Franco and The Stingers

Hey Everybody,

Good seeing you again. Just wanted to say hello, and thank you for your support…The band, in case you didn’t know, has been picked up by Road Dawg Touring, and will be spending much of the coming year on the road, which means that we won’t be playing very often here in Portland in the coming year.
It’s a big step for the band, and we’re looking forward to seeing the country and promoting our cd’s, “I Like It Just Like That” and “Can’t Kick Love”….Our only local dates this month are the Sweethearts Dance at The Lehrer on, Saturday, Feb. 15th , and The Trail’s End Saloon on, Friday, Feb. 21st…Hope you will continue to support our local gigs.
Hope 2014 continues to be good for you! And remember to……


The Norman Sylvester Band

The Boogie Cat wishes all of you Blues Lovers Happy New Year!

The Norman Sylvester Band celebrated their 30 year Anniversary in 2013! We have had so many amazing players over the years join the band, our success has definitely been a “family affair”.

I am blessed to live in a town so rich with great musical talent! Our newest album: “Blues Stains on my Hands” is getting national air play and favorable reviews in Living Blues, and Blues Music Magazine, both for the recording and our original song writing. Keep your fingers crossed that we can reach past the Northwest… kids are grown, so we’re ready to travel.

Thank you to the CBA Members for honoring me with the Paul Delay “Life Time Achievement” Muddy award. It was quite a nice surprise.

Come out and party with the band soon and support venues that book live music: the Birk, Blue Diamond, Clyde’s, Finnegan’s, Gemini, Halibut’s, Jimmy Mac’s, Lehrer, the Lodge, Mac’s Place, the M & M, Roadhouse 101, Rogue Pub, Spare Room, Tillicum, and Trails End to name a few. Save the date also, for the 3rd Annual Inner City Blues Festival “Healing the Healthcare Blues” on April 5th at the Melody Ballroom!

Check our website to find the Norman Sylvester band

See you on the scene in 2014~ MEOW! MEOW!

Jesse Samsel

Hello Family , Friends and Fans of live music !!! I am writing this on my iphone on the road so forgive my grammar and spelling … Cary Samsel , Nate Powell , Tom Katt and my Guitar Tech Dan Curtis and I all would like to thank you so much for inviting us to play the monthly meeting

In Jan. … We had a wonderful time hanging out and seeing old friends and making new ones … We had planned more of a show for you all but with mom passing, the holidays all of a sudden upon us and then the damn flu we decided to strip it down and just Rock … It worked for us and you all, it was truly a blast !!! We are preparing to start touring in April with dates up here in the northwest before we head back east for the summer … We are digging into some old albums and plan on surprising Terry with a few numbers we haven’t done in years … will have all the tour dates … In the meantime I am gigging steadily now with my loopers … Check out and my Facebook posts for my local dates … I had promised everybody at the meeting  I would make sure to post on Facebook as much as possible and use this column that the CBA has for us ,  so here ya go lol … Take care and I will look forward to seeing u guys soon … All my best to each of you , Jesse

Hot Tuna press photoFrom their days playing together as teenagers to their current acoustic and electric blues, probably no one has more consistently led American music for the last 50 years than Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna. These two began playing together while still in their teens growing up in Washington, DC and were later core members of the rock band The Jefferson Airplane. Always remaining true to their blues background, the pair formed Hot Tuna in the early 1970s, performing in both electric and acoustic combinations that have garnered them a faithful following over the years and sold-out concerts.

A true Portland fan favorite, Jorma and Jack return to town for an acoustic night at The Aladdin Theater on Tuesday, February 18th. Also featured in the group will be mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff. This is an all ages event, with those under 18 permitted with a parent or guardian. Tickets can be found at the Aladdin Theater box office or through $37.50 advance and $40.00 day of show. Showtime is 8:00 pm.

