Newton Band Preliminary Round
Hosted by South Skunk Blues Society
Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – Izaak Walton League
Diva & the Deacons
Diva and the Deacons is a musical tribe of true blues lovers eager to blow your mind with energetic renditions of first class blues tunes from all the colors of the blues rainbow. Under the leadership of the dynamic and soulful lovebird duo, 2015 Iowa Blues Challenge duo champions, Tina and Brandon, every show by this great group is one heavenly blues celebration.
Already honored at the tender age of 50 with the terms “legend” and “icon”, the awardwinning vocals of Tina Haase Findlay have made their mark throughout the blues realm as well as in jazz, rock, soul, gospel, commercial jingles, and musical theatre. During her 30-plus year professional career, she has opened for and/or shared the stage with such luminaries as Bruce Katz, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Andrew ‘Jr. Boy’ Jones, Robert Cray, Renee Austin, Damon Fowler, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Tea Leaf Green, Eddie Money, Trampled Underfoot, Mike Farris, and many more. A two time Iowa Blues Challenge finalist with The Groove Merchants and Bella Soul, Tina humbly considers herself creatively wealthy and effervescently youthful due to the constant inspiration of all her talented friends way too numerous to name from the regional and local music scenes that have graciously indulged her hobby of being a “collaboration junkie”!
Standing right beside the diva for most of those thrilling guest moments, Brandon Findlay has dove into the deepest end in tribute to his greatest bass inspirations, the late great Allen Woody of Gov’t Mule fame, as well as one whom he is honored to call friend, mentor, and “homeboy”, the incomparable Scot Sutherland. A previous Blues Challenge finalist with Bella Soul, Brandon was the lead guitarist of Lady Blue and Bella Soul, and has written, co-written, and/or arranged many of the hits in those bands’ catalogs. In addition, he is an accomplished civic arts and culture advocate, and a freelance music journalist who has had the pleasure of interviewing some of his personal music heroes, including Marc Ford, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Derek Trucks, and the one the Findlays call ‘Jesus on the guitar’, Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule.
Joining Tina and Brandon for this blues adventure are two true deacons, onstage and off, Ricc Terranova on guitar and Nate McDonald on drums. Tina and Brandon are blessed to present them for you to add to your list of favorite players and favorite people. Born in Fleetwood, England, and a graduate of Liverpool University, Ricc is quite simply a British blues phenom, making his mark in bands such as Superchief, Bella Soul, and Abby Normal. Visit him at Professional Music Center in Clive, IA for his expert assistance on all your musical instrument needs.
Nate McDonald is a torch bearer of millennial drumming excellence. From a two generation legacy of drum expertise, Nate is earning his Masters Degree from Truman State University in Missouri. In addition to his deacon blues time, he also pounds with The Des Moines Community Jazz Center Big Band, and is currently working on an album with the Matt Cook Collective of Kansas City.
DIVA is an acronym meaning Divine Inspiration Victorious Attitude, and Deacon is a word that means one who serves. So Tina, Brandon, Ricc, and Nate consider their Deacon mission to be serving up a feast of true DIVA-style blues for your body, mind, heart, and soul.
Hard Left Turn
Hard Left Turn is composed of 5 musicians who have decided that playing music is an important part of their lives. Each has played their own instrument with other bands, each with various levels of success. Together they play blues, rock, or country with a take no prisoners approach. Mark Artwein was born in Springfield, MO. Plays acoustic guitar and sings. He loves classic and outlaw country, bluegrass, alternative rock and the Blues. Mark once lived in Nashville, but became homesick and moved back to Iowa. Arnie Odell hails from Kansas City, MO and is formerly from locally successful Blues Inc. He plays bass. Des Moines native Douglas Sample messages the keys. Previously he played bass with Pure Nectar. Manny Bernal started out in Colorado playing with Star System Express. He found happiness in Iowa with his family and now plays drums for Hard Left Turn. Chris Determan moved to Iowa from Minnesota. He played in some garage bands, but was always interrupted by military commitments or family. He plays electric guitar.
