CBS Blues Sunday Feb. 5, 2023 doors 6:30PM, show @ 7PM @ the Neighborhood Theatre
The idea of a Blues Society in Charlotte originated from two sources-three blues musicians, Beth Pollhammer, James Linton and Bill Buck (who we lost in 2022) and Nick Karres, owner of the Double Door Inn. Nick had been frustrated that numerous Blues artists were not known locally and had very little following, and a Blues society would help boost interest in the music. Beth, James and Bill were relieved to find a "home" for the Charlotte Blue Society.
"Promoting the Blues-Musically, of Course" was the title of Steve Snow's article in The Charlotte Observer on Sunday April 4, 1993. This article, along with handouts at Springfest, fliers posted around town, and one-on-one conversations with Blues fans at the Double Door Inn, helped generate the audience for the first Charlotte Blues Society meeting known then as Blue Monday.
That night, 52 charter members signed up. To top off the evening, there was a surprise visit by international recoding artist Lil'Ed of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, who joined in the Open Mic Blues Jam.
Nick has often said that the creation of the Charlotte Blues Society is one of his most memborable events in the music business; it has helped bring new and unknown Blues artists to the area as well as create a camaraderie among blues fans who might never have met.
During its first year, the Charlotte Blues Society met its first challenge by sponsoring a "Red,White, aand Blues" stage during a community Fourth of July celebration. Based on the Society's nomination in 1994, the "Keepin' the Blues Alive" award for Best Blues Club was awarded to The Double Door Inn by The Blues Foundation. In the years that followed, the Society has collaborated with the Charlotte Folk Society on music events at various venues, involved members in Blues music camps and participated in local music events to educate the public of the importance of Blues in America's musical history.
In 1997 the Society sponsored its first Blues in the Schools program at Hidden Valley Elementary. Additional programs have taken place at Marie Davis Middle School, Smith Middle School, Northeast School of the Arts, North Rowan High School, Salisbury High School and Livingstone College. The most recent programs were at Garinger High School featuring multi-Grammy award winner, Keb'Mo', and at Northwest School of the Arts featuring the amazing Joe Bonamassa.
We continued to call the "World Famous" Double Door Inn home with gatherings being held on Sunday nights until January 1, 2017. Within weeks after that last show, a wrecking ball took the building down and meetings moved to The Rabbit Hole in the eclectic Plaza Midwood section of Charlotte. Once the COVID pandemic hit, the Rabbit Hole changed music formats. Once venues were able to re-open, we have a new home at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa. Numerous artists came to Charlotte to perform for Charlotte Blues Society events. Benny Turner, Eddie Turner, Geoff Achison, Bex Marshall, Tullie Brae, Drink Small, Lightin' Wells, Big Jack Johnson, Steve James, Guitar Gabriel, Johnny Whitlock, Paul Rishell, Joseph Michael Mahfoud, The King Bees, Heather Gillis, Tommy Z, Lipbone Redding, George Higgs, Roots & Dore, Diane Durrett and Suga, Albert Castiglia, and many more. For many, it was their first performance ever in Charlotte and our Blues community welcomed them with open arms.
Some of our monthly events are free general admission to members, while non-members pay a little more. Others are modestly priced compared to non-sponsored shows. We feature local, regional, or national talent. Some artists will have advanced reserved ticket sales, which will allow those who wish to have a seated area the upgrade option. Open Mic Blues Jams are held on select dates throughout the year.
Our Blues E-letter is published monthly and includes information on Society activities and a variety of blues-related items of interest. Our website now has the Blues Calendar, covering Blues events in the area.
Members receive discounts on co-sponsored events as well as discounts at local participating businesses.
We hold an annual Blues Band and Solo/Duo challenge. Winners are sent to represent us in Memphis at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. Our 2002 winners, Delta Moon, went on to claim the "IBC" title for 2003, and our 2003 winners, the late Robin Rogers & Her Hot Band placed in the international finals (and later signed with Blind Pig Records) Robin Rogers "Crazy Cryin' Blues" took first place as "Best Self Produced CD" at the IBC in 2006.
