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president’s message

It’s been a good year for the Smoky Mountain Blues Society.

Because of the support of the community and especially our members, we put on sixteen shows this year and we’re sending three acts to the International Blues Competition next month in Memphis. We ended the year by giving a holiday show (with Foster Meeks, our IBC-bound soloist, and featuring Chicago blues artist Liz Mandeville) that just cost one dollar to members.

We’ve had musicians from Chicago, Kentucky, Memphis, California, and Florida as well as some of our fine local blues musicians.

Our plans for next year are even bigger. 

In January, we’ll be cheering on our IBC competitors: Tangled in Blues in the band category, Foster Meeks in solo/duo and Danny Garwood in the youth category.  We’re proud to send all of them.

Our long-standing and popular Blues Cruises are returning, of course, and more shows will be at Bluetick Tavern in Maryville, starting with Dave Weld & the Imperial Flames in January, James Armstrong in February and Mississippi Heat in March.  We’ll share the complete slate of shows as soon as it is finalized.

You might find it interesting to learn that more non-members than members come to our shows. We view that as an opportunity to grow our membership.

And membership is a good deal. For a single membership of $25 or a family membership for $40 and you get a discount on every show. New members also receive a free t-shirt. (Renewals get $5 off.)

Have you checked out our new t-shirts? We’ve got them in blue and in white with different neck styles and both short and long-sleeves and in sizes from small to 3xl. There’s sure to be one that’s right for you.  

Yes, it has been a good year and we’re looking forward to more fine blues.

In 2023, we’re going to continue providing free blues shows to veterans at Ben Atchley’s and we’re getting our Blues in the Schools program going thanks to Doug Harris and Robert Higgenbotham. We will hold another blues competition. We’ll celebrate Sara Jordan and make a contribution to The Hart Fund, the Blues Foundation’s organization that helps musicians in need.

All of this is possible because of the contributions that individuals make. Volunteers like Nancy Meyer who works our shows selling t-shirts and Doug Finley who designs posters and does other things for us.  We’re grateful to Johnny Mack for his ongoing direct support and in his stellar Friday Night Blues Attack on WDVX. Lee Zimmerman has done us a solid by writing promotional articles in Maryville’s The Daily Times. Ross Shapton, our sound guy, continues to make shows sound great. Sharon Kniffin has been working with the Blues Society for years and currently she creates and sends out all our informative emails.  Then, there’s our hard-working Board: Tom Hurwitz, Vice-President, Marilyn Finley, Secretary, Gary Dreyer Treasurer and Alisa Cherry.  

We want to thank you all of you for supporting our presence in this area for 27 years and again especially members of the Smoky Mountain Blues Society. We invite you to become more engaged.  Bring a friend to a show. Share our promotional content through your social networks. Be a volunteer (and see a show for free).  

Stay in touch with us through our Facebook page or our email at or at our website

Keeping the blues alive in East Tennessee is only possible because of people’s efforts and enthusiasm.

So, thanks again, and let’s slide into 2023 for another great year of blues.

—Herman Long, President, Smoky Mountain Blues Society

“The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits. It’s better keeping the roots alive, because it means better fruits from now on. The blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues.” — Willie Dixon