Lauren Mitchell and Steve Arvey in Memphis, TN

Memphis with Steve Arvey and Lauren Mitchell

The opening round of competition was quite a day.  I  had a chance to see the excitement building at 7am when I met “Step” for breakfast.  We packed up the gear (and there is a lot of it) and around 10:30 am we drove downtown so the band could register for the event.  The ride into town was quiet with everyone just focusing on the task ahead.

Charles Steptoe, Bob Fiebert, Mike Snyder, Michael "the proffessor" HensleyRegistration went smooth.  We met so many nice folks from all over the world!  Sixteen different countries and just about every state are represented in this competition.  We then registered in a downtown hotel…..the control center for the week.  Lunch was subdued, but I could detect that Lauren was now in complete “show” mode & totally focused.  The band went to orientation and I was left behind to write!  

Sande Caplin, Howlin' Bob, Charles Steptoe, Mike HensleyWe all walked together from the hotel to “Club 152” where the band was competing.  Mike Snyder gave me the honor of carrying his guitar, and “Step” let me “schlep” his 30 pounds of drum equipment.  Now I understood why they brought me along on this trip……to carry the gear!  We got to the club at 4:30 and LMB came on at 8:00.    One of the judges for this venue was Bill Wax.  Bill is the former President of the Blues Foundation and he has a world famous show on Sirius-XM radio.

You could feel the “mojo”  in the room.  In fact, blues diva Candye Kayne stopped by to say hello to Lauren and give her some “good mojo!”  She said she wanted to make sure she saw her “sister in blues” perform.  How cool.

Lauren MitchellAbout five bands performed before LMB.  When their big moment came, it choked me up big time.   Lauren and the boys were  incredible.  The crowd (and I think the judges) were awe struck.  This wasn’t a band just playing, this was a major performance.  Memphis and Club 152 were dancing and groovin’ to the Lauren Mitchell band.  After their show, I was amazed at how many folks came up to Lauren and the boys to congratulate them.

Steve ArveyWe were lucky enough to walk across Beale Street to “The Pig” where Steve Arvey & the Delta Swamp Rats were performing.  It was so great to see Steve and Rebecca Bird.  Steve’s performance was dynamic and exciting.  The Memphis crowd loved it!

The ride back to the hotel was awesome.  Everyone was sharing stories about the evening.  We laughed and laughed some more.  These guys and lovely Lauren are some really special people.  One interesting tid bit….while I am learning about life on the road and being in a band, these guys are so interested in how I build a website!  How cool.

Both the Lauren Mitchell Band and the Delta Swamp Rats are performing again tonight in the competition.  I don’t know how much more excitement I can take.  Hey, Sarasota / Bradenton friends…… Lauren Mitchell, support Steve Arvey.  I know they are making me very proud to know them here in Memphis.

And, “thank you” to the Suncoast Blues Society for supporting Lauren & Steve.

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