Hamilton band plans hometown concert after placing in Memphis event

CFG & the Family finished in top 6 in 150-act International Blues Challenge.

Community members will have an opportunity to hear CFG & the Family at a hometown concert on the heels of the band’s “Top 6″ finalist achievement at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis last month.

“We were one of the six artists who made it to the finals,” said Casey Gomez, frontman for CFG & the Family. “Being in the ‘Top 6′ out of over 150 bands is not bad.”

CFG & the Family will be in concert on Friday at 8 p.m. at Pohlman Lanes & Family Entertainment Complex to celebrate the band’s Memphis performance. The event is free and open to the public. During the event, the city of Hamilton will recognize the band for their contribution to the local, live music scene.

Hamilton-based CFG & the Family won the 2023 Cincy Blues Challenge in June, and the band was invited to the International Blues Challenge last month.

Joseph Hoelle, also known as “Hoellewood,” is road manager for CFG & the Family and general manager at Hamilton’s Urban Backyard. He said the band’s trip was a great experience despite 6 inches of snow in Memphis the night before and being cold all week.

“It was amazing to be with so many other bands from around the world who made it to the International Blues Challenge. Beale Street bars and entertainment establishments were filled with blues musicians from all over the world,” said Hoelle.

He said the band had 15 street team members from Hamilton who made the week-long trip to Memphis for support. Those there shared updates on social media, “going live each night so the folks back home could enjoy the experience.”

Hoelle said, “There was such a buzz going up and down Beale Street about CGF & the Family after their first night’s performance,” Hoelle said.

The annual International Blues Challenge presented by the Blues Foundation took place in several venues on Beale Street in Memphis. CFG & the Family performed original music at the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday and at Wet Willie’s on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Bands, duos and solo artists are all a part of the competition.

“This was our first year competing on an international scale,” Gomez said.

“The finals took place at the Orpheum Theatre, which was glorious. It was amazing to play that stage, and it’s something I’ll never forget. Justin Timberlake had played the Orpheum the night before, and then we went on,” Gomez said.

Artists perform a 20-minute set on each of the first two nights, and they are judged on both nights. Then, they have a chance to make it to the semifinals on Friday and the finals on Saturday.

“We made it all the way to the finals,” Gomez said. “To be acknowledged by the blues community on the international stage is huge.”

The Top 6 finish “speaks volumes,” Gomez said, calling it a great honor. “It’s a big deal, and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

He said the band spent months rehearsing to prepare. CFG & the Family is comprised of Gomez, the frontman and lead vocalist, Greg Skinner on bass, Pete Davidson on drums and Mason Johnson on lead guitar.

“I’m just proud of our music and what we put together, and we’re very thankful for all of the fans and the people that have supported us throughout the whole entire journey and helped us make it happen,” Gomez said.

The band’s CD, “CFG & the Family” also won the CD Challenge at the Cincy Blues Challenge event last summer and represented the Cincy Blues Society in Memphis. The band’s songs can be found on Spotify, YouTube and other music platforms.

CFG & the Family will also perform at several other upcoming shows. On Saturday, Feb. 10, the band will play at the Cincinnati Winter Blues Experience at The Manor House in Mason. Doors open at 5 p.m. The cost of tickets are $30. Tickets and more information are available at www.cincyblues.org.

On Feb. 18, CFG & the Family will play at Autism Rocks with Ken Anderson Alliance presented by The Heidt Family Foundation at Lori’s Roadhouse. Doors open/music begins at 11 a.m. Tickets range from $15 to $25. For tickets and more information, go to www.lrhlive.com.

How to go

What: CFG & the Family in concert

When: Friday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.

Where: Pohlman Lanes & Family Entertainment Complex, 954 Pyramid Hill Blvd., Hamilton

Admission: Free. Limited seating available, first come, first served.

More info: www.pohlmanlanesfec.com and www.facebook.com/CFGandtheFamily/

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