The Blues Foundation, based in Memphis, Tennessee, organizes the International Blues Challenge (IBC) which allows blues artists from all over the world to put their talents under the spotlight. The Best Self-Produced CD category was established in 2005, and only affiliated blues societies can submit entries. The Montreal Blues Society held preliminary judging this fall to determine the entry that will represent Quebec this year. Judges from within the Quebec blues community were selected to use the following criteria to choose the finalists:
- Blues Content (is this a Blues Music recording)
- Musical Performance (Musicianship)
- Audio Quality of the Presentation (Production Values, levels)
- Cover Art and Design (Professional Packaging, Ready for the rack)
- Credits and Liner Information (Informative, Professional)
The judges whittled the list of more than a dozen albums released in the last twelve months down to four finalists. They are:
- Ben Racine Band, A Grand New Brew
- Cêcile Doo-Kingué, Anybody Listening Part 1: Monologues
- Michael Jerome Browne, Sliding Delta
- Ria Reece Band, Out All Night
Unlike the Quebec to Memphis challenge that just concluded this past Tuesday, the winner of the Best Self-Produced CD does not need to perform in Memphis. The Montreal Blues Society takes care of entering and submitting its' candidate. Quebec artists have fared well in the past in this competition. Guy Bélanger's Blues Turn CD made the Top 5 last year, and Steve Hill's entry Solo Recordings: Volume 1 was the winner in 2014.
The winner chosen to represent the Montreal Blues Society in January 2016 will be announced next week.