WAIT! Before you jump to an inaccurate conclusion that our newsletter is making a political statement, please check out the articles below! NWA has some extraordinary blues artists visiting the area...so that is the blue of which I am making note. These are don't miss opportunities after months of limited engagements, it is exciting to have these performance opportunities in our area. The first events are this weekend when 2020 IBC Solo/Duo winner, Hector Anchondo, visits Fort Smith (tonight) and Eureka Springs (tomorrow.) Then on Thursday the 22nd, a Grammy nominated young bluesman, Jontavious Willis, will be at the Walton Arts Center. Be sure and grab your tickets soon as the socially distanced auditorium has a much smaller seating capacity. Check out the articles below for additional information and links. And if you missed it last week, check out the interview we did with Hector. It was so nice to hear that even with the blues the pandemic has heaped on live musicians, Hector is keeping hopes for the future positive.
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2020 IBC Solo/DuoWinner
coming to Arkansas
As promised, this week we bring you a personal interview with Hector Anchondo, the 2020 International Blues Challenge solo/duo winner. Be sure and mark your calendar so you don't miss this amazing artist. Hector will be performing with Ralph Hert on Friday, October 16th at the 906 Lounge in Ft Smith beginning at 7pm. On Saturday, October 17th, he will be at The Grand Tavern in Eureka Springs from 11am-Noon
Hector describes his blues style as "eclectic," noting, "if you listen close you can hear a little bit of everything in there." Having had the luxury of hearing Hector perform at the 2020 IBC Finals, I must say the level of talent he brought out to win first place in nothing short of remarkable. Don't miss your chance to catch this incredible blues man.
Blues News You Can Use
reached out to Hector Anchondo with the following questions:
How and when did you get started in playing the blues?
"I was sixteen when I started playing Blues, I grew up on a farm out way out of town and there wasn’t much to do, we didn’t even have cable television. When I decided that I wanted to learn that was literally all I did, I played from morning until night, I even took my guitar to school to sing and play for classmates and anyone who’d listen. I was ready for the stage from day one."
Who were your musical influences, and who inspired you the most?
"I had many influences and have never been drawn to just one person or band to draw inspiration from. I grew up in the hills of Missouri so I took in a lot of those sounds, the first live band I ever say was a Bluegrass band. A few to mention are SRV, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton, Santana, Muddy, Buddy, and so many more."
How would you describe your personal style of blues?
"I would describe it as eclectic, if you listen close you can hear a little bit of everything in there. From the beginning I wanted to develop my own sound and I always heard that it was very hard to do, so I’ve gone to great lengths to try to achieve that, so I listened to everything, I figured that’d be on of the ways I could get there."
Please share thoughts on your IBC journey including the process of qualifying and participating in previous years.
"I’d been thinking about entering as a solo act for years. I made it to the Finals with my band in 2016 and it was an honor being in the top eight bands. My mind was in the solo entry from that point on and for the next several years every time I played a solo show I’d think about how I’d play if I were to enter as a solo act. It really pushed me to fine tune my originals and my sound overall. It wasn’t until 2018 that the Blues Society of Omaha started doing the solo competition and I wasn’t able to compete that year because of a schedule conflict but I was able to the following year. My name was drawn to go first in the local challenge and I practiced very hard to get my songs ready, even my song choice was a hard and lengthy decision for me. I went on first at noon and waited in the club, The Jewell, until 8pm and watched all the other acts. I was relieved when they announced my name. Then it was time to up my practice game to get ready for the 2020 International Blues Challenge. My great friend Ralph Hert offered his Taylor guitar to play because I didn’t have an acoustic to use and he said he couldn’t let me compete without a nice acoustic, thank you Ralph!
