Coinciding with the 27th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival, blues & jazz portraits by Portland artist Diane Russell will be on display Thursday July 3 through Sunday July 6 in the Oregon Ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront during the Waterfront Blues Festival After Hours concerts.  The Marriott is located at 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, Oregon.

The solo exhibit will feature Diane’s portraits of Linda Hornbuckle, Maceo Parker, Charlie Musslewhite, and other musicians appearing at this year’s festival.  Also featured will be Diane’s recent painting of the Waterfront Blues Festival’s 25th anniversary.

Diane Russell is a Portland artist specializing in oil paintings and pencil drawings using her own photos of blues and jazz musicians for reference.  In addition to being commissioned for the October 2013 Legendary Blues Cruise poster, her work has been featured on the 2007 Legendary Blues Cruise poster, the 2005 WC Handy Awards poster, Northwest Gospel Project’s CD “Heavenly Brother”, and Linda Hornbuckle’s CD “Clearly”.  Diane’s portraits are also on display at Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club in Portland.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Russell, 503-253-0865,,

love of janiceTickets now on sale at Alberta Rose Theater for the benefit for Janice Scroggins’ family. Mon,June 9, 7PM. Get them online now before they are gone!  Here is the current and awesome list of musicians performing :Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Lloyd Jones, LaRhonda Steele family, Norman Sylvester, Duffy Bishop & Chris Carlson, Julianne Johnson, Linda Hornbuckle, Dave Fleschner, Louis Pain, Reggie Houston, Brian Ward, Sonny Hess, Thara Memory, Myrtle Brown, Curtis Salgado, Mike Doolin, Patrick Lamb, Alan Hager, Lisa Mann, Peter Dammann, Terry Robb, Emmett Wheatfall, Lyndee Mah, Ken Derouchie, Anne Weiss, Brian Foxworth, Michael Alan Harrison, Tony Ozier, Devin Phillips and probably more musical friends of Janice.

You Can Make It If You Try!
Wolf RecordsJohn Primer CD cover

The good folks at Wolf Records have once again delved into their vaults and found a golden nugget. Recorded at various shows in Austria while playing as part of Magic Slim & The Teardrops in the 1990s, John Primer is in full swing on these numbers that were used to warm the audience up prior to bringing Magic Slim to the stage. The sound quality from these live recordings is amazing. And listening to these tracks will have you believing that the opening sets featuring Primer were perhaps just as awesome as what Magic Slim would deliver once he came on stage.

Primer has always been a true master on six strings. Working with Muddy Waters before taking on The Teardrops bandleader role, these recordings are pure Chicago blues at its absolute best. The take on Otis Rush’s “You Can Make It If You Try” will leave you with your jaw dropped by the sheer workout he gives his guitar. Multiple solos keep coming at you throughout the song. And Primer is pumping the audience to a frenzy. Save for one point of feedback (this is a live recording remember) you just cannot find a better example of how the blues are supposed to sound in a perfect world. Nine minutes of pure guitar bliss, and still this is not the only magical moment occurring on this eleven song disc. The songs are truly stretched out to give the added flavor, with the shortest piece here, a take on Albert King’s “Corinna” still logging in at 4:46 minutes. Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain” is a prime example of how the band is capable of stretching a well-known number to nearly 7:00 minutes, making it sound unique and still maintaining the strength behind the song.

If you take the time to read the liner notes, you’ll discover what the band referred to as the “Straightforward Lump” style. While the rhythm section provides a lump da lump pace, Primer plays all four guitar parts: rhythm, bassline, picking lead and slide, all within the same song. It’s said that he became known as the “Four Man Guitar Show,” or as Sammy Lawhorn said to Junior Wells, “John plays all four parts on that guitar, man, he’s a ‘bad’ guitar player!” Bad obviously meaning out of this world.

All the tracks included on the recording are covers. But as with “Love In Vain” the band has made each of them their own personal property. Songs usually associated with those who penned them have been reborn behind Primer’s guitar approach. It does not matter who may be the song’s author, be it Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, whoever, they’ve been reborn in these approaches. Especially those done in the “Lump” style, like “My Little Sister,” “Standing At The Crossroads,” “Big Fat Woman,” or “Don’t You Hear Me Crying For You.”

Of course, Primer was only a third of The Teardrops. The rhythm section that worked so many years with Magic Slim, with and without Primer, was one of the best. Nick Holt on bass and Earl Howell on drums teaming with Primer they delivered the blues at its finest and this album displays it in all its glory.

This one is for anybody who loves Chicago blues. It just can’t get too much better than this. Enough said.

