From the President...       May 11, 2015

Greetings once again Blues Fans!!

Utah Blues Society President Brian Kelm here with the 5th UBS Newsletter! Spring is in full swing and the outdoor festival season is shaping up. The BEST festival of the Summer is seriously in full swing and that’s the 1ST ANNUAL UTAH BLUES FESTIVAL on June 13th!! Headliners Café RnB and the Lloyd Jones Struggle will be featured, alongside 11 local bands. Thanks to all who have already bought tickets (only $15 in advance, that’s just over $1/band, what a deal!!). They can be purchased at, where all the latest updates can also be found. Post on Facebook (we also have a FB page for the Fest), tell a friend, and send them to our sites.

Speaking of FB sites, we also have a very active one for your Utah Blues Society, and on it, you can catch up on some of the festivities this past weekend in Memphis. And what a weekend it was - with both the BMA’s (Blues Music Awards) and the Blues Hall of Fame, both presented by our national mothership affiliate, The Blues Foundation (BF). You were represented well, with myself, UBS Treasurer/BF Board Member Tripp Hopkins and his wife Laura, and the Chairman of the BF Board, Eric Simonsen of Ivins, UT in attendance!

It started out with the prestigious, annual BMA’s - the Grammys of the Blues, held on the first or second Thursday every May. Many familiar faces to Utah took home the prized awards, not the least of which were recent performers here, Elvin Bishop (first time he’s ever won a BMA and in so doing, he took home 3!); Keb’ Mo’; Marcia Ball; and upcoming artists coming here - Janiva Magness (8/21/15 at the Ogden Roots & Blues Fest) and Joe Bonamassa (8/13/15 at Usana).

But of more immediate interest is the winner of the “Soul Blues Album” of the year who is actually in our fair city tonight and tomorrow, JOHN NEMETH. That’s right, his incredible soulful blues CD “Memphis Grease” took home the gold. John is one of the heaviest blue eyed soul singers in the business (and his harp playin’ aint bad either!) and is well deserving of this award. It’s not often you get to see a BMA winner playing, as it were, in your “living room” which is what it’s like when you attend one of the many stellar shows at the Bleu Bistro. There are still just a few tickets left for tonight and tomorrow night’s 7 p.m. shows (Mon. & Tues.) so call Carl now for tickets and mention you’re a UBS member and get $5 off. Come help celebrate John’s brand new BMA award (hopefully he’ll have it with him?!) tonight and tomorrow at the Bleu Bistro. While you’re enjoying the John Nemeth show, I’ll be spinning the Blues on 90.9 FM KRCL tonight from 8 – 10:30 p.m. and doing a wrap up of the BMA’s, paying particular tribute to the winners of all 24 categories so tune in!

As mentioned, the BF also unveiled the long anticipated Blues Hall of Fame on the morning following the BMA’s. After the late night BMA festivities, I drug myself out of bed super early (9:30 a.m.!!) and stumbled over to the Hall of Fame in time to be the second wave in, just after 10 a.m. and can tell you that it was worth the wait. Thanks to you, and blues fans from around the world, this first rate multi million dollar facility pays extraordinary homage to the great bluesmen and blueswomen who have given us this greatest of all musical art forms, from which most all others derive – the Blues. As if there isn’t enough attractions worth seeing in Memphis (National Civil Rights Museum right across the street, Stax, Rock & Soul Museum, Gibson, Graceland, etc.) you now have the most compelling reason of all – a visit to the brand new Blues Hall of Fame!!! Highly, highly recommended…

Wrapping up - just another reminder that these Newsletters are somewhat linear so if you missed the first 4, you can read them at our website under “Blues News”!! Share this Newsletter, our websites, share the gospel and good news about the Blues! Still always looking for skilled individuals who would like to assist their UBS too. In particular, we could still use someone with accounting skills and someone good with social media/websites, so let me know at!

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

  • John Nemeth at the Bleu Bistro, tonight & tomorrow, May 11 & 12: 7-10 pm
  • Ghost Town Blues Band at the Bleu Bistro, June 11: 7-10 pm
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band at Red Butte, June 12
  • And of course, THE UTAH BLUES FESTIVAL, SATURDAY, JUNE 13th from 1 – 10 pm!!!

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

Brian Kelm - UBS President