so bright outside that at first we couldn't see when we got inside the venue, but soon everyone was grooving to the sounds of the Real Deal Blues Band led by Patrick Powers, long time Atlanta Blues Society member, now musician sponsor.  They are the Real Deal for sure.
Board member John Gibson officiated our election of the new Board of Directors per our By-Laws and introduced our 2 new Board members, Sara George and Dave Black. John and Nancie Gibson are taking a break from being on the board and were our nominating committee.  We thank them for their service and truly inspired passion for the organization.  So we have the same amount of board members, 9, but have room for 2 more. If you are interested and have been a member for a year, please let us know. 
Our Co-President, George Klein, led us through the State of the ABS noting that we have over 400 members, over 5,000 likes on our Facebook page and an average of 33 visits to our website per day and all our successful yearly events.  Board member and outgoing Treasurer, Nancie Gibson gave us a Treasurer's report and very thoughtful words about being on the board and the importance of dedicated members.  Board member and Member Chairperson, Deb Pruett, was kept busy all day by people renewing and joining the ABS.  Vice President, Carlin "C-Note" Smith and his lovely wife, Val, manned the merchandise table and enjoyed the music and socialization.  We had a record number of people in the jam and board member Wes Gifford ran the very busy jam and made sure everyone got a chance to play. Our usual Jam Master, and Board Member, Dustin Peterson, could not be there but would have been proud of Wes. Board member Rich L'Hommedieu was filming the entire meeting with his new 3D camera, see the Facebook page to see some of these.  We also had a film crew with the AIB network filming the event for possible future broadcast -- we'll let you know if and when that is to be aired. All in all a very exciting start of our 2017 membership year.

The winner of our early renewal contest is Theodore Monbeck and he will get to choose one item from our merchandise store which can be found at
For those of you who have not renewed yet, you can renew online by going HERE and clicking on the appropriate "Add to Cart" button (if any of your contact info has changed, please also fill out the online form). 

January Meeting & Jam
What a wonderful day we had at Carmen and Tony's house!  It's a good thing the weather was perfect so we could have it outside because we had about 150 people show up, maybe more. We were all spread out in the massive backyard and the lovely sundeck. It was almost warm enough to swim in the pool.  The stage was built in front of their outbuilding, but had never been used before.  Albert White brought his fabulous band and special guests Eddie Tigner & Lil Joe Burton and they christened the stage more than appropriately. Albert and company played a great set of blues and R&B that everybody enjoyed. 
We had a couple of surprises up our sleeve and before they played. We presented Albert with our 2017 Honorary Lifetime Membership award. Then we presented the 2017 Ambassador Award of one year free membership to Sandra Richardson for her photography work at our events. Both awards were well deserved and both of them were very surprised. We reminded everyone of our upcoming events including the Georgia Blues 'n Roots Festival on Saturday, September 30, 2017. 
Then we had the most extensive jam we have ever had with great local talent throughout. We took up a collection for Eddie Tigner who recently lost his wife, and thanks to the generosity of all of the attendees we were able to present a generous donation to Eddie to help with funeral expenses.
Carmen and Tony and their chefs started out with fruit and and chicken Kabobs for appetizers. Then they brought out the main course, pasta with chicken, pasta with shrimp, and large servings of lasagna, YUM!  All I remember of dessert was German Chocolate Cake, double YUM!  In exchange for all the great food and great surroundings, Carmen and Tony receive a Gold Sponsorship, and we will plan to have another gathering there soon. Thank you, Carmen and Tony, you were great hosts.
Please make sure to check out the pictures taken by Sandra Richardson which will be on our Facebook page soon: 

Albert White
began playing guitar in the late ‘50s with his legendary uncle, Piano Red, and his group, Dr. Feelgood & the Interns. Since then, Albert has performed with Joe Tex, The Tams, Ray Charles and many such artists during his 50 year tenure as a Blues and R&B musician. Albert still devotes himself to music, performing with his old band member Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and recording Music Maker CDs, including his solo album, The Soul of the Blues.

Also announcing our Blues Ambassador Award winner (free year's membership), Sandra Richardson, for her fantastic photography of our events.

This year's Holiday Party was the best ever.
Although it was cold and rainy outside, the festivities inside were made warm and cheery with lots of great fellowship and excellent music. The entertainment was provided by our Blues Challenge winners, led off by The Garrett Collins Project, followed by Rae and the Royal Peacocks and capped off by Dos Blues Guys. The enthusiastic crowd agreed that we have an excellent chance to bring home a winner from the IBC in Memphis this year. There was plenty of great food catered in by Fat Matt's Rib Shack and served up by Mark and his lovely wife Cindi. The holiday cheer poured by Spike kept everyone in the right spirit. The Helene Mills Multi-Purpose center was all decked out for the Holidays and was the perfect place for our party. The toys we collected for the Toys for Tots drive were piled up under the Christmas Tree and soon were spilling out onto the dining area. We had a record number of dancers filling up the dance floor and elf Olivia passed around the tip jar during each act to all the happy music lovers.  Thanks to the generosity of our membership the bands will be able to fund their trip to Memphis to represent us at the IBC. Thank you all so much. The ABS gave them their prize money and matched the tips collected, which were record breaking. Rae and the Royal Peacocks unanimously responded that by not having to worry about paying for gas, food and lodging they would be able to concentrate all of their efforts into putting together and giving their best performance. We also presented the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, represented by Scot Rittenbaum, with the proceeds from this year’s Blues Stotts music fest and fundraiser and thanks to your support the contribution of $2000 caused him to choke up a little. The Marine Reservists from the Toys for Tots Foundation thanked us for the huge amount of toys donated and presented us with a certificate of appreciation and urged everyone to continue to contribute to the Toy drives around town as they have many kids in need of toys this year. If you were not able to make it to the party, please go to the website and find a local donation location or make a monetary donation:

Thanks to all the new members who joined up and to those who renewed.  Our renewal process will begin in earnest now and to encourage you to renew early, we will once again draw one lucky winner from those who renew before Feb 1 who will get to choose any one item from our merchandise online store as their prize.  You can renew online by going to this page:  and clicking on the appropriate "Add to Cart" button.
Make sure to check out our Facebook page for pictures from the Holiday Party taken by our photographer, Sandra Richardson.

Thanks again from Barb, George, Carlin, Deb, Nancie, John, Rich, Dustin and Wes, your Board of Directors. Your participation, contributions and support make it all worthwhile.

  The 2017 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

1.    Baltimore Blues Society
2.    Blues and Soul Records
3.    Kathy Bolmer
4.    Briggs Farm Blues Festival
5.    Kyle Deibler
6.    Greaseland Studios
7.    Highway 99 Blues Club
8.    Jay Miller
9.    Jacques Morgantini
10. James Nagel
11. Porretta Soul Festival
12. Steve Salter
13. Eddie Stout
14. Suzanne Swanson
15. WGLT radio
16. Wolf Records

These honorees, who will be recognized during a luncheon on February 3, represent a broad spectrum of the music world: record labels, music festivals, recording studios, clubs, radio stations, publications, and individuals with an undying passion to preserve and sustain the blues. They include grassroots blues heroes like Steve Salter, who created the nonprofit Killer Blues Headstone Project so that blues musicians wouldn’t be buried in unmarked graves, and Eddie Stout, who is known as the “Ambassador of Texas Blues” for his work single-handedly running Dialtone Records. The KBA’s spotlight also shines on events like the Briggs Farm Blues Festival, which has been bringing the Mississippi Delta to eastern Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years, and Greaseland Studios, the San Jose recording studio where Kim Wilson, Maria Muldaur, Elvin Bishop, and Charlie Musselwhite have laid down tracks.

November Meeting & Jam
Our November Gathering & Jam at Blind Willie's was planned at the last minute, but boy was it a good one.  Sometimes the best times are the spur of the moment ones.  We had a great crowd and Blind Willie's staff came in on their off day to serve us food & drink.  Sana Blues Band was laying down the blues with great abandon and dancing ensued almost immediately.  During the meeting part of the event we discussed our success with our Georgia Blues & Roots Festival and our Blues Stotts benefit and our upcoming events such as the Holiday Party and future plans for next year's Festival.  We had lots of jammers including many female vocalists, each with their own unique style making for a fantastic jam.  For the raffle (to benefit our Blue Flame Fund) we gave away 2 pairs of  tickets to the Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas show at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center, a bottle of Cathead Vodka and several CD packages. 