Total Time: 73:53

Sweet Man / My Little Sister / You Can Make It If You Try / Big Fat Woman / Love In Vain / Don’t You Hear Me Crying For You / If I Could Hold You In My Arms / Standing At The Crossroads / Things I Used To Do / Corinna / Long Distance Call

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland


Wednesday, July 9th, 7:00 pm
Members always Free – non-members $3.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Franco Paletta & Jason “JT” Thomas
Second Electric Set – Beckon The Blues

Due to the Waterfront Blues Festival taking place the first weekend of July, the Cascade Blues Association’s Board of Directors decided to push the General Membership Meeting for the month one week back. This allows us to prepare the night before the festival begins by setting up our merchandise booth and last minute run-arounds to make sure all is ready. But we will be back that Wednesday following the festival, on July 9th with another fun-filled night of great blues and socializing with our friends.

Jason JT Thomas and Franco Paletta - photo by Greg JohnsonThe opening set for the 9th will feature two of the front men from one of Portland’s most popular acts, Franco Paletta and his Stinger bandmate, guitarist Jason “JT” Thomas. The pair have been working together for more than two years now, including making the trip to Memphis where the band competed in the International Blues Challenge representing the CBA in 2013.

It’s not often that we get the opportunity to hear this pair in an acoustic duet setting. And this summer has The Stingers playing fairly consistently stretching far outside the Portland area, so this may be a great chance to catch up with Franco and Jason. That schedule will include dates doing the opening set at the Bronze, Blues & Brews Festival in Joseph, Oregon; The Durango Blues Train in Colorado and a show at the famed Biscuits and Blues club in San Francisco.

Franco Paletta is one of the area’s finest harp players, a strong vocalist and an exceptional songwriter. That was clearly displayed on The Stingers most recent CD I Like It Just Like That. Guitarist Jason Thomas also proved that he can craft a song as well, as shown on the same disc with his composition “Living The Blues Again.” But aside from Thomas’ songwriting, his guitar playing is captivating electrically, we can hardly wait to see him on acoustic.

Beckon the Blues has been playing blues tunes together since 2011 and they’ll be joining us for the second set of our meeting.  The band formed out of their immense enjoyment and love of guitar-driven, soul-searchin’ rhythm and blues from different eras stretching over 70 years.  They have been playing cover tunes together for over 8 years, but 3 years ago they decided to focus exclusively on the blues, with both original and cover tunes to round out their set.  In November 2013, Beckon the Blues debuted their first show in Portland and they have been entertaining the blues lovers at various shows ever since.Beckon the Blues - press photo

Each band member brings their own long history in the music industry.  Chelle has been performing in various genres in the Portland area for over 20 years, and has become known for her soulful style and powerful vocals.  She has been greatly influenced by her childhood church (Maranatha in NE Portland) and popular singers such as Mahalia Jackson and Etta James.  Christian Perales has a deep appreciation for the early blues of the 20th century.  His bass playing reflects the steady, understated bass riffs of that era.  Ken Price is the most recent addition to the band, bringing the full, rich sound of the keyboard, strong back-up vocals and a greater dimension of soul to the sound.  Jim Ruff has played the drums since he was a teenager in Chicago, playing professionally in Rock and Roll and blues groups on the East Coast and Midwest.  His experience behind the kit shows when he plays, never missing a beat, even when he sings back up!  Chris Toole has been playing since the 60s and covers rhythm guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, and back-up vocals. He is the predominant song writer for the band and has a great love for all types of blues and jazz.  Jake Wilson takes full charge of lead guitar and is never one to turn down an opportunity to wail.  His finger-blistering leads stem from a wide range of blues influences of Texas Blues, Delta Blues and good old fashioned Rock and Roll.

Without a doubt, Beckon the Blues is a force to reckon with and a guaranteed good time!

Remember, pick up your free drawing ticket as you enter the venue. You don’t want to miss out on your chance on winning a CD or other prizes just by showing up. And you can also purchase tickets for our winner-take-all multi-CD raffle; tickets are just $1.00 each.

Don’t forget, the meeting is the second Wednesday this month only. We’ll be back on our routine first Wednesdays starting back up again in August. We know that four days at the Waterfront will just whet your appetite for summertime blues. We can help ease that craving at our meeting.

We’ll see you there!!

Cider Summit Portland. June 20 and 21

Cider Summit Portland.
Fri. June 20 & Sat. June 21

SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective are pleased to announce the return of Cider Summit NW Festival to Portland, OR. The fourth annual event will take place Friday, June 20 from 2p‐8p and Saturday, June 21 from 12n‐6p. Cider Summit is expanding to the new Fields Neighborhood Park at NW 10th/Overton in the Pearl District. The event is presented by World Foods & Bushwhacker Cider.  You can check the schedule here:

This will be the eleventh Cider Summit produced by SBS & Seattle Beer Collective, having launched the concept in Seattle in September 2010 and expanding to Portland, Chicago, and most recently Berkeley. This year’s event will feature over 120 ciders from producers around the country and around the world.

