Kirsten Thien CD coverSolo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club
Screen Door Records

New York City-based blues artist Kirsten Thien is most often found touring with a full band to compliment her amazing vocals, but this new release, Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club finds her baring herself alone on the German stage armed with only her guitar and voice. It is quite intimate and she has a very receptive audience. Kirsten is an engaging performer, always smiling and giving the impression that she is having a good time that is reciprocated by those in attendance.

Solo Live From Meisenfrei showcases Kirsten with numbers from her three previous releases, with focus on a handful from the last disc Delicious. Kirsten explains before going into a sensational take on Sheryl Crow’s “Leaving Las Vegas” that her definition of blues is pretty diverse, and the selections here, whether her own compositions or covers, showcases her tastes and knack for story-telling songwriting. Original numbers like “A Woman Knows,” “Thank You (For Saying Goodbye)” “Nobody’s Ever Loved Me Like You Do” and “The Sweet Lost And Found” are perfect examples of tracks that could cross-over between rock and blues genres.

She has also included a handful of cover numbers that are perfectly spread throughout her performance that enhances the show and fit nicely with her own material. They each have their own personal reason for being included, many dealing with relationships both good and bad. She explains how she often thinks about Sippie Wallace’s words about not advertising your man as she coaxes a little audience participation on “Woman Be Wise” and mentions that she has a thing for bad boys before taking on Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around And Fell In Love.” There are also superb versions of Leon Russell’s “I’d Rather Be Blind” and Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.” And she finishes her show with a medley of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” mixed with B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” that leaves the crowd ecstatically pleased.

Solo Live From Meisenfrei Blues Club is very enjoyable performance from an artist that knows how to capture an audience and proves she can do just that with or without her band. She makes the crowd feel as if they’re sitting in their own homes witnessing a private performance. It is personal and heartfelt, a very welcome release from Kirsten that will be highly valued by anybody who has ever attended one of her shows before. And for those who have not had that pleasure, it’ll have you writing that down on your bucket list for certain.


Total Time: 1:10:08

Hold Onto Me / A Woman Knows / Thank You (For Saying Goodbye) / You’ve Got Me / Wild Woman Don’t Have The Blues / The Sweet Lost And Found / Ain’t That The Truth / It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry / Please Drive / Leaving Las Vegas / Nobody’s Ever Love Me Like You Do / Woman Be Wise / Fooled Around And Fell In Love / I’d Rather Be Blind / Medley: Ain’t No Sunshine – The Thrill Is Gone




Southern Hospitality CD coverEasy Livin’
Blind Pig Records

There have been many attempts over the years to put together “super groups” of multiple talented artists. Sometimes they work and other times not. Southern Hospitality were three good friends who were performing at an event with their own individual bands when they happened to be placed on stage with one another and really dug what they heard. Damon Fowler, J.P. Soars and Victor Wainwright liked it so much that they decided to do some tour dates with each other and to release a recording. That recording, titled Easy Livin’ is an outstanding collection that proves these guys should be playing together. And though it may not be in their own individual styles necessarily that you’d hear each of them at their own shows, it is a fantastic blend of all things that are good in Southern music.

Fowler and Soars each offer monstrous guitar work and Wainwright just might be the finest piano playing bluesman going these days (as recently noted by his being named the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year at the Blues Music Awards). Filling out the band are bass player Chuck Riley from Damon Fowler’s band and drummer Chris Peet from J.P. Soars outfit. Fowler works quite a bit on the disc on lap-slide guitar which delivers some really fine flavor to the mix.

The song selections are reminiscent of great Southern artists ranging from The Allman Brothers to Jerry Lee Lewis to Little Feat to Paul Thorn. It encompasses R&B, soul, gospel, country and jazz all within its own blues takes. The guitar playing on Willie Bobo’s “Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries” is inspiring with Wainwright laying down killer organ passages. Other tracks catching my attention are “Long Way Home” that captures J.P. Soars at his finest on slide with his vocals which are nearly Howlin’ Wolf-like, the frivolity of the western swing piece “Mile After Mile” that sounds very much like a tune you’d expect from Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks with a fun little whistle thrown in during each chorus that’ll have you smiling, Wainwright’s boogie intensity alongside Fowler’s lap-slide and Soars’ quick guitar pace on “Don’t Boogie Woogie” is sheer enjoyment, and the closing beauty of the trio on “Sky Is What I Breathe” accompanied by a lone guitar, it reminds me somewhat of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks’ song “Back Where I Started” with its ability to set emotions loose in its pureness.

