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Blues Challenge story in Herald-Times

14 Feb

Here is a cool follow up story from the Bloomington Herald Times about last week’s Blues Challenge:

Memphis’ International Blues Challenge results tallied

Hoosier Times Report
February 13, 2011

The annual International Blues Challenge, in Memphis, Tenn., brought together 220 acts from 40 states and 13 countries, according to organizers.

The competition, held Feb. 1-5, included two groups from Bloomington.

Band Crossover and Jason and Ginger, a duo made up of Jason Fickel and Ginger Curry, performed at the Challenge.

In the solo-duo category, Jason and Ginger was one of 83 acts sent by their respective local Blues Societies — Jason and Ginger represented the Indiana Blues Society.

They made it through the quarter-finals to perform in the semis, and stopped there.

For the second consecutive year a “non-American act” won the solo/duo category, according to a news release from the Blues Challenge.

The solo-duo winner was Germany’s Georg Schroeter & Marc Breitfelder.

Fickel said Crossover was in their same boat: The group advanced out of the quarter-finals and made it to the semi-finals, but did not advance to the finals.

Crossover was in the band category. The Lionel Young Band took top prize on behalf of the Colorado Blues Society.

Fickel said he believes the Indiana Blues Society was one of the few participating blues societies that placed semi-finalists in both the solo/duo and band categories.

The five-day competition began with a showcase, followed by two days of quarter-finals and one day of semi-finals. The finals were held in Memphis’s historic Orpheum Theatre.

Winners get cash, prizes, spots at other festivals and recognition in the industry.

Last year, 110 bands and 80 solo/duo acts performed in the contest.

Learn more about the International Blues Challenge online at


Haiti Benefit 2 at Player’s Pub

14 Feb

I had a great time at the Players Pub today performing a set as part of the Haiti Benefit 2, organized by Curtis Cantwell Jackson.  I did 3 original songs: Eden, Cloud County and Can’t Live No Place.  It was the first time I’d performed solo in a while.  As an added bonus I got to sit in with Bill Headley on one of his bluesy tunes.  Nelson Batalon provided a really cool sax interlude on a Santana song.  Thanks to the Pub and for Curtis for hosting such a worthwhile and fun event!

A great evening at the Blues Challenge Semi-finals

5 Feb

Ginger summed up our night beautifully:

Good Morning Everyone!!!

Wow!! What can I say.  We have had a fantastic three nights so far here in Memphis.  Not only are we participating in a wonderful opportunity, but the continued support of everyone (here in Memphis, back home in Indiana and our friends and family all across the country) has been very inspiring.  Thank you all!!!

So just to recap our adventure so far.  When we began our journey on Wednesday Evening, there were 83 Solo/Duo Acts sent by their respective local Blues Society’s to represent them at the International Blues Challenge.  After two nights of Quarter Finals 32 Acts were selected to advance to the Semi-Finals.  In the Solo/Duo category, the semi -finals consisted of 4 venues of 8 acts each, with two acts from each venue to be selected to continue on to the Finals.  (The band competition started out with 110 Bands…semi finals narrowed it down to 44…and last night they were split into 8 venues with only one band from each venue to continue into the finals).  At the finals, there will be Eight Solo/ duo acts and Eight Bands.

Last evening Jason and I played at the Kings Palace Cafe around 8:40….to be honest I don’t really know what time we actually started our set .  Mark and Susan Novack (from the Indiana Blues Society) were there to support and cheer us on.  They were there early, so we had great seats for the show!  In the quarter-finals, each act did a 25 minute set.  In the semi-finals, it was extended to 30 minutes, so we got to add another song to our set!  So to our original set we added a song that Jason wrote called “You get what you pay for”.

So the set was:
All your Bad Habits – Jason Original
Hold me Blues – Memphis Minnie (whose portrait was literally hanging to my right as we performed)
Can’t Live no Place – Jason Original
Baby, you got what it takes – Brook Benton
You get what you pay for – Jason Original
Monon Train – Jason Original

The crowd got a kick out of “All Your Bad Habits” and since Memphis Minnie’s portrait was right behind me, Jason did a great job of introducing “Hold Me Blues”.  I am sure that this song is going to become one of my standards.  I really Love singing it.  Jason brought out the slide and a story for “Can’t live no Place” and worked it!  After that song we did a little back and forth banter about the choice of our website name, to which the women in the crowd really responded.  “You get what you pay for” was a last minute addition to our CD and is becoming one of our favorites to perform (which was one of the reasons we added it to the set…it also contains some of my favorite Jason lyrics) and then last but not lest “Monon Train”.  Any night that I get to sing “Monon Train” is a great night!  And I am convinced that each time we perform it gets better and better.

Our venue, as well as all of the other venues on this semi – final night, was bursting with talent and with a variety of styles!  The two acts that received the highest points in our venue were Harrison “Sweet Taste” Kennedy, an engaging and sweet man from Cananda, who was also a member of the Detroit Band ‘The Chairman of the Board’ in the 70’s and Mighty Orq, a young man from Houston TX.

Although we did not advance to the Finals, Jason and I had another great time performing together.  Three nights in a row of doing what we Love, Pure Bliss.  This week has been affirming as well as inspiring.  This has been and continues to be a great opportunity for us and we feel Blessed.  The band Finals will begin at 2pm and then the Solo/Duo will begin at 7:30.  Jason and I are looking forward to hearing some wonderful musicians today at the Finals and enjoying our time here in Memphis.

We will be heading back to Bloomington on Sunday.  I would like to invite everyone to come out to Bears on Friday. I have included the pertinent information at the end of the email.

Thank you all again for your loving support and encouragement and for joining us on this week’s adventure.  To quote Memphis Minnie “I Live the Life I Love and I Love the Life I Live.”

Love and Blessings

Friday, February 11, 2011
6:30 – 9:00
Blues Happy Hour with Jason Fickel and Ginger Curry

Bears Place
1316 E 3rd St
Bloomington, IN 47401
Cover: $4

Kings Palace is right across the street from the historic A. Schwab

4 Feb

Our venue tonight is right across the street from the historic A. Schwab,  a Beale street institution.  When I woke up here on Wednesday morning, I promptly went there and bought postcards and a hat.

Blues Challenge Semi Final time is set!

4 Feb

We’re all set to play at 8:40pm at Kings Palace in the middle of Beale Street!   The sets have been running a little ahead of schedule, so come a little early. 

On to the semi-finals!!

4 Feb

We had another fun set at Lil Anthony’s last night and we learned this morning that we made it the semifinals!!  Thanks to all of you for your good wishes.  We don’t know yet where or when we play this evening.  As soon as we learn the details we’ll pass them along!

We had a great time at Lil Anthony’s!!

3 Feb

Tonight we had so much fun at Lil Anthony’s on Beale.  We played earlier than anticipated (a rarity for any musical event)  and right before we started our last tune, who walks in?  King Bee (Mark Menefee) and Nancy, all the way from Indiana!  Our set was just what we hoped for and then we had time for a drink with Mark and Nancy.  Tomorrow night: same place, earlier time: 6:55!