JP Soars CD coverFull Moon Night In Memphis

Soars High Productions

From the first time I saw JP Soars perform on stage at the International Blues Challenge, I knew I was witnessing a truly proficient guitar master. There definitely was something to be said about his winning the Albert King most promising guitarist award at that event, the man can seemingly play any style of guitar and handle them all exceptionally well. That surely comes across on his latest recording, Full Moon Night In Memphis, as he tackles a variety of instruments including electric, acoustic, Dobro, lap steel, cigar box and he even plays bass on one number. An artist who worked in both metal and Gypsy jazz before taking on the blues, he has the feel for anything he sets his mind on and all are completely amazing and satisfying.

Full Moon Night In Memphis is JP Soars third solo outing and he is also a member of the highly successful Southern Hospitality with Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright. He has a voice that is quite distinctive and just as gritty as Howlin’ Wolf’s. His songwriting skills make him the full package with his knack for catchy, clever numbers that can take on sounds derived from old time blues, Texas shuffles, West Coast swing, New Orleans jazz, Latin and even country. And he covers them all on this disc.

So with so many flavors delivered, where do you start to describe this album. Take your pick. You cannot lose with any of them.

The title track brings back that night at IBC. Soars stood outside the stage door at The Orpheum Theater and looking at the full moon in the sky knew that this night was something special. And he was right as he sings about how it changed his life and things would never be the same again, in a good way. He rips the two strings on his cigar box on this song to their highest potential while Brandon Santini guests blowing some sizzling harmonica. Soars brings that cigar box for another fine outing on the tune “Way Back Home.”

There is a touch of T-Bone Walker on two pieces, obviously on the cover of the master’s “Mean Old World,” though Soars really slows things down here making it one of the most haunting takes ever heard of the number. His original “Makes No Sense” also brings the T-Bone feel with a smooth pace as he informs his baby that it makes no sense for her to try to change his ways as he is already set and happy with his life the way it is.

There is a little Texas styled guitar on “Savin’ All My Lovin,” West Coast swing on “Missin’ Your Kissin’” with Terry Hanck blowing mean saxophone, “Back To Broke” has a funky Memphis taste, and he even plays a little country number with Teresa James on back-up vocals and Santini again on harp on “The Road Has Got Me Down.” Soars shows that he has not lost his potential for rockin’ blues as pounds out a chunky rhythm on “Somethin’ Ain’t Right,” and tells us all he’s tired of spinning his wheels and being held back, going out of his mind on “Thorn In My Side” that starts out slow before really taking off with sharp, biting guitar. Horn players Scott Ankrom and Chaim Rubinov really take key focus on the fun rereading of the old time classic “Reefer Man” and the early New Orleans jazz styled “Viper” where Soars showcases his knack for Latin and Gypsy jazz, which also comes across beautifully on “Lil’ Mamacita.”

Soars can excel on all variations of guitar and he brings a wide variety on Full Moon Night In Memphis. There are so many roads taken on this disc and all of them come across skillfully and are attention grabbing. There’s never a dull moment when Soars is at the helm. Full Moon Night In Memphis is proof of that.

Total Time: 56:27

Full Moon Night In Memphis / Back To Broke / Makes No Sense / Somethin’ Ain’t Right / Mean Old World / Savin’ All My Lovin’ / Reefer Man / Way Back Home / The Back Room / Thorn In My Side / Viper / The Road Has Got Me Down / Lil’ Mamacita / Missin’ Your Kissin’

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

The Portland music community has seen its overabundance of losses this past year when it comes to iconic musicians in the city. In the past eleven months we witnessed the untimely deaths of Jim Miller and Janice Scroggins, both completely unexpected. Mel Solomon left us in late June after a long time run against diabetes. But personally, it was the loss of Linda Hornbuckle this last month that really struck home. Even though we all knew that she was battling a no-win situation with kidney cancer, I could never imagine Portland not having her with us.

When I began working in the music industry back in the early 80s for the national distributor Lieberman Enterprises, new recordings were flying through our doors every week that found its way onto the players in the building. We would often head out in the evening to catch performances in the thriving local clubs downtown. Several bands from the area were gaining national attention, such as Nu Shooz, Quarterflash and the Dan Reed Network. Linda and her strong soulful voice played a part with each of those acts as they played around the country. But it was the soul band Body and Soul that really captured Linda in this time period. We knew without a doubt at that time that their featured vocalist Linda Hornbuckle was indeed Soul Sister #1 in a city filled with terrific musicians. If you wanted to get out and dance or just to hear some of those great Motown and soul hits, there was no better band to be found.