Blues Stotts, our musical celebration in honor of Larry Stotts was even a greater success than last year's event.  Just as last year, Larry's friends and family made the trek from Ohio and California to attend the event. The show started with our youngest band, No Solution, whose shows keep getting better and better the longer they play together. They got the early crowd all fired up and kept their toes tapping for the first hour. Jontavious Willis, a 20 year old from Greenville, GA,  followed with an amazing hour of soulful blues the entire crowd totally loved. By now the room was nearly full and Larry Griffith and his band seized the opportunity and fanned the flames for over an hour playing and singing the great songs those of us who know him have grown to expect. At the break Spike served up Larry's famous red beans and rice to everyone who chose to partake, they disappeared in no time. By now Markey Blue, our Challenge winners from last year, arrived and played two amazing sets that the by now packed house gave them a standing ovation for. The evening was capped off by Brandon Santini who completely blew the lid off. Several people commented that they could definitely feel Larry's spirit. The proceeds from the door and raffles – and donations from both individuals and Cathead Vodka – exceeded the expenses by even more than last year and we hope to present the check in Larry's name to Cystic Fibrosis at the Holiday Party. Once again the staff and ownership of Blind Willies are to be commended for making our second of many installments of Blues Stotts a raving success. This is an annual event, so stay tuned. As soon as we get the final tally we will report it to you, but we did exceed last years numbers. 
George Klein

The Georgia Blues & Roots Festival
The weather was perfect, the venue was excellent, the sound was superb, the music was spectacular and the crowd was well entertained. Thanks to my right and left hand man Rich L'Hommedieu, without who's help the festival would not have been possible, Wes Gifford for his endless communications and efforts with the vendors, Dustin Peterson and his crew for the smooth operation both on and back stage, Sandra Richardson for an exceptional photographic account (see all 325 photos on our Facebook page) and to the rest of the Board of Directors and volunteers for making the operation of the festival a success. Thanks to our sponsors, South Cobb Rotary, Amateur Advocates and The Big Green Egg, to Carlos Capote for conducting the harmonica workshop and the Blues Dancers for the demonstration. Most importantly thanks to all who purchased tickets, tables, merchandise and raffle tickets, because without you all of our efforts would have been in vain. If you were there please tell everyone you know what they missed and to be on the lookout for next year’s installment, because your and their attendance will insure that we can keep this event going.
– George Klein
Co-President, Atlanta Blues Society - Keeping the Blues Alive in Georgia

October Meeting & Jam
Our October Gathering & Jam at Red Light Cafe on Sunday was great, we missed a lot of you, but we had a pretty good crowd and lots of jammers showed up.  Ellen & Michael welcomed us and their sound guy helped set up the stage and get the sound just right. It was such a pleasant day, many of us would go outside between sets to enjoy the great weather.  Leonard Blush was great as always, playing the blues and a little bit of funk as well, there was some dancing going on.  It's so nice to be able to hear music in the afternoon and for free and get home at a reasonable hour to prepare for the next week. We raffled off a bottle of that great Cathead Vodka and some CD packages, Alby won one of the CD packages and Dana Roach lucked up – won both the Vodka and the other CD package.  The jam was great with lots of great musicians present, thanks to Wes Gifford for being the Jam Master. Thanks to Sandra Richardson for the great pictures!

September Meeting and Jam

Our Gathering & Jam at Madlife Stage & Studios was a wonderful event at this gorgeous new venue.  It was humid and storming outside, but it was cool and exciting on the inside.  The state of the art stage and sound system was expertly managed by the sound engineers and production staff and the owners were in attendance to see to our every need along with the fantastic wait staff.  If you were not able to make it out to this Gathering, make sure you check out a show at this venue soon.  They have music for every taste and comedy too.  Our host band Rockabilly Kitty Rose were all decked out in vintage outfits and their high spirited set kept everybody's toes tapping, feet shuffling and heads wagging. At one point, Kitty called out for a guitar jammer and brought up a young guitar whiz who wowed the crowd and seemed to relish to be playing on this great stage.  The crowd grew more and more as people made it through the rain slowed traffic on I-75 and made their way to downtown Woodstock.  We picked up several new members, including the young Guitar whiz, and sold tickets to our Oct. 1 Georgia Blues & Roots Festival.  If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, make sure to get them from us soon, we'll save you the ticket fees and you will be supporting our efforts to bring a high quality blues festival to Atlanta. 

July Gathering & Jam

A Typical Atlanta Blues Society Meeting and Jam:
July 23 at Darwin’s in Marietta

By Rhetta Akamatsu

Happy people were everywhere at Darwin’s in Marietta GA Saturday... Milling about on the front porch, hanging out on the back deck, and packed into the club itself, laughing, hugging, and enjoying great music. What brought them all together? The monthly meeting of the Atlanta Blues Society takes place at various clubs around Atlanta every month. This time it was Darwin's turn.

Every meeting has a host group this time it was Funky Bluester, a group out of Monroe, GA who put on a tremendous show. They did covers of Elmore James, Son Seals, and other blues greats and even an excellent version of "Folsom Prison."  Darwin's provided plenty of good food and drink. Lindsay Wine and the other servers kept everybody happy while the cooks provided delicious burgers and more.

What is the Atlanta Blues Society? It is a group of dedicated blues lovers who really enjoy each others' company and many of whom are musicians so there are always jams whenever we get together. Basically it's about 10 minutes of business and 3 hours of music, drinking, eating, and good company. Due to the dedication of the Board of Directors, the society has had tremendous growth over the past 3 years, adding members from all over Georgia and beyond. It engages in a variety of activities in support of the blues, including Blues in the Schools and raising funds for various musicians in need, with membership fees and donations from members and sponsors.  This reporter is proud to be a sponsor, in fact.

If you are reading this, you are interested in the blues, and if you are interested in the blues, you should be a member of your local blues society. If you are in the Atlanta area, that should be the Atlanta Blues Society. Of course there's no reason why you can't be a member of your blues society and the Atlanta Blues Society too.

To find out more about Darwin's, come out to Marietta any evening of the week except Sunday or come to the regular jam on Saturday afternoon!

June Gathering & Jam
Last month's Meeting and Jam was one of the best we've had yet: great music, food and drink. A “boat load” of folks and musicians showed up. MoonShadow was non-smoking and packed. It was such a great crowd that they renewed their sponsorship for another 2 years on the spot!  Thanks MoonShadow!  The winner of the Daytona Festival passes was Mark & Marcia Adams; the winner of the GABBAfest passes was Carolyn Neighbors – congratulations! We picked up several new members, new band members and at least one band renewal (Rockaholics). 
Thanks to the MoonShadow and our host band, the Way Back Band for a great afternoon.

May Gathering & Jam
What a great day we had at Shorty's Pizza on Sunday.  The weather was gorgeous, the music was kickin' and the food was delicious.  We filled up the restaurant and Shorty's was fully staffed and ready for us. Our host band, Sole Travelers, was fantastic, playing our favorite songs, some originals and some songs we haven't heard in long time.  Vocalist Jeanie Marie was dynamic and powerful, reminding one of Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi.  The band was tight and impressive and kept us thoroughly entertained.  The jam was off the wall, with some of our favorite jammers including Lady D, Top Show, most of the Leonard Blush Band, and some very talented kids, Cole Jackson & Logan Roach.  A good time was had by all.

And the 2016 Blues Music Awards Winners are:
Acoustic Album: The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard - Duke Robillard
Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
Album: Born to Play Guitar - Buddy Guy
B.B. King Entertainer: Victor Wainwright
Band: Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots  
Best New Artist Album: The Mississippi Blues Child - Mr. Sipp
Contemporary Blues Album: Born to Play Guitar - Buddy Guy 
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Shemekia Copeland 
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Joe Louis Walker
Historical: Soul & Swagger: Buzzin' the Blues by Slim Harpo
Instrumentalist, Bass: Lisa Mann
Instrumentalist, Drums: Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist, Guitar: Sonny Landreth
Instrumentalist, Harmonica: Kim Wilson
Instrumentalist, Horn: Terry Hanck
Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster  
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Allen Toussaint
Rock Blues Album: Battle Scars - Walter Trout
Song: "Gonna Live Again" written and performed by Walter Trout
Soul Blues Album : This Time for Real - Billy Price & Otis Clay
Soul Blues Female Artist: Bettye LaVette
Soul Blues Male Artist: Otis Clay
Traditional Blues Album: Descendants of Hill Country - Cedric Burnside Project
Traditional Blues Male Artist: John Primer

April Gathering and Jam
We couldn’t have had a more beautiful day for our April meeting this past Sunday.  Thanks to the Barn Smokehouse and the Retro Rock-its for their hospitality and great music respectively.  Congratulations to Wallace Mobley for winning the raffle grand prize, a pair of passes to the 30th Annual Carolina Blues Festival; there were several other winners of CD packages and, as always, the money raised goes into our Blue Flame Fund for musician’s aid.  Co-president George Klein made a major announcement – we will be holding a blues festival this year!  Mark your calendars for October 1st at the Mable House Amphitheatre.  Details will be coming soon.  As always there were lots of participants in the jam sessions – good music, a great breeze on the deck and lots of blues friends – not a better way to spend a spring Sunday afternoon!

March Gathering and Jam

A great time was had this past Sunday at our Gathering and Jam at Steve's Live Music with our host band Lady D and the Set it Off Band. Everybody was grooving to the soulful blues and R&B classics.  There was lots of dancing and singing along and Lady D came out into the audience many times and made them experience the lyrics personally, even when they were totally innocent of 'cheating on' their spouse.  She got a group of "Sallys" up on the stage for Mustang Sally to show off their dancing & background vocals skill.  It was so much fun we all just couldn't help but have a good time.  We gave away some Cathead Vodka and CD packages in our raffle to raise funds for the Blue Flame Fund.  The jam was highlighted by some of great regular jammers and several youngsters who wowed everybody in the crowd. Then we had a special treat when vocalist Silver Star took the stage with the Set it Off Band members and kept the party going, with Lady D sitting in one number as well.  Steve's was the perfect venue for all the fun and the great music and the staff and owners took great care of us with delicious food and drink and seemed to have as much fun as we were having.