While Southern Hospitality is a collection of outstanding blues artists in their own right, they have discovered a powerful arrangement here as a collaboration. This is one super group that I would love to hear more from. Easy Livin’ is a modern Southern classic. Not a blues classic, not a rock classic . . . just a classic all-around recording no matter what form of music you prefer. Thumbs up for a stellar disc!


Total Time: 60:40

Southern Livin’ / Long Way Home / Kind Lies & Whiskey / Mile After Mile / Certified Lover / Fried Neck Bones And Home Fries / Shoestring Budget / Don’t Feel Like Going There Today / Come Back Home / Powered For The Mountain / Don’t Boogie Woogie / Sky Is What I Breathe


Too Slim & Taildraggers CDBlue Heart 
Underworld Records

Tim “Too Slim” Langford has always been a fan favorite here in the Pacific Northwest as well as on the touring road. As of late, I just cannot fathom Langford doing anything wrong and that just might include his recent relocation to Nashville. Hate to see him move from the area, but if he is going to produce impressive new recordings like this latest release, Blue Heart, then all the more power to him. His previous two discs still receive a substantive amount of airplay in my car and at home, the brilliant Blues Music Award nominated Shiver and the solo project Broken Halo. I know that Blue Heart is going to be added into that mix right away.


One of the best moves that Langford made in Nashville is hooking up with studio wizard Tom Hambridge, who also takes a position behind the drums on the new album. Hambridge is a master, whatever he seems to be part of in the studio has been turning to gold as of late, working with people like Buddy Guy and James Cotton to name but two. There are other big name guests dropping by to lend their craft, including vocalist Jimmy Hall who also provides a little harmonica on the song title track and keyboard man Reese Wynans. The band is completed by bassist Tommy MacDonald and Rob McNelley on second guitar.


The music on Blue Heart is what you would expect from Too Slim & The Taildraggers. It is killer knock-your-lights-out guitar as only Langford can deliver. He may come at you with a little swampy feel as on “Blue Heart” or “Wash My Hands,” with a pure Chicago-drenched guitar such as “Good To See You Smile Again” with Jimmy Hall behind the mic, the rockin’ power of “Shape Of Blues To Come” or the acoustic slide on the closing “Angels Are Back,” but it is all awesome and completely originally penned material by Tim Langford.


Okay, so maybe we didn’t want to share Too Slim & The Traildraggers with the rest of the world. We wanted to keep him tucked up here in the Northwest where we can easier boast of his talents. But by God if he is going to move away, let him be heard by the masses. Listen up to all of those who may not know of Tim Langford (and if you are a true follower of the blues that should not be too many of you), Blue Heart is an album that is set to render your blues-rock taste-buds on notice. Spicy, sizzling hot guitar by one of the best players in the business.



Total Time: 49:26


Wash My Hands / Minutes Seem Like Hours / Blue Heart / Make It Sound Happy / Good To See You Smile Again / When Whiskey Was My Friend / If You Broke My Heart / New Years Blues / Shape Of Blues To Come / Preacher / Angels Are Back



Happy Summer everybody!

We’ve been real busy this past month, playing gigs around town, rehearsing, getting our website and Reverbnation page up and running. We’ve worked hard at the Reverbnation page (thanks to Rudi-bob Spain) and thanks to all of our fans, we have moved up the Portland Blues charts to #9. Also, we are getting ready to go on a little tour this month, taking the band to Montana to the great towns of Kalispell, Whitefish, and Great Falls. It’s going to be fun and we look forward to taking our music on the road!

