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Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas
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Blues News You Can Use!
It's a Wrap
The 2022 International Blues Challenge in it's alternate rescheduled form was "Back on Beale" to the delight of all who attended. There were certainly a few twists and turns on the path to get there, and still more that cropped up once we
all arrived in Memphis. Memphis on a weekend in May is FAR different than in late January! Personally, I loved the vibe, the fun being had in the street, and especially appreciated the weather....
but in practice it hampered the workings
of the International Blues Challenge. Here's to looking forward to the 2023
IBC which will be held January 31st-Feb 4th. Some exciting news this week that came in after last week's early newsletter release. A cool new blues exhibit has opened at The Pryor Center in downtown Fayetteville and Bobby Rush is coming
to present a night of music and stories. Read on below for all the information
of how to visit and get tickets for the Bobby Rush event.
Returning articles include info about THIS Sunday's "Shades of Blue" concert featuring internationally acclaimed blues and soul artist, Johnny Rawls. Read on below for more information. We are also including the announcement of the 2021 winners in the International Songwriting Competition. Along with the announcement you will find the link to the 2022 competition as submissions are underway.

Returning articles this week include the information about the cool new exhibit
-A Cast of Blues- now open at the
CACHE Art Gallery at 214 S. Main
Street in Springdale.
Always remember, this is YOUR newsletter! Please send feedback or suggestions our way. You can reach me by email at the address below. We appreciate our readers and want
to see your ideas included! 
~Sandy McCann
Bobby Rush
coming soon to
The Juke Joint Project
Some exciting blues oriented events are happening in NWA. In addition to the "A Cast of Blues" shared in an article below, a new exhibit is opening, this one in Fayetteville.
WHAT: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the U of A's Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is partnering with The Music Education Initiative to bring The Juke Joint Project: An Exhibit to the Pryor Center on the Downtown Fayetteville Square.
WHEN: The Juke Joint Project exhibit will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through the end of June. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The exhibit will feature music on various times. On May 20th, the legendary Bobby Rush will share a night of stories and songs at “The Juke Joint Project: An Exhibit” at the Pryor Center. Bobby is known for his Southern folk blues and suggestive wit and has worked with many blues greats,past and present. He is a two-time Grammy winner, Blues Hall of Famer, six-time Grammy nominee, and 13-time Blues Music Award winner. The octogenarian bluesman will perform in the replica of a Delta Juke Joint in the atrium of the Pryor Center on the Fayetteville downtown square.
Music Education Initiative Executive Director Orson Weems says that people are “going to be surprised to see that [“The Juke Joint Project: An Exhibit”] is actually something that they can touch and walk through.” Musical performances to accompany the exhibit will be posted to the Pryor Center’s website,, as information becomes available. “The Juke Joint,” built of period-aged cypress and tin, was originally created by designer Kaki Hockersmith.
Bobby Rush Performance
TICKETS: Tickets for the Bobby Rush performance are $50 and available at Doors open at 7, music starts at 8 p.m.
WHEN: 8 p.m. May 20 in “The Juke Joint Project: An Exhibit” in the atrium of the Pryor Center at 1 E. Center St. in Fayetteville.
This event is presented by the the Music Education Initiative. Bobby Rush’s likeness is on display in “A Cast of Blues,” on exhibit at 214 By CACHE, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale.
Shades of Blue Series
Featuring Johnny Rawls
Press release shared with OBS:
"Singer/songwriter/band leader and Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame inductee, R.D. Olson, is the REAL DEAL. His on-stage charisma and showmanship absolutely command the audience’s attention from start to finish at every show. And his band, The Ozark Allstars (featuring guitarist Gary Hutchinson) are top notch national level performers who always “bring it.” R.d. also has big plans for NWA with his new multi-media enterprise, producing a series called “Ozark Shades Of Blue” initially for Roku and public access programming, along the lines of Austin City Limits. He’ll be bringing in national artists once a month, kicking off the first live show of the series May 15th, 7-9pm, at the Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville. R.d. and the Ozark Allstars will open the show with a set from his latest album, “Born in the Country,” and then they’ll back up national blues artist, Johnny Rawls. Johnny Rawls, an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer, and songwriter who tours extensively throughout North America and overseas, is simply a “Blues Legend.” The Blues Music Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Awards, and the W. C. Handy Awards have all acknowledged Johnny with multiple awards and nominations, including Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Blues Artist of the Year.
This is one show not to be missed!
For tickets:
128 Central Ave, Bentonville, Arkansas 479-286-1500

