The finals of the Iowa Blues Challenge will take place on Saturday, May 17 at 8 p.m. at the Hotel Fort Des Moines Grand Ballroom (1000 Walnut Street, Des Moines). Advancing to the finals from the April 10 Des Moines qualifier at Zimm's Food & Spirits were Hot Tamale & the Red Hots (Des Moines) and the Jefferson County Green Band (Fairfield). The Harris Collection (Davenport) and The Mercury Brothers (Quad Cities) moved on to the finals from the April 13 qualifier at the Muddy Waters in Bettendorf. These four bands will compete in the finals for cash, recording time, opportunities for paid gigs throughout the year, and entry into (and travel expenses for) the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Here is a look at the schedule for the May 17 finals:
7 p.m.: Doors Open
8 p.m.: The Harris Collection
9 p.m.: The Mercury Brothers
10 p.m.: Hot Tamale & the Red Hots
11 p.m.: Jefferson County Green Band
Admission to the finals will be $7 for any Iowa blues society members (must present card) and $10 for the general public.
In other blues news, Bob Pace announced the total money raised at the May 4 benefit for blues guitarist and singer Walter Trout yesterday afternoon. Pace, who organized the event, stated in a Facebook post that the benefit raised a total of $2,770. The benefit was held at the Gas Lamp in Des Moines and featured performances by the James Biehn Band and Bob Pace & The Dangerous Band, as well as the silent auctioning of a custom Fender Stratocaster.
Walter Trout is currently awaiting a liver transplant and has lost more than 100 pounds and much of his strength over the past several months. The Huntington Beach, California blues genius will celebrate 25 years as a solo artist (after years of playing with Canned Heat, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Percy Mayfield, John Lee Hooker, and others) with the release of his new album The Blues Came Callin' in June. To find out more about Walter Trout, or to make a donation, visit his website. You can check out Walter Trout in action back in 2010 in the embedded video.