Antone’s has been Austin’s home of the blues for more than four decades, but its legacy is not just about international icons like Muddy Waters and local legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan. The club also has long been a proving ground for lesser-known acts, and that’s what this month’s Heart of Texas Blues Challenge is about.
The annual event, sponsored by the Austin Blues Society, begins tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 1) with a first-round lineup featuring seven performers. The show begins with the Southside Sheiks, Kathy & the Kilowatts Duo and Oso Diablo, competing in the solo/duo category. The band competition follows with sets from the Anthony Wright Band, the Ben Beckendorf Band, Chris Oliver & Company and Austin Nights.
Round two is Sunday, Aug. 6, with solo performances by Elijah Zane, Granvil Poynter and Will Jones, followed by band sets from Rochelle & the Sidewinders, the Tony Rodriguez Band, the Patrons and Yabanada. A handful of acts from each night will advance to the finals on Tuesday, Aug. 8, with the winners in each category getting a spot at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2018.
All shows begin at 9 p.m. and cost $10.
A local nonprofit, the Austin Blues Society states its mission as representing “the past, present and future of blues music through the education, commemoration and preservation of the rich musical history which is so prominent here in Austin and throughout Texas.” The organization hosts monthly blues jams and other concert events, as well as presenting “blues in the schools” programs.