A few years later, blues legend Paul deLay began a hiatus from performing courtesy of the Federal Prison system, leaving his band without their vocal leader. Many acts’ members may have moved on in different directions at that time under this type of circumstances, but the band recruited Linda to become their focal point and it was a winning formula. She won her first of three Muddy Awards for best Female Vocalist in 1992 (the others coming in 1994 and 2004)and the band released a superb album titled Soul Diva Meets The Blues Monsters under their new name Linda Hornbuckle & The No DeLay Band. Already a star in the soul and R&B community in town, this collaboration firmly set her footprint in the blues scene as one of its best. And I can remember how proud I was to see her included in an article in Living Blues magazine naming her one of the Top 40 Under 40 in the world of the blues.

Sadly, If there is any one part of Linda’s career that I felt was missing, it was the fact that she was highly under-recorded. Aside from the No DeLay album, she only released two others under her own name, 2001’s Clearly and 2009’s Sista, the latter a beautiful meshing of her voice with the piano of her close and long-time friend Janice Scroggins.

Linda Hornbuckle became a regularly featured performer at many festivals and events over the years. She was featured annually with The Trail Band’s Christmas shows at The Aladdin Theater. She was routinely scheduled to sing the National Anthem every 4th of July at the Waterfront Blues Festival, an event that saw her perform in many of that festival’s best known showcases such as the tributes to Paul deLay and Ray Charles. Yet, it was always her annual “Old Time Gospel Hour” that proved to be the most emotionally moving. Not a big surprise as Linda Hornbuckle was born singing the music of church from a young age in her father Bishop Howard Hornbuckle’s congregation at Portland’s Grace and Truth Pentacostal Church. It obviously was this early training that helped develop her strong and heartfelt voice.

In 2010, she was given the highest honor for a musician in the State of Oregon as she was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. A place she so rightfully deserved.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2012, performances would continue over the next two years, though sometimes those scheduled appearances were missed due to her painful condition. And she continued to book gigs at Jimmy Mak’s and the Doug Fir Lounge for her gospel shows. I spoke with Linda’s husband Mark Young not too long ago one night at Jimmy Mak’s asking how she was feeling. I felt bad as it had been too long since I had made my way to one of her shows and I promised that I would do so as soon as I could. I never got the opportunity and it crushes me for not making it more of a priority. But again, it is the perception I falsely led myself to believe that I could not imagine Linda not being around. The last two times I saw her perform was at Janice Scroggins’ Celebration of Life and the Old Time Gospel Hour at the Waterfront Blues Festival. How I wish there was more. I hear her now in my mind, singing “Natural Woman,” “Georgia” with The Ray Charles Tribute Band, and mostly “Amazing Grace,” nobody could do that hymn like her.

Not having Linda Hornbuckle amongst us is going to take a long time to comprehend. For so many years she has always been there giving her heart and soul to her music. Thank you Linda for all the wonderful memories you gave to us and which will forever be held within our hearts. You certainly made my life better with your songs.


Imagine a musical world without the songs of Chuck Berry. This is the music that inspired many a musician and helped shape the world of rock & roll. And did you know he started out as a blues player from St. Louis and recorded on the foremost blues label of its day, Chess Records. What followed was an impressive string of hits that have become the sing-along favorites of a whole generation, from “Johnny B. Goode,” to “Roll Over Beethoven,” to “Rock & Roll Music,” to “Maybelline,” to “Sweet Little Sixteen,” these are only a handful of the classic songs he created. Chuck Berry is still with us at 88 years old and though his songs are immortal, he himself has slid into somewhat obscurity. A group of local musicians feel that isn’t right, so they have decided to throw a Tribute Show in his honor.

On Friday, November 28th, at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, plan on joining Big Monti Amundson, Vyasa Dodson, Jon Koonce, Rich Layton and Texas rockabilly artist Elvis Cantu, with Jon Wallace as host, as they celebrate the music of Chuck Berry. Showtime is  9:00 pm. Admission is $10.00. This is a CBA co-sponsored event, so show your membership card at the door for a $1.00 discount. This is not a night where you have “No Particular Place To Go,” you’re going to want to be at Duff’s for a “Reelin’ & Rockin’” good time.

