Eleven acts took part in the opening round of the Cascade Blues Association’s 2017 Journey To Memphis competition to determine who will represent us at the International Blues Challenge next January. Over two night at the Vinyl Tap, each act performed before three judges and were scored on blues content, vocal & instrumental talent, originality, and stage presence. All performers gave terrific 30-minute sets and the top two acts from each night are moving on to the finals that will take place on July 4, beginning at 11:30 am on The Oregonian Front Porch Stage at the Waterfront Blues Festival.
The eleven acts who took part were: David Pinsky, Gabriel Cox Band, Holfar Blue, Jason “JT” Thomas, Julie Amici, Lightning Kings, Louis Creed & The Geezer, Randy Morrison Band, Rogue Rage Duo, Timothy James & The Portland Blues Revival, and Sister Mercy. Moving on to the Waterfront Blues Festival will be Randy Morrison Band (11:30), Gabriel Cox band (12:10), Sister Mercy (12:50) and The Lightning Kings (1:30). Each act will perform 25 minute sets at the festival before three new judges.
Note: Because the four finalists were all bands, the highest scoring solo/duo act will be given the right to represent the CBA in Memphis, Julie Amici. Timothy James & The Portland Blues Revival were the only under-21 band who competed, so they will take part in the Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge.
A huge thanks goes out to the judges who helped us during the opening round of the Journey To Memphis. This is perhaps the toughest job outside of competing, as these judges have to look at each act individually and score them without comparing them to the others. Thank you Bart Day, Chuk Barber, Rich Layton, Richard Martin, Tom Goicoechea, and Vyasa Dodson.
Thanks also goes out to Eric Johnson and Paul Hogland for working the sound for both nights. And especially to the Vinyl Tap and their staff for providing a venue where we could hold our event this year!