by Robert Bell
Back in late October, The Arkansas River Blues Society held a contest to determine which blues acts would represent the Natural State at The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Jan. 31-Feb. 4.
The winner in the full band category was David Kimbrough Jr., whose Mississippi hill country blues style is a continuation of the tradition pioneered by his father, the legendary Junior Kimbrough. (An aside: Please tell me you’ve listened to Junior Kimbrough. If not, put this down and immediately go get your ears on “Meet Me in the City” and “You Better Run” and just keep listening from there.) Kimbrough’s band includes Little Rock native Stacey Mackey, who’s played in many bands over the years, including the late, great Fuyu.
The winner of the solo/duo category was Lucious Spiller, who’s been a live-music fixture in the state for many years, playing everything from Delta blues to Prince tunes.
This show is a fundraiser to help cover travel expenses for the blues challenge in Memphis. Kimbrough and Spiller also perform Thursday night at White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7.