Back Pack Jones send-off party set for this weekend
CHAMPAIGN — The Prairie Crossroads Blues Society will give the 10-piece band Back Pack Jones a send-off party Saturday before it heads later this month to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.
The party and fundraiser will be from 8 p.m. Saturday to 12:30 a.m. Sunday at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St., C. Benny Jenkins Bloodline will open; Back Pack Jones is scheduled to take the stage at 9:30 p.m.
Back Pack Jones won the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society's local blues competition in October. The society will donate to the band the proceeds from Saturday's event to help offset the band's costs of travel to the International Blues Challenge, which is Jan. 21-25.
Back Pack Jones formed in 2012. Its members are Springfield-area musicians, each with a long musical history.
"The common thread of a love for the blues and a desire to share that passion brought these musicians together," reads a news release from the blues society. "Back Pack Jones delivers traditional, as well as original, blues and recently released its first CD, 'Betsy's Kitchen.'"
The band reached the semifinals in the 2013 International Blues Challenge and is active in the International Blues Foundation's "Blues in the Schools" program.
Back Pack Jones has performed at the famous B.B. King's Blues Club in Memphis and opened for international blues sensation Jimmy Thackery and King in November 2013.
The Danville-based Benny Jenkins Bloodline won the local blues society competition for best self-produced CD with "Can't Take the Blues." The CD advanced to the semifinals in the international competition.
Rex Bartholomew, a Los Angeles-based reviewer, wrote: "Benny Jenkins Bloodline's 'Can't Take the Blues' is a solid effort and they deliver the goods on every track. From the energy they show on this CD, I can only imagine that their live show would be a hoot to see."
In the International Blues Challenge, bands from all over the world gather to compete for cash, prizes and industry recognition. Last year, 125 bands and 80 solo/duo acts entered the 29th annual competition, filling the clubs up and down Beale Street.
The Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is a local non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Blues Foundation. Its mission is to preserve the blues tradition, promote blues music in the region and educate the community about blues music.