Always the one to stay on top of things, I checked last night to see when the International Blues Challenge was this year. (Note to self-mark February 2013 on calender so as to not miss the Blues Challenge like you did this year!) Amway I was glad I checked here is the list of winners:
First Place – The Wired! Band (Washington Blues Society)
Second Place – The Bart Walker Band (Nashville Blues Society)
Third Place – Paula Harris (The Golden Gate Blues Society)
First Place – Ray Bonnsville (Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas)
Second Place – Dr. Don’s Double Dose (Sydney Blues Society)
Gibson Guitarist Award
Bart Walker (Nashville Blues Society)
Best Self Produced CD
Dave Keller “Where I’m Coming From”
Randy McQuay (Cape Fest Blues Society)
When I went to look for the bands the first one that I found was The Bart Walker Band and their album Who I Am. Bart Walker is a Nashville based artist, who may be best known as Bo Bice’s guitarist. Here’s some more from his resume from the album notes at CDBaby
In addition to his current role as lead guitarist for B.B. King’s All-Stars at B.B. King’s Blues Club, and American Idol’s Bo Bice, he has also chalked up countless hours in the studio with Steve Gorman (Black Crows), A.J. Croce (son of Jim Croce), Bo Bice, Audly Freed. (Cry Of Love & Black Crows), and Robert Kearns (Lynyrd Skynyrd).
In the live music world, he has played with Delbert McClinton, Steve Cropper, Lee Roy Parnell, Jim Peterik (from Ides of March and Survivor), Jimmy Hall, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble), Jack Pearson and Gary Nichols. He opened For B.B. King (With the B.B. King All-stars), Styx, REO speed wagon and Lynyrd Skynyrd (with Bo Bice). He also performed on the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman with Bo.
Whoa! Who I Am is his first release and a fine one it is! The guitar work is great (Note while the band finished second Walker won the Gibson guitarist award) as are Walker’s gravelly vocals. On the first listen to the album the keyboard playing stood out and well it should because the keyboard duties in the band fall on the fingers of ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan band mate Reese Wynans!
The full line-up for the band includes: Bart Walker – guitar and vocals, Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble) – B3 and other keyboards, Paul Ossola (G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band) – bass and Jim Thistle – drums.
Right now as I write this I’m listening to “Slow Movin’ Train” a really fine track. Other favorites include: “Red Dress”, “Blues in Technicolor”, the title track “Who I Am”, and this one which was one of the songs performed at the Blues Challenge Finals - “My Favorite Color is the Blues”
Time to watch the Sixers season come to an end, let’s hope not!