Scotty & the Wingtips
Scotty and the Wingtips was formed in 1989 by Scotty Hartung when he was asked to host a weekly Jam at a local Des Moines Venue. Mike Tyler on guitar / Vocals, Ernie Terrell on Bass/vocals and Scotty Hartung on drums formed the nucleus of the band. After a few years, the band decided to add horns and that’s when John Luna playing trumpet and Dave Jenks playing sax joined. The band was coming together nicely and we all found we had a great level of energy as a band, however Scotty felt he still was missing just one piece to the puzzle…..the famous sound of the Hammond B-3 Tone. That is when Jeff Daniels joined the band.
Every member of the band had played with other bands but this group of guys had such a special energy and camaraderie that makes Scotty and the Wingtips a force to be reckoned with.
In the 27 years they have been playing, they have played just about every venue and blues functions there have been. They have opened for artists such as Jr. Wells, Lonnie Brooks, and Eddie Clearwater just to name a few.
Here’s some good old Shake your Booty, tap your foot, find a partner Blues music played by 6 guys that truly enjoy playing, but also have a great loyalty to blues music and respect each other’s musical talent, and thoroughly enjoy playing together in Scotty and the Wingtips.
Quad Cities Solo/Duo Preliminary Round
Hosted by Mississippi Valley Blues Society
Sunday, May 1, 2016 – River Music Experience
Bruce Kort is a musician traveling the Midwest who is best known for his lifelong career in the blues field, in addition to his repertoire of old jazz and tin pan alley, hard country and bluegrass and anything else that is native to North America. Born in Elgin, Illinois, he grew up and spent most of his life in the Chicago area, soaking up the sounds of the then – vibrant Chicago blues scene. He started playing professionally in the late 70’s with various local musicians, picking up on any influence that came through the area. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that he started to gain some notice with his blues band, “The Dairyland Aces”. Aside from their own shows through northern Illinois and Wisconsin, they also opened for legendary bluesmen, including Lonnie Brooks, Son Seals, Eddy Clearwater, Phil Guy, The Mellow Fellows, Eddie Shaw, Barkin’ Bill Smith and a host of others. They also hosted the Budweiser Bluesbreakers Battle of the Bands for several years, as well as making Several appearances at Wrigley Field in the early nineties, playing prior to Cubs games. As the nineties wound down, he concentrated on solo as well as duet performances with blues piano player Randy Adolf, working on songs as well as improving his technique and vocal style. Now a resident of the Driftless area of northwestern Illinois, he travels and plays throughout the tri state region as well as other Midwest venues. He also occasionally makes appearances with his blues band, “The Infarctions!” playing regularly at Flatted Fifth as well as other festivals and venues. Be prepared to hear raw, Chicago style blues as well as jump blues and boogie on guitar and harmonica, along with full bodied vocals.
A lifetime in music led Rock Island’s Dale Rigsby across the country, back home again, and now to the Central Iowa Blues Challenge to present a blues show that has audiences jumping out of their seats. Rigsby appears as Concreteslim, performing his original songs and unique interpretations of popular covers. “We’re fresh with a lot of high energy that seems to make people move,” he said. Concreteslim made it to the Quad-Cities Blues Challenge finals at River Music Experience, where judges hailed his original songs and contagious rhythms. Rigsby has written and performed as long as he can remember, beginning in his Army years tending a Florida missile silo. The songwriter’s folk and jazz bent drove a duo that performed for years in Tucson, Ariz., and later his solo act in southern California. That’s where he picked up the moniker. Co-workers pegged him as Concreteslim, calling him “solid as a rock,” for his reliability and fairness as a supervisor. And for his thin frame. He returned to Rock Island, Ill., fell in with some new players and reunited with some old friends. Armed with a Stratocaster instead of an acoustic guitar, Rigsby penned more real-life tunes for his blues act. His parents were songwriters, too, in the Hank Williams tradition. In fact, it was a Hank Williams bio-pic that encouraged Rigsby to write down the songs and lyrics swirling in his head. “He could write a song in a minute,” Rigsby said. Concreteslim’s compositions are slices of his life and observations of others’, almost always delivered with a raw energy that brings crowds to their feet. “I feed off that. What they’re feeling is what I’m feeling, too.”
