Blues Challenge Winners

The Granite State Blues Society is pleased to announce our 2016 IBC Band is

Downtown Dave and The Deep Pockets –


The Solo artist representing us in Memphis is Delanie Pickering –


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Barnful of Blues August 1, 2015

The Barnful of Blues Festival, New Boston, NH the Granite State Blues Society is proud to announce our headliner for this year’s festival…. the Award Winning BLUES of Sugar Ray & The Bluetones! The rest of the line up is: Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson, Shor’ty Billups, Mike Crandall Band, The Tokyo Tramps, Arthur James and Delanie Pickering. All for only $20 advance $25 at the door.

SugarRayand Bluetones300 copy

This new CD is up for a number of awards through The Blues Foundation- The Blues Music Awards which will be announced in Memphis in May.

Sugar Ray & The Bluetones are comprised of award winning musicians who have dedicated their working lives to bringing the most authentic modern Blues to fans all over the world. Sugar Ray has won many awards for his song writing and is in great demand by artists and record companies putting together Harmonica Showcases with the best harp players in the world like James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Mark Hummell, Rod Piazza, James Harman and other Blues greats. The Bluetones recordings were a staple of Rounder and Bullseye Blues selling millions of records.

There are a scant few local New England musicians and bands that have been sited for their great talent. The fact that this band: Mud, Ray, Neil and Anthony, have been together so decades makes them a strong band; also with the addition of “Monster” Mike Welch who has stated that he loves playing with this band and he has so much respect for the real Blues they play. His guitar playing has matured and can be reminiscent of many of the greats.

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Results of GSBS Competition

After an incredible afternoon of excellent live blues at Wicked Twisted in Nashua last Sunday, the Granite State Blues Society is proud to announce the winners of our 2014 IBC (International Blues Challenge) competition:

The solo/duo winner this year is Arthur James! Arthur has been a veteran of the New England blues scene since the 1980’s and a multiple IBC winner. His lively, foot-tapping acoustic blues style features his soulful vocals and passionately inspired guitar work.

This year’s winner in the band competition is the Mike Crandall Blues Band! This high energy blues-swing harmonica band from Connecticut blew us away! Mike’s powerful voice and blistering harp work is something to behold, and with a stage presence to match. His band is tight and polished and features some amazing guitar playing from Sam Gentile.

All our competing performers were incredibly good this year, making the judges’ job the most difficult it has ever been. A huge thank you to all who participated and to all who came out to enjoy the shows! Be on the lookout for a future GSBS fund-raising event to help us send our winners to Memphis for the final IBC competition.

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Meet Erik Ray finalist at the IBC’s 2014

P1120037Come help us welcome Erik Ray to New Hampshire!  Erik has just moved to the Mount Washington Valley area from a small ranch town in Montana, and is enjoying getting to know many musicians and fans in the New Hampshire area.

Erik recently won the 2013 Granite State Blues Society Challenge in the Solo/Duo category. He competed in 30th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN and was selected as one of eight finalists, out of 101 of the best solo/duo blues acts in the world

As you will see, Erik is somewhat of a musical anomaly. Over the last 30 years as a professional musician and entertainer he has, among other things, built up his “one-man-band” act. He plays the guitar, mandolin, harmonica, kick drum, high hat, upright bass and accordion – mostly simultaneously.

It is hard to label his style of music. Although he usually advertises it as honky-tonk Blues, it really encompasses many more genres. In his own words he says “I love Delta Blues,Chicago Blues, Jump and Swing, old Country from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, 1960s rock, zydeco, a smattering of Jazz and Folk, polkas and anything else that moves me at the time”.

When Erik isn’t playing music, he is busy as a high school math teacher. He’s currently teaching at Bishop Brady, a private catholic high school in Concord, NH. He has an agreement with his students, as an incentive for high achievement, that if they average an A on their quiz he will play them a song on his guitar. It works!

Nelson’s Candies and the Granite State Blues Society are presenting an intimate evening with Erik Ray on March 22, 2014 at 7:00 at Nelson’s Candies, Main Street, Wilton, NH.

Admission is $12.00 which will be used to help offset the costs of the GSBS Barnful of Blues Festival which raises money for children’s charities in New Hampshire.  Tickets are available at Nelson’s Candies, at the door the evening of the show, or via Paypal


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