Nobody can tell you how the blues feel unless they have the blues. We all take it differently.

- Otis Rush

2014ibc-web-band400The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the 2014 Iowa Blues Challenge Quad Cities area Preliminary Round, Sunday April 13 at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State St., Bettendorf,IA. Four bands will compete starting at 6:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $5 for any Blues Society members or $8 if you are not a member.

For 21 years, the competition has been sponsored by the Central Iowa Blues Society in cooperation with other blues society in Iowa, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and Lizard Creek Blues Society. The contest is open to any Iowa blues band that has not been nominated for the Blues Music Awards (Handy's).

Competitors are Mercury Brothers, Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks, Phineas J's and The Harris Collection. Bands will start at 6 PM and perform 30-minute sets.

The winner earns the right to compete in the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis next January. The prize package, considered one of the best for such a competition, includes cash, travel expenses, recording time and the opportunity to perform at the 2014 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport and the 2015 Winter BluesFest, DesMoines.

6:00 p.m.

Mercury Brothers

Forged from a common bond in their love of the BLUES the Mercury Brothers have been, in one form or another, playing the BLUES their way since day one. Drawing from a wealth of incredible local players, they are always ready for one more show. Enough said, in no particular order the Mercury Brothers are Tony Carton on drums, Ricardo Burris Vocals/Harmonica, Chris Avey Guitar, Don Gustafson Bass, Joe Collins Guitar and George Smith on sax. See you at the show.

6:45 p.m.

Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks

Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks perform a blend of cover and original music derived from blues, jazz and life. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter William Dale Rigsby is Concrete Slim, a Rock Island native who lived and performed in Tucson and Los Angeles before returning to the Quad-Cities. The Sidewalks are bassist Tim Rockstroh and drummer Dave Hendershot, a veteran Q-C drummer for the past 40 years. Together, they've created a new power trio infusing melody and contemporary lyrics into traditional blues.

"This group combines my love of Freddie King, Stevie Ray and so many other blues guitar greats, with songs from my life in the Quad-Cities and back west," Rigsby said.

7:30 p.m.

Phineas J's

The Phineas J's are a 4 member blues band launched in 2011 that play the entire genre of blues music, along with a little funk, soul, and some rock when necessary. Keyboardist and lead singer Jon Yelm, guitarist Brad Surber, and drummer Rich Bruning all hail from the Galesburg area, while bass guitarist Bob Louis has been a Quadcitian for the last 11 years. Brad, Jon and Rich played together in a few Galesburg based bands in the early days, while Brad and Bob joined up originally in the High Cotton Blues Band before bringing on Jon in 2012 and Rich in 2013. We like to play cover songs that you rarely hear played live, but everyone loves to hear, plus a few originals as well. Our best paycheck is room full of smiles in a bar close to the Mississippi after laying down a great set - what can I say, we just love playing the blues!

8:15 p.m.

The Harris Collection

The Harris Collection is a blues-rock group based out of Davenport, IA. Originally formed in 2009 between Harris brothers Shawn and Steve, the line presently has added L.C. Johnson on drums and Johnny Pena on bass.

T.H.C. has been performing at bars, private parties, and festivals since 2010.The group is known for performing powerful versions of classic blues covers and new original material as well. Band members are heavily influenced by many blues legends such as Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, and Howlin' Wolf. More specifically, influenced by dominating guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B.King. It's evident that psychedelic rock has also made an impact on the groups sound. Johnson a veteran has played behind legends such as Gloria Hadriman, Ray Goodma & Brown, Bobby Womack, The Dells and many others. Other members have had the opportunity to jam with legendary bluesmen including Billy Branch, Bernard Allison, and Chainsaw Dupont. The Harris Collection has been very successful in attracting younger fans to the great American art form called the Blues. The band continues to gain new fans daily and is currently #1 on blues charts for the Quad Cities area. To date, The Harris Collection has been booked recording artists such as The Giving Tree Band, the Kris Lager Band, and Gloria Hardiman.


Keeping the Blues AliveJust in time for its 30th anniversary in 2014, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival has been honored with a Keeping the Blues Alive Award from The Blues Foundation of Memphis, TN, the world-renown organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. The coveted award, in the U.S. Festival category, is the equivalent of lifetime achievement recognition.

The Blues Foundation notes that the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival has become "one of the longest running, most prestigious blues festivals in the world. Held on the shores of the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa, this event features music on two outdoor stages and educational presentations. Four different times, the festival has moved due to river flooding, but each time, festival organizers have been up to the task.

Beginning in 1995 with Honeyboy Edwards, the festival inaugurated its RiverRoad Award to honor the true legends of the blues. Thus far, 36 men and women have been so honored." The Festival is also the only major blues festival in the nation to be produced by a non-profit, all-volunteer organization — the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

Each year, The Blues Foundation presents the Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Awards to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Blues world. Unlike the Blues Music Awards, which recognize the past year's best in recordings and performance voted on by thousands of The Blues Foundation's members, the KBAs are awarded to non-performers strictly on the basis of merit by a select panel of blues professionals. Affiliated organizations, past KBA recipients and members of The Blues Foundation's Board of Directors are eligible to submit nominations.

The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival was nominated for the KBA award by musician Michael "Hawkeye" Herman, himself a KBA recipient for Education in 1998 and a former member of the board of directors of the Blues Foundation. In his nomination, Hawkeye noted that "The 2014 KBA Award would be a most auspicious way of honoring this event's 30 years of hard work and dedication to 'Keeping the Blues Alive' in both spirit and action."


The By-Laws of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society require that proposed changes to the current By-Laws of the Society be posted on the MVBS website and/or the Society newsletter, The Blues News, prior to the Board of Directors voting on the changes. The following changes are scheduled to be voted on by the Board:

Revisions indicated are to the current By-Laws dated 10/08/2010.

(Proposed Bylaws Revisions: 1/8/2014 are indicated in red)

Bylaws of the

Mississippi Valley Blues Society

I. Organization: The Board of the non profit corporation, The Mississippi Valley Blues Society, has, at a meeting duly called and assembled and by the ratification of the Society's members, adopted the following bylaws to govern the affairs of this corporation. The Corporation shall be referred to herein as the Society.


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