No matter that he's been awake some 36 hours straight, Graham Drout finds himself traveling the roads of America's Deep South, symbolically following in the footsteps of many of his blues idols. He's working his way back from Memphis, where his band Iko-Iko ably represented the South Florida Blues Society in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. "I can hear the ocean in my head," he swears as that endless highway brings him closer to home.
Despite the fact that Iko-Iko wasn't given the opportunity to advance to the finals, Drout still finds reason to be proud. According to him, the band still managed to make a favorable impression, and its new album, Bullets in the Bonfire Vol. 1, has climbed to the top of the blues polls in the weeks since its release. The chance to network with DJs, promoters, and other performers during the group's stay in Memphis made the time spent there a profitable experience.
"Winston Churchill said, 'Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm,'" Drout recalls, turning philosophical. "We had to win to get there, so in reality, we arrived having already won."
Drout has good cause for optimism. "I'm being dubbed 'The new Willie Dixon' in the blues press," the singer/guitarist proclaims. "All you need is one reviewer to say it and the rest will cut and paste me into the history books."