Blues Foundation announces 2019 Memphis Challenge winners

Jan 29, 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The International Blues Challenge is out with its list of contest winners.


The Challenge is held annually in Memphis and attracts hundreds of Blues acts and Blues fans from all over world.

The 2019 First Place Band is Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start out of St. Louis. The top Solo Act is Jon Shain out of Durham, North Carolina. The Guitar Award goes to Steve Strongman from Ontario, Canada. The Little Red Rooster Blues Band pulled down the Best Self-Produced CD award for the album: “Lock Up the Liquor.”  

Barbara Newman is president of the Blues Foundation. She says the artists in attendance also received access to a number of top-flight master sessions.

“Bob Margolin is teaching electric guitar, Roy Block is teaching slide guitar, Bob Corritore on harmonica, Shakura S’Aida on vocals, Russel Jackson on bass, and Tony Braunagel’s teaching drums.”

The Memphis base Blues Foundation has 200 affiliates world-wide. Every affiliate is strongly encouraged to send competitors to Tennessee each winter for the Challenge.

Chris O’Connor competed on behalf of an Australian Blues affiliate. He talked with WMOT’s Whit Hubner about why he chose to make the pilgrimage to Memphis.

“Back in Australia there is a music scene and all that, but its…for someone like me it’s pretty…it’s good to meet up with a whole heap of other Blues musicians for a start. You don’t get that anywhere else.”

This year’s winning acts will be back in Memphis in October to perform during a fundraiser for the Blues Foundation.