Day 3: January 22, 2010
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I guess I'm living on "blues time" -- a 'burger for breakfast about 11:45. Dyer's has been in this location for only a dozen years but the restaurant has been in operation since 1912. I was able to roam freely among the tables in the nearly empty restaurant while I waited for my meal. By the time I was done eating, the place was packed.

Associated with the Challenge is something called the Youth Showcase. These acts are not competing but still must be sponsored by a blues organization. All performers must be under 21.

The first two pictures are of The Hawkins Cotton Trio from Canada. All three were impressive but I was kind of taken in by the teenager skillfully working a B3 that was probably twice his age. The other pictures are of Twelve-Eight, Cincy Blues Society's entry.

More Youth Showcase with Slave to the Groove and Zakk Lowell Knight. Both of the seventeen year old guitarists in Slave to the Groove turned in some very hot licks. Sarah Cole has been playing since age eleven and certainly knows her way around a guitar. If this is what the future of blues looks like, bring it on. Fifteen year old Zakk is from Indianapolis and I'd actually heard his name before but I'd never heard his guitar. Not only did he rip up that Stratocaster, he also delivered some nice acoustic work.

On top of all the IBC related music, the Blind Raccoon Showcase also filled a couple of venues. This is the Jon Justice Band from back home in Cincinnati. Always enjoy seeing these guys.

As the showcases wound down, the second day of competition got started. All acts perform both nights in the same locations but in a different sequence and with different judges. This is Robert Sampson and Michael Packer & Ed Jackson. Robert is from the Illinois Central Blues Club. The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation sent Michael & Ed. That's Ed showing off some dance floor moves.

The acts in the preceding panel bracketed Cincy Blues Society's Solo/Duo entry, Ricky Nye. Near the end of Chicken A La Blues, Ricky pulled the rubber chicken from the piano with the comment "It's been staring at me the whole set." It was a very brief appearance by the chicken which was not Ricky's prop. Ricky was also at that Sunday night preview/warm-up.

Chris D'Amato is another act managed by that friend of a friend in Connecticut. Austin "Walkin'" Cane is from the Dayton Blues Society. I just barely caught the end of his performance but it was enough to tell me I ought to look for him around town.

The Jeremy Wallace Trio had the only bass player I actually saw using a bow though I saw other bows in the kits and imagine I just didn't see others put them to use. However, I'm fairly confident that Michael Ammons & the Water Street Hot Shots have the only jug player in the competition and there seems a pretty good chance the washboard player is also one of a kind.

The first picture is Big Jim Adam & John Stilwagen from Colorado Springs and the second is Jimmy D Rogers from the Columbus Blues Alliance. Jimmy is another act I enjoy seeing around the home territory now and then. Only a couple letters separate the acts in the last two pictures. Nine Below Zero is from Indiana. Soulmate is from India. There were several more bands from places other that North America but I didn't happen to see many. I missed a Wednesday night International Showcase by not paying attention. Next time I'll know. By the way, Soulmate was excellent!

I was just plain tuckered and found my way to the quiet back bar of Silky O'Sullivan's for a sit-down, a beer, and some catfish. The Grizzlies-Thunder game, which the Grizzlies barely won, was on the TV and ended while I ate. Only when I saw hordes of people all heading the same way on the street behind me did I realize that the game took place about a half block away. By the time I left Silky's the crowd had either headed to their cars or joined the throng on Beale. I headed "home"

I awoke to learn that both Cheryl Renee and Sonny Moorman had made it to the finals. The full list is here.

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