Of course the Waterfront Blues Festival is about to happen and we plan on being there everyday to soak up the sun and the blues. If you see us running around groovin’, stop and say hi. It’s going to be a great festival this year!

The other great news we have to put out there is our new Hot Jam we are having at the Lehrer in west Portland every Tuesday from 8:00PM to 11:00PM. We have a full stage set up with everything a jam needs; lights, a killer sound system, a Hammond B3 and Leslie, Piano, Drums, Bass and Guitar Amps, and a great new venue that has been featuring Portland’s greatest Blues artists and more. All we need is you! We are overjoyed to be a part of this musical venue and really want to see it succeed, so come on out and check it out, you’ll be glad you did! Oh yeah, also on the last Tuesday of the month we make it special and present “The Ladies of the Lehrer”. Recently our special guest was Karen Lovely and she rocked the joint! Last month we had Nico Wind and this month we’ll be featuring Beth Britton.

Don’t forget to check us out at our website, and on Reverbnation, Become a fan and check out our music, performing schedule, and more!

Blues to You!

Tracey Fordice and the 8-Balls

Greetings, blues people! The band and I would like to thank the many among you who supported our Indiegogo campaign for tour sponsorship, and all the rest of you who sent us well-wishes. While we were sadly forced to cut the tour short, it was an adventure to travel the western states with Jeff Knudson, Brian Harris and the hilarious Dave Melyan. And thank you from Allen and I for the condolences on the death of his father. Hank Markel was a loving father and husband, a Korean War vet and a Yankees fan, he will be sorely missed.

The show must go on, as they say, and in July it is going on outside… July 4th we will be competing in the Journey to Memphis Finals at the Waterfront Blues Festival, the competition is from Noon to 3pm. Congrats to the Mojoblasters, Ben Rice Band and Tevis Hodge Jr for also making it to the finals! Then later that day, I will take the Read more

Greetings friends! Hope all is well in your world. I can hardly believe festival season is upon us once again. I have been very busy with teaching, writing, recording, gigging and somewhere in there, finding some balance at our beautiful new home in the country. From all of this hard work does come the fruits of our labor and I am so happy to let you all know about what’s been going on.

Start your Waterfront Blues Festival day out right on Thursday, July 4th where you’ll find the Robbie Laws Band on the North Stage from 1:15-2:30 pm. It’s always such an honor and a thrill to perform at the best blues festival around and I look forward to seeing you there. We’ve also got an amazing event happening at the outdoor amphitheater on top of Mt. St. Helens (Johnston Ridge Observatory) on Saturday, August 3rd from 3:30-8:30 pm. This is a special benefit concert for the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater. The SLC is a great resource for schools, education groups and researchers interested in taking field trips and doing research at Mt. St. Helens. We’ve got quite a special line up for you with the Robbie Laws band featuring Dover Weinberg and Willis Moss, the fabulous Karen Lovely and one of our longtime favorites, Lloyd Jones. The mountain setting is unbelievably spectacular and this is a day you don’t want to miss, so come on up to the mountain and have a great time with us.

In other big news, I am super excited about the recent launching of my brand new website at Of course you’ll find the standard fare of a music website, but what I’m most excited about is the introduction of ‘Online Live with Robbie Laws’ one-on-one web guitar lessons in addition to several new guitar classes and workshops held at my private studio in SE Portland. I’ll be holding a Songwriting for Guitar class every first Sunday of the month as well as several options for one day guitar workshops at the studio. Please do me a favor and check out the new site and let me know what you think. I want to give a special shout out to my man Chad Boston of for doing such a great job on the site. Highly recommended!

Lastly, the final touches are happening on the new album and we’re coming into the home stretch (“Thank God”). Between all of our hectic schedules, it’s been challenging at times to get this project completed. Fingers crossed, it looks like we’ll have an August release date later this summer, so keep your eyes out for that. I am feeling really good about this one.

I look forward to seeing you out and about enthusiastically supporting live music at our great local venues. Have a great time at the Waterfront Blues Festival!

