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From the President...       January 29, 2015

Greetings once again Blues Fans!!

Greetings once again Blues Fans!! Utah Blues Society President Brian Kelm here with the third UBS Newsletter! Big thanks to all who came to our inaugural UBS Member Appreciation Holiday Party at The State Room December 19th! Just over 200 in the house and I think it’s safe to say that a jolly ol time was had by one and all! We debuted some cool UBS beanies, hats and scarves and virtually sold them all out too! Big thanks to members of Riverhouse Band and Candy’s River House Band!! So did you learn at the Trivia Contest that these are 2 distinctly different, equally talented bands?! ;)

Since the Party, hopefully you also had occasion to catch Tommy Castro (12/21,22 & 23 at the P.C. Egyptian Theatre) and Keb’ Mo’ (1/3 at the P.C. Eccles Center). I was fortunate enough to also see both of these artists on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise (“Blues Cruise”) from which I just got back last Sunday (and from which I’m still recovering!). The Blues Cruise is a pilgrimage to which every blues fan MUST make (17 X’s in my case!). It is indescribable. Over 3 dozen killer blues bands (and special surprise guests) on 5 stages for 7 days with music playing somewhere almost 24 hours a day. The Pro Jams and Piano Bar are known to go until the sun comes up. And then about noon, music starts up again on several stages. We lease out Holland America’s biggest, baddest ship (3 football fields long and 13 stories) and, well, ... pretty much do with it what we want! Almost anything goes! It’s every October and January and most often goes out of Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean, where we make 3 stops at cool ports in the middle of the week so you can do some exploring. You’ll never do any other cruise once you do a Blues Cruise. Just ask Mary, Mary and Stephanie – 3 returnees representing Utah. Small Utah contingency this time around, but we all had a bluesy good time (last October I think we had over a dozen). Check out www.bluescruise.com and get on board! It’s always sold out, but make a deposit and/or get on the wait list and tell ‘em Brian sent ya and we’ll get ya on!

Someone who is almost always on the Cruise as well is your Treasurer Tripp Hopkins. However, as a Board Member for our national affiliate, The Blues Foundation, he was at the IBC’s last week (International Blues Challenge) in Memphis where over 200 bands compete to be the best. (Maybe I can solicit Tripp to give us a rundown on this also-not-to-be-missed event!). See www.blues.org for more information about this and other Blues Foundation goings on – not the least of which is the Blues Hall of Fame opening this May!

Last time I gave you historical background on your UBS. This time, I’d like to tell you where we’re at now. We just received a nice little $1600 Grant from the UTAH DIVISION OF ARTS & MUSEUMS to help with our Utah Blues Festival (June 13 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center). We also have over 300 people signed up for this Newsletter (if you have friends you know have signed up for it, make sure they got it, I’ve heard some haven’t – and check your Spam folder!). Only about a quarter of y’all are dues paying members though so please, go to our site and become one! http:// utahbluessociety.org/membership/ So between dues paying members and sales of some merch and the Grant, we have a couple grand to work with – which will go a long way toward attracting a national headliner for our Utah Blues Fest, among other things. We could really use any help you care to offer too. What skills do you have? Are you a grant writer? Have connections in the food industry? In the business world – particularly one that would want to sponsor our Blues Fest for example?! Web designer? Volunteer at blues events to spread the gospel of the UBS? Let me know at brian@briankelm.com. You’ll be stronger for it, meet great folks, and get perks like free blues and credit in heaven!

Upcoming blues shows we plan to have our table at, and that you should attend so that these venues keep booking blues, are:

  • Indigenous, Monday 2/2 at The State Room
  • Indigenous, Tuesday 2/3 at O.P. Rockwells in Park City
  • Terrence Simien & the Zydeco Experience Friday/Saturday/Sunday 2/6,7 & 8 at    thePark City Egyptian Theater
  • Marcia Ball & Elvin Bishop, Saturday 2/14 at the Park City Eccles Center (at the  P.C. High School)
  • Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna fame) with Larry Campbell (acoustic blues) Thursday  2/19at The State Room
  • Steepwater Blues Band, Monday & Tuesday, 2/23 & 24 at The Bleu Bistro

Of course, you can always find out about upcoming blues gigs of all kinds via Bad Brad Wheeler’s “Blues News” on our site: http://utahbluessociety.org/blues-news/ (note the 2/8 Woody Thomsen Memorial thereon too!) Feel free to forward this to anyone you know and urge them to become a member at http://utahbluessociety.org/membership/. Hope to see you out and about at an upcoming show.

Hope to see you out and about at an upcoming show. Till then...

Brian Kelm - UBS President