2022 Iowa Blues Challenge Winner: Tom Spielbauer

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The Library is very excited to present the winner of the 2022 Iowa Blues Challenge! Tom Spielbauer is a guitarist playing in a delta blues style who plays a foot drum and slide guitar in the style of musicians such as Elmore James and R.L. Burnside. A prolific songwriter, Tom is known for playing boot-stompin blues boogie as the lead player in the Iowa roots band Cedar County Cobras and recently has played as a solo act in Clarksdale, Mississippi and several Midwest venues and festivals.

In 2005, Tom was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration at a young age and declared legally blind. Following in the footsteps of blind blues musicians such as Blind Willie McTell & Alan Wilson, he eventually traded his concrete tools for a guitar and a foot drum to play the blues full time.