And if Hot Tuna was not enough draw to bring you to this show, the night will open with multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, who is worth the price of admission on his own. Best known for his work with Jackson Browne and his own band El-Rayo X, Lindley is a captivating and energetic performer not to be missed.

bill rhodes harmonica summit
Here we go again! Hard to believe that we’re up to 19 years, with 20 right around the corner.
This is the Original / One and only – Blues Harmonica Summit. We have done the last 18 years at the Melody Ballroom ( Special Thanks to Kathleen) and the 19th will be no different.
The show will be Saturday February 8th from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, at the Blue Heart Cafe (downstairs) at the Melody Ballroom – located at 615 S.E. Alder St. – Here in Portland, Oregon. For info call 503-253-1265 or 503-232-2759
Here’s our line-up for this year!
Starting with a Northwest veteran – Mike Moothart honed his chops early in Eugene, OR. He played in the BlueTones and toured with J. Wood and the Blues Commanders through Australia. After moving to Portland, Mike was a member of the Jim Mesi Band and went on to play a couple years with Jimmy Lloyd Rea and the Switchmasters. For the last few years Mike has been working and raising his daughter and is ready to blow some dust out of those harps.
One of the original old guard of Portland Bluesmen — Johnnie Ward has been a member of of many Blues and Jug bands. His band for a long time was the Jokers and he’s presently a member of the Shark Skin Revue. Paul deLay once said that Johnnie was someone he used to go see play, when he was first learning the harmonica. No surprise there as Johnnie is a really great player of many styles.
Another harmonic fixture on the Portland Blues scene has been Dave Mathis. He played for a period of time in the Liquid Blues Band and was 1/2 of the fine duo of the Blues Police with Steve Cameron. His current spot is blowing harp and vocals with Michael Osborn and the Drivers. He also has a CD out which features his diversity and talent on the harp. Good Stuff!
Traveling over the mountains from Bend, OR. will be one of the Best woman harp players out there. Lynann Hyde basically stole the show at the last Harp Summit she played at and could do it again! We’ll be in real luck as she’ll be bringing her duo partner – guitarist/vocalist Stu Kinzel from their group Kinzel & Hyde. We’ll get to see what they’ve been stirring up on the other side of the mountains.
And last will be your host and Bluesman – Bill Rhoades. Also starting off in Eugene, OR. Bill has had the pleasure and honor of playing with Albert Collins, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Tucker, Michael Bloomfield and many others!
And to top things off, we have an All-Star House Band, which is actually the Party Kings /Queens band.
Now based in Eugene, OR. – Sir Henry Cooper will be on the bill with his trusty slide guitar. Henry also plays with the Sultans of Slide.
Originally from outside Austin, Texas will be Newel C Briggs on guitar. When he was a child, his mother (a gospel pianist) would take him over to be babysat by another pianist – CHARLES BROWN! Now we know where he got all those Blues licks.
And for our third guitarist, we have Chuck Laiti. Spawned and raised in the Puget Sound, Chuck also did his time in Eugene, OR. with Watermelon Slim, Chris Coltrane and the Party Kings. He now teaches school and dreams about Blues, Blues, Blues!
Earlier when I mentioned the Party Queens – that was no joke. On bass guitar we have the most excellent Katie Angel. A longtime duo partner with her beau – Alan Hager, she is well schooled in the Blues.
And last but not least is the always smiling Jolie Clausen. As a member of Norman Sylvester’s great group, Jolie picked up all she needed to lay down a solid rhythm on percussion. Her drumming is fresh and on-time.
So I guess that’s what will warm up a winter night. A lot of huffing and puffing, blowing and drawing, bending and squalling. The 19th Annual Blues Harmonica Summit – $10.00 at the door and as always – $2.00 off to C.B.A. and other card carrying Blues Club / Society Members.
“Keeping the Blues Alive” here in the Northwest!

Jim Miller - photo by Greg Johnson

James “Jim” Miller had his hands in many fires within the Portland music community over the years. He was always on the look-out to bring joy and accomplishment through the power of music. Whether he was playing himself, assisting other artists, producing major events or bringing the healing effects to those in care facilities or senior centers, he was always willing to give his heart and commitment without a thought of receiving anything in return but smiles from those he touched.

