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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fetterman, band earn spot at Memphis International Blues Challenge


Bradford native Jeff Fetterman's career has always been noteworthy, but 2018 will be something extra special.

That is when he and his self-named band, JFB, will compete in the Memphis (Tennessee) International Blues Challenge in January 2018.

This is just one stop in Fetterman's magical, musical journey.

He has been on stages that reach from Detroit, Michigan; to Wildwood, New Jersey; to Wilmington, North Carolina.

He has played on stages with renowned blues artists such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovic, Tony Coleman, Chris Duarte, Stephen Stills, .38 Special and Molly Hatchet.

But one of his goals has always been to get his music to the blues capital of the world: Memphis, Tennessee.

“The blues originally started in Mississippi, but Memphis is the home of Elvis, BB King’s Blues Club and the world-famous Beale Street with top blues clubs up and down the strip,” Fetterman said. “It’s the home to both gospel and blues and that’s the style of music I do. My music would fit down there like a hand fits in a glove.”

Finally, his dreams came true when he won a chance to go to Tennessee to the Memphis International Blues Challenge.

“Finally! I wasn’t going to stop until I won. I was not going to give up. My hard work finally paid off. This will give me an opportunity to share my music with the right people who love my style of music. Memphis is the perfect geographical region for that.

“I will be competing with bands from all over the world. I am excited, nervous, hopeful, and skeptical. But more so it’s going to be a chance for me to network, meet other colleagues in the business, make new friends, and get my music out to new avenues.”

The challenge consists of five days of intense competition in January 2018. JFB will be judged on originality, musical talent, vocal performance, stage presence, and appearance. The band will participate in competitions on both Monday and Tuesday. If their scores are in the top percent, they will move onto the semifinals held on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to Friday’s finals.

“I won the slot at the Billtown Blues Association in Williamsport by scoring the highest using the exact same criteria. Going into Memphis, I feel like I’ve already won a grand prize. I really want to network my music and this will give me that opportunity, win or lose.”

Fetterman’s band consists of drummer John McGuire of Warren and bassist Ralph Reitinger III of Erie.

In order to raise money for the trip, the band plans to hold several fundraisers in Bradford and Erie.

A Go Fund Me page on the Jeff Fetterman Band website at

The funds will help Fetterman's and his band with costs of the road such as food, fuel, hotels and other expenses.

An amount of $100 or more will garnish a free album and a tour T shirt, signed if you wish.

Any donation will be appreciated.

For more information, go to his website.

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