by Mike Breen
Noah Wotherspoon Band to represent the Cincy Blues Society at international competition
This past Sunday at Dunlap's Germania Park, the Cincy Blues Society once again hosted the daylong Cincy Blues Challenge, with dozens of regional Blues acts performing from noon-9-ish, all competing for a chance to represent the Queen City at the International Blues Challenge 2013 in Memphis. The day started out with contestants in the Solo/Duo category, followed by a steady stream of area groups. The winners share a couple of connections. They both are from Cincinnati but have ties to Dayton, Ohio. And they both competed in this year's International Blues Challenge … for Blues societies in other cities. Winning the top band honors was young six-string wiz Noah Wotherspoon and his band, who will head to Memphis in early 2013 to compete for the ’Nati. Wotherspoon is a Dayton native, but currently lives in Cincy. Last year, he won a band challenge and represented Dayton at this year's IBC. Chris Yakopcic scored the solo/duo honors and will join Wotherspoon and Co. in Memphis. Yakopcic plays acoustic and solo Blues and is a native of PIttsburgh but apparently now lives in Dayton. Yakopcic won the Western PA Blues Challenge in the same category last year and was in Memphis for the 2012 IBC festivities. (If you're confused, as I often am, it seem that you don't have to be precisely from the city whose Blues organization is hosting the event to compete. Local singer/guitarist and competitor at multiple International Blues Challenges, Sonny Moorman, for example, competed for the Columbus Blues Alliance in 2009 … and won his category.)If you haven't seen Wotherspoon and his band perform, tonight's your lucky night. The Noah Wotherspoon plays downtown at Arnold's at 9 p.m. And it's another FREE show. (If you want to pre-game, the Happy Hour Jazz Combo starts at 6 p.m. Pace yourself.)Cincy Blues Challenge winners are usually given good slots at the Cincy Blues Fest, which returns to Cincy's riverfront Aug. 10-11.