Many people who did not have a chance to know Jim very well may only recognize him for his bass duties with various bands, or as the production manager at the Waterfront Blues Festival. They may be unaware that he was the first president of the Portland Musicians Association, a co-founder of The Bite of Portland, a founding member of The Mystic Krewe of Nimbus, and the creator of Golden Harvest Music that brought live music to those in assisted living and care facilities. That he played with numerous local acts including stints with The Cannonballs, The New Iberians, Atomic Gumbo, Jaime Leopold & The Short Stories and as a duo partner with Franck Goldwasser. Or that he worked or played at one time with each of the following national acts: Iron Butterfly, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Albert Collins, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Campbell and BJ Thomas. He supported many music organizations, including the Cascade Blues Association and had served as a band leader for the Muddy Awards All Star Band and helped create a screen saver featuring CBA Hall of Fame artists and Heroes of the Blues honorees.

Jim Miller passed away in a coma on December 24, 2013, due to the effects of a heart attack ten days earlier. He leaves behind his life partner Wendy, his personal family and his enormous extended family in music. In tribute to Jim, guitarist Franck Goldwasser has released for download on, a collection of fourteen songs the two had recorded in 2010, called Social Moments. Proceeds from the downloads of this recording will aid Wendy with immediate expenses.

IMG_2821 kashmarThe rebel side of Mitch Kashmar started in high school when he first started performing professionally. The underage Mitch, unbeknownst to the bar owners of the area where he grew up, would perform in their venues. “One of them, however, did know, and at that particular place I could exist ONLY on stage, in the bathroom, or outside,” Mitch said.

Originally Mitch wanted to be a piano player–some sort of cross between Otis Spann and Billy Preston. But the harmonica was his destiny. “I played with a lot of older guys, and they made sure I sang some tunes, too, even though I didn’t want to. Then I fell for THAT as well. I’m grateful to them. They knew it would be hard enough to survive, even with all the advantages you can manage, and they thought I could sing, so they MADE me.”

Mitch says he always wanted to be a performer. “I fell in love with playing the piano, harmonica, vocals, and music before I was out of high school and it’s been an obsession ever since. Performing wasn’t what the attraction was, it was the sounds—the music itself.”

“The attraction to the excitement and challenge of performing came later for me, as a way to make the money to pay for the time to make more music.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I got paid for playing music. It was at Torky’s bar in Santa Barbara, I must’ve been 18. We played our tunes, got buzzed on free (and illegal) drinks, full of free chili, the ‘old ladies’ flirted with us, we made six bucks and saw a guy get hit over the head with a pool cue. All on a Thursday night. Man—talk about big excitement and success!”

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Mitch’s band played with guys like Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Lowell Fulson, Willie Dixon, Pee Wee Crayton,

Big Joe Turner, Roy Gaines, Jimmy Witherspoon and more. “Getting to rehearse all afternoon with Lowell Fulson, then meet back onstage later for the ‘big show’–the value of these experiences can’t be overstated”

“Also, William Clarke was around. He hadn’t been signed to Alligator Records, yet. I lived in Venice, he lived close by in Torrance, and we became fast friends and each other’s biggest fans. I used to tag along with him to some trippy places in inner L.A. He even called me one morning and asked if I could play harp in the studio with him, Jr Watson, Richard Innes, and Fred Kaplan–that was an ego boost. That’s me, 25-year-old pip-squeak, playing harmonica on Bill’s song “Now That You’re Gone”, released posthumously a few years ago.”

“Kim Wilson and I grew up in the same town, although at different times. I didn’t know him then, but I played with guys who were friends with him and had played with him. His parents and friends were still living there so he’d be around during the holidays and time off. Gigs were set up, parties were had, and I got to listen to and jam with one of my heroes in a loose situation. These were all tremendously inspiring experiences.”

Mitch says he knew the music wouldn’t sound right, wouldn’t sound honest, and wouldn’t have the urgency, if he didn’t play for his living. He had to consider himself a pro and put himself up for scrutiny alongside the best. “I don’t think I’d recommend that to anyone. It’s extremely difficult to build any security or sense of future, (translation: make a dollah!). It can be very difficult psychologically and in other ways downright dangerous. It’s something you have to know for yourself. As Johnny Dyer says, ‘You pour your OWN trouble!’ You’re always welcome to some from Johnny’s bottle, but he won’t pour it for you,” Mitch says with a chuckle.

Mitch said his music is often called “West Coast Blues”. “You’d have to call it blues–some stylized form of different blues grooves,” he said.