Playing guitar while singing your own songs is one of the purest forms of blues expression. Just out of high school, Dan Peart devoted five years to traveling via car, bus, train and even hitch-hiked coast-to-coast twice with a back pack and guitar, performing solo at many places, including at The Troubadour in LA, the Olde Town in Chicago, Gerdes Folk City in New York City, plus busking and any other gigs he could scrounge. Then Dan came home to try to settle back in with family and friends in Clinton, Iowa, playing locally and working day jobs to keep songwriting dreams alive. That was working out only so well. A decade later Dan hit the road again playing bass as an agency hired journeyman in four different bands over fourteen months from Minneapolis to San Jose, Nevada, Nebraska, Wyoming, Denver, Dallas, etc., before returning home again to try married life while being a weekend warrior musician. That didn’t work out so well, either. After years existing in folk/country/blues/rock cover band combos playing bass, keyboards, guitars, harmony and lead singing, Dan stepped forward in 2008 with studio recordings and solo gigs featuring originals based on iconic influences from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, Mississippi John Hurt to Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan. A three-time Iowa Solo/Duo Blues Challenge finalist, Dan is currently gigging solo 6 or more times a month from Dubuque to the Quad Cities, Galena and Sterling, Illinois.
Y Monkey Y
The question is, what makes Y Monkey Y (Nate & Wes) different? Many things: their approach to the art of music, work ethic, influences and mixtures of genres. The main goal of the duo is to share a love of music while remaining original. Y Monkey Y weaves multiple styles and philosophies into a cohesive web of strength. The two have played numerous gigs from the QC to the bottom corner of Iowa, each time gaining strength and experience. With Nate on rhythm and vocals and Wes on lead and vocals they provide uniquely satisfying sets. The goal of the Blues Challenge is to jumpstart their ever-growing career in music and to expand knowledge.
Quad Cities Band Preliminary Round
Hosted by Mississippi Valley Blues Society
Sunday, May 1, 2016 – River Music Experience
The Royal Blues
Matthew Fuller is 16 years old and has been playing since he was 8 years old. His main influences are Albert King, Albert Collins , B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his uncle Joe Peña. He has played with a lot of people over the years, including: Bernard Allison, Billy Branch, Anthony Gomes, Samantha Fish and many more. He can play various styles, but Blues is his favorite.
John Peña has 50 years experience in music. He is the founding member of the legendary Peña Brothers and also Serious Business. He has played with Luther Allison, Ron Thompson and has shared the same bill with John Lee Hooker, Bobby Blue Bland, Koko Taylor and Son Seals, to name a few. He is also a veteran of 10 MVBS Festivals and a finalist in the IBC Challenge in Memphis in 1986 & 1987.
Don O’Dette has been playing drums for over 40 years. He played in many local bands, including the Steady Rolling Blues Band, which opened up for B.B. King at the I-Wireless Center. He’s been a veteran of the music scene for many years.
Winter Blues All Stars 2016
The Winter Blues All Stars 2016 band was formed after all of these musicians participated in the Winter Blues Camp hosted by the River Music Experience in December, 2015. From all of the musicians that participated, the instructors selected these musicians to form the All Stars for the 2016 year. They have been practicing weekly since January and have performed at various venues. In January, they played at the Col Ballroom for a fundraiser. Then in February, they had the great opportunity to open for John Primer in the Redstone Room at the River Music Experience. They are also the hosts of the monthly Blues Café on the Community Stage at Falbo’s Pizza. Even though they have been together only a few months, they have years of experience performing between them.
Sylvia Friedhof-Cruz, 15 is a freshman at Bettendorf High School. She has been singing vocals for the past 9 years. She participates in the Show Choir at Bettendorf High School. She has performed in the productions of 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book at the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island, IL. This past December was her first Winter Blues Camp at the River Music Experience. She credits her family with her music influences.
