The Quay Thomas Duo, Quay Thomas and Elliott Sidell, won the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Competition on Sunday night at Zimm's Food & Spirits. The duo will be headed to Memphis in January of 2015 to represent Iowa and five blues societies at the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Thomas and Sidell will also receive a $250 cash prize, 8 hours recording time, paid gigs at the 2015 Winter Blues Fest and the 2015 Bottoms Up Blues Bash, and $300 in travel expenses for the International Blues Challenge. You can catch Thomas, Sidell, and their trio partner Alexandre Jannuzzi next at the Cedar Valley Winery (near Batavia, Iowa) on August 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The performance is free.
Singer/songwriter James Taylor (featured slideshow) and his All-Star Band will perform at Wells Fargo Arena on November 1 at 8 p.m. Taylor is a five-time Grammy winner, and he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has racked up eleven Top 10 albums, over 100 million albums sold, and seventeen Top 10 singles, including enduring songs like "Fire and Rain", "You've Got a Friend", and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)". You can check out Taylor and his band performing "How Sweet It Is" is the nearby video. Tickets for the concert are $67 to $87, and they will go on sale Friday, September 5 at 10 a.m. through all Dahl's Tickets outlets.
Country/Western legend Merle Haggard (pictured) has announced an October 6 concert date at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. The Country Music Hall of Famer has amassed 38 #1 Country singles and 15 #1 Country albums. Haggard still tours with the band he formed in the Sixties, The Strangers. Together they have won the Academy of Country Music's "Touring Band of the Year" Award eight times. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $39 to $75, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 29 at all Ticketmaster outlets.