Best Bets: Central Delaware Blues Society sending Slim and the Perkolators to Memphis

Derek Matteson, left, aka Harmonica Slim, and Tim Perks front the Philadelphia-based blues band Slim and the Perkolators. The winner of the Central Delaware Blues Society competition in October, they will be gong to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis later this month. A fundraiser for their trip is scheduled for Sunday. (Submitted photo)

The Philadelphia-based blues band Slim and the Perkolators have eyed this year as a chance to really break out.

It’s already getting off to a good start.

Thanks to winning the Central Delaware Blues Society competition in the fall, the group will head to the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis Jan. 28-Feb. 1.

Already kicking in $2,000, on Sunday, the blues society will stage an all-day concert fundraiser at the American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2 in Dover to help with the band’s expenses.

In its fourth year of performing their brand of classic Chicago and West Coast swing blues with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll, Slim and the Perkolators have a string of shows in Florida set for this month and then the New England area later in the year.

“We had our (self-titled) CD come out last summer and we’ve had a good time with that. Now we’re looking to branch out a bit more this year,” said Tim Perks, the band’s guitarist who shares vocal duties with harmonica player Derek Matteson, aka Harmonica Slim.

Growing up in England in the 1960s, Mr. Perks got his love of the blues from his older brother who turned him on to records by John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac.

He moved to the States in the 1980s and “that’s when things kicked into overtime,” said Mr. Perks, who lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

He frequented the area’s blues clubs, seeing concerts whenever he could. He also “messed around” with the guitar.

“But I became a dad and had to get a proper job for many years. But as time went by and my daughter got a bit older, I picked up the guitar again,” he said.

He started playing out in open mics in 2007 and joined a band, always dreaming of having his own group one day. A few years ago, he was playing in the blues band Little Red Rooster when Mr. Matteson sat in on harmonica.

“I was immediately impressed by his playing and I thought it would be neat to have a harmonica player in the band. We met up again two weeks later and started playing gigs and the rest is history,” Mr. Perks said.

“We’ve been very, very busy and very fortunate in just three short years.”

The two are joined in the band by drummer Mark Shewchuck and bass player Drew Young.

Their brand of upbeat blues is catching on.

“Often blues gets a bad rap. People say it’s boring or melancholy. We like to convey a different take on it,” Mr. Perks said.

The members of Slim and the Perkolators celebrate their win in the Central Delaware Blues Society International Blues Challenge Competition in October at the American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2 in Dover. (Submitted photo)

This was the first year the group competed to go to the IBC. Mr. Perks and Mr. Matteson have never been to the Memphis event while the other two in the band have.

“We had some tough competition (at the Central Delaware event). It was real thrill to be chosen,” Mr. Perks said.

“I’ve always wanted to go and am very excited.”

Jim Martin, the president of the Central Delaware Blues Society, is excited that Slim and the Perkokators is this year’s society pick.

“Both Tim and Derek sing. They pretty much split the singing in the band and I think that really drew the judges in,” he said.

“I’m tickled to death that they were chosen to represent the Central Delaware Blues Society and think they have a really good chance to climb the ladder.”

The IBC, which draws bands from all 50 states and 22 countries, offers cash, prizes, recording time and booking dates but also the chance to network with music folks from all the world.

“All I hear are wonderful stories about it,” Mr. Perks said.

“There is great music to be heard and meeting great people. It’s really wonderful for the band.”

He says he’s been getting a lot of advice on what the judges may be looking for.

“We’ve gotten some very helpful tips on what to do and what not to do. We’ve been running through our setlist every time we perform. The key thing is getting it down to a certain amount of time and then that time changes for the semifinals and finals. And we’ve been trying to mix up the material somewhat as well,” he said.

Their self-titled CD is also a nominee at the IBC.

Mr. Martin says he thinks the band will be up to the competition.

“The judges are at the top of their game and any musician who participates has to have their head on their shoulders. Bu they are all very well respected and I think they will represent us extremely well,” he said.

