Here’s what people are saying about
Blues on Beale Street, Memoirs of The International Blues Challenge …
- Jay Sieleman, President of The Blues Foundation - "This book is really well done. Because you two understand the IBC you were able to ‘document’ it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge is something special or to anyone who wants to be inspired in print about the music they love to hear."
- Michael Frank of Earwig Music, Chicago, IL - "Buying the book was the icing on the cake for me (at the IBC in Memphis), Jenn and Greg."
- Reinald Jerome Pineda, pianist for the 2015 band finalist, Brat Pack from the Philippines - “You’re skill and passion for photography is just great!!! The world will see and hear the blues with your shots!”
- Terri Robbins, National Women in the Blues - "I absolutely LOVE my Blues on Beale Street! The book is absolutely fabulous! I can't put it down!!!”
- Karen Lovely, past IBC finalist from Portland, OR - "LOVE the book! It is now one of my most treasured possessions."
- Vinny Marini, host of Music on the Couch - "The book is AMAZING!!!!”
- David Hughes, President of Spa City Blues Society, Hot Springs, AR - "You two have done a great thing with this book. Well done and congratulations."
- Joe Whitmer, producer of IBC and Chief Operating Officer at The Blues Foundation -“THANK YOU!!! The book is awesome!!!”
- Earle Farrell from KWAM 990 Memphis - “You are a pure talent with no hype! Rare!!! I like you and your book! Memphis real!!! Yes!!”
- Jennifer Pina, Mother of the Pina Brothers Youth Band from Wichita, KS - “Blues on Beale Street, Memoirs of the International Blues Challenge will be something to treasure and pass down. You can definitely see the passion and love poured into this great work!”
- Tony Frederickson, President of the Washington Blues Society Seattle - “I knew this book would be a good representation of the International Blues Challenge, but when I was actually able to have it in my hands and see the photographs and read the quotes attached it went way beyond my expectations. The passion and care that went into this is the first thing that grabs you, it is a very powerful presentation of what the International Blues Challenge is all about. The quality and attention to detail is top shelf. You quickly realize that the International Blues Challenge is not so much about the competition of musician to musician or band to band, but rather a celebration of music and all that it adds to our lives. The fellowship and mutual support between all who attend the International Blues Challenge just leaps out. This book is a great addition to anyone’s library! “
- Linda Collier, Fishers, IN - "A beautiful historical look at the IBC over the last 11 years. Bravo!!" -
- Dr. Annette Cargioli, Fishers, IN - "Beautiful Book!! Great project!!"
- Michael “Hawkeye” Herman, musician and IBC final's host and judge - “It was an honor and a pleasure to be included in this most worthwhile project. Thanks so much to my Lil Sistah Jen Ocken and good friend Greg Johnson/SlimLively for documenting, in superb photos and text, the history of the International Blues Challenge via their fine book "Blues on Beale."
- Tracey Tozier, mother of 2014 Youth Showcase participant, Ben Tozier - “Scott and I were so pleased to be able to provide some books for kids...Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of your book's success, and for helping Baton Rouge Music Studios to put on a kids' showcase! It was a wonderful experience for everyone!
For those of you who do not know, Jenn Ocken is not only a huge Blues music fan, but also a well respected photographer in the Blues community. For the past 12 years, Jenn has been attending The International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, Tennessee as a volunteer and a photographer. For the past 2 years, Jenn has been working with Greg "Slim Lively" Johnson to self-publish the first ever book about IBC entitled "Blues on Beale Street: Memoirs of The International Blues Challenge." The book was sent to print just in time to be released at this year's IBC, which happened to be last week. Jenn brought me (Jordan) and our Office Manager Jess to Memphis with her to help with the release, and to experience IBC for ourselves!
The book's release was much anticipated and it could not have gone smoother. We were flooded with compliments and book sales, both for people and for kids interested in music. (20% of the book's preorder sales benefited The Blues Foundation's Generation Blues Fund.) With the help of these book sales, Jenn & Greg were able to put a copy of the book in the hands of all 103 Youth Showcase Participants at IBC. About 89 of these books were funded by random strangers, musicians, parents, and more. We are still looking to raise money for the last 15, and you can help by getting a book for a kid at www.documentingblues.com/IBC
Being a social media enthusiast for both myself and documentingBlues, we were able to document most of the week with our iPhones! We had a blast meeting new people and listening to some great live music. There really was no better person to attend The IBC with than Jenn Ocken. Re-live the week with some of the photos below, and stay tuned for more photographs from the VIP Release party in an upcoming blog post! -
Special thanks to:
• Greg Slim Lively Johnson for being my partner in crime
• Jordan Hefler & Jessica Losee for being fan-freaking-tastic
• Daniel Masters of Silly Goose for making the VIP Release Party a success
• Joe Whitmer & Jay Sieleman of The Blues Foundation
• Tracey Tozier, Lisa Hume, Dave & Sheree Hughes, Ghost Orchid Films, & Priscilla Hernandez for the over the top book donations to the kids
• Steve Mack, Kelly Thornton, & Peter Sloane for always having a camera in our face!
• Jonn Del Toro Richardson, Sean Carney, Micah Kesselring, Brandon Santini, Lionel Young, Karen Lovely, Teeny Tucker, Michael Frank & Michael "Hawkeye" Herman for sharing their beautiful talents with us at the VIP Release Party
• Annette & Ron Cargioli, Linda Collier, & Adam Cargioli for being our merchandise pushers at the VIP Release Party
• Chris, Bob, & Noah Ocken for representing the Ocken Fam, Jessica Royer Ocken for editing the book, & Patrice Ocken for helping edit marketing material & all the rest of the Ocken Fam for your love and support!
• Sherry Hamilton for running around and making sure we were fed and taken care of during IBC sales
• Paige & Scott Smith & Donna Van Hoover for providing an excellent brunch and their support for promoting the book
• Ali Fowler for getting us in contact with Earl Farrel and getting us on the radio on KWAM990 Memphis!
• Cindi James of The Blues Foundation for your love and support during merch sales
• Carolyn Ray, Doug Gay & Nick Garrison of Baton Rouge Music Studios for providing back line and support through the Indiegogo Campaign
• Lila Ruhland for being our beautiful documentingBlues poster child (Carrie & Andrew too)
To all the people who preordered on the Indiegogo campaign & the documentingBlues website: Y'all believed in our project and its mission before the book was even done!
To everyone who bought a book for themselves & for a 2015 IBC Youth Showcase Participant
Congratulations to the IBC 2015 Winners!
Best Guitarist – Band
Best Guitarist – Solo/Duo (St. Blues Guitars)
Best Self-Produced CD
Lee Oskar Harp Award