Robbie Laws

Hello friends, Just a heads up that my new CD is nearing completion and should be out in the late summer. This is being recorded at Ron Rogers studio in SE Portland. This is an all analog “live in the studio” recording with a great line up of musicians that includes Mary Flower, Don Campbell, Ken West, Stephen “Sammy” Lind and my buddy Jeff Masters came up from Los Angeles to play harmonica on a few tunes. Although I usually play solo live, this CD is very much an ensemble affair with a lot of different instruments. Of course, we will have a CD release party or two when it is out. Stay tuned.

Although I consider the ukulele just a small part of what I do, it has been very, very good to me in that I have played several ukulele festivals (yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a ukefest!) nationwide and my uke videos for some reason are very popular in Europe. Here are two upcoming workshop / festivals that do not fit into the Blues Notes Calendar. August 2,3 and 4, I will be part of the Oakridge Ukulele Festival in Oakridge, Oregon. Three days of workshops, jamming and concerts. Should be fun time as the entire town is turned into three days of uke mayhem. Also, August 11 thru 17, I will be giving a week long in depth ukulele workshop with everything from blues, ragtime, swing and even rock n roll in a wonderful forest setting in the Columbia Gorge in Menucha, Oregon. This class is almost a sell out as we go to press. Go to for more info. Do not forget that I give private guitar and uke lessons, so contact me through my website if you are interested.

Until next month, keep diggin’ the blues and stop by and say hi at my gigs.


James Clem

Hello-Bring on The Blues! The members of Bolt Upright—Ashbolt, Lynn and Susie—want to extend our thanks to the Cascade Blues Association for the continued support of Portland’s local blues scene! We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary of hosting our Sunday Blues JAM at Montavilla Station! We’ve welcomed so many great jammers from/San Francisco/Spokane and Denver, but it’s the local folks that make it real every week and those are the folks I’d like to personally thank for the support! Portland knows the Blues!

Ashbolt Stewart

 Lloyd Jones Tours Netherlands in July!

 First of all I would like to thank Greg and everyone at the CBA for your kind support of Teresa James visit to Jimmy Mak’s last month, and the enormous effort ya’ll put into supporting this music during festival time (and all through the year)! You help make this a vibrant and healthy music community!

 This July I will miss the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival for the first time…but, it’s exciting!

I will be playing seven shows in 12 days in Denmark & Norway! On the 4th of July I will be at an open air concert in Blaavand, Denmark called “God Bless America”! Wow, what’s that all about?!

 Then Saturday July 6th I will be at the Trandal Blues Festival in Aalesund, Norway. As it turns out, my ol’ pal Curtis Salgado will be playing that festival, too. Two Portland fella’s in NW Norway at the same festival! What are the odds of that? Your international diplomats are on the job baby!

 Please check other dates at

 Also, I’ll be back at the Muddy Rudder on Mondays starting July 15th.

 Have a wonderful Waterfront Blues Festival here in funky P.O.!


Lloyd Jones
“Groove Merchant”



La Rhonda Steele Etta James Tribute Show @ Jimmy Mack's

La Rhonda Steele
Etta James Tribute Show @ Jimmy Mack’s

Arguably one of the most important singers in the history of blues music, Etta James carved her reputation in the form of many indelible hits over a seven decade career.
After her passing, piano and boogie master DK Stewart organized this tribute show with a live recording, and the ensuing CD has received well due praise.
In addition to DK on piano, the band features Chris Carlson and Peter Dammann (guitars), Mike Klobas (drums), Joseph Conrad (bass), Louis Pain (Organ), Chris Mercer (sax), and Joe McCarthy (trumpet).
The line-up of vocalists reads like a who’s who of female leads and includes Rae Gordon, LaRhonda Steele, Duffy Bishop, Lady Kat, and Lisa Mann…whew, what a roster!
This is a show that was featured at the Waterfront Blues Festival, but this year you’ll be able to enjoy it in the intimate setting of Jimmy Mak’s. Don’t wait, get your tickets now because we expect both performances to sell out.


Reserve Your Tickets Now

Two Shows at 7:30 & 10pm
$12 Reserved Seating/$10 General Admission
Advanced tickets available at