Sunday’s fundraiser starts at noon with the music starting at 1 p.m. kicking off with Bad Avenue. The music continues throughout the day with You Be You, The Grey Fox Band, Barrelhouse, Nothin But Trouble and then Slim and the Perkolators taking the stage at 6:15 p.m.

There will be raffle and auction items with a $10 suggested donation at the door.

Walter L. Fox Post is at 835 S. Bay Road in Dover.

On the Roadshow

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Wilmington is the featured venue on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” this month.

Three one-hour episodes were produced from the “Roadshow” event held at Winterthur this past June. Having already aired this past Monday, viewers can tune in to WHYY to see the finds and learn more about Winterthur this Monday and Jan. 20.

“We are thrilled and grateful that Winterthur will serve as the premiere episode of such a wonderful series,” said Carol B. Cadou, the Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO of Winterthur.

“With its vast collection of early American antiques of all kinds, Winterthur is a perfect fit for “Antiques Roadshow” and its millions of fans. We were delighted to host the “Roadshow” and are so pleased that viewers will now learn more about founder Henry Francis du Pont’s remarkable collections and estate. We hope the program will inspire those who have not seen Winterthur or are unable to visit.”

“Antiques Roadshow” is the highest-rated ongoing series on PBS. It recorded three episodes at Winterthur on June 18 for its 2019 tour of five distinctive historic locations across the country. About 3,000 people visited the “Roadshow” event at Winterthur for appraisals from about 70 experts in more than 20 areas of specialty.

“We were excited to visit Delaware and experience such an exceptional location,” said “Antiques Roadshow” executive producer Marsha Bemko. “Filming at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library allowed our cameras to blanket the property, capturing appraisals with the action of the event as a backdrop.”

The 17-time Emmy Award-nominated series “Antiques Roadshow” has been produced by WGBH Boston for the past 23 years. Along with the visit to Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, the 2019 “Antiques Roadshow” Tour, April 15 through June 18, also visited Bonanzaville, West Fargo, North Dakota; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona; and McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

Greene in Sunroom

The Sunroom Songwriters Series of house concerts in Dover welcomes Tyler Greene on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

Mr. Greene, who hails from Millsboro, is becoming quite well known as a musician not only below the canal, but also above the canal.

He is a multi-instrumentalist, DJ and singer/songwriter.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with light refreshments provided. Suggested donation is $10-$15. All money goes to the performer.

To RSVP and for more information, email

Ballroom dance

USA Dance Dover DE will host a ballroom dance today from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Ruritan Club, 29 Ruritan Lane in Viola.

Rhythm and smooth dance music will be provided by Mike Collier. Everyone is welcome. No partner or experience is needed. The cost is $10 per person for USA Dance members and $12 per person for nonmembers (pay at the door). Dress is business casual (no jeans please).

For more information on USA Dance Dover DE upcoming events or to confirm an event should inclement weather be a concern, call 302-734-8794 or visit

Lewis in Dover

In case you missed the announcement earlier this week, Aaron Lewis will perform at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Rollins Center on Friday, June 5. Tickets go on sale Tuesday at

Tickets range from $55 to $115. A special VIP package offer includes 50 seats in rows 1-10 and includes an exclusive pre-show meet and greet with Mr. Lewis, personal photograph with him, autographed collectible tour poster, exclusive Aaron Lewis pick set and official meet and greet laminate. The package is limited to eight per person and is $240 each.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday for Aaron Lewis’ upcoming concert at Dover Downs. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Lewis, who fronted the successful rock group Staind, recently released and album, the Buddy Cannon-produced “State I’m In.” He wrote six of the 10 tracks, which also features cuts by acclaimed songwriters Dan Tyminski and the late Keith Whitley, among others. This album spotlights his outlaw country roots.

It is the follow up to “Sinner,” which went No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums, Top 200 Albums, and Top Digital Albums Charts upon release.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend is the World War I epic “1917,” the story of Milton’s Bryan Stevenson “Just Mercy,” the comedy “Like a Boss”and the suspense thriller “Underwater.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and Will Smith in “Gemini Man.”