This just in from Belle Stafford:
If you've never been to Memphis and have always wanted to go down south for a visit, I strongly recommend going during the week of the "International Blues Challenge". Nothing but the blues, in all shapes and sizes, from musicians all over the world up and down Beale Street for 5 solid days - terrific!! If you stood in the street all you could hear was the cacophony of music coming out of all the different bars.
Erik and I got back Sunday at around midnight, and we are still reeling from all the great music & meeting so many blues musicians from all over - France, Finland, The Philippines, Spain, Canada, and of course all across the US. I was inspired by many jaw-dropping musical acts, Erik among them!
He made it all the way to the finals, which means he was in the top 8 out of 101 acts in the solo/duo category, and he got to play in the beautiful old ornate Orpheum Theatre at the top of Beale Street. It was great fun to be backstage in all the excitement. Erik played very well and got a standing ovation by many (the theater seats 2,500). You can imagine the energy from the crowd. He didn't end up "winning" the competition, but being in the top eight is worthy in my book! And of course something to strive for next year.... we shall see...
It feels good to be back in Tamworth, and I know Erik is looking forward to playing at the Lyceum on Sunday at the usual time: 1:30pm performance, 2:30pm song circle. Come on out & catch some Honky-Tonk slash Delta Blues before Superbowl kick-off!
More photos here: www.facebook.com/erikrayblues