Update Oct. 6, 2013

Congratulations to Back Pack Jones for winning our IBC Challlenge

We're looking forward to hosting a fundraiser for them in January to help them on their way to tbe International Blues Challaenge. They're an awesome band and it'll be fun rooting for them in Memphis.

Thanks to all the fans, all the bands, the judges and our sponsors.
This was a lot of fun!

The Lizzi Neal Band finished second and will have the opportunity to represent PCBS and go to Memphis if Back Pack Jones is unable to go.

All the bands were outstanding. The judges did an excellent job picking the winners.

3rd Annual PCBS IBC Band Challenge

Memphis on Main
Oct. 5, 2013
4:00pm - 9:00pm

As an affiliate of The Blues Foundation, PCBS is staging our 3rd local IBC competition. The winning band will represent PCBS at the 30th Annual International Blues Challenge, Jan. 22-25, 2014 in Memphis, TN.

Here's the lineup.

Band Bios

Jimmy Nick & Don't Tell Mama

Jimmy Nick is an old fashioned, guitar-slinging blues prodigy who was developing his chops in famous Chicago clubs when he was only sixteen. That time spent at places like The Kingston Mines, Rosa's Lounge, and B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead, combined with his boundless energy and stage presence, has developed him into force that is taking the Chicago club and blues scene by storm.

During this short time, Jimmy has won many accolades, including Finalist in the Chicago Blues Guitar Slinger Challenge (2012), winner of the Illinois Blues Challenge (2012) and being voted the best band under 21 in 2006 and 2007 by Suburban NightLife Magazine. In 2011, the band released their first album Whisky N' Rain, which features ten original songs that pull deeply from both his Chicago Blues influences as well as groups like George Thorogood and the Destroyers, ZZ Top and AC/DC. In 2013, the band released a follow-up EP entitled Who Ya' Kiddin', which is getting rave reviews from fans and critics.

Backed by his band Don't Tell Mama, which includes Lowell Todd (bass), Joel Baer (drums) and Ben Thompson (Sax), Jimmy Nick combines his massive talent and stage theatrics with high-energy blues and rock and roll for one of the best live shows around.

  • Jimmy Nick - Lead Vocals and Guitar
  • Joel Baer - Drums and Background Vocals
  • Lowell Todd - Bass
  • Ben Thompson - Sax and Background Vocals

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James Jones Trio

The James Jones Trio plays traditional blues with a young approach and feel. Being a group for a very short time, their debut has been in the making for years. With all members under the age of twenty-five, they play with the maturity of well-seasoned veterans. The Trio consists of James Jones on guitar and vocals, Aaron Bouslog on the drums, and Mitchell Killough on the bass guitar.

James, as a ...frontman, performs with the depth and conviction of someone twice his age. His guitar and vocal work display a maturity and passion that breathes life into the blues. His shows are fiery, and unforgettable to say the least.

The Trio's rhythm section, consisting of Aaron and Mitchell, bring multiple influences to the table, and create a foundation unlike anything heard before. Aaron's superb drum work brings a taste to the blues that hasn't been heard in years, especially by someone of his age. Mitchell's fine bass work is the mortar of the group.

  • James Jones - Vocals, Guitar
  • Aaron Bouslog - Drums
  • Mitchell Killough - Bass

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Susan Williams Band

Susan got her start singing professionally over twenty years ago, when she was approached by her church organist in Urbana, Illinois about auditioning for a variety band that he had. She became the lead singer for his band, "Celebration," quickly learning to do everything from old standards from the 1930's and '40's to country and current pop music.

She found out very quickly that musicians viewed singers who didn't play instruments as "second-class citizens." So with encouragement from the keyboard player (who was running the bass line with his left hand), Susan bought a bass and began taking bass lessons. Within three months, she officially became a "first-class citizen," playing bass at their gigs, as well as singing.

Over the years, Susan has performed in a number of bands in central and northern Illinois, as well as in upstate New York. She was known for quite some time as a country singer, playing in country bands and performing as part of the house band at the Country Spirit Opry in Decatur, IL in the late '80's. The country trend continued throughout most of the '90's in upstate New York, where she became locally known as the new Patsy Cline.