2015 Atlanta Blues Challenge

Update on Atlanta Blues Challenge:

To see the videos of the Atlanta Blues Challenge go to our ABS You Tube Channel:

The Atlanta Blues Challenge was held on Sunday August 23, 2015 at the Hard Rock Cafe.  It was a great challenge, with lots of talented acts competing.  This year we had a wealth of bands with female lead singers, and boy did they bring their A game.  The crowd was really into the music, clapping and cheering and enjoying every minute.  Our judges were troopers, they worked hard all day long and they had a tough job to do with the level of musicianship and professionalism that we had on the stage. Thanks go to the judges, our emcee, Blackjack, our stage manager Dustin Petersen and his stage crew, to our photographer Drew Stawin, and to all the rest of our board members who were integral to the success of this event.  Thanks to all of our volunteers, we could not have been so successful without your help.  Thanks to the Hard Rock staff for all their hard work and their great service to our participants.
Here are the winners of the 2015 Atlanta Blues Challenge who will represent us in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge in January 2016.
• Youth act - No Solution
• Solo/Duo act - Blind Cadillac
• Band act - Markey Blue

Other winners were as follows:
• People's Choice award - Diane Durrett & Soul Suga’
• 2nd place winner band - Diane Durrett & Soul Suga’
• 3rd place winner band - Bridget Kelly Band
For more information about all of these acts go to Blues Band page which has pictures and bios of all of our Musician/Band Sponsors.

Here is what the bands say about their experience at the Atlanta Blues Challenge:

“The Atlanta IBC Challenge was far beyond what I've seen before at a local level both in talent and prior IBC experience. The level of professionalism in musicianship and stage performance in Atlanta is outstanding ...and scary all in the same breath. The Atlanta crowd makes everyone feel at home and that someone is rooting for them. It feels like family. I've also never seen a Blues Society IBC Challenge where everyone walks away with a high quality video of their performance. What a blessing! Our booking agent had been asking for a good video and it just wasn't in our budget. Were just musicians trying to make this a business and with touring and working on our new CD it was on the back burner. So what an amazing gift ya'll have given to us and the other performers! We cannot thank you enough.”
Markey of the Markey Blue Band

“The love and appreciation that we as artists received from the Atlanta Blues Society has been overwhelming and inspirational. They have given us countless opportunities to promote and market ourselves through high quality videos, pictures and venues. They are a blessing to the Atlanta music scene and we are very fortunate to have them!"
David Pippin from Blind Cadillac

“Thanks so much! Great professional quality and very much appreciated. I consider it a huge bonus for participating in The Atlanta Blues Challenge. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen!”
– Callie Bartos, Noonday Blue

It was an honor to be included in the Atlanta Blues Challenge.  Our Atlanta Blues Society did it up just right!  Great venue, awesome recordings and, most of all, the people who came out to support us.  Blues Lives!
- Diane Durrett 

The ABS is 21!

Our annual membership meeting this past Sunday at Blind Willie's was jam packed and full of fun and great music, what a great way to celebrate our 21st Anniversary. Our host band was Mudcat and the Atlanta Horns and they played songs from their new CD, While You Were Away, and they were fantastic. They ended their set with their trademark march around the room which was even more incredible with the standing room only crowd we had. We presented framed signed posters of last year's Blues Stotts event to Spike of Blind Willie's and Lyn Billings and an unframed signed poster to our webmaster and designer of the poster, Michael Davis. Then we presented certificates to our Honorary Lifetime Members recipients Carlos Capote and Jimmy Warmoth. Carlos is a long time Atlanta Blues Society member, Musician sponsor, and founder of the Breeze Kings. Jimmy is a long time ABS member and worked with our Merchandise for many years. George gave our State of the ABS address and then Dustin got the Jam started and we had quite a few young players, including two from our Atlanta Blues Challenge band, No Solution. The future of the blues was well represented and very much assured. We gave away several raffle items including two bottles of Cathead Vodka, CD packages, Blues Stotts posters and Rhetta Akamutsu's book 'Southern Crossroads: Georgia Blues'. All the proceeds from the raffle sales go to our Blue Flame Fund which goes to help out local blues musicians in need. Rhetta also donated a portion of the proceeds of books she sold at the meeting to our fund as well, thank you Rhetta. The meeting was the perfect way to celebrate our 21 years of keeping the blues alive! Looking forward to next 21 years.

The 32nd Annual International Blues Challenge

Held on Beale Street in Memphis, TN on January 26-30, 2016.
Whew, it's over!  What a whirlwind event, This year's International Blues Challenge was one of the best ever, the level of talent was incredible and we are very proud of all of our representative acts.  It was also very special for the Atlanta Blues Society because our entry for the Keeping the Blues Alive award was awarded to Darwin's Burgers & Blues.  We filled up 2 big tables at the awards ceremony, and when the award was presented to Jonathan Akin & Lindsay Wine of Darwin's, we gave them a big cheer and standing ovation, the presenter was surprised and announced loudly, "Atlanta is in the house!"  Here's a group picture of some of us after the event:

The Challenge this year was one of the best ever, the amount of talent present was incredible. Between the Competition, the Showcases and Jams there was plenty of music going on all day and all night. We were well represented by all of our Atlanta Blues Challenge winners. Solo/Duo artist Blind Cadillac put on 2 terrific sets in the Quarter Finals, but, unfortunately did not make it to the Semi-Finals.  Our Band artist, Markey Blue wowed the crowds in every venue they played. They did make it to the Semi-finals, however, they did not make it to the finals.  Our youth band, No Solution, played Friday night in the Youth Showcase to thunderous applause from the packed audience.  They also played at some of the showcases going on around town.  They said they had so much fun and loved it so much that they are getting ready to compete in our challenge again this year. With no further ado, here are the winners of the 2016 International Blues Challenge:
Best Self-Produced CD:
Blues in a Bottle by Rod Lumbard, submitted by the Central Iowa Blues Society, Des Moines, IA
Harp Award - Sam Shepherd of InnerVision (Solo/Duo), Columbus Blues Alliance, Columbus, OH
Solo Guitar Award - Bing Futch, Orange Blossom Blues Society, Orlando, FL
Band Guitar Award - Joey Delgado (Delgado Brothers) Ventura Co. Blues Society, Simi Valley, CA
Solo/Duo Acts:
  2nd Place - InnerVision,Columbus Blues Alliance, Columbus, OH
  1st Place - Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, Washington Blues Society, Seattle, WA
Band Acts:
  3rd Place - The Norman Jackson Band, Lake of the Ozarks Blues Society, Camdenton, MO
  2nd Place - The Paul DesLauriers Band, Montreal Blues Society, Montreal, Canada
  1st Place - The Delgado Brothers, Ventura County Blues Society, Simi Valley, CA

Huge Congratulations to Darwin's Burgers & Blues for winning a 2016 Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Award from the Blues Foundation and a huge thank you to Rhetta Akamatsu for writing up the entry for this award.  Here's a snippet of the write up:
Darwin's Burgers is not big and it is not glitzy. It's a little old house bursting with good food and fantastic blues music. Founded in 1995, it was the home of the blues in Atlanta. After an economic stumble in the early years of the 21st century, Lindsay Wine and Jonathon Akin purchased the venue in 2011, invested time and money, and brought the club back to its original juke joint popularity. Today, Darwin's hosts the best local bands and the best touring acts coming through Atlanta, and solo/duo winner at the 2013 International Blues Challenge, Little G Weevil, plays monthly. The blues jams during the week attract the best local musicians and allow new players to be heard. Because of the mix of young musicians and older established groups, the club attracts all ages. Thanks to the determination and dedication of one young couple, their friends and staff, and a lot of people who love Darwin's, the place looks set to continue to keep the blues alive in Metro Atlanta for many years to come!
We are so proud to have Darwin's as a venue sponsor and owners Lindsay Wine and Jonathon Akin certainly deserve this award for bringing Darwin's back from the brink of extinction. They will be presented with this award on Friday, January 29, 2016 at the KBA Luncheon during the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN. Be sure to congratulate them the next time you go to hear some great blues music at Darwin's in Marietta, GA.

What a great Holiday Party and Toys for Tots Drive we had on Sunday.  The venue, the Helene Mills Multipurpose Center, was fabulous. It was easy to get to, safe parking, lots of room for everybody to have a seat at a table, lots of room for the fabulous Fat Matt's buffet and lots of dancing room too.  The stage was large and the acoustics were great and the sound, supplied by our own Rich L'Hommedieu, was excellent.  We plan on having this event at this venue for many years to come and those who came will tell you how great it was.  The bands and the music were the best ever. All of our Atlanta Blues Challenge winners showed why the won and put on a show that few will forget.  The Youth winner, No Solution started things off with a fantastic set of music that everybody was amazed by.  Then, Diane Durrett and Soul Suga’ proved why they were chosen as People's Favorite and included some nice Christmas tunes as well.  Next up was Solo/Duo winner Blind Cadillac and they did a great set that should get them to the Finals at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in January.  Then Markey Blue, the Band Winner of the Atlanta Blues Challenge, wowed the crowd with their energetic, upbeat set that bodes well for them to make it all the way and win the IBC in Memphis.  We presented all the winners with their prize money and we also matched the tips that were festively collected by our own Tip Jar passing elf, Olivia.  We also presented a donation of $1,100 (Proceeds from Blues Stotts event) to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We collected two huge boxes of toys for the Toys for Tots Drives and the Marines who attended testified that they were the luckiest ones to have been at the best event for the drive. We also gave away several nice door prizes, including two $50 Honey Baked Ham gift certificates. Check out our Facebook page for some pictures that will prove what a great time was had by all.  Thanks to all the board members for helping with this event; Rich L'Hommedieu for the sound, Dustin Peterson for managing the stage, Wes Gifford for helping lug everything in and helping with the stage, Carlin "C-Note" Smith and his lovely wife Val for manning the merchandise table, John & Nancie Gibson for running the check in table and a special thank you to Nancie for finding and securing the venue for us.  Deb Pruett for getting the membership list up to date and helping with the shopping, Lewis McTush for taking pictures and bringing his photographer friend, George Klein for being the emcee and taking care of all the bands, and finally Barb Hilke for making sure all the bases were covered and serving up the Tea. Special thanks to members to Betty Klein for for making & setting out the center pieces, to Toni L'Hommedieu for setting out the trail mix snack on the tables.
From member Judith Kerr:
"I’d like to take a moment to thank you and the entire Board of the Atlanta Blues Society for putting on such an enjoyable and successful Christmas Party yesterday. It was SO very well run and all the amenities were much appreciated  including, but not limited to:  the entertainment (which we knew would be top notch since they are all winners already); the little bows on paper plates on each table; Fat Matt’s food – always a hit;  the fun bartenders, who dealt with all of us lushes with grace and talent… and finally, last but not least, the location. I am in awe that y’all found such a place. Perfect size, easy location, a suitable stage, sound systems, and secure parking. WHEEEE!  All in all, everything was absolutely perfect (at least, from what I could see) so a big THANK YOU to you all!"

