Lil’ Queenie, Portland’s newest band makes its’ Portland Night Club debut at Duff’s Garage on July 5, 2014. Although the newest band, cumulatively the members have just over 300 years of Portland Music Scene experience. Featuring two female vocalists, up and coming Blues chanteuse, Melissa Buchanan & Linda LeClair, the band recreates the feel of the early days of R & B in the Juke Joints in the heartland of the country. Bolstered by a four piece horn section that includes Paul deLay Band alumnus Danny Fincher and centered by two time Oregon Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Steve Bradley on guitar, the band plays an entertaining mix of Memphis Rhythm, Detroit Soul, Roots Rock & Good Ole Blues ! Whether your pleasure is to sit and listen to great players or dance the night away, Duff’s Garage on July 5th is a must for your calendar. Come early and stay late, most of all, enjoy the show !
Multi award winning Australian Singer/songwriter Peter D. Harper creates a heady mix of original world, blues & roots music, featuring soulful vocals, wailing harmonica and the haunting drone of the didgeridoo! By combining traditional and modern influences, borrowing from Western and World music, Harper has created a highly original take on the roots genre which many have labeled “World Blues”. His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback, breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonics and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, somehow sounding primal and contemporary at the same time. Harper is backed by his incredible Michigan based band “Midwest Kind”
Harper will appear at the Starday Tavern, 6517 SE Foster Road, on Friday, July 25th. 9:00 pm. Admission is $10.00.
The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival celebrates its 34th year in 2014.This is the longest continuously running free jazz festival west of the Mississippi River. This year they will keep up with tradition by holding a Friday night blues show, followed by two days of jazz. This is a community event that truly does draw in the support of the St Johns neighborhood. Beautifully located in the shadows of the St Johns Bridge, with its cathedral-like arches spanning across the Willamette River, the park is nestled within 17.5 acres of green space perfectly situated for a family outing.
New this year to the festival is the management direction, now guided by the Jazz Society of Oregon. The 40-year-old non-profit organization with a mission to expand, enhance and support the Jazz music art-form throughout the Northwestern United States has high sights of ensuring the lasting viability of the festival and to bring sponsorship to financially make ends meet. The event is much beloved with the St Johns community, so many businesses, musicians and friends have helped by stepping to the plate to assist.
This year’s festival begins on Friday, July 18th at 5:00 pm for the annual blues night running until 10:00 pm. Saturday and Sunday will offer the finest in Portland’s jazz scene, starting both days at noon and running until 10:00 pm Saturday and 7:40 pm Sunday.
Friday, July 18th
5:00 -6:00 – Roosevelt High School
6:20 – 7:20 – DK Stewart & Soul Survivors
7:40 – 8:40 – Karen Lovely Band
9:00 -10:00 – Roseland Hunters
Saturday, July 19th
12:00 – 12:40 – Battleground High School
1:00 -2:00 – Lily Wilde Ochestra
2:30 – 3:30 – Tom Wakeling w/ Randy Porter, Alan Jones & David Evans
3:40 – 4:40 – Bobby Torres Latin All Stars
5:00 – 6:00 – Mel Brown Septet
6:20 – 7:20 – Chris Brown Quartet
7:40 -8:40 – Devin Phillips Quartet w/ Reggie Houston
9:00 -10:00 – Farnell Newton Funk
Sunday, July 20th
12:00 – 1:00 – Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra
1:20 – 2:20 – Art Abrahams’ Swing Machine
2:40 – 3:40 – Quadraphones
4:00 – 5:00 – Jeff Baker w/ George Cooligan, Audrea Niemic, Jason Palmer, David Valdez
5:20 – 6:20 – Nicole Glover Quartet
6:40 – 7:40 – King Louis Trio featuring Renato Caranto
Take Your Time
Bee Bump Music
Bernie Pearl is proof that a musician does not always have to rebuild their image with changing times. One of the finest purveyors of blues guitar, whether acoustic or electric, or even lap slide, as he performs for the first time on his latest disc, Take Your Time, Pearl is always at the top of his game. The title of the album says it all. Inspired by the message delivered by legendary Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell, Pearl took it to heart realizing that things just come out better when taking one’s time. And the results are abundant with this collection of timeless favorite songs of his that he worked out until he felt they were just right.