The Charlotte Blues Society is totally self-supported through general membership dues, donations, in-kind donations, advertising, and fund-raising projects. Funds raised through these channels help to support worthy causes such as Blues in the Schools and other educational initiatives performances at our events and local events, and in general, just "Keepin' the Blues Alive" in Charlotte and surrounding areas.
We love the Blues and we hope that reading this historical perspective has provided you with a little background as to who we are and what we so strongly believe in.
~Beth Pollhammer, Co-Founder
(2003 Updates by Jeri Thompson)
(2018 Updates by Mary London)
(2022 Updates by Bonnie Spalding)
The CHARLOTTE BLUES SOCIETY (CBS)
is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the American Blues tradition through the presentation of concerts, forums, educational programs and support of local musicians in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.
CBS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and operated by an all-volunteer staff. CBS is an affiliated member of The Blues Foundation, the umbrella organization for a worldwide network of 165 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships around the globe.
Albert Cummings became the first signature on our 2020 Raffle guitar on December 5th!
That was quickly followed by Tab Benoit's & Eric Johanson's signatures on December 11, 2019, Davy Knowles on February 7th at Neighborhood Theatre, Chris O'Leary February 9th.
After the Covid break, we began to collect new signatures, starting with Bob Margolin in July 2021, and Jamie McLean August 2021. Once things opened up again, we added Bobby Rush, Samantha Fish, Vanessa Collier, Larkin Poe, Eddie Turner, Laura Chavez, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Southern Avenue, Ana Popovic and Jack Broadbent.
We thank Bill Arnold, former CBS member who donated this guitar to us prior to relocating in late 2019.
Congratulations to our raffle winner drawn April 3, 2022 at our 29th anniversery show.
We are dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the American Blues tradition through the presentation of concerts, forums, educational programs and support of local musicians in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.
CBS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and operated by an all-volunteer staff.
CBS is an affiliated member of The Blues Foundation, the umbrella organization for a worldwide network of 165 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships around the globe.
You can join CBS and support Blues in the Charlotte area simply by clicking on the button below
Our ByLaws require a changing of the guard. We welcomed our new members to our Board of Directors in December. They Include new officers Bonnie Spalding, VP and Membership director, Linda Graham, Secretary, Dexter Cline, Treasuer. Members at large handing other projects include Floyd Carroll, Social media, Blues in the Schools and special events, Gregg Saur volunteer coordinator, Ken Deery has been instrumental in maintaining our inventory of merch, and not only worked to help research new locations, and storage solutions, is the lead on the upcoming SPAH Convention in Charlotte in 2025 and he has been on call for nearly anything we throw at him. They join our fantastic board Members at Large Betsy Norton Stowe, Dick Gilland, Marty Gunther and Flynn Wolfe.
President Mary London Szpara officially stepped down April 3, 2022 as per ByLaws. She has been writer and editor of our Bluesletter for the past several years, webmaster, and has handled all the booking of talent. She will remain as an advisor. We are still looking for that person to lead the group, someone to write our newsletters and a webmaster!
If you love to create graphics, write about the blues, have some skills with websites (we use GoDaddy, which is a very user friendly platform) We use Canva to create the newsletters/bluesletter, and mailchimp to do our mass mailings. If any of these skills are in your wheelhouse, can work from home, and want to help out , let us know.
If you have a love of people, music, posting on social media (no political posting here) fun, are organized or have other life or work skills that would help us, contact us now!
If you are a professional and want to add a position on the board of a non-profit to your resume Call us!
If you want to help us grow and be a key player in the growth and decision making as we recover from the nearly 24 months of inactivity, we want you!
If you know an attorney or a LEADER that wants to put their skills to use, tell them to contact us.
A formal resume is not required, but we do want you to let us know as much as possible to help us discover where your skill set could be best used in our organization.
Thank you !