Hey everyone!! Sorry so long since my last update, but man, have I been busy!!!!
As many of you know, I started the year off in Memphis as Atlanta’s representative for the solo/duo category of the International Blues Challenge. When they say international, they aren’t kidding! I met people from all around the country, from Texas to Tennessee to Pennsylvania and New York, but I also met folks from Canada, Australia, and Germany, to name a few. What an amazing experience! From day one there was so much talent everywhere it was overwhelming. I participated in the Women In Blues Showcase at Alfred’s on Beale on Thursday, 1/30, and it was so encouraging to see so many women running the show. My favorites were probably Jass Colette, who played upright bass WHILE playing drums (what?!!!) and Redd Velvet, whose performance accompanied a bit of a history lesson. I advanced to the Semi-Finals on Friday. Just when I thought the talent level was intense, it got even better on Friday. Every single performer deserved to win. It was so awesome to meet people from all over the world and share my music with so many new people! It was fun to hear everyone’s interpretations of the blues and to hear some awesome songwriting, among other things. The second place winner for the solo/duo category, Felix Slim, wowed us with his harmonica and kazoo playing. And then the winner, Hector Anchondo, blew us away with his powerful vocals and amazing guitar skills. You may recognize that name as I played a show with him at Darwin’s a few years ago. This world keeps getting smaller. Pretty cool to see someone I already knew win, and hopefully I will get the opportunity to share the stage with him again. The Garrett Collins Project, the band representatives for Atlanta, also made the semifinals and did an outstanding job. Overall, it was such an awesome experience to meet and network with so many new people, and it was incredibly inspirational to hear so much wonderful music in one week. I look forward to going back next year, whether as a participant or volunteer.
As if all of that wasn’t exciting enough, I got the call last week that I will be opening for Delbert McClinton!!! Most of you are already familiar with his music, but if you aren’t, you should be. This gentleman has been performing for six decades and has written songs for several of my favorite artists. This Saturday night will be my first time not only opening for a major artist, but playing at the Variety Playhouse as well. I am so excited!!! To find out more about this event, click on the Delbert McClinton Variety Playhouse Event Link. Delbert McClinton Website
And now… for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
MANDI STRACHOTA & THE MAJOR 7S CD RELEASE PARTY
I am releasing my first blues album and my first album with my regular band members on March 5 at The Vista Room in Decatur. This will be my third release but it is my first delve into the blues and consists of several of the songs I played in Memphis. Most of the songs are written by me and arranged by me and fellow bandmates Lee Goodness on drums, Jon Schwenke on bass, Chad Mason on keys, Anthony Mancini on electric guitar, Daryl Dunn on saxophone, and Tony Erice on percussion. This full lineup will also be at the release party in Decatur, playing the new album in its entirety. There are also guest appearances on the album by Andrea Colburn on saw, Corinne Shapiro and Hayley Gray on backup vocals, and Nathan Nelson on guitar and vocals on our rendition of Donny McCormick’s ‘Have You No Shame.’ This is an all star cast of characters. I’m looking forward to all of you hearing the new songs, but I personally wouldn’t want to miss the release party, because it’s gonna be a party for sure. Music starts at 8. Facebook Event Link Vista Room Website
Look for me to be promoting the release on Atlanta & Co on 11 Alive on Friday afternoon, 2/28.
You can also find me at my favorite hangout Limerick Junction in the Virginia Highlands on Sunday, 2/23 and Thursday, 2/27. LJ is always good for people watching plus they hire some of my favorite folks behind the bar. Come get some fish and chips and listen to some tunes. Music starts at 9 on Sunday and 9:30 during the week. Limerick Junction Website
Friday, March 20, I will be returning to Elijay to play some tunes at Ott Farms & Vineyard. This place gets better and better every time I play there. They have now enclosed their patio to accommodate business in the colder months so you have a beautiful view of the mountains and the vineyard while you listen, rain or shine. Fridays are usually accompanied by a food truck as well. Music is from 3-7. Ott Farms Website
And not to fret, the annual Chicken Raid honoring Mr Frank Edwards has found a new location!! This year the Raid will be hosted by local coffee entrepreneur and Chicken Raid alumnus Jason Waller at Waller’s Coffee Shop in Decatur. Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck will be running the festivities and as has been tradition there will be a gospel jam on Sunday afternoon. The lineup is still being announced so keep a lookout to see when your favorite performers will be taking the stage. For more information visit the Chicken Raid FB Event Link
Immediately following the Chicken Raid I’m headed to Tupelo MS to begin my spring tour to promote the new album!!! I’m looking forward to even more dates and cities this year! For a constantly updated schedule and news, check the ‘Tour News’ tab on my website, as shows are still being added.
Looking forward to seeing all of you soon and sharing some new music with you!!!! Tell your friends and see you on March 5!