Selections on the fourteen track disc include works by artists such as the aforementioned McDowell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Maceo Merriwether, Big Boy Crudup, Robert Johnson, Eddie Boyd, John Brim, Mercy Dee Walton, Mance Lipscomb and big Joe Williams. Quite a diverse cast of songwriters to be sure. There are also a trio of self-penned numbers that reflect the impact of the time, such as the use of Kickstarter to fund his recordings or “10:00 am Blues” an improvisational piece from their first session for the album.
Recorded in Los Angeles with a trio of long-time collaborators, Mike Barry on bass, Albert Trepgnier Jr. on percussion and Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer on sax, the disc switches from solo, duo, trio and quarter formats and all are strongly worked behind Pearl’s exceptional guitar playing. Also on the disc for a trio of numbers is vocalist Barbara Morrison, who voice adds a raw and authentic flavor to the selections.
Well known songs like “Worried Life Blues,” “Jesus Is On the Mainline,” “Sloppy Drunk,” “Traveling Riverside Blues” and “One Room Country Shack” are all presented with amazing results. These old pieces are timeless, but in Pearl’s hands they come across modern and alive. But it is the lesser known numbers that really capture Pearl’s diverse mindset in delivering first rate, catchy blues. And perhaps the most interesting of them all is his take on the obscure instrumental of McDowell’s “Mississippi Raga” (originally titled “Como” by McDowell). The presentation on this number evokes a mystical Eastern feel behind Pearl’s nicely slow played slide guitar. The lap slide is utilized on John Brim’s “Tough Times” to full effect, showing he can handle this route quite capably. The song is enhanced by the sax playing of Hurricane Spencer and Morrison’s craftily delivered vocals. Pearl returns to one of his older originals to close the album, “This Old Fool” that he has refreshed this time out by making it a band piece rather than a solo.
Bernie Pearl has been performing on the West Coast for six decades and also somehow finds time to host a radio show and work as a promoter. A perfectionist in his music and a definite master on the guitar, Bernie Pearl continues to release fine recordings. And Take Your Time stands tall amongst his career work to date. Well worth taking your own time to give it a listen. Absolutely brilliant.
Total Time: 51:50
Worried Life Blues / Katie Mae / Kickstart / Rock Me Mama / Mama Don’t You Dog Me / Jesus Is On the Mainline / Mississippi Raga / One Room Country Shack / Sloppy Drunk / Tough Times / 10:00 am Blues / Traveling Riverside Blues / Third Degree / This Old Fool
Waterfront Blues Festival site of Independence Day showdown
By Rob Cullivan
Whether it was a harmonica-blowing, guitar-strumming duo on stage or a funky danceable good time band, all types of performers made the first round of the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey to Memphis contest an aural feast for listener’s ears.
Dozens of Blues fans came down to The Lehrer, 8775 S.W. Canyon Lane, Beaverton, June 6-7 to hear two nights worth of music from a variety of bands and acts. Crowds enjoyed everything from soulful slide guitar runs to jumpin’ jams.
As CBA President Greg Johnson put it, “We’ve got a real eclectic group of musicians here this year — the blues can take all kinds of avenues.”
The first round’s four winners included repeats Ben Rice & The iLLamatics (who went to Memphis earlier this year as the CBA’s band rep), the Rae Gordon Band and David Pinsky & Phil Newton, both of whom who represented Eugene’s Rainy Day Blues Society in Memphis this past January, and newcomers Still Water Vibes. All four acts will strut their stuff at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Friday, July 4, with the highest scoring act amongst the three bands going on to Memphis, Tenn., next January for the International Blues Challenge.
Pinsky says he and Newton are thrilled to have been selected for the July 4 finals. Pinsky & Newton are already guaranteed a trip to Memphis as the only solo/duo act to make the finals.
“The title of our next album is called ‘Over the Moon,'” and I am over the moon,” he said. “I’m really honored. Another bucket listing I get to cross off my list.”