When asked about influences, Mitch said, “Obviously all the classic blues cats. I love straight-ahead jazz, soul music, some country, and all the different soulful sounds of America. When you travel as an American musician, you’re impacted by what a special stew of influences we have, it’s why they love OUR music around the world to a unique degree.”

“If I was stuck on the proverbial desert island and could have only one artist’s boxed set? Maybe Ray Charles, Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonny Boy, all the Chicago guys, Junior Parker, Papa Lightfoot….then there are certain guys from the next generation who I’ve learned from and have inspired me–guys like

Kim Wilson, William Clarke, and Paul DeLay.”

From 2006-2011, Mitch played harmonica with today’s version of WAR, which includes one original member, keyboardist/singer Lonnie Jordan. He says that had a big influence on him, “To be there every night on the road with such a great live performer, seeing how he draws so much energy and stamina from the crowd energy and the music itself. He seemed to run and run and run without putting any miles on the tires.”

He talked about the many singers who’ve inspired him–all the great classic blues singers–Johnny Adams, Jr Parker, and Bobby Bland. I’ve always bought records by singers, people like Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, and Tom Jones. One time, in a newspaper article, they said I played harp like Little Walter and sang like Lou Rawls–I need to find that person and hire him/her as my publicist.”

Mitch has four CD’s on Delta Groove and one self-produced from 1999. One of the Delta Groove CD’s is a re-release of the LP his band, The Pontiax, made in the 1980’s. You can find it at or google “Mitch Kashmar.”

He says he hopes for more CD’s in the works in the future, but how exactly to sell recorded music is something that’s getting more nebulous all the time. “I really don’t know where it’s headed, neither do most of the people in the business of selling music. I’m still selling CD’s overseas, but none here in the States. I’d love to get something done in 2014.”

Mitch has been traveling a lot over the last few years, so he has several different musicians he plays with. “I’ll be in Germany this spring with a trio I’ve worked with several times; another unit of guys when I go to Finland or Norway; yet another in Brazil, where I was last August with Rod Piazza and Lynwood Slim. I moved to Portland in April 2011, and have been enjoying meeting everybody and playing pickup gigs with the best–people like Jimi Bott, Dave Kahl, Alan Hagar, Terry Robb, Kevin Selfe, Allen Markel, Jon Barber, DK Stewart, John Mazzocco, the Knuckleheads, John Neish, Dover Weinberg, Chris Carlson, Carlton Jackson, Lloyd Jones, and anybody else I’ve forgotten.”

Mitch keeps busy touring all over the world, but keep an eye out for his local gigs–then go out and listen. Mitch urges people to get out–“Music is good medicine!”

Hello CBA members! It is February already and time for the annual Sweetheart’s Dance. This year the event is being held at The Lehrer, which is at 8775 SW Canyon Lane, Beaverton. If you haven’t been there yet, this is the perfect time to check out one of the best new West Side venues around. You might say “Westside, all the way out there?” But wait, it’s not that far off the beaten path! Just take the Canyon Road exit off Highway 26. Just as you get to the business area, you take the first road to your right, and it is in the shopping center across from you! Not far at all from downtown Portland, possibly a 15 minute drive!

Lots of Raffle Prizes available so bring your dollar bills
Julie, Dean & Friends (Chris Carlson & Carlton Jackson)   7:30 – 9:00
Beacon St Titans  9:15 – 10:45
Franco Paletta & the Stingers  11:00 – 12:30

