Each year, the Wichita Blues Society sponsors a group or groups to attend the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. The annual Blues Ball at the Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg, is their send-off.
Craig Twister Steward and the Rachelle Coba Band are the local groups headed to this year’s challenge in Tennessee, Jan. 31 through Feb. 4.
First, though, they’ll be treated Saturday night to congratulations, refreshments, dancing and music from a former International Blues Challenge winner.
Among other awards, Trampled Under Foot, a blues band from Kansas City, won the title in 2008.
The family band consists of two brothers and a sister: drummer Kris Schnebelen, singer and guitarist Nick Schnebelen and singer and bassist Danielle Schnebelen.
They said the Wichita-area bands can expect stiff competition from all over the world at the International Blues Challenge.
“I thought there’s no way we’d win,” Danielle Schnebelen said.
All three groups will perform Saturday, though Trampled Under Foot will headline the event.
“This annual event will be a good night of good music, dancing and fun,” Richard Leslie, Cotillion co-owner and manager, said. “Several Wichita swing-dance clubs come out in force.”
Trampled Under Foot will be playing original songs and classic covers at the Blues Ball.
The siblings are expected to bring a high-energy show to the Blues Ball with songs from their new album, “Wrong Side of the Blues.”
“Audiences come to see us do our own thing individually and together,” Kris Schnebelen said.
After several years playing in separate bands, the siblings came together in 2002 to follow in the family tradition.
They attribute their success to their parents, who as musicians themselves raised the three on traditional blues values and in the Kansas City blues scene.
“It is a close-knit community with lots of friends and family,” Nick Schnebelen said.
Because of their parents, their passion for the style of music grew. The siblings said that their parents never forced music on them, but instead encouraged them to follow their own passions. Danielle Schnebelen’s first professional gig was playing with her parents at the age of 12. They have toured across the U.S. and also in Europe.
“It can be lonely on the road,” she said. “The best part of the family band is no matter where you go, you have family.”
So far this year, they have been nominated for the Blues Music Awards’ best band of the year title, among other accolades.
From Wichita, Trampled Under Foot will head to Colorado before playing again in Kansas City in February. They’ll head to Florida in March. For more information on the band and future tour dates, visit www.tufkc.com.