At The Lehrer, the acts competed before judges Alan Spinrad, Brendan O’Donnell and Tim Shaughnessy. Each act played a 20-minute set and were scored in five categories — blues content, vocals, instrumentation, originality and stage presence.
The first night at The Lehrer, a packed and chatty house sampled the Pat Stillwell Band, a blues-rock trio with an easygoing vibe and competent, clean arrangements. Folks seemed to dig the group, which drew a nice round of applause at the end of its set, which would likely appeal to fans of Buddy Guy and Robert Cray.
Next up were Ben Rice and the iLLamatics, who came on as strong like moonshine splashed on the face of a sleeping hobo in a boxcar. Rice and company roused the crowd with an over-the-top performance that featured drummer Ryan Rustrum banging his sticks not just on the skins, but a table, the floor and bassist Cahlen Uhlig’s strings. It was clear the moment the iLLamatics left the stage to a loud ovation they were one act to beat.
Fans of the Black Keys and White Stripes would probably enjoy the night’s third act, Land of the Living, a guitar-drums duo that specializes in “voodoo-mud” to quote axeman Kivett Bednar. Along with drummer Anthony Pausic, Bednar proved himself to have a touch of Gregg Allman in his vocal soul, and John Lee Hooker in his music.
Act No. 4 Anne Weiss boasted a lovely just-shy-of-Janis-Joplin type voice and is well known in these parts as a multi-genre folk artist, and drew warm applause for her efforts.
Then the night’s other winner, the Rae Gordon Band, took the stage. The dance floor got packed and at times it felt like everyone was in an old school burlesque club as the group sweated out sexy, slinky music, funky soul and country blues.
Every act got a run for its money, however, when jump blues cats Papa Dynamite & The Jive took the stage — zowie! Serving up blues music with a bit of mambo and chased down with a shot of tonal tequila, this outfit was the perfect act to end the evening, putting the “un” into fun and leaving dancers and listeners with smiles on their faces. Singer Jen Tyler, a relative newcomer to the scene, brought great earth-shakin’ energy to the stage while saxophonist “Butcher” Pete Galluzo served up thick slabs of beefy blues lines.
Martin Henry & The Blues Benders kicked off the second evening’s fun, with a strong traditional harp and guitar attack, punctuated by the vocals of Traci Brown. The band faced an immediate challenge for the competition as their keyboardist, Tim Doyle, a true glue of the unit, had fallen ill the night before and was unable to make the event.
The June 7 round also featured Tim Connor, who picks the guitar with the precision of a harpist plucking strings, creating clearly defined melodic lines. A one-time Guitar Champion of the Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Union Grove, N.C., Connor would appeal to fans of Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins and other like-minded finger-pickers.
Pinsky & Newton were the Sonny Terry-Brownie McGhee combo of the night, with David Pinsky singing baritone-tenor blues and Phil Newton responding on the Mississippi saxophone, munching on his tin sandwich while Pinsky walked the audience down the road on guitar. Both nattily dressed gentlemen briefly played a duet on harmonicas before modulating into their version of “Smokestack Lightnin’.”
When Salem’s Gabriel Cox and his band hit the stage, they opened with a foot-marching acapella gospel stomp that got the crowd excited. “I ain’t no wolf/But I am howlin’/I ain’t no king/But I’ve got a crown,” they sang as appreciative audience members occasionally whooped and whistled like a church congregation moved by a preacher. Standout tunes by Cox’s band included “Ricochet,” a funky blues number that included shout-outs to Gary Moore and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Acoustic-guitarist-singer Tevis Hodge, Jr., who won the solo artist slot last year in the CBA Journey finals, provided a moment of mirth when he noted he’d forgotten his slide and had to borrow an empty hot sauce bottle from The Lehrer kitchen. Hodge is clearly one of the Portland area’s — maybe even the country’s — rising acoustic blues stars, soaking his tunes in ragtime, jazz and folk and ringing out Robert-Johnson-meets-Son-House melodies in the process.
Finally, Still Water Vibes, another great band from Salem (what is in the water there?) took the stage. Funky, bluesy and in the pocket, this capital city outfit was fronted by powerhouse vocalist Nick Wixom, who clearly has spent time wood-shedding his voice, which moved effortlessly over the band’s danceable grooves.
