A BIG congratulations to the outstanding blues talent from the Pacific NW. The Pacific Northwest was represented by four bands and one solo/duo act in the IBC Semi Finals (WIRED!, the The Randy Oxford Band, the Vicki Stevens Band and Lisa Mann and her Really Good Band, Back Porch Stomp [Nick Vigarino and Larry Dennis]). The Randy Oxford Band and Back Porch Stomp moved on to the finals. The Cascade Blues Association's submission: Joe McMurrian (Get Inside This House) won the 2011 Best Self Produced CD, with Becki Sue and her Big Rockin' Daddies (Big Rockin Boogie) making the final round!.
For the second consecutive year a non-American act won the solo/duo category thus solidifying the global scope of the event. The solo/duo winner was Germany’s Georg Schroeter & Marc Breitfelder, sponsored by the Baltic Blues Society in Eutin, Germany. The second place honors went to Canadian Harrison Kennedy from the Canal Bank Shuffle in Thorold, Ontario, Canada.
For the first time in event history, the top prize in the band competition goes to a former solo/duo category winner. 2008 IBC solo/duo winner Lionel Young returned with The Lionel Young Band to win on behalf of the Colorado Blues Society. Second place honors were earned by Mary Bridget Davies of the Kansas City Blues Society, and the third spot went to Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues hailing from the Windy City Blues Society.
Another event first was the bestowing of IBC’s Best Harmonica Player. Yet another international participant, Stephane Bertolino from the French band AWEK, won for Blues Sur Seine.
The Best Guitarist Award was given to Rob Blaine of Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues. He walks away with beautiful blue custom Gibson guitar featuring The Blues Foundation's logo and a Category 5 amp.
In the Best Self-Produced CD contest, the judges crowned ‘Get Inside This House’ by Joe McMurrian of the Cascade Blues Association in Portland, OR.
The finalists in the solo/duo category were: Back Porch Stomp –(Washington Blues Society, WA), Izzy & Chris (West Virginia Blues Society), The Juke Joint Devils (Massachusetts Blues Society), The Mighty Orq (Houston Blues Society, TX), Big Jim Adam & John Stilwagen (Colorado Blues Society) and JT Blues (Billtown Blues Association, PA).
The finalists in the band competition were: Randy Oxford Band (South Sound Blues Association, WA), Stevie J & the Blues Eruption (Central Mississippi Blues Society, MS), Grand Marquis (Topeka Blues Society, KS), Alex Wilson (Grafton Blues Association, WI), The Sugar Prophets (Illinois Central Blues Club),
Blues societies all over the world will soon be starting all over again as they begin their own competitions to determine who they will send to the 28th International Blues Challenge, the finals of which will be staged January 31-February 4, 2012.