Konnor Kirkbride, 16 is a sophomore at Rock Island High School. It is a long running joke among his family that Konnor sang before he talked. His love of performing began at the age of 6 when he played King Louie in a production of The Jungle Book. He was hooked! His passion for music grew to include the acoustic guitar (10 yrs), the electric guitar (5 yrs), and the ukulele (6 yrs). Konnor has had the opportunity to work with some of the best talent in the Quad Cities in such genres as the Moline Boys Choir, Center for Living Performing Arts in Rock Island, Rock Island High School Chamber Choir and Drama Club. He joined the River Music Experience family in the summer of 2015 for Rock Camp and returned for the 2015 Winter Blues Camp.
Kaleb Dykema, 17 is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School. He has been playing the guitar for 9 years. He has participated in several Rock Camps and Blues Camps at the River Music Experience. He is also in band and Jazz band at his school. His music influences are varied. They include the bands Pantera and Iron Maiden and blues legend Stevie Ray Vaugh. Kaleb also plays in 2 other bands besides the Winter Blues All Stars.
Sam Barber, 17 is a junior at Riverdale High School. He has been playing the guitar for 6 years. Sam participated in his first Winter Blues Camp this past December and has been in the school choir for 5 years. His music influences are classic rock including AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd , and blues influences Buddy Guy and BB King. Sam also enjoys playing soccer.
Quinn Branch, 17 is a junior at Sherrard High School. He has been playing the bass for 3 years. He has participated in 2 Winter Blues Camps at the River Music Experience. He is involved in band and Jazz band at his high school. He also plays in another band besides the All Stars. Quinn has a variety of musical influences including Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Everlast, Buddy Guy and Duke Ellington. He earned his Eagle Scout ranking, which is the highest achievement with the Boys Scouts of America
Sam Petri, 14 is an eighth grader at Walcott Intermediate School. Sam has been playing drums since he was 8 years old. Sam has participated in Rock Camp at the River Music Experience for the past 6 summers and Winter Blues Camp for 2 years. He plays in the Jazz band, marching band and show choir pit at his school. Sam also plays the drums for the youth group at his church. His greatest music influences range from 80’s rock to Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Rich. Sam also enjoys playing golf, baseball and basketball.
Keval Wagher, 12 is a sixth grader at Rivermont Collegiate. He has been playing the piano for 8 years, trumpet for 3 years and guitar for 2 years. Keval has participated in the Winter Blues Camp for 3 years and band at school for 2 years. His music influences are classical, blues and jazz. He also plays in a travel soccer league, baseball and basketball.
Zach Harris Band
The Zach Harris Band is made up of Randy Leasman on bass, Nick Vasquez on keyboard, Jamie Hopkins on Drums, and Zach Harris on guitar. Modern blues with a twist of the old school.
Fairfield Preliminary Round
Hosted by Southeast Iowa Blues Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016 – Best Western
This dynamic artist from the Quad Cities will take you on a melodic journey with her soulful originals. Juliana Logan, a 17-year old Davenport native, has been heavily involved with the local blues scene since she was 12. This singer/songwriter has been active at the River Music Experience in Rock Camp, Open Mic, Songwriters in the Round, and Blues Camp. As the front person for her band, Juliana & A Soul Purpose, Juliana was invited to participate in the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase earlier this year. She has a young, fresh blues sound, while keeping with the traditional blues roots, and is sure to amaze you.
Steve Robinson is a songwriter who calls Des Moines, Iowa home. Descriptions of Steve’s music have been as diverse as the music he makes. Steve utilizes a blend of rock, blues, soul, and experimental sounds for his audience to enjoy his commanding stage show. As a solo acoustic performer or with a full band this charismatic locomotive led by a voice that is part primal scream and soulful swagger captivates audiences and takes them on a ride.