When Still Water Vibes was done, it was clear the judges would have a tough job ahead of themselves, and many folks in the crowd said they were glad they didn’t have to pick between all the fine acts.
Further on up the road
Johnson notes Still Water Vibes, David Pinsky & Phil Newton, Rae Gordon and Ben Rice & The iLLamatics all have a great shot at traveling to Tennessee next January.
“We have a lot of repeat acts year after year,” states Johnson. “That is because those who have been to Memphis know what they can gain and those they’ve spoken with want that same opportunity. The CBA has a history of sending really good acts that do well at the IBC. All of these finalists have the right stuff to make some noise in Tennessee.”
Johnson also thanked all the CBA Board of directors as well as volunteers who helped out with the show, from manning the merchandise table to greeting patrons at the door, as well as Brad Lehrer and his staff at the club for hosting the semifinals.
“The next phase happens at the Waterfront Blues Festival,” notes Johnson. “Three new judges will score out four finalists. They have quite a tough job ahead of them.”
Please join the Journey to Memphis Finals shortly after noon on the Front Porch Stage, July 4th.
Journey to Memphis Finals Set Order / Times:
12:10 – David Pinksy & Phil Newton
12:40 – Ben Rice & The iLLamatics
1:20 – Still Water Vibes
2:00 – Rae Gordon Band
Janiva Magness continues to break new ground with every release she puts out. Her latest disc, Original, is filled with the tales of heartbreak and survival that has come to be known as Janiva’s trademark for first class blues music. Backed by a dynamic band and highly energetic on stage, there is a reason why she has consistently been heralded with Blues Music Awards over the years, including the much coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. She has the power to grasp your attention with the first phrase she sings and will collectively hold you in her trance throughout her performances.
Janiva Magness has long been a favorite of audiences in Portland. She will be returning to town for a show at the Alberta Rose Theatre on Saturday, July 19th. Downbeat will be at 9:00 pm. Tickets are available in advance at www.albertarosetheatre.com, $15.00 advance / $18.00 day of show. This is an all ages event, minors allowed when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The seventh annual Rhythm on the River Blues benefit takes place at the Clatskanie City Park, on Saturday, July 26th. The event began as a means to raise funds to supplement yearly campaign proceeds for the United Way of Columbia County. This has been accomplished through this festival by providing excellent entertainment, vendors and informational booths from artists and businesses in and around Columbia County.
This year’s entertainment heads into a new direction by bringing in an international act with Harper. The Australian bluesman is known for his harmonica playing and even a bit of didgeridoo. Harper will be backed by his Michigan-based band Midwest Kind.
Muddy Award nominees the Beacon Street Titans will take the stage during the day. Their brand of infectious, hard-swinging, jump swing and blues music will amaze creating a sound and energy that is absolutely irresistible.
Also appearing will be the versatile band Steelhead, who offer various musical styles including classic rock, blues, country and contemporary music. Steelhead is made up of veteran Northwest musicians Greg Larsen, Michael Esquire, Dave Capron, Michael Lee Clark and Billy Traub.
Columbia county musicians will also be represented with sets by Ruby Falls and Linda Myers.
The festival runs from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm, Saturday, July 26th. Clatskanie Park is located at 405 Nehalem St, Clatskanie, OR 97016. Please visit the Rhythm on the River website for further information, www.rhythmontheriverblues.com
The Rhythm on the River festival got its start 7 years ago when the United Way of Columbia County sought a consistent way to raise funds to supplement yearly campaign proceeds. The festival raises money by providing excellent entertainment, vendors, and informational booths from artists and businesses in and around Columbia County.
They may have moved from Inner SE Portland out to NE 82nd, but that surely does not mean that Duff’s Garage is going to slow down presenting the best music available. July is certainly proof in that. As well as featuring their regular weekly shows and local musicians, Duff’s will be hosting seven incredible shows with national touring acts. And all of them are Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored events that members can receive a $1.00 discount just by showing their current membership card at the door.
Duff’s Garage is located at 2530 NE 82nd. All shows begin at 9:00 pm. 21 & over only.
