Focus on 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee

For the nineteenth time the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association will send local talent to compete at the  International Blues Challenge in Memphis January 17-20, 2018.  These are the acts that will represent us:  
Hilger & DeVos        – Solo/Duo competition
Out of Favor Boys   – Best self produced CD
Blue Veins                – Band competition

Blue Veins is a female-fronted blues trio from Michigan. They are hosts of a weekly Wednesday night blues jam in their hometown of Kalamazoo – the original home of Gibson guitars, and the current home of Heritage Guitar. They are proud to come from a city rich with musical history and a strong music scene. Formed in March 2016, they took up the mantle of running a blues jam after their local blues club closed down, and enjoy the energy of the electric Chicago blues style. The band is comprised of: Marisa Aguirre (aka Mo) on guitar and vocals, Sean Duross on bass, and Erik Sebastian on drums.


Steve Hilger and Dave DeVos have been playing music together for over ten years. Steve Hilger is a singer-songwriting guitar player who began in the early 70’s performing acoustic music in local coffee houses and clubs. In 2007, he formed The Steve Hilger Band which performs progressive and traditional electric blues of both originals and covers. He also has a jazz trio and a straight ahead jazz quartet that also performs post-60s jazz fusion. Bassist David DeVos grew up playing in several local rock bands and the fusion band Juniper Bear. He was principal bassist for the Michigan State Jazz band and worked his way through college playing club jazz. Since then, Dave has started the My Thin Place acoustic jazz project, and has extensive sideman experience. Dave plays with the Steve Hilger Band and appears on 3 CD projects with Steve. Together, Steve and Dave have been performing as an acoustic duo in various clubs in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Kalamazoo. They perform music written by Steve which extends from traditional to modern blues.

The 2017 Kalamazoo Blues Festival:

Here are a few pictures from the festival, which featured a wonderful lineup and some knock-out performances!  Thanks to everyone who came out this year!!

Bobby Rush – 2017 Grammy Award Winner for Best Traditional Blues Artist

Robben Ford with the Supersonic Blues Machine

Joe Louis Walker


Sugaray Rayford knocking it out of the Event Center

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers

Dana Fuchs soulful performance

Janice Joplin’s 1964 Porsche 911

Future Blues Aficionados Working on Crafts