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The Rockford Files: Back to Beale Street blues bash

South Sound Blues Association hosts fundraiser for international blues competition

The Randy Oxford Band won the Back to Beale Street Blues Competition and are headed to Memphis in early 2014. Photo credit: Dan Hill

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The International Blues Challenge hosted in Memphis, Tenn., is a - you guessed it - international competition where blues bands and solo/duo acts compete for a variety of prizes and recognition in the music industry. In its 30th year, competition will take place Jan. 21-25 - and will once again flood the legendary city's Beale Street with some of the world's finest blues acts.

The competition will begin the first evening of the event with the international showcase. The quarterfinals will be held the next two days, followed by the youth showcase and semi-finals on the 24th. The finals will be held Jan. 25 at the Orpheum Theater.

And just like every year, the competition will not lack South Sound representation. The South Sound Blues Association will send The Randy Oxford Band and pianist Arthur Migliazza to rep the Northwest, as determined by several rounds of competition earlier this year.

Randy Oxford is not new to the IBC. He has attended the challenge several times and even competed in the finals in 2011 - earning a spot among the top eight bands out of the several hundred that competed. His recognitions in the Northwest are too abundant to mention in full.

Migliazza, also a former IBC finalist, has become a world-class musician on the instrument he began playing at the age of 9. Since then, he has traveled to venues in the U.S., Europe and Japan, been inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, and shared the stage with Albert Lee, Elvin Bishop, John Mooney and Robert Cray.

How can you help ensure our hometown heroes have the best possible voyage to one of our country's blues epicenters?

The SSBA hosts its annual Back to Beale Street Blues 2014 Fundraiser to help pay costs and to provide the South Sound with one hell of a blue concert.The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 29 at The Swiss.

The lineup will be as follows:

4-4:45 p.m. Rafael Tranquilino Band

5:15-6 p.m. Blues County Sheriff

6:30-7:15 p.m. Blenis/Ehly Band with special guest Thai Barker

7:30-8 p.m. Arthur Migliazza

8:15-9 p.m. Mark Riley Band

9:15-10 p.m. Randy Oxford Band

I hope to see you all in downtown Tacoma supporting these great musicians, including the very acts that will represent the South Sound at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis early next year. Your donation will not only earn you a great evening of entertainment, but also help ensure our local blues acts have a fantastic trip.

BACK TO BEALE STREET BLUES 2014 FUNDRAISER, 4-10 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29, The Swiss, 1904 S. Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, $12, $10 SSBA members, $8 active duty military, free for 12 and younger, 253.572.2821

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