The owners and cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings which will be available in 4‐ounce tasting portions in a souvenir festival glass. In addition to the superb range of ciders, the event will feature the DoveLewis / Unleashed by Petco dog lounge, expanded food selections from World Foods & St. Honore Boulangerie, special dessert pairings from Smitten Truffles and even cider ice cream.

There will be live music each day produced in conjunction with new event beneficiary, Cascade Blues Association. Featured acts scheduled to perform in the inaugural Jim Miller Festival stage include Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes, Lloyd Jones, Steve Kerin, Melody Guy, The Norman Sylvester Band and Ellen Whyte.  

The popular Brewvana Brewery Tours shuttle will run a continuous loop from SE Portland to the Park and Cider Summit also encourages use of the Portland Streetcar to the event.

“We believe we’ve created a unique event,” noted Ian Roberts of SBC. “Interest in artisanal cider is exploding right now, and this event is the premier sampling opportunity for both the cider enthusiast and cider curious.”

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 (cash only) at the door and are available online via Stranger tickets, Umpqua Bank Pearl District branch, and at many of the area’s leading bottle shops. Admission includes a tasting glass and 8 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. New for 2014 is a special VIP ticket available for $35. This ticket includes 4 additional tasting tickets and exclusive early admission on Friday from 2p‐3p. Only 200 of these tickets are available – exclusively online via the event website. Re‐admission will be allowed at any time with event wristband and tasting glass. THE EVENT IS 21 & OVER ONLY. Dogs of all ages will be allowed on event grounds. For more information including a list of participating ciders please visit

Cider Summit NW benefits Northwest Cider Association, The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, and the Cascade Blues Association.

Cider Summit NW is presented by World Foods & Bushwhacker Cider with supporting sponsors, Brewvana Brewery Tours, St. Honore Boulangerie, Umpqua Bank, The Portland Westin Hotel, KNRK 94/7 Alternative Portland, Portland Mercury, Cidercraft Magazine, Maletis Beverage, and Portland Streetcar.

The 35th annual Blues Music Awards was held at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, TN, on Thursday, May 8th. Presented by The Blues Foundation, an enthusiastic audience was treated to dinner, multiple sets of music and the announcements of this year’s recipients as chosen by the members.

Performances began at 5:30 pm in the lower lobby of the Convention Center with nominees Dave Keyes and Gracie Curran & The High Falutin’ Band. The main show began promptly at 7:00 pm in the ballroom and included performances from people like Shawn Holt & The Teardops, Lurrie Bell, Anson Funderburgh, Mark Hummel, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Rory Block, James Cotton, Elvin Bishop, Ronnie Earl, Doug MacLeod, Trudy Lynn, Teeny Tucker, Beth Hart, Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos, Brandon Santini, Mike Zito, Cedric Burnside, Vasti Jackson and many others.

On Thursday night, the Hall of Fame inductions were presented, this year honoring artists Big Jay McNeely, R.L. Burnside, Eddie Shaw, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Robert Pete Williams. The big news for the event was that the necessary funds to erect the permanent home for the Blues Hall of Fame, to be housed in Memphis, have been raised and construction will begin on June 1st. Plans for the grand opening of the Hall of Fame are for next year’s Blues Music Awards.

This year’s complete list of winners are:

  • Acoustic Album: There’s a Time – Doug MacLeod
  • Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
  • Album: Remembering Little Walter – Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
  • B.B. King Entertainer: Buddy Guy
  • Band: Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Best New Artist Debut: Daddy Told Me – Shawn Holt & the Teardrops
  • Contemporary Blues Album: Badlands – Trampled Under Foot
  • Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Susan Tedeschi
  • Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr.
  • DVD: Ruf Records – Songs from the Road (Royal Southern Brotherhood)
  • Historical Album: Bear Family – The Sun Blues Box
  • Instrumentalist-Bass: Danielle Schnebelen
  • Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
  • Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
  • Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite
  • Instrumentalist-Horn: Eddie Shaw
  • Koko Taylor Award: Diunna Greenleaf
  • Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Victor Wainwright
  • Rock Blues Album: Made Up Mind – Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Song: ”Blues in My Soul” – Lurrie Bell
  • Soul Blues Album: Down in Louisiana – Bobby Rush
  • Soul Blues Female Artist: Irma Thomas
  • Soul Blues Male Artist: John Nemeth
  • Traditional Blues Album: Remembering Little Walter – Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
  • Traditional Blues Male Artist: James Cotton

Blues Shock
Blind Pig

Billy Branch CD coverThe newest disc from Billy Branch, Blues Shock, is without a doubt a crowning achievement for one of Chicago’s premier blues artists. It had been a long fifteen year wait for fresh studio material for Branch to release under his own name, filling up that time working on other musicians’ recordings. But that wait has been magnificently cured by this outstanding disc of original numbers and a handful of exciting covers that stretch Branch’s range even farther than you’d expect. His well-known traditional style of harp work has moved into territories of full blown funk, jazz and soul that truly does compliment his stellar playing.

