Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch Karen Combs plays rhythm guitar as the Huntington Harmonica Club performs during the blues festival on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at Heritage Station in Huntington.

The Huntington Blues Society has been keeping this uniquely American music alive for many years now. Blues music is at the base of so many other genres, yet it is viewed as old-timey by each succeeding generation and its popularity has waned since its heyday.

Still, there is always room for a blues revival as the real deal jams and good time sounds that emanate from the blues music scene continue to be kept alive by folks like the Huntington Blues Society.

Since 2013, Huntington Blues Society has held its first monthly meeting and open blues jam at The V Club on a Wednesday night.

Wednesday, July 17, will mark the last blues jam at the V Club as the get-together will move downtown to the Black Sheep Burrito and Brews at Pullman Square for all future events. What will make it even more fun is that the jam will happen once a month on Friday evenings now instead of Wednesdays, which will make for a lively show for locals and tourists.

"The V Club has been our home, and they have been our family since September of 2013," said Karen Combs, president of the Huntington Blues Society.

"They have absolutely been very good to us. Amanda Mullins has been our bartender for most of this time, and Mike Parker has been our sound man for six years now."

It was a joint decision to move the monthly blues jam uptown to Pullman Square.

"Pat Guthrie Sr. made the original deal for the Huntington Blues Society to hold our monthly jam at the V Club with Chris Sutton, who used to be the club's president," Combs said.

"Then, Chris moved on to other things, and Big Pat retired, and his son Pat Guthrie Jr. has taken over the operations of the V Club. Pat is also the co-owner of Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, and he requested that we move from Wednesday night once a month at the V Club to a Friday night at the Black Sheep location at Pullman Square. It sounds like a promotion to us. We are going to trust his vision and move forward with bringing blues music to downtown Huntington. Move me uptown. (laughs) We'll take it."

As July continues, the Huntington Blues Society is still putting out a call for blues bands to enter the Greater Huntington Blues Challenge. Although the deadline looms soon, if you are in a blues band or in a band that enjoys playing blues music, the winner of the contest will get $1,000 and will be sponsored for a trip to the prestigious International Blues Challenge that is held in Memphis, Tennessee, every January.

The top three to five bands will perform Friday, Aug. 16, for the $1,000 prize money and sponsorship at the Diamond Teeth Mary Blues Festival, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 17, at Heritage Station.

Those who want to enter should send the name of the band and the band's spokesperson, band member names and instruments played as well as phone number and email contact information to Huntington Blues Society, 3210 King Road, Barboursville, WV 25504. A $25 registration fee is required.

"Our goal and my goal as president of the Huntington Blues Society is to keep the Diamond Teeth Mary Blues Festival going in a positive direction," Combs said.

"Our Blues Challenge band competition is a part of that event, and we want to put on a good show. After all, the festival is held in honor of Diamond Teeth Mary, who is the most famous blues artist from here."

Visit the Huntington Blues Society's Facebook page or go to huntingtonbluessociety.com. Also, tune in to the Huntington Blues Society's weekly radio show called The Diamond Duck Blues Hour at 3 p.m. Mondays on 88.1 FM WMUL.


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