Congratulations to The Candymakers from the Quad Cities and Bryce Janey from Marion, the Iowa Blues Societies band and solo/duo representatives, respectively, in the 2012 International Blues Challenge. Each advanced to the semifinals of the competition. Bryce was one of 32 acts to advance (out of 86 entrees), while The Candymakers were one of 44 acts (out of 140 entrees) to make the semis. In addition, the Candymakers were one of just 13 bands handpicked by participating venues to compete in the Beale Street Blues Kings competition, advancing to the final round of four.

The 28th annual IBC was held January 31- February 4 in 20 venues in the Beale Street Historic District. That was 5 days of over 575 performances by 226 acts. The 2012 challenge brought 748 musicians from 40 states and a record 16 countries to downtown Memphis, Tennessee for the largest gathering of Blues artists…in the history of the World!

The Candymakers are a blues band with the traditions of old school R&B, funk and soul. This young band (ranging from ages 30 to 19 years old) offers a sound that is contemporary, yet keeps the essence of music past. Though the band is known for their soulful male and female front vocalist, they are anchored by the collaborative genius of their full-flavored blues driven guitarists, bassist, keyboard player and sultry horn section. It is important to The Candymakers to produce an original sound and stage show that keeps fans interested and craving for more. They help music education in their community by working with children, and donating time to keep the Blues alive.

Bryce Janey started performing at the age of 13 in his hometown of Marion, Iowa, in a blues trio alongside his mother on drums, and his father on guitar. He quickly launched into a solo career, performing in nationally renowned venues and festivals across the U.S. Janey celebrates traditional blues in his dynamic performances, while showcasing his talents as a songwriter of one-of-a-kind electric and acoustic melodies; his numerous albums have achieved international attention. His latest compilation, Down Home Blues, captures the texture of his soulful vocals and haunting slide guitar, reminiscent of the old Delta bluesmen, but with a Midwest style and blend that is distinctly his own.