Armed with his long-time band The Sons of the Blues, featuring drummer Moses Rutues Jr. and Nick Charles on bass who seemingly have worked with Branch since time began, with Sumito Ariyoshi on keys and newest member Dan Carelli offering smoldering guitar lines, the group has come to deliver the goods. And deliver them they have in a big way. Bill McFarland and The Chicago Horns lay down their sound to perfection on tracks like “Blues Shock” “Sons Of The Blues” and the double-entendre “Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn.” And Annie Harris from Otis Taylor’s band sends some nice mood with her violin on the heart-felt “Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time,” along with Johnny Iguana’s work on the Hammond B3.

Branch strikes right on target with his takes on Little Walter’s “Crazy Mixed Up World,” the soulful Motown number “Function At The Junction” and a blazing take of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.” Ronnie Baker Brooks joins in on the fun on “Dog House,” where he and Branch discuss the troubles they’re in with their ladies: “She don’t even call me Billy no more, she just says bow wow,” or being fed Kibbles & Bits and Purina Dog Chow for dinner.

But with no doubt the highlight of Blues Shock is Branch’s tribute to Gerri Oliver, who owned the famed long closed Palm Tavern in Chicago. The song, “Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time,” tells the story of his friend from her journey during the Great Migration to Chicago and the people who frequented her establishment during its run. Located directly across the street from The Regal Theater, it saw many of the entertainment world’s most renowned artists like Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra drop in after their own shows were finished. Closed by the City of Chicago in 2001, it is obvious the impact that she had on Branch.

The disc closes with yet another inspiring track, the jazzy instrumental “Song For My Mother.” Though there are no lyrics, it speaks volumes for the love he held.

Blues Shock is one of the finest moments in Billy Branch’s career. Fifteen years may have passed by between recordings, but this one will stand the test of time for far longer than that.

Total Time: 51:50

Sons Of The Blues / Crazy Mixed Up World / Blues Shock / Dog House / Function At The Junction / Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time / Back Alley Cat / Boom Boom / Slow Moe / Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn / Song For My Mother

Bill Kirchen - press photoGrammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen is one of the fortunate few who can step onto any stage, play those trademark licks that drove his seminal Commander Cody classic “Hot Rod Lincoln” into the Top Ten, and elicit instant recognition for a career that has spanned over 40 years and includes guitar work with Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello and many more. Named “A Titan of the Telecaster” by Guitar Player Magazine, he celebrates an American musical tradition where rock ‘n’ roll and country music draws upon its origins in blues and bluegrass, Western swing from Texas and California honky-tonk. Bill Kirchen can play it all and will convince you that he’s a true master at them all. A not to miss performance!

Always a crowd favorite, Bill Kirchen will be appearing at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, as part of his latest Seeds And Stems CD tour. Showtime is at 7:00 pm on Sunday, June 29th, and it’s Bill’s birthday, giving it just that much more reason to celebrate and party with a guitar icon. Admission is $20.00. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so don’t forget to present your current membership card at the door for a $1.00 discount.

The Prohibition Blues

Karen Lovely CD coverFor a number of months now, Karen Lovely has been presenting a series of performances that she call “Prohibition Blues.” It is her chance to perform the music of those blues women from the 1920s and 1930s who helped define the genre in the early years. They’re her musical heroes. Have any doubt, just look at the tattoo on Karen’s arm that depicts many of them.

These shows are truly a lot of fun. The performers and many of the fans will dress up in period attire, with prizes for the best dressed. Prohibition era cocktails are also specially served at the shows to help make the atmosphere more authentic. Many of her fans have fallen in love with these shows and have been asking for her to put out a recording to help them relive all the fun. So that is exactly what Karen has done with her latest, appropriately titled “The Prohibition Blues.”

Recorded over two shows at Portland’s premier jazz club, Jimmy Mak’s, Karen assembled a line-up of the city’s finest musicians to capture the feel. Alan Hager’s rhythmic guitar allows the musical flow to work at the right pace, accentuated by the piano runs by Dave Fleschner and the exquisite horns of Brad Ulrich’s clarinet, Joe McCarthy’s trumpet and Doug Bundy’s sax and clarinet. The rhythm section is emphasized perfectly by Tyler Smith on bass and Carlton Jackson on drums. This is a dream team of musicians to have on hand when wanting to bring across period music and they provide the exact mood to bring out Karen’s essence and love for these songs. All mixed and mastered by Alan Mirikitani, who was also responsible for Karen’s previous releases, at Dawghouse Studios in California.