Blues Stotts
Blues Stotts, our musical celebration in honor of Larry Stotts was a phenomenal success.  The music was wonderful and included all of the bands that Larry loved to see perform.  The room was full of friends and family and others who may not have known Larry, but felt the love and spirit that Larry exemplified.  All the local acts had such great things to say about Larry and shared their wonderful, fun memories of him.  The music was outstanding, starting with a heartfelt dual keyboard set by the legendary Eddie Tigner and Bob Page, followed by the always fabulous Electromatics, then an eclectic set by the Hollidays, followed by the real deal blues of the Cazanovas, then a fantastic set by the Breeze Kings featuring Lee Griffin, Bob Page and special guest Sandra Hall.  And to finish up the night the awesome JP Soars and the Red Hots who were on fire and had the crowd mesmerized with their talent.  Larry would have loved this event and we could feel his spirit in the room.  The best part of all was that the crowd that came out to show their love for Larry and the music and bought raffle tickets for the cause made this event a financial success as well. The proceeds, after all the bands were paid, was $769 and the board of the ABS has decided to contribute $231 more to round up our donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Larry's name to $1,000.  The ABS Co-President, George Klein, was the catalyst behind this event and brought it to fruition with the help of all those at Blind Willie's who helped put this together for us.  Blind Willie’s was Larry's 2nd home and he was much loved by everyone there. We plan to make this an annual event so that the love and spirit of Larry Stotts will never be forgotten.

Attention Rory Gallagher fans, a new CD/DVD/Blue Ray film has been released which shows Rory playing with his early band Taste at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970.  This film features the Isle of Wright performance and a documentary about the band Taste.  For more information:
To purchase:

October Meeting and Jam
Our October Gathering and Jam was held on Saturday (not the usual Sunday) October 17, 2015, from 3pm-6pm at Darwin's Burgers & Blues in Marietta,GA.  Our Host Band will be Noonday Blue, who recently competed in our Atlanta Blues Challenge.  Darwin's has been a legendary blues music venue in the North Metro Atlanta area for many years now and has only gotten better with new owners Lindsey and Akin and has great food and drinks.  It is non-smoking on the inside and is full of blues artists photos hanging on every spare inch of the walls.  We will be having our always fun open jam, so make sure to bring your instruments and/or voices and come show us your stuff.  We will be raffling off some cool prizes such as a bottle of Cathead Vodka, CD Packages and hopefully more to be announced later.  Plan on joining us for some great music, Darwin's hospitality, and socializing with others who love music as much as you do.

Noonday Blue is a great little band from Woodstock, GA. that plays Blues and a little Country, too. Fronted by award winning singer songwriter Callie Bartos, this band delivers some powerful vocal work with influences from Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt. Backed by seasoned musicians Don Olsen on drums, Russell Eldridge on guitar and Tim Pribish on bass, they deliver a professional and fun show!

September Meeting and J am
Our September Gathering and Jam at Steve's Live Music was outstanding. Lola and her band put on a great show and the Jam was the best ever, featuring talented musicians of all ages and lots of harmonica players. Steve's made sure we were served with great drinks and delicious food. Here were the raffle winners:

BB Burnette - Tickets to Bradenton Blues Fest; Dexter Hudgins - Tickets to Bradenton Blues Fest; Melinda Wells - Tickets to 80's Music Fest; Ginger Guthrie-Norvell - 2 CD Packages; Billy Busic - CD package; Richard Snyder-Cathead Vodka.

Mudcat’s 12th Studio Album
30 Miles Up is pleased to announce the arrival of blues/roots rock band Mudcat’s twelfth studio album, While You Were Away. Vocalist and guitarist Daniel Dudeck (Mudcat) is once again backed by the talents of Eskil Wetterqvist on percussion, David ‘Snave’ Evans on bass and flute, and former B.B. King trombonist Lil Joe Burton. Burton also leads fellow Atlanta Horns Daryl Dunn on saxophone and Mico Bowles on trumpet. Guest appearances include keyboardists Chad Mason and the legendary Eddie Tigner.

July Meeting and Jam
Our July meeting was just like our June meeting, hot, hot, hot.  The Barn Smokehouse is a great venue, with a large patio area built onto the original building and it was a little steamy out there. However, they did have several fans on top turned on high and one our blues ambassador, Wallace Mobley, rigged up on the floor in a back corner, which was the spot to be.   Our hardy Blues fans did not let the heat stop them from enjoying a great set of music from our host band Stiff Kitty and a hot jam after that.   We filled the place up and ate lots of delicious barbecue and drank lots of cold beer, iced tea and sodas. The owners of the Barn Smokehouse were in attendance and plan to have more music there soon, so be sure to check them out if you are in the Lilburn area.  After a while, some clouds moved in and blew up a little bit of a breeze which made things much better.  We had lots of raffles going on and our raffle angels, Becky and Sandy, did a great job getting around to everyone and explaining all of the raffle items.  We started selling raffle tickets for an exclusive Blues & BBQ Festival Cabin giveaway (see below for more details) which will be given away at the Aug 23 Atlanta Blues Challenge at the Hard Rock Cafe.  The raffle items we gave away at the meeting included 2 weekend passes to the Daytona Blues Festival (Bennie Mobley was the lucky winner), 2 sets of tickets to the play Chasin' Dem Blues, 2 stacks of CDs and 2 tickets to the Brian Wright show at Serenbe at Chattahoochee Hills, GA.  All in all, a  great time was had by everyone, despite the heat.

We raffled off another set of weekend passes to the Daytona Blues Fest, some more certificates for the True Colors Theatre's production of Chasin' Dem Blues (Untold Story of Paramount Records), some CD packages and hopefully some Cathead Vodka.  We will also had a special raffle for a 3-night Cabin & Blues package for the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival, September 10-13 in beautiful Blue Ridge, GA.  See details below.

The Blues Foundations "Blues Music Awards" was a great event that was attended by over 1500 people. Here is a list of those who walked away with this coveted honor!

1. Acoustic Album: Timeless – John Hammond
2. Acoustic Artist: John Hammond
3. Album: Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Bobby Rush
5. Band: Elvin Bishop Band
6. Best New Artist Album: Don’t Call No Ambulance – Selwyn Birchwood
7. Contemporary Blues Album: BluesAmericana – Keb’ Mo’
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Janiva Magness
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr.
10. Historical: Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales (Rock Beat)
11. Instrumentalist-Bass: Lisa Mann
12. Instrumentalist-Drums: Jimi Bott
13. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Joe Bonamassa
14. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite
15. Instrumentalist-Horn: Deanna Bogart
16. Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Marcia Ball
18. Rock Blues Album: Step Back – Johnny Winter
19. Song: “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” written and performed by Elvin Bishop
20. Soul Blues Album: Memphis Grease – John Németh
21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Sista Monica
22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Bobby Rush
23. Traditional Blues Album: "For Pops" (Muddy Waters) – Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson
24. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Lurrie Bell

See more at:

June Gathering & Jam

The June Gathering and Jam filled Nik’s to capacity!  Marietta was definitely the HOT place to be on Sunday, June 14; it was HOT … in so many ways.  The music was hot, from the Sweet & Salty Blues Band to the jam.  The food was hot and delicious.  And the place was just hot literally!  There’s no doubt summer is here!  Dexter Hudgins (jam drummer) won the 2 weekend passes to the Daytona Blues Fest, BB Burnett won a CD Package, and Wallace Mobley (of course) won a certificate for 2 seats at the play Chasin' Dem Blues.   Nik's Place has music most nights of the week so if you’re in the area make sure to drop by and see who is playing.  

Roger “Hurricane” Wilson in Texas
to Aid in Flood Disaster Relief Efforts

Dale Thornton of South40Smokehouse and Roger "Hurricane" Wilson are in Texas with a large BBQ cooker in order to help prep food for as many disaster victims as possible. The fuel cost alone on the way over will be in excess of $500.00, in addition to other expenses.This is something that we must do – instead of standing back and watching. The folks in the San Marcos/ Wimberly area despertely need help. If you would care to help us help by contributing, please visit the GoFundMe campaign here: Any amount, no matter how large or how small will matter.
Check out the effort's Facebook page here:

May Gathering & Jam
at Moonshadow Tavern on Sunday was great.  Our host band Blues Generation did a funky, bluesy set complete with a Louisiana style procession (conga line) in tribute of BB King.  The Moonshadow was serving up its delicious food, especially their yummy Chicken Wings.  The jam was expertly handled by Dustin Peterson and the great Albert White showed up to jam.  In our raffle we gave away 2 VIP tickets to GABBAfest, which the lucky Mr. Wallace Mobley won.  We also gave away 2 CD packages.  George also announced that we had collected $165 for the Blue Flame Fund the night before when we raffled off a handmade Cigar Box guitar (lucky winner was member Randy Hitchcock) at the Stacey Mitchart show at Darwin's.