When she returned to Illinois in 1997, she felt she needed to branch back out to other types of music, missing the variety she had come to enjoy in her first band. She formed the band, "Susan Williams and the Midnight Rider Band," and began to add classic rock from the '70's to the repertoire. The variety was well-received by the fans, and slowly but surely she began to be known as a more diverse singer, drawing from the likes of Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Grace Slick, Bonnie Raitt, and other great female artists.

Susan noticed that as she was getting "chronologically more mature" (we never use the term "older"), her voice was deepening and becoming much more raspy. People began to comment a lot about the "bluesy" quality of her voice. During this same time period, she was getting turned onto and drawn into the musical addiction commonly known as "the blues."

A move to the Chicago area just deepened her addiction, as she now had the opportunity to go out and listen and play any night of the week! The more she sang the blues, the more she wanted to! Her repertoire had now grown to include Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and countless others.

She has made guest appearances at Buddy Guy's "Legends", the House of Blues, B.L.U.E.S. Chicago, and played several gigs at The Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago. She previously co-hosted a blues jam at Carter's Place in Lockport with Pauline York every other week for a number of years. She has also been featured in a number of newspaper articles in central and northern Illinois.

Susan is also currently the lead singer for her band in the central Illinois area, which is known for the diverse nature of its musical repertoire. On any given night, you could hear her belt out Patsy Cline, followed by Koko Taylor, followed by Janis Joplin!

Susan has been trying her hand at songwriting, and regularly performs a number of her original songs. She is working on her first CD, which she hopes to have out by early 2012.

  • Susan Williams - Bass, vocals
  • Todd Kester - Lead Guitar
  • Chuck Bialeschki - Drums

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Benny Jenkins bloodline

Benny Jenkins bloodline plays postwar Chicago style blues / West Coast jump swing influenced music with a rockabilly energy. "The missing link between blues and rockabilly; "Bluesbilly".

True American music from the heart & soul ! This man knows the blues first hand ! The bands sound is chock full of roots, folk to traditional sounding blues. Lots of up tempo get your feet movin' & stompin' music !

Chicago native Benny grew up on the south side of Chicago "Apartment style" 22nd & Damon Ave. then moving to 24th & Cicero where attended school through Jr. high. His father retired from the truck docks of Chicago and moved the family to Danville, IL. At 17 it didn't quite suit Benny so he moved back to the north side of Chicago near Old Town with friends. Growing up in Chicago he was exposed to the great legends Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Paul Butterfield and Sonny Boy Williamson by brother Alex by the age of 10. Benny joined the Jenkins bros. band as harp player at age 18. The band hit the bar scene in the mid 70's playing bars in Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, the south suburbs and the college towns throughout Illinois and Indiana. The Jenkins bros. hooked up with an agent out of Evanston, IL. was signed and put on the road. The band steadily built a loyal following throughout Chicago, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, California, the Dakota's and ground zero for the blues Helena Arkansas to name a few. Benny has played 40 of the 50 states as well as toured Canada and has logged well over 6,000 performances. Benny moved to Nashville in 1992 worked for Gibson guitar and formed a blues band The Sinners. They recorded an EP a live CD and were regulars at Bourbon St. Blues & boogie bar, Cafe Milano and Gibson's Guitar Gallery club and toured out of Nashville, Alabama and Georgia. Benny left the band after 3 years and formed Flathead 6 and recorded a CD with friends Mike Holms B2 & piano (Gatemouth Brown) and Jeff Cease original guitarist for The Black Crows (shake your money maker). The band was short lived but gained a cult following. Benny lived in Nashville for 11 years before relocating back to East Central IL. In 2001.

  • Benny Jenkins: Vocals, Guitar, Harp
  • Don Jenkins: Drums
  • Todd Gallagher: Standup String Bass
  • Dylan Jenkins: Rhythm Guitar, Slide

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Kicked To The Curb

Kicked to the Curb began in 2004, when Jon Clausing and Jeff Boston formed a band to express their shared mutual interest in and love for the Blues. Since then the band has gigged around central Illinois, mostly in small bars, usually as a trio but sometimes with five or six members, before settling in to our current five-piece lineup. Despite the passage of time and various personnel changes, the band has stayed true to its original purpose to keep the heart and soul of the Blues at the front and center of each and every performance.