CANCELLED: Kara Grainger – July 3rd
Eclecto Groove recording artist Kara Grainger will be appearing at Duff’s Garage on Thursday, July 3rd. Originally from Australia, Grainger is renowned for her soulful vocals that moves between blues, soul and roots rock with a little funky R&B flavor thrown in from time to time. She is also a dynamic guitarist whose slide playing has been compared to Bonnie Raitt, and an exceptional songwriter who commands any size of stage with ease. Her most current recording, Shiver & Sigh, produced by David Z, drew rave reviews, placing her in demand for venues and festivals around the world. Admission for Kara Grainger is $10.00.
Richard Allen & The Louisiana Experience – July 4th
Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, Cajun Richard Allen is a third generation accordion player who plays songs that have been passed along through his culture. Now based in Seattle with his band The Louisiana Experience, they perform primarily Creole Zydeco, but include funk, blues, swing, R& B, traditional Mardi Gras, ZydeCajun and everything in between! This is dance music! Known as “The Godfather of Fun,” Richard Allen has appeared at festivals, clubs and special events throughout the Northwest and has played with Louisiana greats such as Chubby Carrier, Curley Taylor, Nathan Williams and other internationally known acts. Richard Allen & The Louisiana Experience will be making their debut performance at Duff’s Garage on Saturday, July 4th for an 8:00 pm show, guaranteed to set of their musical explosion for the holiday.
Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method – July 10th
Seattle-based bassist/vocalist Polly O’Keary has long been a Northwest favorite. Whether it is a member of Too Slim & The Taildraggers, The Randy Oxford Band, or leading her own outfit The Rhythm Method, O’Keary is a fiery performer who always demands attention on a stage. A three time recipient of the Washington Blues Society’s BB Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, she has also taken home honors for Album and Songwriter of the Year. Her latest release, Compass, features the strong musicianship of guitarist Clint “Seattle Slim” Nonnemaker and fellow former Taildragger Tommy Cook on drums. Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method will be featured at Duff’s Garage on Thursday, July 10th.
Andy T-Nick Nixon Band– July 11th
Nashville bluesmen Andy T & Nick Nixon will be appearing at the Waterfront Blues Festival the weekend prior to this show at Duff’s Garage, which should leave you anxiously awaiting to catch more of this extraordinary act. Smooth voiced Nick Nixon recorded for Chess Records in the 1970s and has been a mainstay on the Nashville blues scene, working with The New Imperials for more than forty-five years. Andy “T” Talamantez toured with blues greats like Guitar Shorty and Smokey Wilson before relocating to Nashville and hooking up with Nixon. Their debut recording for Delta Groove was produced by famed guitarist Anson Funderburgh, who has often performed with the pair. That album Drink, Drank, Drunk garnered a Blues Music Award nomination and wide-spread raves, leading to their just released new disc, Livin; It Up. The AndyT-Nick Nixon Band play at Duff’s on Friday, July 11th.
Frank Fairfield – Thursday, July 17th
Frank Fairfield’s biography on his website describes him as “a young man and old time folk musician who plays fiddle, guitar and banjo while singing and hollering.” Listening to his music you may believe he comes from the hills of Appalachia, not his actual home in California. Still in his twenties, he has released two albums that feature songs that he discovered on old 78s that have become favorites alongside his own original recordings. A former street performer, his shows are spellbinding and steeped in Americana, having opened for acts like The Fleet Foxes and even the legendary guitarist Ry Cooder considers himself a fan of Fairfield. Frank Fairfield will be at Duff’s on Thursday, July 17th.
Grady Champion – Wednesday, July 23rd
Since winning the International Blues Challenge in 2010, Grady Champion has taken his soulful Mississippi blues around the country earning swarms of fans enchanted by his ever-present smile, seemingly endless energy and fueled by his captivating harmonica playing and strong voice. With a handful of albums to his credit, including the two-time Blues Music Award nominated Dreamin’ and a new recording slated for this summer, Grady Champion has been receiving airplay throughout North America, Europe and Asia and performs nearly 200 shows. Grady Champion has found a number of fans in Portland and they’re sure to be on hand at Duff’s on Wednesday, July 23rd for what is certain to be another fun-filled night.