The Atlanta Blues Society, as a Blues Affiliate has pledged $1,000 to help make it happen -- check it out -- We are the latest member of the 250 Club!

Since its earliest days, the Foundation has envisioned a Blues Hall of Fame. Artist renditions appeared as early as the 1983 Blues Music Award program. Foundation leaders have long recognized that, in addition to stability and operating efficiencies, a permanent home for The Blues Foundation will dramatically improve its ability to fulfill its mission.

A key component for the success of any organization is a sound fiscal base from which to meet its goals and objectives. In recent years, The Blues Foundation has built such a base while continuing to fulfill its mission in each of the above noted programs and activities.

In 2006, the Foundation adopted a strategic plan that embraced a permanent home. The following year, with a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Foundation began work with Design 500 to discern requirements for and shape the new home—its location, size, space allocations, and programming priorities.

A suitable location was identified in December 2010—a condominium located at 421 South Main with approximately 3,800 square feet at street level and 7,700 square feet on the lower level. By this time, The Blues Foundation had quietly and steadily eliminated all debt and built reserves of more than $400,000. This financial strength enabled the Foundation to secure a short-term loan to help pay for the purchase of its new building and some basic renovations when this opportunity arose.

Foundation operations began there on July 5, 2011. With the first phase completed, The Blues Foundation continues to pursue its goal: a home that enhances the ability to carry out its mission.

The Blues Foundation announces the selection of three living performers to be inducted into its Blues Hall of Fame. The three are Tommy Brown, Eric Clapton and Little Richard. They join more than 130 performers who have been inducted each year beginning in 1980. Their induction will be held in conjunction with the three days of events May 6-8, 2015 surrounding the 36th Blues Music Awards on May 7 and the Grand Opening of the bricks and mortar Blues Hall of Fame on May 8 in Memphis, TN.
Needless to say, we’re so very proud and happy for Tommy!  Congratulations!

April Meeting & Jam
We had a fantastic monthly Gathering and Jam, Sunday the 19th at the Arena Tavern in Duluth! We'd like to thank Arena Tavern and all the ABS supporters for coming out and also to our host band Blues Rendezvous for a great show. The jam was great and we had a record number of musicians show up for this one. Thanks to Mark Stamper for handling all the jammers; we could not have done it without him. Deb Pruett and Wallace Mobley won the tickets to the Blind Willie McTell Festival. We also raffled off some JP Blues download cards and some CD packages. If you took any photos you'd like to share, please post them on our Facebook Page at

March Gathering & Jam
The March Gathering and Jam at Shorty's Pizza on Sunday was one of the best we've ever had. We packed out the place with 75+ people, emptied 3 kegs of their draft beer selection, ate about a ton of pizzas and kept the staff hopping. Our host band BluesFish put on a lively, entertaining show and the jam was phenomenal. The weather was beautiful and there were lots of people on the patio and roaming around outside. Nobody wanted to leave and everybody was having a great time. Most everybody remembered to wear green and we supplied green beads to those who forgot. The raffle leprechauns did a great job making sure everybody got a chance to win our prizes. Beverly Jenkins won the VIP tickets to the Springing the Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach, FL April 17-19. Becky Simon won the 4 tickets to the Buckwheat Zydeco show this Wednesday night at Terminal West. Wallace Mobley won the bottle of Cathead Vodka and several people won CD packages.

Officers of the Board of Directors have been voted in and Chairpersons appointed:

President: Barb Hilke
Co-President: George Klein
Vice-President: Carlin C-Note Smith
Secretary: John Gibson
Treasurer: Nancie Branch-Gibson
Membership Chair: Deb Pruett
Publicity Chair: Dustin Peterson
Sponsors/Programs Chair: Mark Stamper & Rich L'Hommedieu

For more information about the board members go to the Board of Directors page.

Kight has been taking the blues to fans around the world for 20 years, and as a survivor of encephalitis and meningitis, her music now comes from a deeper place. And her talent, and her new album, have landed her on several “top” lists for 2014:  the Roots Music Report’s Top 100 Blues Albums Chart, Blues Bytes 2014 Top 10 Albums list, and one of’s Top 5 blues artists of 2014. And she’s been nominated for the Blues Music Awards 2015 Koko Taylor Award. Many in the industry know that Koko was EG’s mentor. When asked about her reaction to the news of this nomination, Kight said “I was elated! It brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had nominations in the past, but this one is especially exciting, because I know Koko would be excited for me, too.”
A multi-faceted entertainer, part singer/songwriter, part guitar player, and part storyteller, Kight discovered another facet of her creativity several years ago through photography. With an eye for the unusual, and a love of history and nature, her set-up scenes tell a story. A long-time contributor to the Blues Foundation's annual silent auction, EG has helped raise hundreds of dollars for the foundation with her photographs.
The first photograph in her portfolio was "Grandma's World," a scene set up that incorporated her Grandma’s hurricane lamp, her granddaddy’s eyeglasses, and her own bible. Since then she has gone on to create scenes of various musical instruments, blues shoes and hats, and some of her fan favorites, her pet goats. One of her photographs, “Sweet Music Man,” was licensed for use as the cover of a novel about the life and times of Robert Johnson. “Preaching Blues,” written by James Nuttall is now available online. Several of Kight’s photographs hang in an antique gallery in Nashville, one was featured on, many have won ribbons in the Georgia National Fair, and two were chosen as some of the best of 2013 for Popular Photography Magazine.
Kight is currently putting tours together from coast to coast, and making plans to photograph some scenes along the way. And she will add several more photographs to the Blues Foundation’s auction at the BMAs in May.
For more about her photography, voting for the BMA's, and tour dates, visit

ABS February Gathering & Awards

Wow, the February Gathering & Jam was the best ever.  It was a packed house at Blind Willie's and we want to thank everybody who faced the uncertain weather conditions to come out and join us. We were so very fortunate to have our Musician Sponsor band, Delta Moon host this meeting and they put on a fabulous show.  We had lots of stuff to do at this meeting, we held a raffle, we presented awards, we gave our Treasurer's and Membership report, we explained the election procedure and we announced the new 2015 Board of Directors.  Then we had an outstanding jam with lots of great musicians on board. 
The awards we presented were as follows:
• The Blues Ambassador Award, which includes a free yearly membership to the member who we felt contributed the most to our organization throughout the year and once again we awarded this to Wallace Mobley for all his help in getting and keeping venue sponsors. 

Honorary Lifetime Membership Award to Lyn Billings in honor and remembrance of Larry Stotts who we sadly lost this past year and who was a founding member and loyal supporter of the Atlanta Blues Society.

Honorary Lifetime Membership Award to William Bell, longtime Stax recording artist and co-writer of the blues classic song, "Born Under a Bad Sign".

The new Board of Directors are:
• Nancie Branch-Gibson
• John Gibson
• Barb Hilke
• George Klein
• Rich L'Hommedieu
• Dustin Peterson
• Deb Pruett
• Carlin Smith
• Mark Stamper

Bios of the new board are on the website HERE.  We would also like to thank our outgoing and former 2013 Board members for their dedication and support of our mission statement:
• Rocky Buldo
• Kim Frazier
• Bill & Pat Hudson
• Lisa Kitchens
• Joe Jones
• Dustin Sargent

The winner of 2 passes to the Benji's Bluesdoggle Festival (March 20-22, New Smyrna Beach, FL) was Mark Stamper.  The winner of the table for 4 to the Circle of Song show at Eddie's Attic was Chris Alexander.  

31st International Blues Challenge
The 31st International Blues Challenge was a super event and the Atlanta Blues Society wants to thank the fantastic ambassadors we sent to represent us. We are once again tremendously proud of all three of our participants. The JP Blues band put on scorching performances in the quarter and semi finals. They were definitely one of the tightest and most polished bands on Beale Street. At least two of their judges from the quarter finals came to watch them in the semi finals and were surprised when they weren't selected to go to the finals. Blind Cadillac gave two very strong performances in the quarter finals, but as luck would have it, their venue had some very talented performers. Three of the acts that were selected from their venue went all the way to the finals and one came in second. GHP made us all proud of them and our youth program by giving the crowd an excellent performance in the youth showcase.  They received many accolades from the crowd. There was a lot going in Memphis besides the competition. There were several showcases that highlighted many touring acts and of course the jams were fantastic. There were several gatherings and benefits for the Hart Fund that highlighted regional acts, such as the Canadians and the Asian contingent. We thoroughly enjoyed all of it and can’t wait until next year which the dates are set for January 26-30, 2016. 
– Your President and Co-President, Barb Hilke and George Klein

Here are the acts that placed in the Finals:

  1st Place-Eddie Cotton – Vicksburg Blues Society
  2nd Place-Noah Witherspoon – Dayton Blues Society
  3rd Place-Nico Wayne Toussant – So Calif Blues Society

  1st Place-Randy McQuay – Cape Fear Blues Society
  2nd Place-Brian Keith Wallen – Dayton Blues Society

  Best Self Produced CD Award – Ultra Fine Blues Band – Grafton Blues Society
  Lee Oskar Harmonica Award – Nico Wayne Toussant – So Calif Blues Society
  Best Guitarist, Solo/Duo – Cigar Box- Ben Rice – Ashland Blues Society
  Best Guitarist Bands – Gibson 335 – Noah Witherspoon – Dayton Blues Society

For more details go the Blues Foundation website:

ABS January Gathering & Jam

Our January Monthly Gathering at the Red Light Cafe was wonderful.  Cody Matlock and his band really put on a show, this young man just keeps getting better and better.  We had lots of jammers and they made some great music. Ellen and crew served up some tasty food and drinks.  Benny Mobley won the two 3-day passes to Benji's Bluesdoggle Festival in New Smyrna Beach, FL, and we also gave away a special bottle of flavored Cat Head Vodka and several CD packages.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the raffles which benefit our Blue Flame Fund.
Our February Monthly Gathering and Jam will be on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at Blind Willie's from 3pm-6pm.  We are very pleased to report that our host band will be Delta Moon.  This is our yearly membership renewal meeting and we will have a membership table set up to take your renewals, please bring your Membership Card with you as we will have 2015 renewal stickers to hand out.  You may also renew online at by clicking on the appropriate 'Add to Cart' button.