Table Seating $35 General Admission $25

The Music Education Initiative

The Music Education Initiative OPENS A CAST OF BLUES

Blues music was born in Mississippi, came of age in Chicago, and went on to inspire generations of rock and rollers, ranging from the British invasion of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to contemporary groups, such as The Black Keys. As one of America’s contributions to the world of music, the blues took root in the fertile soil of the Mississippi Delta, a floodplain covering 7,000 square miles between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Early blues greats in the Delta pioneered the strong rhythmic style of music, accenting the raw emotions of the lyrics by squeezing chords out of a guitar with a bottleneck or metal slide.
A celebration of Mississippi’s rich musical heritage, The exhibition A Cast of Blues features 15 resin-cast masks of blues legends created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, as well as 15 color photographs of performers and of juke joints by acclaimed photographer Ken Murphy.  This is the first time that this exhibit has been in NW Arkansas.  Now, visitors to the CACHE Art Gallery at 214 S. Main Street in Springdale, can experience the exhibition, A Cast of Blues, opening April 15, 2022.  
During this seven week exhibit, The Music Education Initiative will offer in addition to the gallery viewing, educational programming, community outreach, lectures, guest artists and performances.  The exhibition's compilation of casts and photos create a compelling portrait of the men and women who defined—and continue to shape—the tradition of Mississippi blues.  Gallery hours are:  Mon. – Sat. 10:00AM – 5:00PM.  This exhibit is made possible by the generous support of the Tyson Family Foundation, CACHE, WhyteSpyder, MTI Consulting Group, LLC and John and Yvonne Lee, and is free to the public. 
A Cast of Blues artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson has said, “a life cast is like a 3-D photograph to someone who is blind.” McConnell-Dickerson, who is visually impaired, continues, “It captures the flesh, muscle, bone, hair, and subtle expressions of emotion. I wanted
to discover the faces behind the
music I love, so I went to Mississippi to map out the visages of the real Delta blues men and women.”
Ken Murphy’s photographs are selected from the groundbreaking book Mississippi: State of Blues (published 2010 by Proteus/Ken Murphy Publishing). A longtime Mississippi resident, Murphy captures the essence of the blues through highly detailed, panoramic color pictures. The exhibition’s compilation of casts and photos create a compelling portrait of the men and women who defined—and continue to shape—the tradition of Mississippi blues.
The exhibition is fully accessible to all visitors, featuring braille labels and educational materials, as well as a music playlist for gallery use and a closed-captioned film about the Cast of Blues project. In addition, visitors are encouraged to touch the resin-cast masks. Says McConnell-Dickerson, “As a sculptural and visual art experience, feeling the life-made casts of these individuals and their facial expressions transfers their experiences directly to our fingertips.” The exhibition is also accompanied by the 2008 documentary film, M for Mississippi: A Roadtrip through the Birthplace of the Blues  (94 minutes).
Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was curated by Chuck Haddix, music historian, author, radio personality, and director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

About The Music Education Initiative: 
Our unique perspective focuses on musical education in the interest of creating new writing, recording, performing artists, entertainers and industry personnel by exposing students and other interested parties to music and entertainment career paths at earlier ages. We engage, educate, elevate and prepare the next generation of professionals in the business of music and entertainment. We share the music and entertainment industry expertise, experience, empathy, relationships, professionalism, and first-class programs of our founding team and advisors, to develop and add value to the community, especially those of underserved communities, and quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. 
International Songwriting Competition (ISC)
2021 winners
Alt Pop Artist Notelle Wins Grand Prize
in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Judges Include Coldplay, Linkin Park, Tom Waits, Hozier,
The Lumineers, NEEDTOBREATHE, Trevor Daniel, and More

May 12, 2022 -- The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is pleased to announce its 2021 winners. Launched in 2002, ISC is considered the most prestigious songwriting competition in the world, receiving more than 21,000 entries this year from over 150 countries. Renowned for its panel of high-caliber judges, ISC has been called "the songwriting competition to take note of" by The New York Times

In celebration of its 20th Anniversary this year, ISC has increased its prize package to $225,000 in cash and merchandise to be shared by 71 winners in 23 categories. The overall Grand Prize package has also been increased to more than $70,000 and includes $25,000 (US) in cash, plus merchandise and services.

The overall Grand Prize is ISC ‘s highest honor and this year is awarded to songwriter and performing artist Stephanie Middleton (aka Notelle) from Richmond, VA, USA for her song “Sufjan Stevens.” This award, selected by ISC’s panel of celebrity artists and music industry executives, is given to one songwriter in the competition who embodies the highest degree of excellence in the craft of songwriting.