This year, Brad and the folks at The Lehrer will be offering Valentine Dinner Specials. You will enjoy being in a venue with great food, a large dance floor and the best music in town. This is a must do for Valentines!
Dean and Julie - press photoWe are starting the evening’s music at with Julie & Dean, and friends. If you were lucky enough to attend the January meeting, you were delighted to hear Julie Yanko & Dean Mueller team up with Chris Carlson for the opening set. This pairing of a Jazz vocalist and upright acoustic bass is a magical combination that leaves nowhere to hide. A setting, reserved for the most qualified artists, is a mingling that Julie Yanko and Dean Mueller bring together with unexpected delight. Julie, a strong, yet sweet voice, is reminiscent of the 50’s when female singers ruled the jazz and blues world.. Her repertoire combines the jazz of Billy Holiday with the sound of Nina Simone and the sophisticated country of Patsy Cline. Dean’s bass playing is rooted in the blues chops he earned playing with the finest blues legend in America and touring with the award winning international act, The Insomniacs.
At this year’s Sweetheart’s dance they will be teaming up with Chris Carlson on guitar and Carlton Jackson on drums. Chris Carlson has performed with them on several occasions and brings the experience and guitar mastery required to cross the boundaries of jazz, country and blues. Carlton Jackson’s versatility and sensitivity provide the perfect rhythmic backdrop and space for Julie’s lovely voice. Plan to come early and enjoy this fresh take on a bygone era that is intimate, alluring and hauntingly beautiful. A perfect dinner setting.
Next up, put your dancing shoes on, because here comes The Beacon Street Titans. Their Beacon Street Titans press photoset starts at 9:15. The Beacon Street Titans are a favorite hometown swinging jump blues band that is made up of talented musicians with heavy credentials behind them. Harmonica player, vocalist and saxophonist Howard McClung has been playing since he was 15 and has worked with numerous bands throughout the years. Saxophonist Daniel Covrett played in Ann Arbor and Seattle before relocating to Portland and has been involved with acts like The Del Vikings and The Blue Front Persuaders featuring Steve Lucky. Guitarist Daryl Boggs is originally from El Paso and worked in the Los Angeles area playing various forms of roots music and Americana with bands who have opened for people like Mike Morgan & The Crawl, Kid Ramos, Robben Ford and Big Sandy, while also doing session work with John “Juke” Logan. Bassist Steve Maliszewski is a self-taught player who studied classical music in college and worked up and down the East Coast and across Canada with bands prior to coming to Portland.
This band has a truck-load of credits behind them, from different backgrounds for sure, but together they blend into a sensational performing machine with variations of R&B, soul, jazz and blues that will definitely satisfy our musical cravings.Finally we will finish off the evening with Portland favorite, Franco Paletta and The Stingers. Get ready to “Catch a Blues Buzz.” Franco and the Stingers go on at 11:00. Since breaking into the Portland Blues scene in the Mid-80’s , Franco Paletta has become a mainstay for the city’s Blues fans. His dynamic harp style and unique vocals has made him one Portland’s favorite Blues personalities.
Franco Paletta & The Stingers Celebrate New CDFranco Paletta and The Stingers won the Journey to Memphis competition and headed off to represent the CBA at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in 2012. They also have 2 CD’s, Can’t Kick Love and I Like it Like That, playing internationally, both on broadcast and satellite radio.
The band plays locally and at multiple blues festivals around the country and we are so happy they are in town as we haven’t been able to catch his show in a while. This Chicago Style Blues Band will makes you want to stay up out of your seat and continue dancing the night away. Franco’s unique vocals and dynamic harp, along with the best players on the local scene and beyond, make this a “must see” Blues act, anytime, anyplace and we got him!So mark your calendars and don’t miss out for one of the hottest events in town! Remember it may be called the Sweetheart’ Dance, but that’s because we consider all our members and local blues lovers, Sweethearts!
Come on out, dance with the group, and meet a couple of new friends!
7:30 – 12:30
Dinner Specials
Great Music
8775 SW Canyon Lane, Beaverton

Mike Branch (photo by Jim Dorothy)

Mike Branch (photo by Jim Dorothy)

By Laurie Morrisey

It’s a new year and time to get out and listen to some music. One of the acts to get you dancing the night away is the Mike Branch Band.

Mike is a native Portlander, who wandered for a bit to Reno, NV, to work as the slot manager at Circus Circus and then to South Florida to work on an all original band called BABY Simone. He moved back to the Pacific Northwest in 1999.

He has spent approximately the last 40 years playing music professionally, having played his first professional gigs at age 13.

When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he responded, “The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was to not grow up.  Since realizing that, I have been misspending my youth ever since…”

In addition to playing music, Mike has been doing freelance graphic design, web design and marketing for the last 20+ years.  “My company is called Media Services, I work out of my house, preferably in my jammies,” he said.

Listening to Mike play, you can hear the host of rock influences in his music. “My playing style has been most greatly influenced by Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and local guitar legend and dear friend, Jim Mesi.  Might as well throw in some Chuck Berry, Keith Richards (Stones) and Joe Perry (Aerosmith) while we’re at it.”