ABS December Gathering & Jam
The Westside Cultural Arts Center was a great setting for the ABS to gather and celebrate the holidays. With wonderful food provided by Fat Matt’s and fine art in the adjoining room, it was elevated from a regular monthly meeting to a special occasion. The music from our Atlanta Blues Challenge (ABC) winners, GHP, Blind Cadillac, and JP Blues, it was easy to see that we’ll be well represented in Memphis in January. Scene of the Crime, the ABC People’s Choice winner, started the day and charmed everyone with their stage presence and talent. Both the Marine Corp and the Navy were represented and accepted the huge boxes of toys that you so generously filled on behalf of the Toys for Tots campaign. The ABS is poised for a terrific 2015.

November Monthly Meeting
It was cold outside but it smoking hot on the inside of Darwin's Burgers and Blues in Marietta, GA.  Our host band, Billy George featuring Billy George, Marvelous Marvin and Larry Griffith got us started off right with blues to keep us warm and toasty.  Darwin's will be serving up their great food and drinks and making sure we were well satiated.  Thanks to everyone who brought canned and boxed food we were able to get a large amount of food for the local food bank.  A few short words from our Co-President George and we were on to the jam and what a jam it was!  We had more drummers than we could shake a stick at and the talent in the room was incredible. Bridget Kelly and Tim Fik from the Bridget Kelly band drove all the way up from Gainesville, FL just to be in the jam. Hurricane Red & Dr. Poppa from the Sweet & Salty band were there.  Young sensation Cody Matlock impressed everybody there and graciously gave up his guitar so Jeff Jensen, of the national touring act The Jeff Jensen Band could play.  Jeff brought up the drop dead gorgeous and mesmerizing Lauren Mitchell who had performed the night before at Darwin’s.  All we can is WOW.  It was a fabulous afternoon at Darwin’s that those who were there will always remember.  Then to top it all off EG Kight performed later that night to a packed house at Darwin’s. Whew… what a day – and night! 

October Monthly Meeting
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful as ABS members gathered at Blind Willie's.  Thanks to our host band, Funky Bluester for a great afternoon of classic blues.  If you enjoyed them, you might want to know that they’ll be playing the 10th Annual Grayson Chili Cook Off, Grayson, GA, on November 8th.  The jam was great fun and featured several new members.  Thanks to everyone for coming out. 

September Monthly Meeting 

The September meeting at Steve’s Live Music was “off the chain”.  Those of us who got there early were treated to the end of the regularly scheduled Jazz Brunch which featured some Big Band music.  We would highly recommend that you check this out at Steve’s Live Music every Sunday from 12:30-3:30.  Then our host band, Frets on Fire took the stage, wow these guys are getting tall and playing and singing better than ever.  Definitely check them out soon – once they get out of school they will be famous!  A few short announcements, some great drinks and the best flatbreads in town, and we were on to the jam.  We had some very talented performers, especially lots of vocalists this time as well as guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, harmonica and even flute.  Congratulations to our raffle winners Cyndi Reed who won 2 tickets to the Grayson Blues & Brews Fest, Paul & Karen Huppertz also won 2 tickets to the Grayson Fest and Elliott Horner won a bottle of Cathead Vodka.

All photographs ©2014 by Ginger Guthrie-Norvell

2014 Atlanta Blues Challenge 
All that can be said about this year’s Atlanta Blues Challenge is that the level of competition rose to new heights!  It was a long but enjoyable day Sunday at the Hard Rock Café.  Here’s how the day progressed with the winners in each category in red.
Youth Bands
No Komment
Scene of the Crime – People’s Choice Winners
GHP (Josh Achiron, guitar/vocals; Carrinton Emdondsen, bass/vocals; Justice Michael, drums/vocals; Miles Barrnett, saxophone; Jonathan Craig, trombone; Kashyap Ganesan, trumpet)
Joshua Jacobson
Bluebird Falls
Veronika Jackson
Blind Cadillac (Jeremy Neese, guitar/vocals & David Pippin, guitar)
Bridget Kelly Band 
Mike Bourne & Atlanta Boogie
Mudbone Turner’s Blues Band
JP Blues Band •

While we congratulate the winners, we want to thank all the bands who participated.  We’d be proud to have any of you representing us in Memphis!  The winners will be featured at our holiday party in December as they prepare for the IBC.

Thank you to all the ABS volunteers Sunday especially to our stage manager, Lola, and to Black Jack our event MC.  We also appreciate Joel Grubb, Zak Jordan, and the staff of the Hard Rock Cafe for all their hard work to make this so successful. 

Since Richard L'Hommedieu volunteered his services to the ABS we have been able to accomplish several of the goals the ABS Board of Directors wanted to accomplish when we were elected. In addition to being a vital asset in putting the Bluescast on line, and volunteering to broadcast our challenge "live" last Sunday, he recorded and helped tape the event. By October 1 we expect to offer both a CD and DVD of each artist, solo duo, and band performance along with the complete challenge and each category. Stay tuned for more details, we will be accepting pre-orders soon.
Thanks again to everyone who worked to make this year’s challenge the best ever. Lookout, 2015!

July ABS Meeting
It was an excellent, well attended meeting at The MoonShadow Tavern in Tucker, on Sunday.  Thank you to their hard working staff.  Also, thanks to the host band, the Andy Makely Band for kicking things off in fine style.  An enthusiastic bunch of jammers turned out; thanks to Lola for keeping the jam rolling. An ABS meeting is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

MoonShadow Tavern
3976 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker, GA 30084

June ABS Meeting
Sunday’s meeting at the Oyster Barn was very well attended and we were treated to the great big sound of the Gold Standard Band. Also joining us for the afternoon was the JP Blues Band as well as many talented and enthusiastic jammers. It’s always a treat to meet new friends and hear new musicians. If you haven’t attended a meeting lately, there’s so much you missed… including a chance at the raffle prizes.

The winners of the tickets to the Seth Walker show on Saturday June 28 were Wallace Mobley and Elliott Horner. Paul, the keyboard player for the Gold Standard Band, won a Taj Mahal CD compilation box set.

ABS member Jim Eshleman featured on ABB tribute album
The album is “Midnight Rider – A Tribute To The Allman Brothers” and it features such stars as Leon Russell, Steve Morse, Pat Travers, Commander Cody, Molly Hatchet, Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmy Hall, Artimus Pyle Band, Reese Wynans (Double Trouble), Tinsley Ellis, Robben Ford and more! Jim Eshleman, aka “Esh”, is featured on keyboards on two tracks, including a hot new version of “Jessica”. The album is available for $12.98 through Cleopatra Records here:

May ABS Meeting

Our May meeting at the Red Light Cafe was fun, fun, fun.  Little G Weevil and his band were amazing and kept the crowd highly entertained and impressed. We had some talented jammers show up and everybody enjoyed the jam.  George showed off our new merchandise items, included the new koozies and everybody wanted one. The winner of the 2 three-day passes to the Daytona Blues Fest was Ginger Guthrie Norvell, who was thrilled. Check the Video, below...

35th Blues Music Award Winners Announced

The Blues Foundation presented the 35th Blues Music Awards Thursday night, May 8, in Memphis. The event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. Three awards went to Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks and their band, while a Little Walter tribute featuring five top harmonica players received two awards, including album of the year. First time winners included Gary Clark Jr., Doug MacLeod, John Németh, Shawn Holt & the Teardrops, Trampled Under Foot and their female bassist Danielle Schnebelen.

The complete list of winners are:

Acoustic Album: There’s a Time – Doug MacLeod
Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
Album: Remembering Little Walter – Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
B.B. King Entertainer: Buddy Guy
Band: Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best New Artist Debut: Daddy Told Me – Shawn Holt & the Teardrops
Contemporary Blues Album: Badlands – Trampled Under Foot
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Susan Tedeschi
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr.
DVD: Ruf Records – Songs from the Road (Royal Southern Brotherhood)
Historical Album: Bear Family – The Sun Blues Box
Instrumentalist-Bass: Danielle Schnebelen
Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite
Instrumentalist-Horn: Eddie Shaw
Koko Taylor Award: Diunna Greenleaf
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Victor Wainwright
Rock Blues Album: Made Up Mind – Tedeschi Trucks Band
Song: ”Blues in My Soul” – Lurrie Bell
Soul Blues Album: Down in Louisiana – Bobby Rush
Soul Blues Female Artist: Irma Thomas
Soul Blues Male Artist: John Nemeth
Traditional Blues Album: Remembering Little Walter – Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
Traditional Blues Male Artist: James Cotton

Congratulations to all the winners!