1907431_852784404741259_5464650878221053829_n[1]Everybody knows that blues rock world was put on its ear with the Invasion of British guitar greats that helped reintroduce American blues music to a wider audience. Three of the most renowned players were of course Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. A trio of Portland’s best stringers have collaborated for a brilliant tribute show honoring these musicians for a concert they’ve named the British Re-Invasion. Cascade Blues Association Muddy Hall of Famer Robbie Laws will be taking on the music of Eric Clapton, Steve Adams known for his work with many nationally recognized progressive rock and new wave bands will handle the Jimmy Page selections, and former Michael Jackson guitarist will be displaying her skills with Jeff Beck’s music, an artist she performed with for three years. Backing the trio of guitar masters will be Federico Pol on bass, Merrill Hale on drums and Kevin Burkhart on keys. Joining the show will also be vocalists Rich Ray and Geoff Metts.

The British Re-Invasion will be held at The Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., on Saturday, November 8th, starting at 9:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased in advance at

Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers - press photoFuse Recording’s Charlie Johnson describes Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers as “coming out firing on all cylinders, smashing styles together to come up with their own groove. Funky soul packed with power, it’s Dr. John meets Al Green backed by Booker T and the MGs. You know, the good stuff.”

Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, this band led by keyboardist/saxophonist/vocalist Josh Hoyer, is made up of a collection of stalwart veteran players who have worked with a number of renowned acts. Formed in 2012, they have been playing sold-out marquee venues and festivals throughout the West and Midwest. Borrowing  from the Stax. Motown, New Orleans and San Francisco sounds, they blend the classic sounds of soul and R&B while presenting their own unique presentation.  If great songs, soul-drenched vocals, screaming guitar, blasting horns, thick, nasty organ, and an inescapable groove are your thing, this band is for you.

Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers will be appearing at Duff’s Garage on Tuesday, November 18th, for a 8:30 pm show. Duff’s Garage is located at 2530 NE 82nd. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event; show your current membership card at the door for a $1.00 discount on the $10.00 admission.

Aly Lilly (right) with sister Roeyn and cousin Lisa MannIt is going on nearly two years since we first heard the story of little Alyssa Weiser-Lily, better known as Aly, and the friendship that her family developed with local blues player Lisa Mann. After living next to one another for a few years, they actually discovered that they’re related. Well Aly’s story is that since she was 18 months old she has been battling cancer. The fight continues and recent surgery to remove a damaged cornea took place due to recurring infections and now she will be looking at chemotherapy. The family needs support financially to help make ends meet, not only for Aly but her three sisters and parents as well as they do not even own a car to be able to transport Aly to her treatments.

The Portland blues and roots community is gathering once again to help raise some much needed funds for Aly’s need. An all star benefit show has been scheduled at Bradford’s, NE 103rd & Halsey, on Sunday, November 16th from 2:00 pm until closing. Many of the Portland area’s top acts are joining in to offer their time, including Robbie Laws, Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes, Jim Mesi, Rae Gordon, Lil Queenie Big Band, Lisa Mann & Karen Lovely, Ben Rice, Dover Weinberg, Ed Neumann, Doug Rowell, Bolt Upright, A.C. Porter, Jim Wallace, Sonny Hess, Jeffrey Parrish and more to be announced.

Please plan on attending this worthy cause. Suggested donation is only $5.00, but please give what you can.  If you are unable to be there in person, you can still help out through on-line funding at   or directly to PayPal at


Southern Soul Assembly - press photoFour of today’s most talented blues and roots musicians have joined forces to put together an all-acoustic showcase that has been inspired by Southern rock, gospel and blues calling themselves Southern Soul Assembly. This is not just another one-off for an album grouping, they have been touring the country endlessly for the last few months. The band consists of Florida roots artist J.J. Grey who is renowned for his high energy performances, New Orleans-based bluesman Anders Osborne, Louisiana bayou soulman Marc Broussard, and Memphis guitarist Luther Dickinson who helped found the North Mississippi All-Stars and has toured as a member of The Black Crowes. As Southern Soul Assmebly, each member will perform as a solo, duo, trip and quarter throughout the show. Expect a night full of stories and music influenced by their Southern upbringing.

Southern Soul Assembly will be appearing at the Aladdin Theater on Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $35.00 through or the Aladdin Theater box office. Minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Aladdin Theater is located at 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave.

Legendary NW soul singer Andy Stokes’ amazing renditions of the Marvin Gaye classics “What’s Going On” and “Let’s Get It On” invariably Andy Stokes - photo by Greg Johnsonbring down the house. So for one night only, two shows, at Jimmy Mak’s,  Andy and an all-star backing group will play an entire set of Marvin Gaye songs! From early hits like “How Sweet It Is” to later ones like “Sexual Healing” to soulful duets like “You’re All I Need To Get By”: Andy will sing all your Marvin Gaye favorites like no one else can!

