Skip to main content

Welcome Members
Welcome Members

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events



The Magic City Blues Society is a 501 (c ) (3) organization that was founded on January 10, 1993. At that time there was a small group of people who wanted to do more to bring the Blues to Birmingham. It all came together at about the same time that the citizens of the community living under the shadow of the world’s largest iron statue, Vulcan, protested the bare butt that Vulcan so proudly displayed.

Today, the membership of the Magic City Blues Society has grown from a select few to over 100. And if you are reading this and not a member, WE WANT YOU!!! The purposes of the Magic City Blues Society are, and not limited to:

  1. To encourage the performance of the Blues
  2. To encourage the preservation of the Blues
  3. To develop an appreciation of the Blues within the community
  4. To participate in other charitable, literary, or cultural activities within the community consistent with the purposes of the Society.

Blues Music is very much a part of Southern life and history, deserving recognition as a valid and historical folk art form.

The Society hosts a variety of events throughout the year, bringing in national acts as well as supporting our local musicians. From events like Junkyard Juke, the Phelan Park Music Series, the Blues Ball, and Blues Stages (our house concert series), the Magic City Blues Society is working hard to promote our mission to preserving the Blues.

And as for Vulcan, he still proudly watches over our city with a bare butt!

The Magic City Blues Society is keepin’ the Blues alive in the ‘Ham – Nothin’ Butt the Blues!!!!

Greetings fellow Blues Lovers. May was an outstanding month for the Magic City Blues Society. We had 11 members join us for the Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Beale St was jumping, the food was good and the music was outstanding. We found a large Air BnB that is close to the action and affordable and we will be using it again next year. If you have never been to the Awards, it is worth your while. The artists are there to have a good time and are very friendly and accessible. Please consider joining us next year for the Second Annual Road Trip to Memphis. 
A friend of the MCBS Jontavious Willis had his 23rd Birthday and Graduation party in La Grange GA. A few of us made the trip and will forever be glad we did. His friends and family really know how to make you feel welcome. Many of us made it down for his 21st Birthday party and he mentioned that this was the last big party he was going to have until he gets married or wins a Grammy. Knowing him, the Grammy is not too far away. Please check out his latest video of Facebook. 
Some of us also made the trip to Decatur AL to see Larkin Poe. It was an amazing show. Their energy level and the fact that you could just tell they really wanted to be there put it over the top. We are working with Iron City to get them booked sometime in the fall. Stay tuned for more information on that. 
Looking ahead, Junes schedule is light in order for us to have time to prep for all the events happening in July. 
June 7 Blues Jam at Ranellis
June 20 Blues Jam at Brennans
July 6  Jontavious Willis at the Black Box Theater in Columbiana. 
July 13, Lauren Mitchell Bluestages 
July 14 E.G. Kight Bluestages 
July 21 Battle of the Blues Bands at Iron City to pick the bands representing us at the International Blues Challenge.
Past that, we have Kenny Neal and Buddy Guy coming to Iron City in the fall and many more events to be announced. 
As always thanks for Supporting Live Music and please let our sponsors know that you appreciate them every chance you get. 

Todd Eckstrom
Magic City Blues Society

Image result for important announcement image

Hello fellow blues lovers. We have 3 Bluestages coming up at 3 different venues and it is important when you email you put in the subject line the specific show you are signing up for. We just want to make sure you get the correct address for the show you want to see. 

That being said, we would love for you to come out to all the shows. 

June 23 Robert Kimbrough
July 13 Lauren Mitchell
July 14 EG Kight 

Thanks for supporting the Magic City Blues Society. 


Jon Gindick

"Love At The All Night Cafe"

Old Chimney Records

Publicity: Blind Raccoon

By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © June 2019


f you're a harmonica player chances are that you're not only a fan of Jon Gindick but you may have very well learned how to play from him as well.  On the other hand, if you just read that and thought "who is Jon Gindick?", then you need to do some serious Googling.


Long before Jon started recording he had quite a successful career as writer,  publisher and marketing guru of instructional books and tapes.  As a matter of fact, long before any of those "_______ For Dummies" books were published, Jon Gindick's "Country And Blues Harmonica For The Musically Hopeless" sold over a million copies. 


That said, not being a harmonica player, I didn't discover Jon Gindick until he released (and re-released) his first recording back in 2010 (and again in 2016), titled "When We Die We All Come Back As Music".  I distinctly remember that release because as a former member of the Blues Music Awards Nominating Committee, I recall including the title track of that disc on the list of my five nominations for the "song of the year" category.


