At the Kansas City Blues Society's portion of the International Blues Challenge, the Mary Bridget Davies band took first place, earning the opportunity to represent Kansas City and the Kansas City Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in February of 2011. There were six exciting bands and four great solo acts on the day of the finals. Bands included The Blues Wreckers, with former members of Connie and the Choir Boys; a fully amped, rocking out Cadillac Flambe; Brother Bagman, who worked with Harp phenom Brody Buster to really blues it up; Mary Bridget Davies Band, with some great Kansas City talent like Dave Hayes in the mix; Koolaide and the Exact Change Band, all but legendary on the KC blues scene;and the Paperclips, a youthful rocking blues group new to the Kansas City scene.
Mary Bridget Davies has her blues together, having worked with Big Brother's Holding Company to hold down the Janis Joplin end of the show. She hails from Cleveland, and has recently chosen to make her home in Kansas City. Her band had to work against the clock to turn in a tight enough performance to win since their formation took place only a few short months ago. She brought to the stage Dave Hayes, who is considered by many to be the best blues guitarist in Kansas City and has the highest respect from his peers in the blues community. She also incorporated Gary Roberts on bass. Roberts is also a long time Kansas City favorite, and stood great chances of getting a ticket to Memphis for the finals since he also held down bass with the Blues Wreckers. The Mary Bridget Davies Bands did an admirable job of displaying their musical prowess.
The International Blues Challenge, or IBC, is held every year in Memphis, Tennessee by the Blues Foundation, which sits atop a loose consortium of blues societies and blues organizations across the United States and internationally. Every year hundreds of acts from every habitable continent meet in Memphis to compete for the top spot. Well managed winners ply the title in their search for fame, sometimes generating massive interest from the blues world and winning lucrative recording contracts and well paid appearances.
Find out more about the contestants, the Blues Foundation, and the Kansas City Blues Society, and check out the slide show of the 2010 solo and duo contest:
IBC Band Winner:
IBC Runners Up: