Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

Journey to Memphis
Youth Showcase Contest 2022
Entries now open

The Cascade Blues Association will appoint one youth showcase act to perform at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis 2023.

  1. Entries are now open and will close at midnight on June 20 2022. The winner will be announced at the Journey to Memphis competition final at Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.
  2. All members in the act must be under 21 years of age to enter.
  3. At least one member of the act must be a Cascade Blues Association member to enter.
  4. To enter, each act must provide i) Cascade Blues Association member number ii) a link to one song iii) an essay of 250 words or less titled ‘why I would like to represent the city of Portland at the International Blues Challenge’.
  5. Entries must be emailed to presidentcascadeblues@gmail.com
  6. Entry is free and judging will be from the CBA board members
Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

Journey to Memphis 2022

Cascade Blues Association Journey to Memphis Competition 2022

Heats, May 26, 6 p.m. Mekong Bistro and finals July 4, Waterfront Blues Festival

Blues societies worldwide send their acts to compete each January in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, and it’s one of the world’s biggest band competitions. Winners receive guaranteed spots at some of the most prestigious festivals in the U.S., not to mention the kind of publicity money can’t buy.

The Cascade Blues Association, however, says that everyone’s a winner! Four of our participating acts will be performing in front of thousands of adoring fans as they battle it out at the finals at the Waterfront Blues Festival to be the winner. Want to be one of them? Entries are opening soon, check out the details below.

  • At least one member of each act must be a member of Cascade Blues Association. Entry is open to all Oregon residents and any Washington residents who live within 100 miles of the city of Portland.
  • Entries open April 11 until available slots are filled. This year we will only be taking the first eight acts to register, so get in early.
  • Entry fee is $50 for bands and $35 for solo / duo acts. Pay your entry fee via PayPal to cascadebluescalendar@gmail.com and email presidentcascadeblues@gmail.com with the following information:
  1. Cascade Blues Association member number
  2. Name of act, names of all members in your act and instrument each person plays
  3. 150-word bio
  4. Stage plan
  5. 300 dpi JPG photo
  6. Please indicate if any members of the act are under 21 years of age
  • Each act will perform a 20-minute set.
  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. If you win another group’s competition before ours is held, you agree to remove yourself from the CBA competition to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.
  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation will be ineligible to compete.
  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis (acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times starting from 2017).
  • We will use the same scoring system as the International Blues Challenge.
  • Bass and drums must use a backline provided by the venue. Other instrumentalists can use their own amplifiers at Mekong Bistro, but must use the provided backline at Waterfront Blues Festival. Be mindful there is only a 10-minute changeover time between acts and you may receive a scoring penalty if you take too much time to clear the stage for the next band.
  • The two top scoring bands and the two top scoring duo / solo acts at Mekong Bistro on May 26 will compete in the final at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4 to win the right to represent the Cascade Blues Association at the IBC in 2023.
Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

Journey To Memphis Competition 2021

Saturday, September 11

Artichoke Music 2007 SE Powell

This is a fundraiser for the winning act.

Tickets on sale NOW! $20+$2.85 fee (limit 4)  If you’d like to donate without buying a ticket, just click on the ticket button, that takes you to the donation option.  No amount is too small, or too large! All funds will go to the winning act.

This will not be announced to the general public until Aug. 15, so members … get your place reserved!

We have two acts competing this year.

JME (Jenny Moriarty & Bradford Bleidt will go on at 1:30 pm.

Sugar Roots featuring Chad Rupp will be at 2:30 p.m.

Each set will be live streamed separately on the Artichoke Music Facebook page.

The winner will be announced at 3:15 p.m. on the Cascade Blues Association Facebook page.

Meet the competitors

JME

Journey To Memphis Competition 2021 - JMEThe JME Jazz is stylized blues and post-modern jazz for the next roaring ’20s. The band combines decades of musical experience exploring the vast genres of rock, blues, and jazz.
Anybody that has been active in Portland’s blues scene will be familiar with Jenny Moriarty’s powerful and expressive vocals as she has performed with many of Portland’s more prominent musicians. JME provides Jenny perhaps her most versatile and expressive vehicle where she can truly display her performance abilities and musicality.
The instrumental aspects of JME are anchored by Brad Bleidt on piano.  Brad’s primary piano focus is providing a rich imaginative harmonic interpretation to Jenny’s varied repertoire while injecting complementary solos to round out the ensemble’s stylizing.

Jenny and Brad are active in Portland’s music venues with other projects such as JME Jazz, Bedazzled, the Beacon Street Titans, and The Mystic Mama Band.

