November 16, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
Coconino Center for the Arts

Northern Arizona Blues Alliance presents

The Blues Road to Memphis

The Northern Arizona Blues Alliance (NAZBA) in partnership with the Coconino Center For The Arts, is proud to announce a very special evening of acoustical blues music, The Blues Road to Memphis. The event will feature the regional winners of the 2019 International Blues Challenge and take place at the Coconino Center for the Arts on Saturday, November 16. All proceeds will benefit NAZBA and the Flagstaff Arts Council, both non profit organizations.

The International Blues Challenge (IBC) is an annual event hosted and produced by the Blues Foundation in Memphis Tenn. Over two hundred and fifty solo/ duo artists and blues bands world wide come together to compete for the prize of being recognized as the best up and coming blues band and solo/ duo artists. An artist or band is only invited to compete at the “IBC’s” on Beale St. Memphis Tenn if they have won their local affiliate’s IBC competition.

The Blues Road To Memphis will showcase the 2019 duo / single regional International Blues Challenge (IBC) winners from both the Phoenix (Phoenix Blues Society) and Northern Arizona (NAZBA) areas. These artists will be traveling to Memphis Tenn this January to represent Arizona in some of the best original acoustic blues music.

The Blues Road To Memphis Featured Artists:

Joe Kopecki, 2018, 2019 winner of the Phoenix Blues Society IBC solo/duo category. 

“Innocent Joe” Kopecki is a masterful guitarist, singer and songwriter of the blues. When he is not busy fronting his own band, Innocent Joe and the Hostile Witnesses, Joe can be found performing his original blues music as a solo artist on the best well known blues festival stages in Arizona. The Chandler Jazz Festival, Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival, Sedona Red Rock Blues Festival 2 and the Camp Verde Blues Project Show are some of the 2019 “big stage gigs” that Joe has performed at. In late summer Joe finished his studio album, “Just Me and My Innocent Self.” This is Joe’s 2nd album and the songs were inspired and written to showcase his talent when he competes in Memphis Tenn this winter. The album has charted on the Roots Music Report under the category of acoustic blues music and has received critical acclaim and airplay in both the United States and abroad.

The Swamp Poets Duo, 2019 winners of the Northern Arizona Blues Alliance IBC solo/ duo category.

Chris Berry and “Tall” Paul Epoch are the Swamp Poets Duo. They have been performing together for over twenty years. Chris is the vocalist and guitarist of the duo while “Tall” Paul is is recognized as one of the best harmonica players in the state of Arizona. Whether they are performing as a duo or in their current band configuration, The Electric Swamp Poets, their swampy New Orleans influences can always be heard in their original blues music. Besides being a session player with some of the music industry’s greats, Chris has a long list of studio production and album design credits for such names as Billy Preston, Delbert McClinton and the Stone Temple Pilots to just name a few. “Tall Paul” too has laid down many tracks in the studio for different musical projects and has many theatrical credits to his name as an accomplished actor. Together, the Swamp Poets Duo always have good times with their high energy mix of acoustic blues.

The show will take place on Saturday, November 16th 2019, doors are at 6:30pm and the show will start at 7pm. Tickets are $15 advance/ $18 day of show. (Arts Council Members receive 10% discount! Contact the CCA for details.) Tickets can be purchased online, in person at Coconino Center for the Arts. All ticket sales are final – no refunds will be issued.

Concert-goers can save on hotel rooms with our partner, Embassy Suites in Flagstaff. Use booking code: ART to save 20% on your next visit to Flagstaff! Visit: tinyurl.com/y8t7rxvy to book today.



Learn more about Northern Arizona Blue Alliance (NAZBA) 

More about the the International Blues Challenge:

The International Blues Challenge represents the worldwide search for those blues bands and solo/duo blues performers ready for the international stage, yet just needing that extra big break. Each affiliated Blues Society of The Blues Foundation has the right to send a band and solo/duo musician(s) to represent its organization at the IBC.

The IBC is judged by blues professionals from across the world who have years of experience in listening to, producing, and creating blues music. The Blues Foundation has established a set of criteria by which all competing musicians are evaluated throughout the five days of the IBC.

Affiliated Blues Societies are required to stage a live regional preliminary IBC competition, with the winner of that event representing the organization in the International Blues Challenge held annually in Memphis, TN along historic Beale Street. While affiliated Blues Societies are encouraged to follow The Blues Foundation’s structure and rules during their local challenges, each organization is free to structure its preliminary rounds as it sees fit, as long as a true challenge between multiple musicians takes place resulting in a single band and/or solo/duo artist(s) being identified.