Andy Stokes has been wowing audiences since his days as lead singer with the nationally renowned Portland soul band Cool’R. For this show, he’ll be joined by organist/musical director Louis “King Louie” Pain, guitarist Dave Lula, bassist Errick Lewis, drummer Brian Foxworth, saxophonist Andy Warr, and vocalist Tahirah Memory.

Andy Stokes Sings Marvin Gaye happens on Saturday, November 8th. Jimmy Mak’s is located at 221 NW 10th Ave. There will be two separate shows, one at 7:30 pm and the second at 10:00 pm. Admission is $12.00 reserved (dinner required) and $10.00 general admission and are available now at 21 & over only.

A listing of new music received at the CBA office or purchased personally that should be noted:

Ashbolt Stewart – Beats Workin’ (Self Produced)
Bridget Kelly Band – Forever In Blues (Alpha Sun Records)
Carlos Elliot Jr. – Raise The Fire America (Self Produced)
Daddy Mack Blues Band – Blues Central (Inside Sounds)
Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater – Soul Funky (Cleartone)
Ian Siegal – Man & Guitar (Nugene Records)
Jeremiah Johnson – Grind (Self Produced)
Joel Johnson – Blues Joose Volume II (Self Produced)
Jonah Tolchin – Clover Land (YepRoc Records)
Johnny No – Modern Hymns For A Gentleman Loafer (Riviera Records)
Johnny Winter – Step Back (Megaforce Records)
JW-Jones – Belmont Boulevard (Blind Pig)
Keb’ Mo’ – Bluesamericana (Kind Of Blue Music)
LGB – I Am Who I Am (Rock N’ Stereo Records)
Lucky 3 Blues Band – Howl! (Self Produced)
Marco Pandolfi – No Dog In This Hunt (Self Produced)
Mark T. Small – Smokin’ Blues (Lead Foot Music)
Mary Washington Brooks – Blues Without Walls (Self Produced)
Melvin Morrison – Your Love Got A Hold On Me (Self Produced)
Nick Moss Band – Time Ain’t Free (Blue Bella)
Planet Full Of Blues – Hard Living (Self Produced)
Runaway Sidecars – She Wanted A Car (Self Produced)
Ruthie Foster – Promise Of A Brand New Day (Blue Corn Music)
Seth Walker – Sky Still Blue (Self Produced)
Stacy Mitchhart – Live My Life (Dr. Sam Records)
Sugar Ray And The Bluetones – Living Tear To Tear (Severn Records)
The Christopher Dean Band – Call Me Later (Lost World Music)
The Forrest McDonald Band – Turn Around Blues (World Talent Records)
The Kelly Richey Band – Live At The Blue Wisp (Self Produced)
The Sonny Moorman Band – Lucky 13 (Atlas Records)
Tweed Funk – First Name Lucky (Self Produced)
Vanessa Collier – Heart Soul & Saxophone (Self Produced)
Whelan – Flood Waters Rising (Presidio Records)

Two of the Pacific Northwest’s most powerful blues beltin’ ladies will both be appearing on the same show at Duff’s Garage on Saturday, November 8th. Seattle’s Stacy Jones, the winner of the Washington Blues Society Best of the Blues (BB) Award in 2014 for Female Vocalist teams up with the Cascade Blues Association 2013 Duffy Bishop Female Vocalist of the Year recipient Rae Gordon (and Rae is nominated again this year). Both front extraordinarily strong bands and are sure to ignite the stage with some fiery, jump out of your seat and hit the dance floor blues.

Stacy Jones does not make it down to the Portland area too often and her music has lately taken on a blend of country, folk and Americana alongside her soulful blues. A multi-talented artist, she plays guitar, harmonica, writes her own music and has four albums to her credit.

Rae Gordon needs no introduction to the music fans in Portland. A multi-winner of the Muddy Awards, she is also this year’s winning band in the CBA’s Journey to Memphis competition and will be heading to Memphis to participate in the International Blues Challenge this January. Every show between now and then will help raise funds to get the band to Tennessee and see that they’re fed well, too.

Duff’s Garage is located at 2530 NE 82nd and this show will have a 9:00 pm start time. Admission is only $10.00, a real steal for two great acts. Plus, you can receive a $1.00 discount by showing your membership card at the door for this CBA co-sponsored event.