Wanna see the best the local Blues scene has to offer? You won't get a much better chance than this Sunday when the Cincy Blues Society presents its ninth annual "Blues Challenge" at Germania Park in Colerain Township. The popular outdoor event is more than just a showcase — as the name suggests, it is a competition. The top-rated acts from the Challenge will win slots at the Cincy Blues Fest, which returns to Sawyer Point Aug. 3 and 4. This year's Blues Fest is the Society's 15th and early whispers (OK, easy-to-access touring artists' itineraries posted online) suggest such high-profile acts as Bettye LaVette (who played the most recent Tall Stacks fest) and Walter Trout (a regular Cincy-area visitor with a strong local fan base) are booked to appear.
The overall winners in the "group" and "solo/duo" categories Sunday will not only earn a spot at Blues Fest; they'll also represent the 'Nati at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis early next year. The 2007 IBC featured '06 CBS "group" winners II Juicy, and "solo" winner Sonny Moorman, who nearly took home the grand prize in his category, placing second overall.
Who will spread the good word about Cincy Blues at next year's IBC? Here's the full list of artists scheduled to perform Sunday (in order of appearance): Bobby D, Sweetwater Clifton, Ricky Nye, Jimmy D. Rogers, 46 Long, Gravy, The Moxie Band, The Bluebirds, the Sonny Moorman Group, Velveeta Jones, Johnny and the Dangerous Bunch, Brown Street Breakdown, Them Bones (with Cheryl Renee and Lightin' Tim), the Danny Adler Band, Dick and the Roadmasters, Slick Nickel, Miss Lissa and Company, American Standard, Bluemanchu, the Jon Justice Band, Conrail Saints and Tempted Souls.
Music starts at 1 p.m. and goes until about 9:30 p.m.
Admission is $15 per person (kids under 16 get in free with an adult). That works out to about 75 cents a band — what a bargain! (cincyblues.org)
Rumors, Lies and General Misunderstandings
· Middletown-based Rock crew Edge of Life is releasing a new CD, Automatic, this Friday in conjunction with a show at Middletown club Coconutz. The ambitious group reports industry interest from labels, and it's easy to hear why — Automatic sounds exactly like the "New Rock" that stations like WEBN are high on right now. Edge of Life would fit right in on a playlist between groups like Hinder and Three Doors Down. The band cites influences like Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains and Marillion (all apparent on the new disc) and their songs feature soaring '80s Metal guitar solos, yarling vocals and melodies that are predictable but memorable (in an "if they play this on the radio 20 times a day, I'll remember it" kind of way). At the release show, EoL is joined by openers American Hardcore, The Screaming Kings and My Wasted Youth. (edgeoflife.com)
· It's a Genesis "And Then There Were Three" in reverse. Except it probably won't suck. Local Indie duo Meadoe has become a local Indie trio with the addition of bassist Jane Jordan (also of Campfire Crush, formerly of The Fairmount Girls). The band's debut as a three-piece is this Friday at The Comet in Northside. The free show is headlined by Staggering Statistics. (myspace.com/meadoe)
· Since relocating to Northern Kentucky a few years ago, well-traveled record producer Erwin Musper (who has worked with Def Leppard, David Bowie, Elton John, The Scorpions and scores of other big-time acts) has gathered a great collection of local bands to get his YeaYeaYeah Records imprint off the ground. This Saturday at the Madison Theater in Covington, Musper gets a chance to show them off with a concert featuring much of the label's roster. Hosted by WEBN's Jenni "Buzzkill" Huss, the 7:30 p.m. show — dubbed "The Greatest Cincinnati Showcase" — kicks off with Lost In Holland and also features performances by Bastion, Chaselounge, Close to Home, The Kentucky Struts and Oval Opus. (yeayeayeah.com)
· Scot Fithen and Bill Bundy of the band The Myths are putting together a compilation CD to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Artists Against Cancer: Volume 1 is their attempt to showcase original music from around the world (including here in Cincy, of course), as well as raise funds for a good cause. The Myths were partly responsible for the recent local tribute to The Ramones, which also raised money for cancer research. Artists interested in participating can go to myspace.com/artistsagainstcancer for details. Deadline for submissions is July 23. Two slots on the disc are being reserved for Cincinnati area bands.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com