Kicked to the Curb consists of founder and band leader Jon "Southside Jonny" Clausing on vocals, guitar, dobro, harp, and fiddle. Jon has a degree in music from Parkland College, and a deep interest in all forms of the Blues. Co-founder Jeff Boston began playing bass in 1967. Clint Brockmeyer on guitar and mandolin started out in Rock, and since developed a strong bent towards Blues and Reggae. Drummer Jarrod Lebeck has a degree in music from Milliken University and is an accomplished percussionist in all forms of music from Classical to Jazz, Rock, and Blues. Jamie Thiessen is our newest member and adds remarkable background vocals as well as taking the reins on a few songs.

  • "Southside" Jonny Clausing - Vocals, guitar, harp
  • Jeff Boston - Bass, vocals
  • Clint Brockmeyer - Guitar
  • Jarrod Leback - Drums
  • Jamie Theissen - Vocals

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Lizzi Neal Band

Paralyzing Blues Rock with Soul on Top. The Best Music Cookie you ever ATE. If Etta James and Steven Tyler had a baby you would have The "Threel" Lizzi Neal

The Lizzi Neal Band from Illinois is Blues with kick of TNT.

The live show is so fantastic and energetic that you can't stay in your seat. Formed in 2003 LNB brings together years of experience.

"If you are looking for something new that doesn't sound like anything else, The Lizzi Neal Band is the real deal. They have such a dynamic style and have a way of making each person feel that they are playing just for them. Whatever "IT" is they have it! They soothe the pressures this life hands us all and for a moment we can all let it go. Thanks for the passion, music, and talent and for sharing it so well! Lizzi Neal is one of the Midwest best!" ---River City Blues Society

Lizzi's vocals are so incredible you will struggle with every emotion you have all at once. Lizzi comes from music in her blood; she grew up listening to her dad play and sing everyday. She isn't just a singer; it's like listening to a finely tuned instrument. You can hear so many influences in their music, but it still remains original just to them, they have a sound all their own. Dave has been playing guitar since he was 13 and you can hear a mix of blues, country and rock in his playing. Jason IS the best bass man around, mixing his love for blues, funk, and rock, he is untouchable. John brings everyone together by being a true leader and a force to be reckoned with. LNB has had the pleasure to share a stage with so many great musicians.

  • Lizzi Neal-Lead Vocalist
  • Dave Neal-Lead Guitar/Backup Vocals
  • Jason Freeman-Bass Guitar/Backup Vocals
  • John Brown-Drums
  • Jan Bradford-Harmonica

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Back Pack Jones

Back Pack Jones was formed in 2012 and is comprised of Springfield, Illinois area musicians, each with a long musical history. The common thread of a love for the blues and a desire to share blues music with others has brought this talented group together. What started as a simple desire to play the blues and have fun has resulted in a combination of diversity, originality and passion now known as Back Pack Jones.

Back Pack Jones delivers awesome traditional blues as well as original blues in a high-powered package guaranteed to please an audience. Back Pack Jones finished as a semi-finalist in the prestigious 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and is an active supporter and participant in The International Blues Foundation's program "Blues in the Schools." Back Pack Jones is currently finishing their first release of original blues, titled "Betsy's Kitchen. Back Pack Jones is often complimented by a full horn section which brings even more energy to BPJ's stage act. Back Pack Jones has thrilled audiences at the famous B.B. King's Blues Club in Memphis, has opened for international blues sensation Jimmy Thackery and will open for the legendary B.B. King in November 2013.

You can become part of the Back Pack Jones blues experience by visiting www.backpackjones.com or LIKE Back Pack Jones on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BackPackJones.

  • Michael Baier - Bass and Vocals
  • Jim Culbertson - Trumpet
  • Wendell Day - Keyboards
  • Anders J. "A.J." Good - Trumpet
  • Jarrod Hill - Saxophone
  • Harvey Horton - Drums and Vocals
  • Archer Logan - Saxophone
  • Kirk Lonbom - Guitar
  • Michael Wallace - Vocals
  • Vance Washington - Saxophone
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A special thanks to our sponsors:

Skins-n-Tins Drum Shop, has been supplying us with a drum kit for the competition since we got started in 2011. They were also generous enough to supply the kit for the recent fundraiser and tribute to Carol Johnson.

Memphis on Main has provided the venue for each of our IBC Challenges as well as many other PCBS shows. They're always great to work with and we're always glad to have them on board.

Po' Boys is bringing the BBQ this year. They're excited to be part of this event and we're excited to have them in our corner.