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The Luther Badman Keith Band took first place in the Detroit Blues Challenge and will represent Detroit at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Jan. 26-28

Playing a song list of all-original material blending elements of blues, funk and soul, Keith’s band was awarded the most points by the judges in a competition with five other of Detroit’s top blues bands. The competition was sponsored by the Detroit Blues Society and Big City Blues Magazine and was held Sunday, Nov. 27, at the Ilounge in Pontiac.

In June, Keith’s band won the Hot Blues and Barbeque Blues Challenge in Oxford, Michigan to advance to the local finals. More than 30 local bands competed overall. “This is a great thrill for myself and my band, particularly when you consider the level of talent of the bands in Detroit,” Keith said. “We are honored to represent Detroit and are looking forward to carrying the torch for Motown in the national competition.” luther badman keith

“The judges were impressed with the band’s original material, the driving beat, the dynamic horn section and some wonderful guitar playing,” said Shirley Mae Owens, president of the Detroit Blues Society. “We think they will represent Detroit very well.”

Sponsored by the Blues Foundation, the International Blues Challenge will feature more than 80 unsigned blues bands from around the nation. The winning band will perform at majors clubs and festivals across the country, win musical gear and recording time.

Keith’s winning lineup consisted of Keith on guitar and vocals; Keith Owens on guitar and background vocals; Darryl Lee on bass and background vocals, Jim David on keyboards, James Payton on saxophone, Mark Croft on trumpet and Stuart Tucker on drums.

Since debuting with his first CD, Badman, in 1999, Keith’s high-energy blues act has won him a loyal group of Metro Detroit fans. The Luther Badman Keith band has been nominated for three Detroit Music Awards, including for Outstanding Blues Band and Outstanding Blues CD for Thunder In My Blues, released in 2003.

The band has performed at the Detroit Opera House, the Max Fisher Music Center, for the North American International Auto Show, and toured Belgium in 2000.

Keith recently retired from the Detroit News after a long career as a reporter, editor and columnist. He now operates his own media consulting firm, teaches journalism at Wayne State University and, of course, continues to play the blues.

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