Those influences have helped shape the sound of The Mike Branch Band. In one word he describes it as, “BOMBASTIC!  We are a guitar-driven, rock and roll band that specializes in a classic rock sound geared to pack dance floors. BAM!”

This completely self taught guitar player describes himself as, “a guitar junkie.  I love guitars.  I like nice ones.  Expensive ones.  And after 40+ years I can still make one sound just as bad as the next.”

And if you haven’t figured it out, yet, this guy is a character. His list of awards includes: Spelling Bee, 4th grade. (I tried to verify this fact, but was unable to find any records still in existence from that time period.)

In addition to the spelling award, The Mike Branch Band was first runner up for their now semi legendary, fully animated video of their original song “Peel the Paint” on The video can be found on the band’s website,

The band is currently working on material for the first Mike Branch Band release.  Slated at this time to be an EP and scheduled for release hopefully sometime in 2014.  “Our intention is to record tracks at Nettleingham Audio which is a killer studio in Vancouver, WA and have the project co-produced by Kevin Nettleingham; who’s production track record is truly one of the finest in the city and speaks for itself,” Mike said.

Mike has informally played with a veritable who’s who of the Portland music scene.  Certainly everybody of note in the rock genre and many of note in the blues genre.

When asked about his current bandmembers, he says, “I have an amazing band that, quite fortunately, shares my work ethic, goals and determination. Hard work doesn’t scare these cats.  The Mike Branch Band works more than any band on the local rock scene hands down.  In 2012 we worked approximately 80 dates.  In 2013 we worked over 100 dates.  New Years Eve 2013 was booked sine last February.  New Years Eve 2014 is already booked.  We already have close to 70 dates on our 2014 calendar and I fully expect that number to go over 100 before we’re done with the year.  My band mates are warriors!!”

The Mike Branch Band includes:

Lead Vocals: Jeffrey Parrish.  “Jeff and I have played together off and on for somewhere around 30 or so years. He is a seasoned, veteran front man.”

Bass Guitar, Lead & Backing Vocals: Rojer Blaine. “Rojer has been with us for about 3 years now.  He has played in a number of local bands over the years and is exceptionally well respected.  He is the only musician in the city who has the distinction of having played on both KGON Homegrown albums back in the 70’s.  Rojer has toured the world including Canada, South Korea and Japan.”

Drums: Joe Fazzolari. “Joe is the new guy.  He’s a left handed drummer, which we have decided looks strangely weird and cool at the same time. Joe is officially with us for the long haul/duration since death is the only legitimate way out of the Mike Branch Band.”

“We are the only band in the city that travels with a dedicated light man (Lloyd Lee) and sound man (Doug McKenzie, formerly of Johnny Limbo fame among others) for EVERY show we do, large or small. Big club, little club; doesn’t matter, we take the boys with us. It guarantees a quality control at shows that is tough to beat. It costs us more money but is worth every penny and remains yet another thing that distinguishes us from the crowd,” Mike said.

“I am blessed to count myself as a member and be recognized as a huge supporter of the ENTIRE local music community; both musicians and venues. I enjoy promoting my friends right along with the Mike Branch Band.  I think it makes for a healthier music community and is in turn good for all of us. If venues do well, if my friends do well, then we all do well and the Mike Branch Band does well.  I like to think of the scene in its entirety as opposed to just my little slice of it. I get requests on a regular basis to consult with my peers on the subject of marketing and do so frequently.”

“I believe that much of our success comes down to marketing.  The Mike Branch Band is considered to have the best marketing in the city hands down.  This isn’t us saying it, this is what we hear from our peers and business associates,” Mike said.

“I am a second generation advertising brat.  My father had the largest ad agency in Portland for over 40 years.  I inherited his PT Barnum gene. Along with the graphic and web design skills and a reasonably savvy attack in the social media arena, we have been able to produce a large and loyal following that we refer to as the ‘FamClub—no fans, just family.’  We are proud of our marketing efforts and believe we are raising the promotional bar on the local scene.  We believe this will strengthen the entire scene.”