When Notelle learned that she had won the Grand Prize she said, “There are very few moments that leave you speechless from joy. This moment for me will be one of them. I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined that a song I wrote alone in my car would have had this much of an impact on my pursuit of being a songwriter. ISC has given me the kind of opportunity and encouragement that I have never had before, and I will be forever grateful. What an unbelievable experience.”

For much of her career, Notelle has been recognized as an EDM featured vocalist and topliner for many of the genre’s most high-profile artists. Collaborating with DJs and producers around the globe, she has accumulated more than 41 million streams as both a songwriter and artist. Now, however, Notelle is exploring her solo artistry and is developing her own version of innovative, genre-breaking music. Her ISC-winning song, “Sufjan Stevens,” is riddled with inventive literary and pop culture references, encompassing smart and unexpected imagery. Notelle’s fearless desire to push stylistic boundaries and avoid standard structure perfectly aligns with her compelling vocals and melodies into what Notelle describes as “dark industrial pop.” These outstanding songwriting elements are exactly what resonated so strongly with the ISC judges, resulting in her being awarded this year's overall Grand Prize winner.

“Notelle is such an interesting and unconventional songwriter,” said Candace Avery, ISC Founder and Director. “She seemingly dismisses the typical rules of songwriting but still has created a smart, compelling, and accessible song with her Grand Prize winner entitled “Sufjan Stevens.” Her willingness to go outside of the standard boundaries allows her the creativity to write a song that is so fresh – and ultimately this is what timeless songs are made of.”

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, many other deserving songwriters also share in the prestige and kudos of winning their respective categories in ISC. These winners hail from all over the world (56% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and represent diverse cultures while ranging from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from Pop to World Music to Country to Instrumental, and many more.

In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, ISC also created two special awards this year: the Founder’s Choice Award and the Spotlight Award, both of which are in addition to the regular prizes and awards. The Founder’s Choice Award is selected by the competition’s founder and listening committee and is given to one artist who is awarded $10,000 in cash (US). The recipient of this special award is singer/songwriter Sean Murphy from Cork, Ireland for his beautiful and introspective song “The Troubled Tears Of Drury Road.”

The Spotlight Award, presented by ISC and SOCAN, is given to one Canadian artist who exemplifies excellence in songwriting. The winner is the Juno award-winning Christian rock band The Color from Winkler, MB, Canada for their song "Bigger". The prize package consists of studio time at the renowned Dark Horse Recording in Franklin, TN; one-week lodging at the SOCAN House in Nashville; and a travel grant from the SOCAN Foundation.

Winning ISC is a distinction that has helped many artists go on to achieve greater success. Previous winners have included: Tones and I; Illenium; Vance Joy; Bastille; Fantastic Negrito; R.LUM.R; Gotye; Lindsey Stirling; Kimbra; Dustin Lynch; Faouzia; The Band Perry; Kehlani; Gregory Porter; Passenger; Gin Wigmore; Missy Higgins; For King & Country; Tenille Townes; Adrienne Lenker (Big Thief); Jordan St. Cyr; Andrew Bird; and many more.

For a complete list of winners go to
Entries are now open for ISC 2022. For more information and to enter, go to

For low-res photos of all winners, go to

For high-res photos, please contact Candace Avery at
Support Options
For Local Artists
Please check this section of the newsletter weekly for ideas of how to support local musicians and venues. Submissions are being reduced to contact information this week as we restart the Live Music Calendar.


Buddy Shute and the Motivators  
Buddy Shute and the Motivators live at the Eureka Springs Auditorium on YouTube: LiveAtTheAud
Buddy's latest project is a duo with Mark McGee. They will be representing the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Society at the 2022 International Blues Challenge. Their recently released CD/EP is now available.

To learn more about the band, and Buddy's duo with Mark McGee, visit:

Facebook: Buddy Shute and the Motivators
Brick Fields
 Famous for Blues Therapy
We have released a single from the upcoming album. Here is a link to the video "Take Me To the Riverside"
Once live music begins again, folks can stay updated on our concerts by signing up to our email at and following us on Facebook at: 
We also have two stores on our website one for music merchandise and another for Blues Therapy handmade items such as essential oil blends, Jewelry, tie dyes, bath salts, body butters and more.
Thank you for  your support.
I pray that each of you and your families are all doing okay through this. 
The Jeff Horton Band
**Read on for NEW information**
Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the
Jeff Horton Band definitely has
a passion for the Blues! For the last
10 years Jeff and the guys have done their part in sharing the Blues as much as possible, treating their fans to an enjoyable experience.
Jeff reports he has some exciting gigs coming up at Good Vibrations in Rogers. There will be a new jam every other Monday from 7-9pm, beginning December 27th. Additionally, he and the band will be hosting the New Year's Eve party
at Good Vibrations this year.
Lots of fun times ahead!
Please follow the band on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and on their webpage, THEJEFFHORTONBAND.COM for information about the album and when and where you can catch them live!
Jimmy Wayne Garrett

