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Nebraska performers head to International Blues Challenge

Posted at 6:33 AM, Dec 31, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Veteran performers and up-and-coming artists alike are headed to Memphis to represent the blues lovers of Nebraska.

Nebraska Jr., Us and Them Blues Band and Stan and the Chain Gang will all be at the International Blues Challenge next month for the five-day event.

Over 200 acts from around the world will be showing off their skill and passion at the competition. For young performers like Us and Them, its a chance to learn even more about the art.

“To get advice from older players that have been in the game for a long time, overall it's just going to be a good time learning from people who have done it before," said guitarist Miles Grabenstein.

The band is part of the Blues Ed program that aims to pass down the blues to the next generation through hands-on learning.

“The cool part is we actually get to go out and do stuff like this, out in the real music world," keyboardist Aedan Leahy. "Play at bars, Omaha events, so that I think is maybe the biggest preparation element that we can be offered.”

Nebraska Jr. is a one-man-band representing the state in the solo artist category. He says working with established artists is great for young musicians.

"It’s great," the artist said. "I’m glad that these young people are interested in this kind of music.”

Mark Grubbs, president of the Blues Society of Omaha, says he's excited to see how the competition will further the careers of local musicians.

“It really opens up the world for these guys, if they do well down there, they get noticed," Grubbs said.

Blues Ed will be hosting tryouts on February 13 for the 2022 season. LEARN MORE.

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