When: Sat., Oct. 1 2011
"I don't know if you remember eighth grade, but they taught you about Mesopotamia and the Yellow River Delta and about the cradles of civilization," says bluseman Th' Bullfrog Willard McGhee. "There were civilizations growing out of these central places. The blues is kind of like that, too." It's a succinct parallel for McGhee: the birth of humanity and the birth of our culture, at least one expression of it.
The Triangle Blues Society is the area's flagship coalition dedicated to honoring traditional and contemporary blues in this cradle of creativity. "There's still a living Piedmont tradition here and there are still guys who are trying to play inside of that tradition," says McGhee. That steady lifeblood makes for not only a current scene, but also an awfully stacked lineup of performers for events like this one, a qualifying competition for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Winners receive bragging rights and an opportunity to take their tunes to Beale Street. McGhee won in 2009, so he knows well what that experience affords: "When you win this thing, honestly, it opens a lot of doors. People take you more seriously; a lot of gigs come out of it." Visit TriangleBlues.com for times, performers and admission price, and for more on the work of the Blues Society. —Ashley Melzer