The selections are from some of the most beloved artists of the times. Ranging from Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Victoria Spivey to Ida Cox and Billie Holiday and more. Classic numbers like “Yellow Dog Blues,” “Everybody Loves My Baby,” “Nobody Knows You,” “Keep Sittin’ On It” and “Gimme A Pigfoot” sit alongside others that may not be as well known. All of them enjoyable and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Mary Flower joins Karen on a couple numbers. Mary is one of the finest practitioners of acoustic guitar who can cover any era of music masterfully and she does just that on “Last Kind Words” and “Pick Poor Robin, with the two harmonizing vocally on the latter number.

Karen closes the album with a personal touch as she sings “Pennies From Heaven,” a song that she remembers as being her grandmother’s favorite and one that she would sing along with her. It also serves as a fitting final track for a recording full of sensational performances that have collected her Prohibition Blues shows for fans to be able to forever enjoy anytime they desire. For all lovers of early blues as presented by one of today’s top-shelf vocalists, Karen does it right.

Total Time: 43:18

Any Kind Of Man / Fifteen Cents / Gimme A Pigfoot / Yellow Dog Blues / Gin House Blues / Last Kind Words / Pick Poor Robin / Prove It On Me / Everybody Loves My Baby / Nobody Knows You / Keep Sittin’ On It / Pennies From Heaven

Summer is fast approaching and with it comes the 2014 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 3 thru Sunday, July 6. This is the event that grows more spectacular every year. Overlooking the Willamette River, Tom McCall Waterfront Park will once again play host to the festival.

“It is Oregon Food Bank’s largest fundraising event to help fight hunger across Oregon and SW Washington. Four days, four stages of non-stop performances by more than 100 artists over July 4 weekend,” according to Peter Dammann, Artistic Director for the event.

Thursday, July 3

The weekend starts on Thursday, July 3, with a hard-rocking double bill featuring Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys.

Los Lobos
LosLobos01Los Lobos is a band that continually reboots itself and expands its scope with each passing year, while never losing sight of where they came from. Through sheer camaraderie and respect for one another’s musicality, they’ve continued to explore who Los Lobos is and what they have to offer, without succumbing to the burnout that plagues so many other bands that stick it out for any considerable length of time. Their influence is vast, yet they remain humble, centered and dedicated to their craft. Each new recording they make moves Los Lobos into another new dimension while simultaneously sounding like no one else in the world.

Los Lonely Boys
Hailing from San Angelo, Texas, Los Lonely Boys are a sibling trio whose music draws equally from rock, blues, Tex-Mex, Conjunto, and Tejano. Such a combination is shaped by the band’s three brothers: guitarist Henry Garza, bassist JoJo Garza, and drummer Ringo Garza, Jr. Their father, Ringo Garza, Sr., was also a member of a sibling band (the Falcones) during the ’70s and ’80s. Soon after, Garza went solo, backed by his three sons even before they reached their teens. The family relocated to Nashville in the 1990s, and the sons emerged as a group separate from their father.

Portland connection: the group’s touring percussionist, Austin-based Carmelo Torres, is the son of Portland percussion legend Bobby Torres. And Carmelo’s brother, Reinhard Melz, has been first-call drummer on Portland’s blues, soul and funk scene for two decades.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues ImperialsLil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Gritty blues from Chicago’s Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials helps to get the party started. From working at Chicago’s Red Carpet Car Wash to appearing on national television, and from gigging at the smallest ghetto blues bars to performing on the biggest international concert stages, master bluesman Lil’ Ed Williams has come a long way. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned Chicago shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed and his blistering Blues Imperials – bassist James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton – deliver the blues, from gloriously riotous and rollicking to intensely emotional and moving. Not since the heyday of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers has a blues band made such a consistently joyful noise.

Homemade Jamz
Mississippi’s young blues siblings, Homemade Jamz, make their Oregon debut. Ryan Perry’s gruff vocals and visceral, stinging, guitar licks, along with younger brother Kyle’s solid rumble, and baby sister Taya’s cool stomp have electrified crowds across the country, up and down Memphis’s famed Beale Street and on the festival and blues cruise circuit. The band saturated their local media, appearing numerous times in several local papers and national blues magazines, and on local and national TV—including a feature segment on CBS Sunday Morning when the band played the WC Handy Festival last July. Even B.B. King said in a YouTube video, “In my 82 years, I’ve never seen something musically… so remarkable.”

bombino01Omara “Bombino” Moctar, whose given name is Goumour Almoctar, was born on January 1, 1980, in Tidene, Niger – an encampment of nomadic Tuaregs located about 80 kilometers to the northeast of Agadez. He is a member of the Ifoghas tribe, which belongs to the Kel Air Tuareg federation. Bombino’s first internationally released album, Agadez, was produced by Ron Wyman and released in April 2011 on Cumbancha Records. Bombino made his Nonesuch Records debut with the release of the album Nomad, recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Nomad debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music album chart and earned rave reviews from top media outlets around the world including BBC World Service, which calls it “utterly, utterly fantastic” and Rolling Stone, which describes Nomad as “a perfect match of sound and soul [that] introduces a new guitar hero.” His dazzling live performance and virtuosity on the guitar have led notable music critics to compare him to Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Neil Young, and Jerry Garcia.

