Multiple Maple Blues Award winner Angel Forrest won the grand finale of the Quebec to Memphis challenge hosted by the Montreal Blues Society. The final round took place Tuesday night, October 17th, at the Bistro à JoJo in Montreal. Forrest took the top spot after consecutive runner up placings in 2015 and 2016. Angel and her band will be heading down to Memphis in January to represent the Montreal Blues Society in the Band category at the 34th annual International Blues Challenge, hosted by The Blues Foundation.
Six bands were in the hunt to represent the MBS, and all of Quebec, in Memphis at the IBC. The judges had to make a tough call. Dwane Dixon and the Rob Lutes Band both served up splendid performances in the competition final. Fuel Junkie, The Snyders, and the Shawn McPherson Band were also in the hunt in the Band category. The scoring was tight, and last year’s winner Dawn Tyler Watson was on hand to announce Angel as the winner of the competition just before 9 pm.
The Montreal Blues Society also reminded the packed house that Steve Hill took first place in the Solo/Duo contest held in August as part of the Trois Rivières en Blues festival. Earlier in the evening, The Associates launched their new album Vol 1. The band also hosted a short jam with Dawn Tyler Watson and Ben Racine while the judges scoring was tabulated. Angel also joined The Associates for a tune to close out the evening.
Once again, high caliber performances were served up across the board. Again this year, you couldn't help but notice the level of talent on the Quebec scene. It is second to none, as proven by the first place finish Dawn Tyler Watson and the Ben Racine Band pulled off last year in Memphis, and the Paul DesLauriers Band’s runner up spot the year before.
A contest of this size and scale doesn't just happen. We'd like to extend a big thank you to all the sponsors who donated goods that we could raffle off to help raise funds to defray the winning band's expenses to travel down to Memphis.
Thank you to our volunteer judges. You shared your expertise and your spare time with us by taking on the unenviable task of determining a winner over the course of two evenings. Thank you to Rick Keene, David Bush, Irene Ippersiel, Michel Dubois, and Randy Renaud. Thanks also for plugging the event on your radio shows, blogs, and websites!
Another big thank you to Danny Cyr at the Bistro à JoJo for his hospitality, not to mention Bruce Cameron, sound man extraordinaire. Without a partner like the Bistro, this event doesn't happen. Thanks again!
And the last word goes to all the Montreal Blues Society volunteers who helped in one way or another: