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Memphis or bust

This year, for the first time, the Ashland Blues Society can send an act to the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., the birthplace of blues.

The IBC, Feb. 1-5, gives about 200 blues musicians from around the world the opportunity to compete for cash, prizes and industry recognition. This will be ABS' second year as affiliates of The Blues Foundation and the first year the society is eligible to sponsor an act. At its Journey to Memphis competition this weekend, ABS will select a representative.

The competition will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at Donnelly's Sports Bar, 2980 Crater Lake Highway, Medford. Two finalists will be selected to compete in the final round at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Donnelly's.

Contestants expected to perform are guitarist J.D. Parks, California-based guitarist Dana Hubbard, guitarist and dobro player Dan Tiller and blues harp player Harpo DeRoma of Rogue Rage.

Each act will perform a half-hour set. Judges will score according to the IBC criteria, which includes stage presence, originality, vocals, talent and blues content. The first-place winner also receives $200; second place receives $50.

"It should be a good night of blues," says David Pinsky, president of the ABS.

For more information about the Journey to Memphis, see www.ashlandblues.org or call Donnelly's at 541-245-2755.