Friday, July 4

Commander Cody & his Modern Day Airmen
Look in any book on the history of rock and roll and you will find Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, whose Deep in the Heart of Texas is listed among Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 albums of all time. But the Commander is no mere nostalgia act, as his 2010 Blind Pig label release, Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, proved. “The Commander is stronger than ever,” raved Hittin’ the Note. “His floor-stomping mix of country, swing, and rockabilly can shake the rafters of any bar or club.”

John Németh and the Bo-Keys
John Nemeth - photo by Greg Johnson
Blue-eyed soul singer John Németh, backed by Memphis’ legendary Bo-Keys (who’ve worked with Al Green, Otis Redding, Ann Peebles, Mavis Staples) will be back in town. Boise, Idaho is hardly the place anyone would conjure up as a hotbed of soul-blues. But for John Németh, it’s where his love for the genre began—and the starting point for a journey that’s taken him from his first gigs fronting a teenage blues band to winning the “Soul Blues Vocalist of the Year” Award (and four other nominations) at the 2013 Blues Music Awards last month in Memphis. But Boise is where this preternaturally talented son of a Hungarian immigrant gained his early chops on the harmonica, building on the style of blues heroes like Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson.

In the early parts of their careers, members of the Bo-Keys performed in B.B. King’s orchestra, anchored the Hi Rhythm Section, nailed the unforgettable intro to “Theme From Shaft,” and survived the plane crash that claimed Otis Redding. The Bo-Keys features alumni both of Stax Records and Hi Records, plus younger musicians who grew up loving that classic sound. The band has garnered an Emmy award and a Grammy nomination. The Bo-Keys’ debut effort The Royal Sessions drew raves, and can still be heard in snippets on National Public Radio broadcasts.

On the Oregonian Front Porch Stage, the action kicks off with the Journey to Memphis finals, segues into a late afternoon swing/blues dance competition, and ends with Bill Rhoades’ annual Harmonica Blow-off.

The evening will close with Oregon’s finest fireworks display, introduced by the National Anthem, sung by Portland gospel/soul diva, Linda Hornbuckle.

Saturday, July 5

Maceo Parker
"Soul Classics" Konzert Leverkusener Jazztage 10.11.11 Projekt der WDR BIG BAND KÖLN
It’s fairly common knowledge that funk master Maceo Parker has played with each and every leader of funk. He got his start with James Brown, which Maceo describes as “like being at University.” He then jumped aboard the Mothership with George Clinton and he still tours now and then with Prince.  He’s the living, breathing pulse which connects the history of Funk in one golden thread.

“He’s no bebopper, reborn or otherwise. His roots are the church and the blues… his sound is a joyful, cutting ribbon of light and heat burnished by grit and soul… kinda like his longtime boss’ vocals, amazingly enough.” There’s no doubt about it, ‘There’s only one Maceo.’”
 – Downbeat Magazine

Sugaray Rayford
Soon after he was discovered fronting a Los Angeles blues jam in 2011, Sugaray Rayford became one of the lead vocalists for the Mannish Boys, and appeared with the all-star group that year at Waterfront Blues Festival. He sang lead vocals on nine songs on Double Dynamite, the Mannish Boys CD that won Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2013 Blues Music Awards. Sugaray’s first solo CD Blind Alley was a self-release in 2010, which garnered critical acclaim. His second solo CD Dangerous, released last fall, debuted at #2 on Blues Debut Chart, #6 on the Roots Music Chart and is currently #2 on The Living Blues Chart. In May 2012, Rayford made his stage debut starring in the Tony Award-winning play, “Ain’t Nuthin’ But The Blues” at Portland Center Stage. He joined members of the New York Broadway cast playing the part previously played by the late Ron Taylor. It had a 6-week run where every show ended with a standing ovation.

