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Washington Blues Society  Local Competitions for

2020 International Blues Challenge

Washington Blues Society Contacts:

Tony Frederickson, President (206) 612-6055
Rick Bowen, Vice President (425) 422-5062

The Washington Blues Society’s local competitions for the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis have been set! It’s time for bands and solo/duo acts to make their plans to compete. One band and one solo/duo act will represent the Washington Blues Society (WBS) in Memphis at the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians in January of 2020 on Memphis’ fabled Beale Street.

We are working with Blues Societies across the state to hold semi-finals across the state to make it easier for blues acts to participate.

We will hold semi-finals on: Monday, May 27th in Snohomish, WA at Collector’s Choice Restaurant; Sunday, June 2nd in Tacoma, WA at the Airport Tavern; Sunday, June 9th in Anacortes, WA at the Rock Fish Taproom; Sunday, June 16th in Cashmere, WA at Club Crow;  and Sunday, June 30th in Spokane, WA -bridge press cellars

The finalists will compete Sunday, August 25th in Everett, WA. If we receive 10+ applicants for any event, our Board may select applicants via lottery at the May 2019 Board meeting.

We are working with the Inland Empire Blues Society (IEBS) and South Sound Blues Assoc. to hold semi-finals across the state to make it easier for blues acts to participate.

IBC Finals (set times TBA) 

Introducing the finalists at this year’s Washington International Blues Challenge in Everett August 25



 The RooTsters The RooTsters play live, acoustic music, because playback devices have too many buttons to fiddle with onstage and because we blew our ears out on rock, back when we were a lot younger. We bring you a diverse but strangely compatible and compelling mix of styles of very listenable, mostly unplugged music. Alan Kausal and Stanislove blend American acoustic- and pop guitar styles into intimate conversations, edgy rants, and suspiciously improbable tales.

Blue Moon Marquee This duo, a self-styled gypsy blues band, writes and performs originals influenced by early blues and swing. A.W. Cardinal, a Metis of Cree heritage, howls with a distinctive, smoky vocal while playing a jazzy blues guitar and Jasmine Colette, aka Badlands Jazz, is the rhythm section on upright bass and keeps the swing with both feet while singing harmonies.

Flying Blind is Russ Milham on guitar with Dan Bode playing harmonica.  They both sing lead and harmonize.  The magic of Flying Blind is the shared, rich history of the various regional blues styles and jazz influences  that allow them to take off from the trusted landmarks of the deep south, Chicago, New Orleans, and Kansas City to give you new and original views of the blues landscape, even when they’re flying by instruments and can’t see where they’re going.

John “Greyhound” Maxwell (guitar, mandolin, vocals) was voted Washington Blues Society’s Best Acoustic Guitarist for 2018 and his newest CD represented the WBS at the 2019 IBC in Memphis. His previous CD represented the Golden Gate Blues Society at the 2016 IBC and placed in the final five. John has opened for Taj Mahal and Keb Mo, Maria Muldaur, Marcia Ball, Coco Montoya (among many others).

Brian Butler puts his own stamp on the blues while sustaining its rich emotion and sound. Brian includes originals, classic and obscure covers to create powerful blues journeys. Brian backs his vocals with commanding guitar playing that rings with authority and his harmonica adds another voice to the mix. His award-winning CD, Butler’s Blues, has been well-received.

Robby and Randy: Robert Patterson is a world-class guitar player, singer/songwriter with 30+ years’ experience. For 13 years, he was a force of “The Fat Tones” as a singer with a powerful voice and wide vocal range. Veteran bass player Randy Knowles has honed his craft since age 14 when he began playing bass professionally. The Inland Empire Blues Society named Randy Knowles Best Blues Bassist in 2015 and 2016.


The Slide Pocket

Long-time partners Eric Rice on guitar and Scotty Harris on the bass team up with Jesse Weston on keys and Tom Dostal on drums to form The Slide Pocket. This band delivers a sound unique to the personality of each member and rekindles the spirit of the artists who started it all. They rework classic blues with their own creative drive and compose a brand of blues-only found in “The Slide Pocket”.

CD Woodbury has played festivals and clubs across the region with original blues and other favorites. The album, Monday Night! was #1 on the Roots Report’s Washington Chart for over six months and peaked at #8 on the international chart. CD has been awarded 11 Best of the Blues Awards, including five Electric Blues Guitar awards in 10 years. Drummer Don Montana has appeared with Mitch Woods and John Nemeth and bassist Patrick McDanel has worked Mel Torme, The Temptations, and George Clinton Jr. Multi-instrumentalist Mike Marinig has toured with the Climax Blues Band and works with Mad Bojo.

The T-Town Aces are an elec-tro-fied blues band fronted by Joel Astley, winner of the 2019 Washington Blues Society’s Best Male Vocalist and Best Blues Harmonica Award two years running. The T-Town Aces feature Joel Astley on vocals and harmonica, Tom “T-Boy” Boyle on guitar, Dennis Ellis on sax/vocals, David Hudson on drums and Les “Wild Child” White on bass and vocals.

