Elkins musicians Seth and Erin Young, of Blackwater Mojo, will travel to Memphis, Tenn., next week to compete in the International Blues Challenge. The couple earned the right to compete in this challenge by taking first place at the 6th Annual Appalachian Blues Competition in Charleston last fall in the solo/duo category.
"This was the first time we competed in the blues competition because it is usually the Saturday of the Mountain State Forest Festival," Erin Young said. "This past year it was two weeks later and so we got to attend."
Erin's husband, Seth Young, said the duo will be playing songs from their new album, "Cold Holler," during the event as well as some standards.
"This competition allows us good networking opportunities," Seth Young said. "We get to hear other bands and do other cool things."
The Youngs formed Blackwater Mojo about six years ago and have performed throughout West Virginia and in Nashville, New York and Washington, D.C.
They met 10 years ago in Cincinnati while Seth was playing bass and Erin was singing. Erin moved to Elkins, graduated from Davis & Elkins College and now works at D&E. Seth is employed by Randolph County Schools as a music educator at Jennings Randolph Elementary School. He also teaches lab band for the Randolph County Community Arts Center and works with the West Virginia Governor's School at D&E.
While on their way to the Challenge, the duo will be featured on a radio spot on Monday at WDVX radio in Knoxville, Tenn. The noon "Blue Plate Special" is sponsored by the Knoxville Visitor's Center and can be accessed at wdvx.com.
Blackwater Mojo will also be featured on a local Memphis television spot at Ditty TV that features music of Memphis. More information is available at DittyTV.com.
"This trip is a good opportunity for the blues community to come together and see what others are doing," Erin Young said. "You also get to showcase the things you are doing for others. We are putting ourselves out there and seeing what we can do with it."
"The journey is what counts," Seth Young said. "We hope to make albums and music. We enjoy meeting others and hope our career goes a long time."
The Youngs said they are very excited for the Challenge and are getting ready by practicing.
"This is going to be a fun time," the Youngs agreed.
The International Blues Challenge runs Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. Nearly 100 entries compete in the solo/duo division. Blackwater Mojo is sponsored by the West Virginia Blues Society.