The legendary Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee was the scene of an international showdown. For four days in January, (20-24), 250 blues acts from around the world came to compete at the 31st. Annual International Blues Challenge. Daytonian Noah Wotherspoon took top prize, the coveted “Albert King Guitar Award” for best guitarist and placing 2nd. in the band category. To recap, best international blues guitarist, 2nd. best international blues band. That’s “international”, as in, “the world.” He confesses that late night “did that happen?” texts to his mother help to wrap his mind around the experience.
This trip to Beale Street was not the first. Representing the Dayton Blues Society, Noah and his 2 man crew of Rob Thaxton on bass and Brian Ayler on drums, were accepted into the challenge in 2012, 2013 & 2014. As in past years, Dayton and Cincinnati were well represented with area favorites such as Doug Hart. In three days, performers passing each round of quarter and semi-finals end up on the Orpheum stage for the final showdown. Noah remarked on the ever-present spirit of Elvis inside the Orpheum, a venue where a teenaged Elvis Presley held a job as an usher. Just working on that stage is a prize that many artists dream of.