Showcasing new talent in the blues and blues veterans, Randy Oxford Blues brings a fresh, new sound to the IBC finals. Randy Oxford (trombone), Willy Straub (guitar) and Eddie Mendoza (drums) have competed in Memphis at the IBC and Miranda Kichpanich (bass & vocals) and Nick Mardon (guitar & vocals) represented the WBS in Memphis at the youth showcase. This new group will perform originals and an obscure cover or two done in unique and original ways. “Randy Oxford BLUES….it feels good.

Rafael Tranquilino has played music since age 10. Since then, he’s learned to play drums, harmonica, keyboards, bass and guitar (his signature instrument). He has gained a reputation playing guitar and as musical director for the Randy Oxford Band before launching the Rafael Tranquilino Band, a powerhouse of guitar, bass, drums and organ with vocals that fuse rock, blues, and funk.

The Bobby Patterson Band voted Inland Empire Blues Society Best Band, entertains blues fans from Arizona’s Yuma Blues Festival, Idaho’s CDA Blues Fest, Mt. Baker R&B Fest, Montana’s Flathead Lake Blues Festival and more. Singer-songwriter Bobby Patterson’s delivery of his originals excites audiences everywhere while drummer Ken Danielson and bassman Randy Knowles forge a the high-energy beat behind Bobby’s soaring leads.


The finalists will compete on Sunday, August 25. 1 PM in Everett WA on the waterfront stage at Port Gardner Landing, 1700 W. Marine View Dr., Everett, 98201. (directions)


****If we receive more than 10 applicants for either event, our Board may select applicants via a lottery at the May 2019 Board meeting.*** 

Each competition will follow the rules of the Blues Foundation. Each set will be limited to 25 minutes, and each competitor will be allowed one 15-minute set change. Any blues act that resides in WA, OR, ID, MT, BC or ALB, may enter, and the act must include at least one who is a member of the WBS. Membership can be established at IBC entry, using the membership form in the WBS Bluesletter or online at Please note: membership in WWBS for acts competing in Wenatchee or membership in IEBS for acts competing in Spokane is required in place of the WBS membership requirement. The contest entry application may be downloaded from wvvw.wablues.orq, or in the April and May edition of the WBS Bluesletter, or the Inland Empire’s Blues Notes, and must include the non-refundable entry fee, which pays for the backline and a PA system. Each winner will be required to perform at a minimum of two fundraisers in 2019 and one fundraiser in 2020 at no charge. Proceeds from these events and fees will be deposited into a WBS fund to help defray expenses to get each winning act to and from Memphis, but we cannot guarantee an “all-expense paid” trip. Band entry fee is $30; solo duo entry fee is $15.

All proceeds will help with expenses for Memphis. The WBS will help winners in fundraising, but cannot guarantee that all expenses for Memphis will be covered.

Judges will evaluate each act using the Blues Foundation scoring criteria ( and rules (www.blues.orq/ibc/rules.php). Acts may not be affiliated with the WBS Board or act upon the application.

IBC rules also prohibit any act from competing three consecutive years at the IBC

The application is an initial statement of interest and not a binding agreement between the applicant and the WBS.

Make your plans to enter now!


Best Self-Produced CD Contest

The Best Self-Produced CD, given out at the International Blues Challenge, as part of our mission to celebrate blues recording and to ensure the future of this uniquely American art form.

Best Self-Produced Official Rules:
Entries for the Best Self-Produced CD are permitted by Blues Foundation Affiliated Organizations only.
Each Affiliate is permitted one entry.
The CD entered may be recorded and performed by an act other than is entered in the current year’s International Blues Challenge.
Compilations are not eligible.
Only CDs released between November 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019, are eligible for consideration as The 2020 Best Self-Produced CD.
While the foundation encourages competition at the Affiliate level to determine the CD it will sponsor for Best Self-Produced CD, it does not require one. As an Affiliate, The Washington Blues Society conducts a competition to determine who it will sponsor, overseen by the executive board.

The CD may not include a board member or officer of the sponsoring Affiliated organization.
A performer who has previously been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition. A CD issued in the name of an otherwise eligible performer which also includes the contributions of a Blues Music Award nominee may be ineligible, depending on the extent of the contribution. Please contact The Blues Foundation directly to confirm eligibility.
A CD on a record label that has been previously nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition.
WBS Judging will take place in October. Judges will remain anonymous in order to protect them from outside influences and represent a cross-section of professionals from the blues radio and print industry. The final results will be announced at the finals of the International Blues Challenge on Saturday, FEB 2, 2020 held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN.

Evaluation Criteria:
Judges will evaluate each submitted CD on the following characteristics. The criteria considered are listed in order of importance.

(1) Blues Content
(2) Musical Performance
(3) Audio Quality and Production Value of the Recording
(4) Professionalism and Visual Appearance of Cover Art and Design
(5) Credits and Liner Note Information.


How to Submit:

submit 4 copies of their album 

Submissions MUST be received by The Washington Blues Society no later than October  8, 2019, at the October Blues bash or by mail at the following address: Washington Blues Society Best CD -4003 Friday Ave Everett WA 98201. 

official rules :