While traveling around America and New Zealand Steve has earned a following of eclectic fans. Steve released his album ‘Hello from the Up-Down Room.’ on Mushroom Cloud Records in 2007. Touring, record sales and radio support have allowed the band to get spins on college radio and stocking the shelves of record stores across the Midwest and Northwest of America.
Please See full bio at www.stevanrobinson.com
Tina & Brandon
Passionate partners in love and rhyme, Tina and Brandon have become quite a bluesified force to be reckoned with. Married since January of 2005 and veterans of their popular past bands Lady Blue and Bella Soul, they have enjoyed their numerous appearances on blues stages big and small, and were honored to be the winners of the 2015 Iowa Blues solo/duo Challenge Duo Champions, representing Iowa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2016. They consider themselves blessed to be able to share such a busy, diverse, challenging, exciting, and fulfilling melodic journey together, The award winning vocals of Tina plus the sought after “guitartistry” of Brandon create a compelling union all their own, in their powerful duo shows or with their blues band, Diva and the Deacons. Celebrating one lovely decade of performing, with more brand new music coming this year, Tina and Brandon continue to be forever grateful for their growing lovable tribe of fans. For them, it is all about inspiration, authenticity, and the thrill of a sweet blues groove. If this is you, then Tina and Brandon are your kindred spirits indeed.
Des Moines Solo/Duo Preliminary Round
Hosted by Central Iowa Blues Society
Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – Zimm’s Food & Spirits
$5 for any Iowa Blues Society members with current card / $10 non-members
Friends and Neighbors (6:00 – 6:30)
Friends And Neighbors is the Des Moines blues-based duo of singers/songwriters Wade Elder and Natalie Beeson. They have been bandmates, friends, and neighbors since 2011 as members of Brother Bailey, Exes & Ohs, and their current five-piece bluesy rock group, Bad Jack & the Dirty Pots; as well as guest musicians with bellasoul, Hwy 163, and Barney Band. In addition to playing bass and electric guitar for those groups, Wade also drums for Diva & the Deacons, and his church worship team. Natalie operates a music therapy service called Friend In Deed Music Companionship and Mobile Cheer. Her better half is Jeff Beeson, lead guitarist for Bad Jack & the Dirty Pots, Exes & Ohs, Hwy 163, and Barney Band.
Freight Train Frank (6:45 – 7:15)
Freight Train Frank has been performing Blues music in schools, festivals, Farmers Markets, and other venues for many years. Frank became fascinated with Blues music in his younger years when he came upon some old Blues records in a record show which was a fundraiser at an orphanage. One might consider how an orphanage might be a good place to learn about the Blues. From these obscure recordings, Frank became a fan of Lightning Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Memphis Minnie, among other pioneers of the Blues.
Frank has a goal of promoting live music every day and so he is thankful for the Blues Society for promoting live music to new generations of Blues fans.
Bare Bones (7:30 – 8:00)
Drummer and New Jersey native Dwight Dario first came to Iowa in 1974 where he spent time playing in the Mother Blues Band, the 3rd Street Sliders with Bo Ramsey, The Little Red Rooster Band, Bob Reidy’s Chicago Blues Show with Johnny Littlejohn and in a duo with fellow Iowa Blues Hall of Famer Joe Price. Dwight left Iowa in 1984 and settled in the Twin Cities. He spent 5 years with Blues Deluxe with R.J. Mischo, and then 14 years with the Big George Jackson Blues Band, with whom he toured Europe 12 times.
Guitarist Bob Pace has entertained Midwest audiences for more than 40 years. He led the Tuesday night house band at the legendary Blues on Grand for 20 of those years. He’s a proud member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Bob has jammed with Eric Sardinas, Sonny Rhodes, Junior Wells, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Tab Benoit, John Mayall and many others.
Bare Bones is two Blues veterans getting together to create their own brand of raw, stripped down, butt shakin’, high energy Blues.
