(ShackMan | Posted 2009-07-18)

The Nationwide King of the Blues competition is offering $25,000 in cash and thousands more in gear, endorsements, and advertising to the crowned six-string slinger, with the competition opening up at all 214 Guitar Center locations August 20th and ending at the Grand Finals in Los Angeles this November, where blues man Joe Bonamassa and GRAMMY® Award winner Pete Anderson will be performing along with the finalists.

And who doesn't wanna hang with these guys?

They've both got a credits list a mile long, with Pete Anderson recently taking more and more time to step into the producer's chair. Over the years been responsible for bringing out artists like Roy Orbison, k.d.lang, Flaco Jimenez, Buck Owens, Lucinda Wiliams, Jim Lauderdale, Rosie Flores, Michelle Shocked, the Meat Puppets, the Backsliders, the Lonesome Strangers and Thelonious Monster, to name a few. And catching the ear of a solid producer isn't such a bad thing.

Joe Bonamassa is more of a traditional blues hero, one that B.B. King called "one of a kind." That was only a year before Joe was opening shows for the blues legend. By the time Bonamassa had finished his first tour with B.B. King, he was just about to celebrate his 12th birthday (Don't believe me? Look it up.). His most recent release, "The Ballad of John Henry," is as driving and heavy in it's virtuosic guitar work as it's namesake was at driving railroad spikes. To Joe, John Henry was “the ultimate working class hero,” as well as the inspiration for the album.

So here are the dates, so you don’t have to do any more searching:
Local competition preliminaries (at all Guitar Center’s across America) – August 20th, August, 27th, September 3rd.
Store Finals – September 10th
District Finals – September 30th
Regional Finals – October 21st
Grand Finals – November 2009. Date and time TBA.

There! Now you have no excuse (or at least you can't say you didn't know)! Prizes WILL be awarded at the regional, district, and local levels as well, so sign up! What have you got to lose? You never know who you’ll run into at gigs like these. So pick up your axe and start woodshedding! Win or lose, you could still come out of this with a lineup for your own blues band, just meeting people at the show – and who doesn’t want to have their own band, or even some solid weekly gigs? So what are you waiting for?! Stop reading and get practicing!

For more info on the King of the Blues competition, visit www.GuitarCenter.com

You can read more awesome facts about Joe and Pete at their respective websites: www.jbonamassa.com, and www.peteanderson.com.

Also check out VOX Amplification and the new Night Train and AC4 amps, along with an interview with virtuoso and Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani at www.voxamps.com.

James is a bassist, pianist, organist, composer and writer currently living and working in the Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV areas. He is currently writing tunes and holding down the low end for Morgantown-based jazz band No Room for Squares. He really isn't jealous of the fact that Joe got to tour, jam, hang, and play shows with B.B. King for almost a year straight before he hit puberty. Nope. Not at all.

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