Otis Taylor with special guest Mato Nanji
Expect the unexpected from blues singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Otis Taylor.  While his music, an amalgamation of roots styles in their rawest form, discusses heavyweight issues like murder, homelessness, tyranny, and injustice, his personal style is lighthearted.  “I’m good at dark, but I’m not a particularly unhappy person,” he says.  “I’d just like to make enough money to buy a Porsche.”  One unexpected element in Taylor’s music is the combination of musicians he selects to play with.  Taylor’s special guest for this year’s WBF set is Mato Nanji (Ma-TOE Non-gee), guitarist and co-founder of the Native American blues band Indigenous.  Nanji is a fiery blues guitar virtuoso in the vein of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, but he’s no ordinary guitar-slinger; his playing and songwriting possess a tangible spiritual depth.  Born and raised on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Nanji was greatly influenced by his father, who was both an important Native American leader and a musician with a vast collection of blues records.

Zydeco Swamp Romp
On the Oregonian Front Porch Stage, the annual Zydeco Swamp Romp keeps the dance floor packed all day Saturday and Sunday with some of the Gulf Coast’s finest Cajun and Zydeco acts: Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Horace Trahann & Ossun Express, Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Yvette Landry and more.

Sunday, July 6

Then on Sunday, July 6, the four-day festival closes as it did last year—Spectacularly!  (Note: Sunday is admission by pass-only)

Gregg Allman
Allman01Gregg Allman’s contribution to rock music is undeniable. As lead singer, organist, and songwriter with the Allman Brothers Band, his early popularity and success had much to do with the band’s signature 40-minute jam sessions and high-wattage guitar riffs. But Gregg Allman has long been a gifted natural interpreter of the blues, his soulful and distinctive voice one of the defining sounds in the history of American music. Low Country Blues marks the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s seventh solo recording and first in more than 13 years. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album finds Allman putting his own stamp on songs by some of the blues giants whose work has long informed his own, from Muddy Waters and BB King to Buddy Guy and Magic Sam. Named for the coastal Georgia region Allman calls home, Low Country Blues stands as a high water mark in an already remarkable body of work, rich with passion, verve, and the unerring confidence of a true survivor.

Portland connection: Rose City born and bred saxophonist Jay Collins was a stunning young up-and-comer on the local hard-bop, soul and funk scenes here until he moved to the Big Apple in the 1990s. There, Collins joined the band of the late drummer/leader of The Band, Levon Helm, married his boss’ talented daughter, Amy; worked with such heavies as Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and the Allman Brothers, and lately has been touring with Gregg Allman’s Band. Collins will also appear at Waterfront Sunday afternoon with his occasional NY band mate, Chris Bergson.

Boz ScaggsbozscaggsHiRes
Boz Scaggs is both a musical seeker and a man of sizable talent as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. His explorations in blues and R&B, rock and jazz have produced lasting work and a career that has brought with it acclaim, a loyal following, and an enduring respect among musicians.

The early part of Scaggs’ career—a long stint in the band of fellow Texan Steve Miller, followed by a solo career that involved collaborations with the likes of Duane Allman—was steeped in the blues. His latest release, last year’s Memphis, was recorded at Willie Mitchell’s famed Royal Studios, which turned out a string of hits for Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay. On Memphis Boz returns to the blues and soul classics that early-on inspired him. “I had been thinking about a record that involved going back into my past and finding songs that match my style and my voice,” Scaggs says. With producer Steve Jordan and a crack band he put a distinctive touch on classics like “Rainy Night in Georgia,” “Corinna Corinna,” and “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” as well as on a couple of originals. At Waterfront debut, expect Boz Scaggs to dig deep.

Lee Fields & the Expressions
With a career spanning 43 years, releases on 12 different record labels, and having toured the world over with his raucous-yet-tender voice, it’s mind-blowing that the music he’s making today with Brooklyn’s own Truth & Soul Records is the best of Lee Fields career. He continues to evolve, enmeshed into the group’s sweeping, string-laden, cinematic soul sound. Their latest full-length Faithful Man released in March 2012 on Truth & Soul, was called “one smoking mother of an old-sound soul record” by Pitchfork and Vice magazine. Fields’ newest, Emma Jean, is due out June 3.

Joan Osborne with the Holmes Brothers

A Kentucky native, Joan Osborne has sold millions of albums and garnered multiple Grammy nominations throughout her 15-year career. Osborne’s singing career took off while attending NYU’s film school. Inspired by singers like Billie Holiday and Etta James, Osborne’s gutsy, passionate vocals turned “One Of Us,” a track from her major label debut, Relish, into a massive MTV and radio hit. The disc went on to sell 5 million copies worldwide and led to numerous Grammy nominations. Osborne has performed as a member of the Grateful Dead, toured with the Dixie Chicks and The Funk Brothers, appeared in the acclaimed documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and has released a children’s album and a country record. Her latest release, Bring It On Home, is a collection of classic blues, R&B and soul covers. Joining her on the CD are Barbecue Bob Pomeroy (harmonica), Allen Toussaint (piano), Jimmy Vivino, The Holmes Brothers and Rufus Thomas’ daughter, Vaneese Thomas.