April ABS Meeting
The ABS April meeting at Greater Good BBQ was a showcase for our best solo artists. Steven "The Blues Dude" Duncan, Veronika Jackson and Brandon Reeves performed wonderful true blues sets, each a little bit different and all enjoyable. We also had some good barbeque and a great beer selection and good sweet tea as well. The room was large and accommodating and we were glad to be inside when the rains came. We sold a few more raffle tickets for the Daytona Blues Fest 3 day passes and you can still get your chance to win at our May meeting when we will be giving the passes away.

March ABS Meeting
What a great meeting we had at Shorty's Pizza on Sunday. We filled up the restaurant and the great sounds of the Leonard Blush Band entertained us. We had lots of great food and drinks served up and we had a great jam. We proudly announced that the new ABS Blues webcast should be up and going by April 1, 2014. We also had some guests on hand. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund sponsored a representative who was available to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act. We also had a representative from the Blairsville Blues & BBQ Festival (Sept 19,20) who will be our newest Corporate Sponsor and he presented their fabulous package that they are offering us to raffle off to our membership, more on that at a later date. We also began our raffle for the 2 person 3 day pass to the Daytona Blues Fest (Oct 10, 11, 12) which we will continue to raffle off at the next 2 meetings.

Congrats to the Winners!

Congratulations to Brian / Peggy Fenton for being the winner of the free ABS denim shirt in our renewal contest. Their membership was randomly pulled from all those who renewed before Feb 28, 2014. Please continue to keep those renewals coming in, we had several renew at the meeting on Sunday at Shorty's and many more are renewing online. Remember the ABS membership year runs from March 1 - Feb 28 (29th on Leap Year) so if you have not renewed in a while it's probably time to do so. Renew online at

Contact us at if you have any questions about renewal.

The Atlanta Blues Society gave $100 to the WRFG Spring Pledge Drive. We encourage all of our members to please call into the morning blues shows and contribute to keep the blues on the radio in Atlanta. 404-523-8989

R.I.P., Zac Adams: 1979-2014

It is with great sadness and the deepest regrets that Blind Willie’s informs you of the passing of our friend and colleague, Zac Adams.

Zac was a devoted employee of Blind Willies for 14 years, a good friend, a loving son, and a founding member of BGG! We truly believe that he is in a better and happier place but... We will still miss him. If you wish to make a donation to help defray the funeral and service expenses, please click on the following link:

February ABS Meeting

As usual, the February annual meeting at Blind Willie’s was well attended and the Sweet and Salty Blues Band got things off to a great start. New ABS merchandise was unveiled, memberships were renewed, and our hosts at Blind Willie’s took good care of everyone… of course! The member jam was also excellent… you had to be there or just take my word for it.

Honorary Lifetime Memberships and
Blues Ambassador Awards

At the ABS annual meeting at Blind Willie's on Feb 16, 17 WRFG DJ's were awarded with honorary lifetime memberships awards for their volunteer work to keep the blues alive. Certificates were handed out at the meeting and lifetime memberships are in process. If you don't already listen to WRFG, please tune in at 89.3 FM or online at Good Morning Blues shows are weekdays in the morning drive-time hours, 6-10 am, and various other shows broadcast blues or blues related music: Doo Wop and Rhythm, Saturdays, 9-11 am; Route 66, Sundays, 7-9 am; and Louisiana Gumbo, Sundays, 1-3 pm .

A new award that we have set up is the Blues Ambassador of the Year award and the receipient will receive a free one year membership to the Atlanta Blues Society. This award will be awarded to the member who goes out into the community and talks about the Atlanta Blues Society, bringing in members and especially sponsors. All you have to do is talk us up to venues, businesses and blues fans you encounter and encourage them to join us in our mission to support the blues in the Atlanta area. This year's award went to Mr. Wallace Mobley for his continuous support of the ABS and his ability to communicate our mission to interested parties. He is responsible for us getting 4 venue sponsors and several new members and all he had to do was talk us up. He also helped us out with our Atlanta Blues Challenge, Christmas party and charitable work. Will you be next year’s Blues Ambassador?

30th International Blues Challenge Winners
Memphis, TN (January 25, 2014) - The 30th International Blues Challenge (IBC – the world's largest gathering of blues acts – concluded its five-day run on world famous Beale Street in downtown Memphis with a full day of performances before a full house at the Orpheum Theatre. A record 255 acts from 40 states and 16 countries (and four continents), the 8 solo/ duo and 9 band finalists vied for the top prizes before an esteemed panel of judges. Here are the results:

1st Place: Mr. Sipp - Vicksburg Blues Society
2nd Place: Ghost Town Blues Band - Memphis Blues Society
3rd Place: Billy the Kid & Regulators - Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania

Gibson Guitarist (top guitarist among band finalists): Mr. Sipp Vicksburg Blues Society

1st Place: Tim Williams Calgary Blues Music Association
2nd Place: Lucious Spiller Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas Inc.
St. Blues Guitarist (top guitarist among solo/duo finalists): Tim Williams Calgary Blues Assn.

Lee Oskar Harmonica Player (top harmonica player among semi-finalists): Jerome Godboo (Toronto Blues Society)

Best Self-Produced CD: Account to Me - Hank Mowery (West Michigan Blues Society)

The Cazanovas made it the Semi-Finals and The Timo Arthur Duo and the Youth Band, Abraham Lincoln and the Log Lawyers both put on excellent sets for the Memphis fans. We are very proud of all of them.

Atlanta Blues Challenge
The Atlanta Blues Challenge is now history. After a full day of acts competing for 3 categories (Band, Solo/Duo, Youth) –- and what a great competition it was (glad I wasn’t a judge) – we have winners! Representing Atlanta in the Youth Showcase will be Abe Lincoln & the Log Lawyers: Dashiell Wakeman, Jonathan Yaeger, and Logan Brammer. Our solo/duo winners are the Timo Arthur Duo: Timo Arthur and Tamara Nicolai. And … The Cazanovas will be representing Atlanta in the band category! Good luck to all of these guys and gals and we know there will be lots of Atlanta Blues Society members in Memphis in January to cheer you on.

ABS January Meeting and Jam
Our January monthly meeting was heating up the great music room at Locals Bar & Grill in Acworth, GA. The host band, Jim Nicolletta's Rhythm Raiders, were bringing it and the wait staff was working hard to keep us happy and satisfied with good food and drink. We gave away 2 sets of tickets to the Tommy Castro show and Linda Kelly and Olivia Jones McKeever were the happy winners. The jam was outstanding, best ever and we even had a blues flute player. We were informed and want to make sure that you know that Locals will be moving at the beginning of next month just up the street to the old Justabar location, 6380 Bells Ferry Rd, Acworth GA 30102. The name will stay Locals and there will still be lots of music going on there. The Sunday and Tuesday night jams will still be happening plus there will be lots of outdoor seating for the warmer months coming up.

Dear Friends,

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I am nominated for the 2014 Blues Music Award in the "Acoustic Artist of the Year" category. This is a huge deal for me and I want to share my joy with you all.  I would like to thank you for your continuous support. I cannot list all the people who helped during my career, there are so many. Musicians, family, friends, fans, journalists, radio DJs, booking agents you all are in it with me.  Special thanks to my record label Vizztone Label Group. They have worked very hard for me since day one which i truly, truly appreciate.

The 35th Blues Music Awards will be presented by the Blues Foundation at the Cook Convention Center on May 8, 2014 in downtown Memphis, TN. The voting will begin on December 16, 2013.  How can you vote? You are eligible to vote once you become a member of the Blues Foundation.  It is a super easy and fast process via the Blues Foundation`s web site.   I would like to encourage everyone to become a member whether you feel like voting or not. See the complete list of nominees HERE.

Merry Christmas to you all and your loved ones,
Little G Weevil

R.I.P., Chick Willis
Chick Willis, Atlanta's much-loved "Stoop Down Man" has passed away from cancer. He was 79.

Chick's family has asked for help with expenses for his final resting place. A foundation has been set up and you can donate at any Bank of America. Make checks out to The Chick Willis Foundation. Account # 334040908303. You can learn more about that at the official Chick Willis website –

Willis got his start touring with his cousin Chuck Willis and then with Elmore James before finding his own niche with “Stoop Down” in the 70's. The adult themes of his songs limited radio play but made him immensely popular in live performances and on jukeboxes. He was a popular member of the Atlanta blues community and he will be missed.

ABS 2013 Holiday Party
 What a Holiday Party the ABS had at Blind Willie's this past Sunday! Although tempered by the sad news of Chick’s passing, a day of good fellowship and great music ensued. I heard some “cubic yards” estimate for the number of toys collected for the Marines’s Toys for Tots, but I’ll just go with 4 LARGE boxes. All of our featured musicians were winners at the Atlanta Blues Challenge. First up were the People’s Choice winners, Scene of the Crime, and they got us off to a great start. Before the three bands that will be representing us in Memphis got up to play, George Klein, co-president of the ABS, made a big announcement. He asked people to tip generously for each band to help them go to Memphis and, noting that it costs a lot for these groups to make the trip to compete, added that the ABS would match each collection for that band! And give generously you did… somewhere in the neighborhood of $600-$650 was collected for the three groups and then matched by the ABS for Abraham Lincoln and the Log Lawyers, the Timo Arthur Duo and the Cazanovas. What wonderful performances they gave us! Look out Memphis! The party continued with a lively jam. Happy Holidays everyone! Let’s do it all again in the new year.