Jon Gindick's second release is titled "Love At The All Night Cafe"  and, like his first, it contains all original music.  Joining Jon - on harmonica, guitar, and vocals - are: Ralph Carter - his longtime friend, band mate, and producer - on bass guitar, keyboards, percussion, classical guitar, cigar box guitar, and background vocals; Franck Goldwasser on electric and acoustic guitars; and Pete Gallagher on drums and background vocals.     


The disc opens with a uniquely interesting track titled " I Was Born To Wail".  It's got the feel of a square dance being called by a rapper and it features Jon describing a dream of his which sounds more like a fantasy to me.  In this dream, Jon has died and winds up in Juke Joint Heaven playing with the likes of Little Walter, George Smith, Sonny Boy, Cotton, Paul Delay, Muddy, Sonny and Brownie, Big Mama Thornton and Chris Michalek.  When it was his turn to play, Jon not only felt unafraid but - as the dream goes - Sonny Boy says, "Son you played good but not as good as me!" Pinch yourself, Jon, you're just dreaming....I mean fantasizing.  Great rhythm and percussion with lots of killer harp leads and hilarious lyrics.


Ever hear a song with lyrics that describe what should be a depressing situation but musically sounds like an uptempo, feel good, hand clapping sing-a-long that makes you feel like dancing?  I just did and it's called "Feeling Her Gone".  Making it difficult to feel sorry for his so-called misery, this one's highlighted by more great harp and lead vocals by Jon, several slick guitar leads by Franck and infectious harmonious backup vocals accompanied by precision hand clapping.


Every big city has one but the beat on the title track - "Love At The All Night Cafe"  - has me thinking that this particular franchise might just be located somewhere in Brazil or Argentina.  The joint is a lonely hearts club of sorts - it's a place where "at the end of any love affair in which you lose your way, you'll get twenty-four hour service at the all-night cafe."  Kinda like the place Jon should have visited earlier, while he was "feeling her gone."  Musically, between his Flamenco style guitar playing; his profound percussion; and his delicate piano playing; this one show Ralph Carter's skill set.


"Happy Wife, Happy Life, Happy Home" is by no means advice that every married man hasn't already heard, should believe in and definitely try to follow.  That said, with the level that Jon takes it to, the song should have some kind of a disclaimer or warning attached - something like "Warning: you might want to skip this track if the Mrs. is listening. Not doing so can be costly".


One of the more serious songs of the twelve is a beautifully written, beautifully sung and beautifully performed love song titled "The Song I Couldn't Write".  It features John soulfully and emotionally pouring his heart out on the vocals - and actually, on the harp as well - with Ralph and Peter laying down a soothing rhythm on piano, bass, and drums.  Nicely done guys!  


So kudos to Jon for, during this time of political correctness, telling it like it is when it comes to what he likes in a woman.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with walking behind a woman and enjoying the music of her movement and the motion of her ocean; liking the sound of those high heels clicking on the pavement; appreciating a little wiggling and jiggling; and admiring hips so friendly and loose that they seem to say hello.  Right on Jon!  Along with you, and countless other men, " I Love The Feminine Girl" as well.


Other outstanding tracks on what I'm calling one of the top five best releases I've heard all year so far include: "Baby's Got The Blues," "Load Me Up Baby," "Mississippi Moods," "Hand Holding Man," "Can't Get That Girl Off My Mind" and "In The Land Of You."


To find out more about Jon Gindick - especially if you're one of those harmonica players I alluded to in my opening paragraph - just go to Also, should you have not yet received your copy of "Love At The All Night Cafe" for airplay, please contact Betsie Brown at  BTW, when you contact Jon or Betsie, please let them know the Blewzzman sent you.



Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro

                                  Blues Editor @

                                 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient

BOBB – Iron City, July 21

What:                    Battle of the Blues Bands

When:                   Doors open 1pm, Competition at 2pm, July 21st, 2019

Where:                 Iron City, 513 22nd St. S., Birmingham, AL


Time again for all Blues musicians from around the state to enter the Magic City Blues Society - Battle of the Blues Bands. The winners will represent the Magic City Blues Society at the 36th International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis January 28nd – February 1st 2020 when winners from more than 150 Blues societies from around the world will compete. The winner of the IBC will get a lot of sponsorship opportunities and will be booked for some of the most prestigious Blues festivals around the country. Many artists have used this competition to make the national Blues scene. We are looking for the best Blues bands in Alabama to compete in the 2019 Battle of the Blues Bands contest.

There will be two first place winners: one band and one solo/duo act. The winners will be booked for paying gigs at MCBS events.

Additionally, the MCBS will give a stipend to the winners to assist with the costs of attending the finals in Memphis.