Sugar Roots Featuring Chad Rupp

Journey To Memphis Competition 2021 - Sugar Roots Featuring Chad RuppSugar Roots Featuring Chad Rupp is a Portland, Oregon based blues band formed by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Chad Rupp, guitarist Jason “JT” Thomas, keyboardist Sam Gendler, bassist Timmer Blakely and drummer Chandler Bowerman.

This band was forged from the roots of Portland’s uniquely prodigious local blues scene with three Portland natives and two extremely talented transplants who appreciate the legacy of Portland’s musical history and the amazing musicians that have provided a lasting tradition of blues performance. Sugar Roots draws on inspiration from Portland greats, like Curtis Salgado, Lloyd Jones, Jim Mesi, Paul deLay, DK Stewart, and Norman Sylvester, to name a few along with their supporting bandmates.

The band takes its name as a nod to popular local blues band, Brown Sugar, a pioneering staple of Portland’s live music scene. Front man, Chad Rupp on the band forming, “Really, the band came together because we had been playing together regularly pre-pandemic for a few years at a popular local jam session, The 1-4-5 Blues Jam Party and we were having a great time! Sam Gendler and Chandler Bowerman brought their experience and mojo from the LA and Illinois scenes combined with veteran local and national act musicians, Timmer Blakely and Jason “JT” Thomas. This group really became a tight and organic unit for me to work with. When we looked at the chemistry we had, we decided that we should be recording and gigging together more! These guys have made it possible for me to stretch out on stage leading to some fun and powerful performances for me, personally! “

We are all looking forward to bringing our best to the stage as we approach the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey to Memphis and the possibility representing Portland’s live blues legacy at the International Blues Challenge in 2022! Sugar Roots will be releasing an album of originals on 10/3 with some sneak peeks via social media! Please visit our Facebook Page for news and events and support live music and the blues, wherever you are!

Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

2020 Journey to Memphis Postponed

This is a message that we were truly hoping that we wouldn’t have to announce, but for the first time in over twenty years, the Cascade Blues Association will be cancelling our Journey to Memphis competition for 2020. As the summer rolls forward and Covid-19 shows no signs of letting up to allow us to utilize a venue to full capacity that we’d need to present a proper event, we feel that preparation time for both the participating acts and the Cascade Blues Association, along with our prime opportunity to raise funds to assist with our winners to travel to Memphis is quickly eluding us.  

The Blues Foundation have cancelled the 2021 International Blues Challenge. We look forward to being able to resume the Journey to Memphis next year in hopes of sending representatives to the International Blues Challenge in 2022.  

Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

2020 Journey To Memphis PostponedThe Cascade Blues Association’s signature event, the Journey To Memphis competition to select acts to represent the organization and region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, has been postponed due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This wasn’t something we had envisioned, but the situation is out of our control. Restaurants and bars have been closed under State order, as well as gatherings to avoid potential exposure to the virus.

Our competition was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16 at The East Eagles Lodge. We do not foresee businesses being reopened by this time. Our finals were also scheduled for July 4 at the Waterfront Blues Festival, but that event has also been cancelled.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, we had to cancel our general membership meetings in both April and May. The original deadline date for applications was for our April meeting, but with the State closure order dropping off the applications on this date could not be kept. We extended the deadline for a week, but did not receive as many applications as we have in the past. We feel that many who did not submit decided that the current status was uncertain and being able to prepare as a band could not be accomplished.

Therefore, the CBA has decided to postpone the competition until the health risk has passed and gatherings are once again allowed to take place. We do not have a date set as of yet, but hopefully toward the end of summer or early fall. Venues and dates to be determined. Depending on the time frame, we will make the decision to cancel the event if too late in the year.

Applications will continue to be accepted and to make it more convenient we will keep the deadline open for a few weeks following the reopening of businesses up to the first membership meeting after that time, no earlier than June at this point. Any act that has already submitted their application prior to the original deadline who wishes to withdraw may do so and their application fee will be returned. If the event does end up being cancelled, all application fees will be returned.

Thank you for understanding.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues Association.
  • Only acts located within the Oregon and Washington region are allowed to enter the Journey To Memphis.
  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.
  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis (acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times starting from 2017).
  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.
  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band members with whom it won previous rounds. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances not under the control of the act, such as health issues.
  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.
Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year at The East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne St, scheduled for Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.  The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Times will also be determined by the number of entrants. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

The deadline for applications to participate in the competition to be accepted is Wednesday, April 7. No late applications will be accepted. If mailing in your application, it must be postmarked no later than April 6 so we know that it was in fact submitted before the deadline. You may also turn in your application to any CBA board member by April 7.

