The blues have been an integral part of American music. The southern-based genre crawled out of the swamps of the Mississippi Delta in the early 20th century and has been collecting a legion of enthusiasts ever since. Along the way, the blues also paved the way for the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. The sacred form of American music is lauded around the world, and The Blues Foundation has been there to preserve its many traditions.

EXB Ric McNaughton

In order to find the best and brightest in modern blues, The Blues Foundation holds its annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Blues societies from around the globe send the best to compete for a plethora of prizes, which can include everything from publicity work to festival spots.

Each year, The Gulf Coast Blues Society selects a blues act from along the Gulf Coast to represent the area in Memphis. The organization selects their representing band with a day-long, judged showcase that includes the best of Gulf Coast blues. The top band will travel to Memphis to compete in the 2015 International Blues Challenge in late January.

This year’s line-up of competing bands includes Tony Vegas Band, Michael Vincent, Midnight Ramblers, Josh Garrett Band, Johnny No, Ric McNaughton Band, Rock Bottom, Meacham Motor Company, Blues Injectors, Doc Johnson and Smokin’ Toasters. As is tradition, the crew at The Blues Tavern will also be serving up free food throughout the event.

International Blues Challenge
Date: Saturday, Aug. 30, noon
Venue: The Blues Tavern, 2818 Government Blvd.,
Tickets: Free