Over the course of their 30-plus year career, The Holmes Brothers have been feeding souls with a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and country. Their three-part harmony singing, mixing Wendell’s gruff and gravelly vocals with Popsy’s soaring falsetto and Sherman’s rich baritone, brings the soul and spirit of gospel music into everything they perform. Equally gripping is the rhythmic foundation laid down by Sherman’s bass playing and Popsy’s drumming, perfectly complimenting Wendell’s blues-soaked guitar solos and church-inspired piano playing. The band easily blends Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with gospel fervor and harmonies. The Holmes Brothers have won multiple Blues Music Awards and performed with the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Keith Richards, Al Green, Ben Harper, Levon Helm, and Odetta. The brothers’ recent Alligator release, Brotherhood, has been hailed as the greatest recording of their career.

Other artists
Aside from the headliners, other acts that will be of interest to BluesNotes readers will be:

  • Andy T & Nick Nixon Band, with special guest Anson Funderburgh
  • Anthony Paule & Frank Bey
  • Ayron Jones & The Way
  • Ben Rice Trio
  • Bill Rhoades’ Harmonica Blow-Off
  • Blind Boy Paxton
  • Chris O’Leary Band
  • Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
  • Hillstomp
  • Horace Trahan & the Ossun Express
  • Jeffrey Broussard & Creole Cowboys
  • Journey to Memphis Competition
  • Kara Grainger
  • Karen Lovely’s Prohibition Orchestra
  • Leo “Bud” Welch
  • Linda Hornbuckle
  • Rae Gordon Band
  • The Soul of John Black
  • Ural Thomas & the Pain
  • Yvette Landry Chris Bergson Band
  • And many other fabulous blues acts yet to be announced

See the website at for complete information. Artists and schedule subject to change.

DME Blues Cruises
Delta Music Experience returns with their amazing blues cruises.

Thursday, July 3—Hoodoo Moon Cruise – 10:45 p.m.
Featuring: Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Blind Boy Paxton, Homemade Jamz, Bombino
This is a 21+ show.
Tickets: $35

Friday, July 4—Driftin’ Blues Cruise – 2:30 p.m.
Featuring: Commander Cody, Chris O’Leary Band, Soul of John Black
All-ages show.
Tickets: $25

Saturday, July 5—Sail on Sister Cruise – 2:30 p.m.
Featuring: Duffy Bishop and Friends, Kara Grainger, Ellen Whyte & Albert Reda
All-ages show.
Tickets: $25

Saturday, July 5—Rock the Boat Dance Cruise – 10:45 p.m.
Featuring: Sugaray Rayford Band, Chris Bergson, Andy T & Nick Nixon Band, and others TBA
All-ages show.
Tickets: $35

Waterfront After Hours All-Stars
Catch some of the festival’s biggest acts at the after-hours concerts at the Marriott Hotel Ballroom.

Friday, July 4—“John Nemeth’s Memphis Grease Party” with the Bo-Keys, Duffy Bishop, Andy Stokes, and other special guests. (Additional headlining act to be announced)

Saturday, July 5—Maceo Parker, Lee Fields & The Expressions

Waterfront After Hours Jam
The WBF After Hours Series at Hotel Rose (formerly Hotel Fifty) has again been officially sanctioned as part of the event. For those of you who know, this developed from an acoustic solo/duo venue into a Portland-hosted musical “welcome wagon”, where touring artists could come together with locals in an intimate, invigorating environment.

The host band will, for the third time, be Dave Kahl, Carlton Jackson, and, either switching off or some combination of Lloyd Jones and Chris Carlson. Admission is free and it’s always a great time.

4-day passes are on sale now for $60. Or invest in a Buddy Pass, for $120, which gets you early entry, guaranteed re-entry to Festival, exclusive Buddy T-shirt and button, and discount to after-hours Allstars concerts by Maceo Parker, Lee Fields & the Impressions, John Németh & the Bo-Keys. Visit for information on passes and updates on lineup.

Safety Updates
Oregon Food Bank announced safety updates for the 27th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union. In keeping with best practices for events and festivals around the nation, updates include (but are not limited to) no hard-sided coolers, no large blankets or tarps, no high-backed chairs, limited outside beverages and one bag smaller than 16x16x8 in. Check website for more information.

Final Words of Wisdom
“Don’t miss what’s sure to be Portland’s festival / concert experience of the summer. This is THE concert deal of the summer and a great way to support Oregon Food Bank! You’ll need a Festival Pass for Spectacular Sunday.  And it all goes to help Oregon Food Bank fight hunger and its root causes,” Peter Dammann said.