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Canada South Blues Challenge Winners Declared November 16, 2010

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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Sweet Willie Tea and the Matt Besey Band have been announced winners of the Canada South Blues Challenge. They were chosen Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at Caesars Windsor.

Sweet Willie Tea – SOLO/DUO DIVISION
Willie’s roots are in the hills of northern lower Michigan, home to Amish communities and farmers who migrated to the city for jobs at the new horseless-carriage factories early in the 20th century. Willie’s grandparents settled in that icon of today’s great depression: Flint, the newest home of the blues!

He began playing guitar as a teenager and in the 1980′s released one record with the punk rock band “Toll”. In the 90′s he had a commercial success as front man for the blues/rock show band “Cidy Zoo”. Their “Something for Everyone” release, included the single “Talk Louder”, the classical crossover instrumental “25 Strings”, and the popular “Buick City Blues”. All three received airplay. “Talk Louder” eventually charted at #15 on the AAA charts. After that success, the band went on hiatus for several years and Willie found other work as an artist and actor. Cidy Zoo eventually released a new single titled “Waitin’ On You”.

Then an accident left Willie’s left hand paralyzed.

Though he never missed a performance date, Willie depended on a brace to hold his fingers in place on the guitar as he learned to play the piano and harmonica. After a long year as a one-handed musician his arm slowly began to mend and Willie was able to “relearn” how to handle the guitar. That sobering year of uncertainty inspired Willie to “never take a moment of life or music for granted”.

He decided to focus exclusively on recording and playing the blues.

About the Matt Besey Band – BAND DIVISION
Matt Besey was an artist with a problem similar to that of many young protégée’s when they first break out of the starting gate.
He was simply too good.

Fueled with ambition, brimming with talent it takes normal adults years of practice to accumulate, when he first hit the local music scene in the early ’90s, Matt became the Talk of the Town.

Finding an early champion & mentor in the form of Larry McCray, mouths dropped open as readily as ears could digest the immaculate guitar-playing reinforced by the strong and fluid vocal range emanating from this 20-year old wunderkind that seemed to explode from nowhere out of the chicken-fryers of Frankenmuth.

Constant local gigging with The TNT Blues Band and a fateful alliance with Dick Wagner of The Frost and Alice Cooper fame soon resulted in a debut CD on Wagner’s label. Matt opened gigs for Grand Funk Railroad at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Creedence Clearwater Revisited at Pine Knob, only to lose momentum from a barrage of management difficulties, personnel shake-ups, and constant live exposure locally that caused many to take his phenomenal talent for granted.
But as noted in the first sentence, all of this is now past tense.

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