I didn’t go to the IBCs to win, I went there to be me and to shake some hands and network. I wanted to show everyone who I was and if they liked it great and if they didn’t then that’d be okay too. My name was drawn for the the first time slot for the semi finals and then first again for the finals. Being drawn first so many times throughout the entire process may be seen as a drawback but I choose to look at the positive side of it, it offered me a chance to play without nerves and again allowed me to better just be normal me on stage. It was a positive for me. When they started to announce the winners I wasn’t back stage, I was out with my family in the crowd. Then while I was waiting back stage they announced me as the first place solo/duo winner. I was stunned. I couldn’t not believe it and expected someone to snap me out of it and say “hey what are you doing” because I was spacing off and day dreaming. I was flooded with emotion, because this was the first time in my 24 year career that I had a real “break” a moment that would truly change my career path. I knew in that moment that I had made the right decision to never give up and to always keep pushing."
Please share your journey post IBC through this extraordinarily difficult period for musicians. Please feel free to be nakedly honest. These are times of struggle for everyone. (I think most of us had heard of SARS-COV2 as an international situation just before the 2020 IBC, but I know I for one would never have predicted the havoc it would wreak in the US.).
"So in the one month of touring after the challenge I was thinking about all the changes my career was about to take, it was a lot of fun driving and thinking. My schedule had all of a sudden became jam packed and my agents inbox was full of booking requests. My agent and I had some really great conversations and he was just as excited as I was. Then in March, right after I got home from tour the shut downs started happening and watched while my big breakout year cancelled month by month. It was sad for a moment but kept a positive head about it all. I thought to myself, I’ve spent this long in the trenches, what’s a few more years? Thankfully all my big shows, like the Chicago Blues Fest, Blues cruise, Big Blues Bender, and more were rescheduled for next year. My family and I have stayed positive. Even when our home was flooded and we thought, what else could possibly happen this year, we choose to huddle in closer and stay positive. We decided to move full time into an RV to cut costs as low as possible so that my career could survive the next few years and I’d still have some money to spend on the band. Plus we’d have some great adventures and make life lasting memories. Anything, you can flip it around and find the positives and that’s what we chose to do. My family and career are going to overcome this."
On a more positive note, please toss us some hopes and dreams (and plans!) for bringing your blues to audiences as we finally wrestle the Covid monster to the ground.
"I’m working on my new album that I’m going to release early next year, it’s going to be a solo acoustic album. 2021 will be better and then in 2022 I’m going to release my bands next album and 2022 will be really back on the up and up for all of us. For everyone out there, find the positives and keep your mind on that. We will get through this and the other side of this has rewards for us all. Now is the time to learn and grow and make those life changes we’ve been dreaming about for years. On to happier times."
To learn more about Hector, check out the links below.
Gifted Young Bluesman
Next Week at the WAC
Don't miss your chance to catch this awesome young bluesman. With careful Covid mitigation rules in effect, there
will be less than seats available,
however seats ARE still available!
Read on for all the info on Jontavious from the Walton Arts Center!
Every generation or so a young bluesman bursts onto the scene. Someone who sends a jolt through
blues lovers. Someone who has mastered the craft for sure, but who also has the blues deep down in his heart and soul. At the age of 24, bluesman JONTAVIOUS WILLIS may be the one. “That’s my Wonderboy, the Wunderkind,” Taj Mahal said after inviting Jontavious to play on stage in 2015. “He’s a great new voice of the twenty-first century in the acoustic blues. I just love the way he plays.”
“When I heard him play I said to myself: this is how the blues, as I know it, is going to stay alive,” said Paul Oscher.
“Only a few like him emerge every decade or so, when even the most hard core blues fans realize immediately that this is the real deal,” writes Frank Matheis in Living Blues Magazine.
Hailing from Greenville, Ga., Jontavious grew up singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was hooked. That’s when he set his course on the blues. All types — Delta, Piedmont, Texas, gospel. As a fingerpicker, flat-picker and slide player. On guitar, harmonica, banjo and cigar box. And four years later he was playing on Taj Mahal’s stage.
