The day after the final night of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, Feb. 1, Port Hadlock musician C.D. Woodbury and his still-nameless band were already wending …
The day after the final night of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, Feb. 1, Port Hadlock musician C.D. Woodbury and his still-nameless band were already wending their way back home, richer in experience and relationships, even if they hadn’t nabbed the top spot.
“I am exhausted, but musically and creatively sated,” said Woodbury, who’s previously been a finalist in the event’s independent CD competition, and twice been a semi-finalist in the band competition, as he spoke with The Leader via phone on Sunday, Feb. 2. “And I am still full of delicious food that is horrible for my health,” he added with a laugh.
Woodbury again made it to the semi-finals that Saturday night, joining five other acts at the Memphis nightclub Alfred’s On Beale, who ranged from local Memphis performers to as far afield as South Carolina and Chicago.
“It was the toughest room I’ve ever seen,” Woodbury said. “I was shocked that (Canadian band) Blue Moon Marquee didn’t make it past the semi-finals. I was even more shocked that legendary Northwest blueswoman Duffy Bishop, the ‘Gypsy Queen,’ didn’t even make it to the semi-finals. There were so many good bands, with really good music, that I felt for all the folks who weren’t able to advance, because of the level of quality in the room.”
Woodbury nonetheless felt rewarded by the trip, not only for the ability to perform before such an audience, but also for the opportunity to make valuable connections.
“We got to meet some of the biggest people in the industry, and that night, we had what’s become a tradition of a massive jam session at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale,” Woodbury said. “There were folks there from the Pacific Northwest, like us, all the way to Italy. That’s why I’m so tired and toasty today,” he laughed again.
Woodbury praised J.J. Spencer, general manager of the cafe and honky tonk as “one of the best friends this band has had in Memphis, ever since our first year there.”
As Woodbury spoke with various promoters and representatives of record labels about distribution and other practical matters of business, he was also able to provide them with a six-track extended-play of new tunes that he and his band have recorded since their last official album release, six years ago.
“We made it available to folks who had supported us on Kickstarter, and then took about 200 CDs to Memphis,” Woodbury said. “You see all these tables with fliers and photos and business cards, but nobody wants those. We put out buttons, and put the CDs in envelopes with our logo, and people would pick up the envelopes, feel that there were CDs inside, and take them. By the end of the night, all our buttons and enveloped CDs were gone, except for a select few we’d held over.”
Looking ahead, Mondlock anticipates he could release his next album, of six to 10 songs, as early as June, but in the meantime, he’s planning on performing with Don Wilhelm on bass, and Don Montana on drums, on Friday, Feb. 28, at the Spirits Bar and Grill of the Old Alcohol Plant in Port Hadlock.