35th Blues Music Awards Announcements

December 10, 2013

Memphis, TN - The Blues Foundation is pleased to announce the nominations for the annual Blues Music Awards, which we will present at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, TN, on Thursday, May 8, 2014. The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded musicians and songwriters in Blues music. The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for Blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world.

It is good year for members of the Blues Hall of Fame as Billy Boy Arnold, Otis Clay, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush and Irma Thomas each are nominated. Leading the list of nominees with five nominations are Cotton, Musselwhite and Lurrie Bell. Buddy Guy received four. Rick Estrin, Doug MacLeod and Bobby Rush each garnered three nominations. Two releases featuring Musselwhite are nominated -- Get Up! with Ben Harper and Remembering Little Walter with a quintet of harpists.

Tickets for the Award show go on sale December 16. Blues Foundation members are the only fans who vote to decide which nominees will actually take home the Blues Music Award. Of course, anyone can become a member!

Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 34rd Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, Catfood Records, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, First Tennessee Foundation, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

The complete list of 35th Blues Music Award nominees can be found at

Note: Nominated for the first time for Instrumentalist/Harmonica is Brandon Santini, who is appearing at Darwin’s this weekend. Catch him and find out why!

Atlanta Blues Challenge
The Atlanta Blues Challenge is now history. After a full day of acts competing for 3 categories (Band, Solo/Duo, Youth) –- and what a great competition it was (glad I wasn’t a judge) – we have winners! Representing Atlanta in the Youth Showcase will be Abe Lincoln & the Log Lawyers: Dashiell Wakeman, Jonathan Yaeger, and Logan Brammer. Our solo/duo winners are the Timo Arthur Duo: Timo Arthur and Tamara Nicolai. And … The Cazanovas will be representing Atlanta in the band category! Good luck to all of these guys and gals and we know there will be lots of Atlanta Blues Society members in Memphis in January to cheer you on.

We had one other winner and that was the People’s Choice. Congratulations to Youth band Scene of the Crime on that win.

There were also two raffles during the day for upcoming concert tickets. Raffle winners were:
Gary Clark Jr. show Oct 16: Wallace Mobley & Sharon Petty
Seth Walker show Oct 17: B.B. Burnett & Tom Dausner

We had a great crowd of enthusiastic supporters of all the acts. Thanks so much to everyone who came out and all who volunteered. Thank you as well to Anthony’s Pizza and their great staff who worked so hard throughout the day.

The 2014 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

Affiliated Organization: Crossroads Blues Society of Illinois – Rockford, Illinois
Art: Cristen Craven Barnard – Senatobia, Mississippi
Club: Kingston Mines – Chicago, Illinois
Education: Tas Cru – Chaumont, New York
Festival (International): BluesCazorla – Cazorla, Spain
Festival (U.S.): Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – Davenport, Iowa
Film, Television, and Video: Stefan Grossman – Sparta, New Jersey
Historical Preservation: George Mitchell – Fort Myers, Florida
International: Royal Mail Hotel – Goodna, Queensland, Australia
Journalism: Gene Tomko – Lafayette, Louisiana
Literature: Gerard Herzhaft – Lyon, France
Manager: Marcia Weaver – Jackson, Mississippi
Photography: Dick Waterman – Oxford, Mississippi
Producer: Tom Hambridge – Nashville, Tennessee
Promoter: Myron Mu – San Francisco, California
Publicist: Frank Roszak – North Hills, California
Radio (Commercial): Jerry Schaefer – East Islip, New York
Radio (Public): Larry Lisk – St. Petersburg, Florida
Record Label: Stony Plain Records – Edmonton, Alberta
Special Committee Award: Blue Star Connection – Winter Park, Colorado

ABS November Meeting

Sunday’s meeting at Shorty's Pizza in Tucker, GA, was a lively gathering!  Our host band, the Timo Arthur Duo featured special guest, Eddie Tigner.  It was a wonderful way to kick things off.  After a very short business meeting, the jam began.  There were a large number of jammers – some regulars and some brand new to the ABS,  including a couple horns… always a good thing! ---
Congratulations to Deb Pruett, Tony Williams, Barry "BB" Burnett, and Amy & Frank Peavy who won 2 tickets to the Jonny Lang Show on Sunday, Nov. 24, at Center Stage through a raffle at the meeting. Also, congratulations to Charlie Busfield who won 2 tickets to the Jonny Lang Show via the trivia question on our email blast.

ABS June Meeting and Jam Video

ABS May Meeting

The rains did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the ABS May meeting at Nik's Place in Marietta on Sunday.  While the rain poured outside, Mary Raindrop was pouring out her heartfelt blues on the inside and her band was kicking it up a notch as well.  Mary has become our latest musician member and we look forward to hearing and seeing her again soon.  See slide show below...

Acoustic Album - Not Alone – Ann Rabson w/ Bob Margolin
Acoustic Artist- Eric Bibb
Album of the Year - Show of Strength – Michael Burks
B.B. King Entertainer - Curtis Salgado
Band - Tedeschi Trucks Band
Best New Artist Debut - They Call Me Big Llou – Big Llou Johnson
Contemporary Blues Album - Show of Strength – Michael Burks
Contemporary Blues Female Artist- Janiva Magness
Contemporary Blues Male Artist - Tab Benoit
DVD (Eagle Rock) – Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones, Live at Checkerboard
Gibson Guitar Award - Derek Trucks
Instrumentalist-Bass - Bob Stroger
Instrumentalist-Drums - Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist-Harmonica - Rick Estrin
Instrumentalist-Horn - Eddie Shaw
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female) - Ruthie Foster
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player - Victor Wainwright
Rock Blues Album - Everybody’s Talkin’ – Tedeschi Trucks Band
Song - “I Wont Cry” by Janiva Magness & Dave Darling – Stronger For It
Soul Blues Album - Soul Shot – Curtis Salgado
Soul Blues Female Artist - Irma Thomas
Soul Blues Male Artist - Curtis Salgado
Traditional Blues Album - Double Dynamite – The Mannish Boys

Judges crowned Little G Weevil, representing The Atlanta Blues Society, as the 2013 International Blues Challenge winner in the solo/duo category and Best Guitarist Award in category. The ceremony was held in the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee on February 2nd 2013.  

The Georgia Flood made us proud!  The kids had to enter the competition at the Adult Competitor level because one of their members is over 18.  Never the less, they held it down.  They represent some of the sensational talent that you will find in Atlanta!  Great Job Guys!  We hope you had fun and enjoyed the experience.  We look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

38th Parallel rocked the house at the Youth Showcase!   They are among the many talented youth that are shining examples of talent in Atlanta.  We’re sure they will have some awesome stories to tell us.  Good Show Gentlemen!

Although they represented another society, The Cazanovas are still Atlanta’s to claim and we do!  ABS member Danny Vinson and his band mates advanced to the semi finals, but the finals were just slightly out of reach!  Next time guys.  Never the less, Memphis won’t be forgetting you anytime soon.

Chick Willis, The Don of The Blues, and bluesman extraordinaire has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He has a mass in his chest that is pressing against his vocal cords. This makes him hoarse and unable to sing.

Robert ‘Chick’ Willis known to many as “The Stoop Down Man” has a rich musical career that has spanned more than 5 decades. He is the recipient of many awards including two Living Blues Awards.

There is much more to know about Chick Willis.

He’s in good spirits but could use your good vibes and prayers. If you would like to send him a card, letter or financial help please forward to:

Chick Willis • P. O. Box 561 • Forsyth, GA, 31029

Recent Blues Adventures by Stephen Duncan

October has been an adventurous month in the blues for me. The first weekend in October I went on a trip to to a place I like to call the Bethlehem of Blues -- Clarksdale Mississippi -- for the Pinetop Perkins Foundation Homecoming. I was scheduled to play on the lawn stage, which really meant playing on the lawn of the Shack Up Inn at the Hopson Plantation. The Homecoming features two stages one at the Hopson Commissary and the other at the Juke Joint Chapel located at the Shack Up Inn. The purpose of the Homecoming is to raise money for scholarships for the Pinetop Perkins Youth Workshops held in June at the commissary for the youngsters to learn about the blues and also for old kids like myself. The Homecoming featured several of the future stars of the blues. Austin Young on guitar, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram on guitar, Matthew Davidson on guitar and Jack Gaffney on piano who played on both stages with Steady Rollin Bob Margolin. I mention their names because they will be heard from in the future.

I had a great time from seeing people from the workshop which I’ve been to the past two years and I was greatly touched to see some Atlanta folks who came to support me. I played on the lawn and then later I played in the Juke Joint Chapel for a couple of songs. It was a wonderful experience in that I got to see some friends and I made some new ones.

My second adventure brought me to Frogmore South Carolina on the 12th of October near Beaufort. Former Atlantan Kirk Dempsey brought myself as well as Music Maker artist Shelton Powe Jr. to play with him at a restaurant called the Foolish Frog.

This was the second time I got to play with Shelton and I really enjoy hearing him play the Piedmont style blues on his guitar and harp. Some might remember Kirk from the Rockaholics. We had a great time playing for a wonderful audience on the deck of the restaurant overlooking the water.

Since I’ve started playing and performing blues I consider myself to be very fortunate to have played with some great musicians and have met and made friends. The Blues is a journey.

Please click to enjoy the slide show (below) of photos from Atlanta Heat of theInternational Blues Challenge. Our sincere thanks to Michael Bradley at Rock House Photo for the outstanding photography!

Check out this video of “FRETS on FIRE” at the IBC in Memphis:



Blues Foundation Fat Matt's Rib Shack Blind WIllie's Blues Sean Costello Foundation Rockin Blues Camp

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