“A companion to our marketing efforts that allows us to be leaders in certain areas of promotion is our merchandising.  We have produced one of the largest merchandise catalogs in the city.  Everything from buttons, bumper stickers, key chains, custom jewelry, mugs and a huge variety of t-shirts and custom apparel, all heavily branded with the iconic Mike Branch Band logo.  When it comes to marketing, branding is king and we do it well.  We are able to do our swag because Rojer (the bass player) and his wife Linda do silk screening, embroidery and custom ad specialties through their company, Sew Fine Dezign.  If you can print on it, they can produce it.”

But aside from the marketing, promotions, etc., Mike knows what truly keeps the fans coming, the music. “Finally and maybe most importantly, we are sincerely humbled with gratitude by our growing success and consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be able to do what we love to do.  We never take that gift for granted.”

Visit the band’s website at for information about upcoming shows and to purchase some of the swag.

Twenty years after the release of their self-titled debut and eight years since their last live performance together, the original lineup of G. Love & Special Sauce return with their first album in nearly a decade titled Sugar. Built on the trio’s signature hip-hop blues sound, the album finds vocalist/guitarist/harmonica player G. Love (aka Garrett Dutton), upright bassist James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott, and drummer Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens breathing new life into their groove-heavy, Chicago-blues-infused brand of stripped-down rock & roll. “The goal for the album was to make it really raw and immediate, with live takes and live vocals and everybody playing so that it all comes together in that intangible way,” says G. Love. “That’s what our music is all about.”

G. Love & Special Sauce will be bringing their new music for a sure-to-be exciting night at the Crystal Ballroom, 1335 W Burnside, on Thursday, January 29th for an 8:00 pm, with opening act Mike Costa. This is an all ages event and general admission tickets may be purchased at for $22.50, plus service charges.

The Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in the next year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN that will be held in early 2016. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry looking for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis will be held in two rounds. The opening round will take place over two nights at The Lehrer on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The two highest scoring acts each night advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.
Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted now until Wednesday, April 1st at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All eligible acts that meet our criteria as described below will be able to compete. We will adjust the time schedule to ensure all are included. Each act will perform either Friday or Saturday and are scheduled as drawn at random, so we request that you do not schedule other gigs until you know which night you are scheduled.
Here’s what you need to do to enter:

• Entry fee is $25.00 (This is an increase from last year and is the first time we have raised the fee in more than ten years. This is to stay consistent with what other societies have been charging – though still less than many – and all fees collected go to the prize money to the competition’s winners to help cover travel expenses.)
• Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues Association.
• Only acts located within the region of Oregon, Washington or Idaho are allowed to enter the Journey To Memphis.
• Any act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete.
• Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again.
• Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon Liquor Commission laws.
• We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances when not under control of the act, such as health issues.
• We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, then you remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

During the late ’70s, Rockpile was the touring band for both Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. Like Edmunds, the band was passionate about traditional rock & roll. Like Lowe, the band played with a reckless, trashy abandon. Driven by the powerful rhythm section of drummer Terry Williams and Lowe’s bass, guitarists Billy Bremner and Edmunds were free to spit out crushing rock, blues, rockabilly, and country licks. With their fierce live energy and unpretentious rock & roll, the band fit easily into the post-punk new wave at the end of the decade. Although they only released one album as a group — 1980’s Seconds of Pleasure — the band provided support for most of the albums Lowe and Edmunds recorded in the late ’70s. After the rushed release of Seconds of Pleasure, the band toured one last time before splitting apart, largely due to mismanagement. (

The band nevertheless was inspirational for many musicians. Coming on Saturday, January 24th, a group of local musicians including members of The Sportin’ Lifers (Whit Draper, Erin Wallace and Steve Cleveland), Albert Reda, Jonathan Beyer and guests Jeremy Wilson, Steve Lockwood, Sean Flora and possibly Jim Wallace, will be presenting a tribute show to the band at Duff’s Garage,2530 NE 82nd. With this bluesy grouping you know it’s going to fun, so come out and hear some of those great old tunes like “You Ain’t Nothing But Fine,” “A Knife And A Fork,” “Pet You And Hold You,” “Teacher Teacher” and more than likely a number of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmonds solo material, too. Showtime is 9:00 pm.