The 2018 International Blues Blowoff! (The IBB)
Tues Aug 14, 2018 - Trainwreck Saloon Westport Plaza St Louis... just a few steps from the SPAH hotel doors!
Aug 8 Update: Online ticket sales end mid-day Thurs Aug 9.
Only 5 VIP seats remain, all the Reserved seats have been sold. I may have a few more of each at the gate the day of the show... ask there if interested.
General Admission and Youth tickets will be available at the door.
Read the short disclaimer at bottom of this page before purchasing!
Here's this year's incredible lineup... in no particular order
House band around 6:00 IBB artists starting at 6:30 (ish)
Jim McLaren and the St Louis Social Club are the 2018 house band. Jim is a great harp player from St Louis, these boys just killed as the house musicians last time the IBB was in Saint Louis... pleased and then some to be working with them once again!
Joe Filisko w/Eric Noden The world's premier customizer and GREAT player specializing in pre-war blues. Yep, the very same Joe Filisko whose signature is on the box of some high end Hohner products, and who runs the always amazing Filisko teach-in at the SPAH convention. Joining Joe on guitar & vocals is his duo partner Eric Noden... world class stuff here!
John Long A national treasure in the truest sense, John has been paying dues for over 5 decades on harp, vocals and acoustic guitar. His deep resonant voice and great storytelling will take you back to the era of well worn juke joints and hobo's riding the rails. Mentored by guys as diverse as Homesick James and Muddy Waters, John has played with a "who's who" of past and present blues legends. Now back from his first and long (pun intended) overdue European tour, it's a safe bet this two-time BMA nominee and 2017 SPAH President's Award recipient will fill the room with a warm soulful authenticity that you'll rarely experience from any entertainer.
Special Guest Cameo's Don't be surprised to learn you've been rubbin' elbows all night with an international artist, there's at least as many in the audience every year as there are on the stage. Not many shows where you can find yourself randomly seated next to bonafide blues & jazz legends and 70's rock stars, many of whom are Grammy, W.C. Handy, BMA and SPAH award recipients.
Will Scarlett The legendary rocker from Hot Tuna! A masterful innovator, Will was using the "overblow" technique of playing fully chromatically on a diatonic harmonica as far back as the early 70's. He has recorded and performed with an amazingly diverse range of musicians over his storied career, including David Bromberg, Brownie McGhee, Jerry Garcia, The Jefferson Airplane, T-Bone Walker, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Doc Watson... just to name a few. Possessing a timelessly energetic personality, this is the man you'll forever more think of when you hear the phrase "twinkle in his eye". And I mean to tell ya' folks, this is no "tribute" spot... Will can still crush it!
TJ Klay I first saw TJ back in 2007 at Jason Ricci's "Rockers" summit, he was in the process of inserting a 10 hole diatonic harp into his mouth with the holes pointing out toward me... yes, completely inside his mouth! He proceeded to play by breathing while covering/uncovering various holes with his fingertips. Turned out he can also play 'normal', a serious triple threat on guitar, harmonica and vocals.
David Berntson David is THE man in the Tulsa neck of the woods. A pro's pro with deeply soulful tone, phrasing, pace and a whole lotta' style. One of my personal favorites and one cool cat you don't want to miss. He's also done extensive youth work, going into schools and communities worldwide to bring our instrument, and inspiration, to kids of all ages and circumstances.
Cheryl Arena Big on the scene by the River Charles (and well beyond). A fine 'Chicago' style player (and vocalist) who has also become a veteran instructor at John Gindick's Jam Camps. Sheryl participated in the SPAH blowoff hosted by Jason Ricci in Sacramento 10 years back and has performed on SPAH's Founders Stage. You'll see her again Thurs night on SPAH's Main Stage.
Peter "Madcat" Ruth Innovator, pioneer and Grammy Award recipient... Madcat possesses a dizzying array of talents. You might see him do anything from old school Vaudevillian entertainment, to great amplified work, to playing blues on the ukulale, on through to killer chops in the delta tradition of Sonny Terry. In high demand worldwide, it's always a treat when he can be available for the IBB. It was Peter who broke the "diatonic ceiling" at the SPAH convention all those years ago, setting the groundwork for much that has come afterward.
PT Gazell Inventor of the unique "Gazell Method", PT has developed a style and sound that is all his own. Using valved diatonic harps with his own special tuning's, coupled to an astonishing mastery of the instrument, PT brings a jazz oriented vibe that combines precise lightning quick runs with an absolutely beautiful musicality. The end result is sure to leave you as breathless as it does his other audiences around the globe. PT hasn't played in the IBB for a decade+, it is a true delight to welcome him back!
Mystery Guest(s) I always like to rock the crowd with something unexpected. Sometimes I know who it will be months ahead and just want it to be a surprise, sometimes it's because schedules haven't been confirmed yet. Or, it might be that it's a "Stevie Wonder" level celebrity (it's not Stevie this year) and that if it were announced the venue wouldn't possibly hold everyone who wanted a ticket. I do however have a couple names in mind who you'll be very pleased to see.
The Grand Finale An Invitational Pro Jam (time permitting) A spectacular mix of the nights entertainers combined with some of the world class players who are out in the audience. With apologies to all hopefuls...this is not an open jam session, but... there are open jams every day and night at the SPAH convention all week long, with many of the above and an amazing array of other pro's hosting and sitting in.
Click HERE for TICKETS and T-SHIRTS Read the short disclaimer at page bottom before purchasing! Reserved and VIP sections are only about 50 seats each and projected to sell out early.
The venue does NOT have advance tickets, they will be made available via Paypal through this website only. Cash only for tickets at the door.
Under 21 only until 8:30pm. (local liquor laws + house rules) I'm offering a $5 youth only ticket for those who have to leave early. NOT available for 21 or older, must show ID or very obviously be under 21. These tickets will also be available at the door.
SPAH attendees receive a discount! Proof of membership or convention registration required. Or... you can purchase tickets at the standard rate to further support this event. The IBB donates significantly every year to SPAH's Youth Fund!
Pssst, St Louis... In appreciation of your support the last time through, General Public ticket prices have been reduced by $5 for 2018!
Dining The Trainwreck Saloon has a surprisingly expansive menu, I've tried a few items and they were all quite good, I encourage you to arrive hungry and support the venue via your food and beverage purchases.
SPAH: Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica
The heralded 55 year old 501(c)(3) non-profit. www.spah.org
The night-of tip jar raises funds for SPAH's extensive Youth Programs!
Warning: This is "adult night" in regard to the SPAH convention, irreverent lyrics and general merrymaking may be encountered.
My Four Rule Disclaimer:
1. All ticket sales are final. Extreme circumstances will be considered... late flights, changed plans etc do not qualify for refunds.
2. Lineup and performance order are subject to change at any time. The above artists have confirmed, but with so many coming from so far there can be unforeseen issues. The ticket you purchase is for the IBB itself, due to the above mentioned conditions we can not guarantee that any particular artist will be present. No worries, always a dozen+ world class players in the house who can step in, the talent that comes to the IBB every year is incredibly deep!
3. Do not bring music gear to this event. But... it is SPAH week after all, harmonica cases ok for those with a reasonable expectation of being called to the stage during one of the Showcases or the Grand Finale. Larger items such as amplifiers or guitars will not be allowed through the door.
And #4. Have a ball, but... No Gussing! "Gussing" is an inside term for playing a harmonica in the audience during the show, this practice is considered to be disrespectful. (would you play a guitar in the crowd during a Buddy Guy performance?) Extreme cases subject to ejection without refund
Use the form below to join the event mailing list or to request general info about the IBB. Please be specific as to what you're asking for.