By Ben Dungan
Things heat up in Memphis every February when the entrants to the International Blues Challenge come to town. Blues societies and organizations all over the world host their own individual competitions each year, where the winning band gets a shot to compete in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge.
The Charlotte Blues Society has held this competition for many years now and has been represented by established blues acts such as Robin Rogers and Her Hot Band, The Contagious Blues Band, Abe Reid, and Delta Moon.
Gene Gene & The Blues Machine won the Charlotte Blues Society’s competition last month and will represent the organization next February in Memphis. They will compete against hundreds of other blues acts from all over the world at the International Blues Challenge.
This Charlotte-based band has been playing together in its current lineup for a little more than half a year. With their sound steeped in the Chicago blues, Gene Gene and company are just now hitting their stride as a band.
Only a couple of months away from their big performance in Memphis, the band is currently working on additional original songs to add to their repertoire. Gene Gene and the band can wail on some of the classic blues tunes, but they know that in Memphis, their original material is going to have to be top-notch in order to compete with the rest of the bands.
That means, between now and Memphis, the band will continue to hone their sound and get the right groove going so they’ll be ready to dazzle the judges. But as Gene Gene tells me, as long as they stick to their high energy, take-no-prisoners style of performing, they have as good of a shot as anyone.
In the meantime, the Charlotte Blues Society will be throwing the band a send-off party at the Double Door Inn on Sunday, January 9. The good folks in Memphis know Charlotte has produced some top-notch acts in the past, and they’ll be looking again to see what Charlotte’s Gene Gene & the Blues Machine can do in 201
To learn more about Gene Gene & The Blues Machine, visit them online at www.myspace.com/genegenethebluesmachine or www.charlottebluessociety.org.