Eastside Brothers (8:15 – 8:45)
Aaron Earl Short and Rob Short are Eastside Brothers. Performing together for over 20 years has tightened their musical brotherhood. They have grown up playing music together and always knew it was an important part of their lives. They never have committed to one genre, but both grew up with an appreciation of the blues and formed this project to pay homage. They began as the band Erosion but started performing steadily in the Creek Dwellers, a southern rock blues band, through 2010. Both have established their own music careers. Aaron is currently performing in The High Crest and Rob performs with Dust Radio. Both are admired and respected guitar players. Rob specializes in shredding his electric guitar with soul and feeling while Aaron crafts his words with the same foundation. Runners up in the 2015 Iowa Blues Challenge, this duo has a natural grit and dedication to their music that really leaves you stunned by the talent they possess.
Des Moines Band Preliminary Round
Hosted by Central Iowa Blues Society
Sunday, May 22, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – Lefty’s Live Music
$5 for any Iowa Blues Society members with current card / $10 non-members
Jeff Banks Band (2:00 – 2:30)
From the first note to the last, the funky, original sound of the Jeff Banks Band will titillate your ears and soothe your soul. Jeff Banks, along with Justin Appel on keys, Kip Heaberlin on bass and Scott Dawson on drums, brings the true spirit of the blues to life.
Juliana & A Soul Purpose (2:45 – 3:15)
Juliana & A Soul Purpose Band is made up of teens from the Quad Cities area. They play a range of covers, however their original music is what sets them apart. Founding vocalist, Juliana Logan, is an aspiring singer and songwriter from Davenport whose music is heavily influence by blues, folk, and roots music. Her band, A Soul Purpose, is composed of the most talented teens in the Quad Cities. Members include Nicholas Dicklin on lead guitar, Matthew Dilulio on drums, Cloey Schultheis on bass, Haley Teel on tambourine and vocals, Tommy Davies on keyboard, and Joseph Dicklin on rhythm guitar. They bring a nice balance of old blues, funk, rock and soul to their sound. Their energy and skill will amaze you!
Sadona & the Blue Flames (3:30 – 4:00)
Sadona & The Blue Flames is a Central Iowa Blues Band. In keeping with the tradition of a heartfelt music performance, they knew it was time to go back to the basics and a simpler time by offering a wide variety of Blues influenced by the likes of Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Nora Jean Bruso. With Sadona’s smoky contralto voice, she is, without a doubt, capturing the attention of her audience.
Sadona returned to Iowa early 2015, after living in Northern California for the past few decades. On the night of her return, she decided to search online for a new music project to consider. Little did she know that this would be the beginning of amazing musical connections with some of Central Iowa’s most talented musicians. Sadona & The Blues Flames was created.
Assembling some of the finest Des Moines, Iowa musicians to round out this powerhouse are Guitarist Rich Casciato (3 time winner Des Moines Guitar Center’s King of the Blues & 2012 IA Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee); Bassist Dave Petersen (A friend once wrote that Dave has a Zen-like quality to his playing. He is the Emperor of Groove); and Drummer Tim Hammett (originally from Memphis, TN, he was personally exposed to the legendary talents of the Muscle Shoals and Stax artists at age 14, recording at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio “B” by 18, and Iowa’s own West Minister, AKA Juniors Motel Recording in the 70′);. The Blue Flames bring decades of experience and guidance to Sadona & The Blue Flames that allows Sadona to be bold and grow as a performer and entertainer.
When asked why the blues, Sadona stated “Blues has always been at the heart of most contemporary genres. It all started with blues and expressing your heartaches and triumphs. It just makes sense to go back to basics.”
2016 Iowa Blues Challenge Finals
Hosted by Central Iowa Blues Society
Saturday, June 18, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – Downtown Des Moines Marriott
$10 for any Iowa Blues Society members with current card / $15 non-members
Fairfield Solo/Duo winner (6:00 – 6:30)
Quad Cities Solo/Duo winner (6:45 – 7:15)
Des Moines Solo/Duo winner (7:30 – 8:00)
Quad Cities Band winner (8:15 – 8:45)
Newton Band winner (9:00 – 9:30)
Des Moines Band winner (9:45 – 10:15)