FAIRFIELD — The Used Blues Band may sing and play the blues, but everything seems to be coming up roses for the quintet.
In January, the band heads to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge. The finals begin Jan. 29 and end Feb. 2.
Band members Sean McGroarty and Gary Anthony were among the 86 solo-duet acts that competed at the same event in January of this year. Almost 120 bands were featured.
“We want it all (next) year,” said McGroarty in an email to the newspaper.
The musicians come from around the globe. To reach the competition, the Used Blues Band won the Sacramento Blues Society contest.
Area musicians are backing the band with a Dec. 30 benefit at Winterhawk Winery to raise money for the Memphis trip.
“We have a host of great musicians coming out to support us,” McGroarty said. “It should be a great time.”
The musicians are Darrell Mansfield, Kelee Bordeaux, Wingnut Adams, Herman Wilson, Leo Boots and Chelsea Slick. Mansfield has contributed vocals and harmonica to recordings by Eddie Van Halen, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Idol and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
In the spring, the band is set to record a new album. It will feature keyboard player Raymond Victor and bassist Diane Dutra. The two recently joined with McGroarty, guitarist Gary Anthony and drummer Steve Traveo.
Dutra started playing music in her youth and has worked with Marty Balin of Jefferson Starship. Victor started on the keyboards when he was 5 and has recorded with Stevie Wonder and Elvin Bishop. He has opened for Lou Rawls and Garth Brooks.
The band has a handful of area shows before heading off to Memphis. For dates, times and places, visit www.theusedbluesband.com.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.