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Back to Beale Street

The annaul blues competition kicks off Sunday at Jazzbones

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It’s Back to Beale Street time again — which for Bobble Tiki feels a little more like Back to back to back to back to Beale Street.

Every year the Back to Beale Street competition, which is sponsored by the South Sound Blues Association, is one of the highlights of Bobble Tiki’s year. For blues fans not content to sit at home with Robert Johnson recordings, the yearly Back to Beale Street competition is just about as hot as it gets. Every year since the SSBA created the Back to Beale Street competition in 2005, Bobble Tiki has covered it like a moth to a flame — which makes this year’s fifth annual event feel a little like déjà vu — in such a good way.

What is the Back to Beale Street blues competition, newbies may be wondering.

Let Bobble Tiki explain: Every year in January the International Blues Challenge goes down in Memphis, Tenn.  Blues acts from across the country, and world for that matter, travel to the musical hotbed with hopes of walking away winner. The SSBA — through Sunday’s preliminary blues competition and the finals to be held at Tacoma’s Freedom Fair July 4 — will carefully select one band and one act in the solo/duet category to represent the SSBA in Memphis — which, oh by the way, is where Beale Street is.

This year’s Back to Beale Street hopefuls include familiar faces the Randy Oxford Band, and solo/duet competitors Junkyard Duo (Billy Stoops and Leanne Trevalyan from Junkyard Jane) and Malcolm Clark. Four bands from Sunday’s show will advance to the Back to Beale Street finals at the Freedom Fair, and the top solo/duet act will move straight to the International Blues Competition in Memphis.

There’s a lot on the line come Sunday at Jazzbones — which is just one more reason why it should be one of the weekend’s best shows. Bobble Tiki will see you there.

[Jazzbones, Back to Beale Street Blues Competition, featuring Malcolm Clark, Heather B Blues & Hurricane Andrew, JD Hobson, Junkyard Duo, The Randy Oxford Band, Stacy Jones Band, The Wright Brothers, The Mary McPage Band, Cold Shot, The Al Earick Band, The Wired Band, Blues Redemption, The Cody Rentas Band, Sunday, June 7, 2 p.m., $10, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169]

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