Twelve blues bands are getting ready for a monthlong showdown to decide who will be crowned king of the Toledo blues scene.
The Eighth Annual Black Swamp Blues Society's Blues Challenge kicks off at 7 p.m. Sunday with the first round of competition at the Longhorn Saloon, 946 Phillips Ave.
The local talent contest should be fierce this year, said Rolly Hough, president of the Black Swamp Blues Society, which organizes the event.
"I've judged blues competitions in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Windsor, Ontario, and I think the level of talent in Toledo stacks up to anybody's," Hough said.
Performing 30-minute sets, in order of appearance, at Sunday's contest will be D.A. and the Prosecutors; Vibro Kings; Buck 69; Simon Carter; Blind Sighted, and Josh Boyd and the VIP Band.
The second round of the preliminary blues challenge is scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Speedway Lounge, 5625 Benore Rd., with six more blues bands: Slow Burn; Catfish Creek; 427; Rick Hall and the Blues Healers; Primary Blues Band, and Lightnin' Rod and the Thunderbolts.
One change from previous challenges is that the "solo" competition has been expanded to a "solo/duo" contest, based on revisions for the national blues contest to be held in Memphis in February.
The Toledo solo/duo competitors will perform on Oct. 17 at Manhattan's, 1516 Adams St. Competing will be T-Bone; Pat Lewandowski; Paint Black Walrus; Blue Moon; Blind Bobby Smith and Princess Tianna, and Andrew Ellis.
The final competition will be held Oct. 23 at the Ohio Theatre, 3112 North Lagrange St.
Winners of the Toledo blues competition will receive prize money that goes toward a trip to the 21st International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
In addition, winners will receive a prize package that includes studio recording time and a slot on the lineup at the Blues Fest International in Windsor, the Mohican Blues Festival in central Ohio, and the Blues at the Point festival in Carrollton, Ky., Hough said.
Admission to the preliminary blues challenges is $5 and the Oct. 23 finals will charge an $8 cover, Hough said.