All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the Oregon and Washington region are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members with whom it won previous rounds. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances not under the control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year at The East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne St, scheduled for Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.  (The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Times will also be determined by the number of entrants.) Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted from now until Wednesday, April 1 at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, or Washington are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 will be grandfathered and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass

player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in

your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances when not                           under control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

2020 International Blues Challenge  

By Marie Walters

2020 International Blues Challenge  

Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys in the IBC Finals – photo by Marie Walters

This rookie’s first Journey To Memphis was a whirlwind of preparation, travel, showcases, jams, performances, and eateries — all topped off with lack of sleep. I was lucky to be traveling with IBC ‘veterans’ so I had plenty of advice on how to navigate my week on Beale Street, starting with “you simply can’t see it all.” And that’s the truth! With over 200 bands and musicians performing in 17 different venues over four days, 10,000 steps a day was easy while crisscrossing Beale Street trying to catch every act I wanted to see. These included the CBA’s own entries: Generation Headstrong in the Youth Showcase, Louis Creed and the Geezer in the Solo/Duo category, and Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys (JW/SD) competing with other bands.

Although I also wanted to see other artists who’d previously played Portland, including Duffy Bishop, Blue Moon Marquee, and JW Jones (in HOROJO Trio), not to mention showcases and jams with local favorites, it wasn’t possible to be everywhere I wanted to be.

All competitors performed twice during the quarterfinals on Wednesday and Thursday. By the second day there was buzz about JW/SD, and bodies were packed right out to the street wanting to check out this powerhouse band! Late that night they announced the Donkeys made it to the semi-finals and we all celebrated well into the wee hours.

2020 International Blues Challenge  

Generation Headstrong, Youth Showcase IBC Memphis – photo by Marie Walters

Friday we learned when and where JW/SD were playing that evening. Meanwhile the Youth Showcase took place early evening across 12 different venues. Generation Headstrong had an early slot and did a great job on stage, building on all they learned in workshops that week. The audience loved their set, especially their covers of Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Walking the Dog”!

Even at the larger venue, Johnny and the Donkeys had the place packed inside and out, receiving standing ovations for their out-of-the-ballpark set. Nobody was really surprised when they announced JW/SD were among the eight bands going to the finals at the Orpheum on Saturday — but everyone sure was thrilled!

JW/SD were the first band to play on the Orpheum stage Saturday. They rocked a slightly shorter set to keep within their time slot. All these bands and solo/duo acts were the best of the IBCs and so much talent crossed that stage, but it was nerve racking to wait through 14 more performances and an All Star Showcase before knowing the result!

Finally Blues Foundation President Barbara Newman took the stage to announce the winners. In the band category, HOROJO Trio (with JW Jones, who also won the Gibson Guitarist Award) from Ottawa took first place, the Jose Ramirez Band from D.C. was second, and the Pitbull of Blues Band out of Florida came third.

In the Solo/Duo category, Hector Anchondo from Omaha won first place, and also the Memphis Cigar Box Award. Felix Slim from Long Island took second place and won the Lee Oskar Harmonica Award.  Our own Rich Layton was short-listed for Best Self-Produced CD, however Sweet Thing Moonshine Society out of Virginia won in that category.  Congratulations to ALL the bands that made it to the finals! If it was difficult for me to narrow down the best beyond the top four or five, I can only imagine how difficult it was for the judges!

Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies, like our Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year in early-to-mid-May at a venue to be determined.  The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted from now until Wednesday, April 1 at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, or Washington are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 will be grandfathered and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass

player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in

your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances beyond                              the control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

Journey To Memphis Competition 2022

Here’s another fundraising opportunity to help send our Journey to Memphis winning acts to the International Journey To Memphis WinnersBlues Challenge in January — another sensational full day of music featuring all three of our representing acts: Johnny Wheels & the Swamp Donkeys, Louis Creed & The Geezer, and Generation Headstrong, plus an incredible line-up of local All Stars musicians will be on hand to help out as well. There will also be a raffle, and if you’d like to donate items for this please contact Marlena Masterson on the event’s Facebook page.

Performance times:

1:00: Generation Headstrong

2:30: Ellen Whyte Trio

3:30: Young Guns Of The Blues

4:30: Rich Layton & Tough Town

5:30: Ben Rice with Jeff “Drummerboy” Hayes

6:30: Sister Mercy

7:30: Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys with Louis Creed & The Geezer

8:30: Rockin’ Johnny Burgin II

At The Garages Satellite Pub, 4810 SW Western Ave, Beaverton. Sunday, November 3, 1:00-9:00 pm. $15.00 at the door. All ages.