For more information about Jimmy Wayne Garrett, his schedule, recent interviews, or buy the latest album, visit:
His music may also be found HERE:
YouTube link  *****
Music Calendar 
Please enjoy the following listings comprised of bands, venues, and/or organizations that support Ozark Blues Society. Always check with individual venues for event details and schedule changes. Submit weekly listings by emailing: SANDY

  • Ultra Suede for Happy Hour at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville
  • Vince Turner at Sassafras Winery in Springdale
  • Jeff Horton Band at Good Vibrations in Rogers
  • Whiskey Myers/Shane Smith and the Saints/Goodbye June at the AMP in Rogers
  • Frail State/Lilac Cruise/Patient Eyes at the Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville
  • Blew Reed and the Flatheads at The Gravel Bar in Eureka Springs
  • Jazz in Bloom 2022 at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks in Fayetteville
  • Johnny Rawls and the RD Olson Blues Band featuring Gary Hutchison at the Meteor Guitar Gallery in Bentonville

  • Adam Collins, Matt Beach and Garrett Jones for Jazz at the Undercroft Bar in Bentonville
  • Brick Fields Blues Therapy at Moranos in Fayetteville
  • Ben Harris jazz guitar at Six-Twelve Coffeehouse and Bar in Fayetteville
  • Jim Mills at JJ's Grill and Chill in Bella Vista
  • Jenna and Friends at JJ's Grill and Chill in Rogers
  • Richard Burnett at JJ's Grill and Chill in Bella Vista
  • Full House for Happy Hour at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville
  • Buddy Shute and the Motivators at Earth Note Underground in Tahlequah
  • King+Country and Dante Bowe at the AMP in Rogers
  • Buddy Shute and Mark McGee at New Dehli Cafe in Eureka Springs
  • Blew Reed and the Flatheads at Hiwasse Store in Hiwasse
Mark Your Calendar 
5/23 Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams at Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock
Please Submit Dates for Regional Blues Artists and Group Events HERE
In this issue:  5/13/2022
It's a Wrap
Bobby Rush coming soon toThe Juke Joint Project
THIS SUNDAYShades of Blue SeriesFeaturing Johnny Rawls
The Music Education InitiativeA CAST OF BLUES
Announcement!International Songwriting Competition (ISC)2021 winners
Support OptionsFor Local Artists
LIVE MUSICMusic Calendar 
On this day in Blues History May 13
This Week's Quote
Blues Education Supporters
Check Out these regular local radio programs
Get Involved with the Ozark Blues Society

Links You Can Use

On this day
in Blues History
 May 13

Today’s show features music performed by Louis Armstrong and Little Stevie Wonder
This Week's Quote
“When you believe
in things that you
don't understand,
then you suffer.”
Stevie Wonder

Blues Education Supporters
Thanks to the following for their support of blues education.

Check Out these regular local radio programs

"The Generic Blues Show" hosted by Paul Kelso airs every Friday night at 9pm on KUAF 91.3FM

Rockin' Hog Radio presents "Sunday Morning Blues" from 8am to 10am every Sunday
Get Involved with the Ozark Blues Society

Annual membership levels begin at $15 and give you so much in return, including meeting new friends while enjoying the best blues artists in the area.  
By being a member of The Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas, you are helping to support the Arts and to preserve the Original American Art Form known as The Blues.
Membership Benefits Include:
Weekly E-newsletter
Opportunities to win tickets to events
VIP seating at events (when available)
Discounts on OBS merchandise
Social networking – meeting other people who also love the blues
Opportunities to volunteer on OBS committees and at events
Ability to attend board meetings and vote on upcoming organizational issues and elections
Visit our Website to renew or join!


Links You
Can Use
Arkansas Music Pavillion
Arkansas Music Works
American Blues News
The Blues Foundation
Block Street Records
Blues For A Cause
Blues Festivals Guide
Blues Guitar News
Crystal Bridges
Downtown Bentonville
Eureka Springs Blues Weekend
Free Weekly
George’s Majestic Lounge
Guitar Center
J L Sound & Lighting Productions
National Blues Museum
North AR Jazz Society
NWA Tunedin
Rockin' Hog Radio
Sherry L Speer Photography
The Founders Room
The Walmart Museum
Tom Mowry Photography


Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas  |  P O Box 2004  |  Bentonville, AR 72712  | 

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