To get your tickets:
DATE: Thursday, Oct. 22, 7:30pm
LOCATION: Baum Walker Hall at Walton Arts Center
To learn more about Jontavious, visit his website.
For Local Artists
Please check this section of the newsletter weekly for ideas of how to support local musicians and venues. Information may be submitted by all readers, though if reporting for your favorite musician or venue, please confirm the accuracy of the information you are providing.
All submissions will remain posted with new entries being added to the top of the list each week and will run until the music calendar relaunches.
Blues Therapy Live Streams are paused for now. Rachel invites you to check out her segment produced as part of the Pine Bluff Summer Sets Series. The series highlights Blues and Soul artists that hail from Pine Bluff and includes five artists: Karen Wolf, Rod Clemmens, James Tail Dragger Jones, Joe Pitts, Bobby Rush and Rachel Field. You can find the Summer Sets Series LINK HERE.
We also have two stores on our website one for music merchandise and another for Blues Therapy handmade items such as essential oil blends, Jewelry, tie dyes, bath salts, body butters and more.
Thank you for your support.
I pray that each of you and your families are all doing okay through this.
Booking Call: The Brick House 479-846-4668
Buddy Shute and the Motivators
Brenda Baskin shared the following update: If memory serves, the last time our band played in public was March 6th in Eureka Springs. It was a nearly perfect night. We haven't played since—in fact, we've hardly seen
each other. Every once in a while, someone in the band will send a message saying how much they miss the others and we all gripe and agree.
BUT...what we have been doing musically is finishing up our new album. Fine tuning, artwork, finalizing. That's what's kept us happy and looking past canceled gigs and shuttered venues. It's been a labor of love for almost two years. And now, it's about to be released.
"Bar-B-Que" is the latest album from Northwest
Arkansas' own Buddy Shute and the Motivators. Fourteen Tracks and a lot of love. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Moore at East Hall Recording Studio in Fayetteville. The incredible Rachel Fields lends her vocals to a couple of tracks, and the song "I Been Changed" (aka "Angels in Heaven") was beautifully enhanced by the voices of Rachel, Ashtyn Barbaree, Dawn Cate-Bonner, Janna Falkner-Perry, Ashley Keylor, Kendra Kirklin and Sarah Loethen. Fronted by Buddy Shute (vocals, guitar), the Motivators are: Brenda Baskin (vocals), Mark McGee (harmonica), Steve Baskin (bass, vocals), and Randy Reese (drums). Keith Hubbard was named an honorary Motivator, and his distinctive keyboard playing can be heard throughout. http://www.buddyshute.com
Best of all...we're getting together to rehearse!
Best wishes from Buddy Shute and the Motivators
Facebook: Buddy Shute and the Motivators
Please enjoy the following listings comprised of bands, venues, and/or organizations that support Ozark Blues Society. Always check with individual venues for event details and schedule changes.
Mark Your Calendar
Please Check Back
In this issue: 10/16/2020
On this day
in Blues History
Today’s show features music performed by Little Milton and Sugar Pie DeSanto
"I did learn that it was the greatest thing in
the world to respect yourself. Respect
Blues Education Supporters
Check Out these regular local radio programs
"The Generic Blues Show" hosted by Paul Kelso airs every Friday night at 9pm on KUAF 91.3FM
Rockin' Hog Radio presents "Sunday Morning Blues" from 8am to 10am every Sunday
Get Involved with the Ozark Blues Society
Annual membership levels begin at $15 and give you so much in return, including meeting new friends while enjoying the best blues artists in the area.
By being a member of The Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas, you are helping to support the Arts and to preserve the Original American Art Form known as The Blues.
Membership Benefits Include:
Opportunities to win tickets to events
VIP seating at events (when available)
Discounts on OBS merchandise
Social networking – meeting other people who also love the blues
Opportunities to volunteer on OBS committees and at events
Ability to attend board meetings and vote on upcoming organizational issues and elections
Visit our Website to renew or join! Ozarkbluessociety.org