Too Slim & The Taildraggers – Wednesday, July 30th
You may take the boy out of the Northwest, but you’ll never take his fan base there away. Since 1986, Too Slim & The Taildraggers have spent years pounding the stages from Spokane to Seattle to Portland, and then to all points across the country. Tim “Too Slim” Langford continues to land new fans with his searing slide guitar and blues power trio attack. He has numerous awards from the Inland Empire Blues Society, Washington Blues Society and the Cascade Blues Association, including a Muddy Hall of Fame status with the Cascade. Now based in Nashville, Langford, as a solo artist and with the band, have nineteen albums to their credit, including the new Anthology, a two-disc set of thirty-four classics and three new songs produced by Tom Hambridge. Too Slim & The Taildraggers never fail to pack every venue they play in Portland and they’ll be hitting the stage at Duff’s on Wednesday, July 30th.
Scott Holt – Thursday, July 31st
Guitarist Scott Holt may be best remembered for his ten year stint playing guitar alongside Buddy Guy in the legend’s band. A powerhouse guitarist in his own right, Holt has seven recordings under his own name and he states that though the blues is always at his core, he continues to grow as an artist every day and every note he plays is confidently and directly from his heart, with honest lyrics behind them. “If you listen,” Holt continues, “you can always hear the blues in the foundation of my playing, but the greatest bluesmen, like Buddy and Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, were always changing, experimenting and evolving. I’ve tried to maintain that philosophy and attitude towards my own music, just create the music and let people call it what they want.” Scott Holt comes to Duff’s on Thursday, July 31st.
Upcoming shows at Duff’s in August: The summertime fun does not end as July passes into August at Duff’s Garage. Watch for upcoming shows from Israel’s Ori Naftaly Band, Nikki Hill, The 44s and possibly Wayne Baker Brooks and Dave Herrero. Let the good time blues continue all summer long and throughout the year at Duff’s Garage.
A listing of new music received at the CBA office or purchased personally in May and June that should be noted:
Al Cook – Mississippi 1930 (Wolf Records)
Alastair Greene Band – Trouble At Your Door (Eclecto Groove)
Andy T-Nick Nixon Band – Livin’ It Up (Delta Groove)
Back Pack Jones – Betsy’s Kitchen (Self Produced)
Carmen Grillo – A Different World (Big Surprise Music)
David Vest – Roadhouse Revelation (Cordova Bay Records)
Deanna Bogart – Just A Wish Away . . . (Blind Pig Records)
Duffy Bishop – Find Your Way Home (Lil Spinner Records)
Duncan Street – Baptized By The Blues (15 South Records)
Eddie Cotton – Here I Come (DeChamp Records)
Gaetano Letizia & the Underworld Blues Band – Voodoo Doll And Other Blues Lessons (Tom
Jarekus Singleton – Refuse To Lose (Alligator Records)
JJ Thames – Tell You What I Know (DeChamp Records)
John Primer & The Teardrops – You Can Make It If You Try! (Wolf Records)
Karen Lovely – The Prohibition Blues (Self Produced)
Mary Flower – When My Bluebird Sings (Bluesette Records)
Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method – Compass (Self Produced)
Raoul And The Big Time – Hollywood Blvd (Big Time Records)
Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers – Emergency Situation (Blind Pig Records)
Selwyn Birchwood – Don’t Call No Ambulance (Alligator Records)
Shoe String Sue – Mr. Right Now (Self Produced)
Steve Hill – Solo Recordings Volum 2 (Self Produced)
Steve Krase – Some Day (Self Produced)
Suit Ty Thurrsty- People In The Street (Self Produced)
The Christopher Dean Band – Call Me Later (Lost World Music)
The Reverend Shawn Amos – The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It (Put Together)
Tim Williams – Blue Highway (Cayuse Music)
Too Slim & The Taildraggers – Anthology (Underworld Records)
Vaneesa Thomas – Blues For My Father (Segue Records)
Various Artists – TopCat Records 20th Anniversay Blues Extravaganza! (TopCat Records)