Please note:

An act my only enter the IBC 3 times. They may not participate 3 consecutive years. A musician may not compete in the band category and the solo/duo in the same year. All members of a winning act must attend the IBC. Acts must enter the challenge of their own/home affiliate first. If they are not successful, they may enter the challenges of no more than 2 affiliates in that year provided those affiliates are within 250 miles of the home affiliate.

See here for full details of The Blues foundation Guidelines


IBC judges are Blues professionals and aficionados with a deep understanding and historical perspective of all blues forms. Any given judge panel will include members with varying opinions of Blues, covering the spectrum of Blues from the most traditional to soul/blues and rock/blues.

Scoring Categories and Definitions:

•Blues Content:  The sound and feel of the music should be true to any of blues sub-categories: traditional blues, country blues, soul blues, blues rock and/or contemporary blues. Judges will be listening for inspired and original song selections or new takes on blues standards. Creative reach is encouraged.

•Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged, will not be looked upon favorably by the judges, and will be reflected in scoring.

Acts must indicate if their songs are their own original material (this can be done at the start of the set or before each song as appropriate) and/or identify the covers that they are playing and acknowledge the originator.

•Vocals: The act’s vocal skills to include concepts of tone, musicality, meaning, and expression.

•Instrumental Talent: Ability level on all instruments featured within the act.

•Stage Presence:  The ability to command the attention of the audience by the impressiveness of one’s manner and appearance on stage. Judges will consider how an act connects with and engages the audience in the music. Proper use of microphones and amplification will be considered.

Basic Scoring Calculation:

Judges will score acts on a 10 point scale, with 10 points being the highest score received and 1 point being the lowest. The following weights will be used in calculating final scores:

•Raw scores for Blues Content will be multiplied by four

•Raw scores for Originality will be multiplied by three

• Raw scores for Talent will be multiplied by two

• Raw scores for vocals will be multiplied by two

•Raw scores for Stage Presence will be multiplied by two

The maximum Total Weighted Score an act may receive is 130.

Penalty Points:

An act will be penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score for each of the following:

•Failing to acknowledge that a song is a cover and/or not giving credit to its originator

•Each ten seconds that it runs overtime during a competition performance.

•Finishing 3 or more minutes before its allotted performance time expires.

•Showing up late and/or missing Orientation

•Not being ready to perform at stated time


Each judge will indicate his or her Raw Score, between 1 and 10, in each category and turn that information over to the Scorekeeper using the following scale:

•1-3 – Typical of a beginning blues band

•4-5 – Typical of a local weekend band

•6-7 – Typical of an advanced local band but not yet ready to headline a major blues club

•8-9 – Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs

•10 – Typical of those who play the main stage at major festivals

1.The Scorekeeper will multiply the Raw Score in each category by the established multiplier to get each judge’s Individual Weighted Score in each category for each act.

2.The Individual Weighted Scores for each category will be added together to determine each act’s Total Weighted Score for each judge.

3.Any penalty points assigned will then be deducted from each judge’s Total Weighted Score to obtain the act’s Net Weighted Score for each judge.

4.After all acts have been judged and each act’s Net Weighted Score per judge calculated, each act will be ranked by judge based on that judge’s order of scores, with the act receiving the judge’s highest Net Weighted Score being given a ranking of 1, and so on for that judge. This will reveal each acts Final Ranking Number for each judge.

5.The Scorekeeper then will  total the Final Ranking Number from all judges for each act to determine the Gross Final Ranking. This figure is averaged (divided by the total number of judges) to Achieve the Aggregate Act Ranking.

6. The act with the best Aggregate Act Ranking will be the top finisher.

7.In the case of a tie, the Scorekeeper shall calculate the sum of all Net Weighted Scores from all judges for the tied acts. The band with the higher sum of Net Weighted Scores wins.

Other Considerations

1. Backline and Equipment

The MCBS will provide backline and sound. The setup on stage will include a drum kit with snare drums, amps, keyboards and mics. The backline in will be based on the act’s registration information. Drummers should bring their own cymbals and kick pedals. Harmonica players may (but are not required to) bring their own harp amp. Keyboard players are allowed (but are not required) to bring their own keyboard and keyboard amps. Keyboard stands will be provided. Effects racks and other auxiliary equipment are permitted. Musicians must include on the online registration form any additional or special equipment needed.

Competitors are prohibited from bringing their own guitar amplifiers (harp amps and keyboard amps being the only exceptions). Musicians should bring their own DI boxes. Every effort will be made to provide suitable equipment.
Entry Fees:  Solo/Duo Member $25, Non Member $50. Bands Member $50, non-Member $75

Image result for battle of the blues bands images

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, on stage, playing a musical instrument, night and text
No photo description available.