Melody Ballroom – 615 SE Alder St., Portland
Wednesday, January 7th – 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $3.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Hippie Love Slave featuring Kathryn Grimm
Second Electric Set – The Dan Hess Band

Kathryn Grimm - photo courtesy of Kathryn GrimmAs we ring in 2015, the Cascade Blues Association is looking forward to another fantastic year of helping to bring you the best in blues musicians at our monthly meetings. Each month we will feature two great sets of music, offering artists that you may or may not be familiar with. But we know that you’re going to be entertained by a variety of artists throughout the year, and who knows, if they’re not your favorites or somebody you already know, perhaps they will be soon.

Opening the year’s performances for the CBA will be Hippie Love Slave, an eclectic mix of talent brainstormed by longtime guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Kathryn Grimm. Kathryn escaped from Seattle many years ago and headed off for Los Angeles where she took the city by storm. She performed there playing and writing with such folks as Jeff Buckley, Bo Diddley, the notorious Screamin’ Sirens, and more. She developed a love for the blues which culminated at the time in the 2004 recording Grimm Again, which was picked up by Portland’s Burnside Distribution and also received an honorable mention by NARAS, the Grammy Association. Many bands and years later, Kathryn happily landed in Portland where she says she is “finally at home.”

Kathryn’s dream band has come to fruition in Portland and they will be featured at the January CBA meeting. They include Bill Heston on keyboards, “Fizzle” on bass, and Jimi Hardin on drums. This will be a stripped down take on the band for the acoustic performance, but will still retain their self-described “blues meets psychedilia meets the best parts of 70s rock.”

For the second set of the night, we will present the Dan Hess Band. Dan has played at CBA meetings before with his former group, The Undercover Band. His new group is filled with stellar musicians who have worked with him over the years helping to provide that groove of classic blues and R&B. Dan Hess himself has been performing in Portland for the past fifteen years. The exceptional drummer John Dittmore has worked with Dan in a variety of bands over the past eight years. Tyler McDowell completes the trip as the newest member of the group, having worked with Dan for the past three years.

Dan Hess - photo courtesy of Dan HessJoining the Dan Hess Band for the meeting will be special guest, Dan’s sister Sonny Hess. The Muddy Award winning guitarist and band leader has been steadily bringing some of the finest blues groupings in the Northwest with her NW Women in Rhythm & Blues Shows and her own bands, including the 2013 Muddy Award Best New Act The Vicki Stevens Sonny Hess Band.

Please join us in January and every month at The Melody Ballroom for an exciting night of blues music. Be sure to pick up your free ticket for the prize give-away drawing we will do between sets and if you feel lucky purchase one or several $1.00 tickets for our multi-CD winner take all package. Always a fun way to support the blues in our region each and every month. We’ll see you there.

By Richard LaChapelle

This year’s Holiday Party, hosted at the Spare Room, and was packed with entertainers, CBA members and guests, celebrating the Christmas season with excellent blues.

A big thank you goes out to The Bridge City Blues Band, The Gabriel Cox Band, Kevin Self & The Torandoes, The Ken DeRouchie Band, and Ellen Whyte, with Albert Reda and Terry Robb, for providing the music that makes Portland a first class blues town all year long.

This would not have happened without our hard working CBA Board Members for organizing this well attended event. Thanks to our generous volunteers–Winnie Richards, Kendall and Cheryl Kalimper, Gary Jaskowiak, Randy Murphy, Sandy Forst, Jody Gunn, Barry Blackwell, Tom Jurhs, Janet Tolman and Cherie Robbins–who know how to have a good time and make it happen.

And finally to the Spare Room for accommodating our CBA holiday crowd, and the friendly and efficient wait staff that took good care of all of us.

Eddie__0059-600[1]“Otherworldly”, “scorching”, “polyrhythmic” and “chilling” have all been used to describe Eddie Turner’s guitar playing. His ethereal style is an amalgam of the Afro-Cuban rhythms of his heritage and the music that influenced him as a teenager: Chicago blues, jazz, r&b and psychedelic rock. A multi-nominee for the Blues Music Awards with numerous highly praised recordings, Eddie “Devil Boy” Turner had toured as a member of the Otis Taylor Band prior to taking on his successful solo career, Eddie Turner & The Trouble Twins. “If anybody ever went down to the Crossroads and let the Devil tune his guitar it was probably Eddie Turner. Man, you get chills every time the guy strikes a note! And the expressions he makes while he’s talking out each lick leave one convinced he’s channelling other-worldly ancestral demi-gods.”

Eddie Turner makes a much too rare appearance in Portland on Thursday, December 11th, at Duff’s Garage for a 9:00 pm show. Duff’s Garage is located at 2530 NE 82nd.





Making My Mark
Montrose Records

Annika Chambers CDI first became aware of Annika Chambers during the Blues Music Awards weekend in Memphis this past May. This powerhouse vocalist was part of the Beale Street Mess Around showcase, performing with Jeff Jensen and Brandon Santini. She has an extremely strong voice that instantly draws you into her soulful R&B and bluesy material. And she has that knack to bring whatever direction she approaches come across just right, whatever it may be, good old plain funky danceable numbers or tear-inducing emotional songs.

Making My Mark is Chambers’ debut recording with the award-winning team of Larry Fulcher of the Phantom Blues Band behind the helm as arranger and producer, while engineered by Houston’s ace studio man Richard Cagle at the latter’s Montrose Records. And speaking of award-winning contributors, they have gathered a sensational band of some of Houston’s elite players, many who have garnered Grammy Award wins and nominations with a good portion of them being members of Taj Mahal’s bands. The name Houston All Stars is definitely befitting of this group.

There are seven original numbers on the album. Larry Fulcher’s daughter Dominque offers her songwriting skills to three numbers (as well as a little rapping on “That Feel Good”), and Chambers herself wrote or contributed on three of the tracks. Outstanding covers range from BB King (“Let’s Get Down To Business”), Bobby Charles (“Jealous Kind”), Steve Cropper & Eddie Floyd (“Love’s Sweet Sensation”), Faye Adams (“It Hurts Me To My Heart”) and even The Crusaders (“Put It Where You Want It”).

The opening song “Move” is something of an autobiographical piece set to a funky pace with nice wah-wah guitar from Brad Absher. It is her story of how music made her make the move in life to pursue her dreams. She had spent the previous eight years in the Army achieving the rank of sergeant and doing two tours in Iraq, but performing in a talent show helped her discover her true passion and music has been her focus since.

There are a couple obvious double-entendre numbers “Lick ‘Er” informing her bar-hopping partner that she has something that Jack ain’t got, and “Barnyard Blues” where all the animals on the farm seem to be getting a little frisky and the city boy who learns more down on the farm than he did on the streets.

There truly is a lot to be excited about on Making My Mark. Annika Chambers is a rising star in our midst. Check out this disc and remember that name. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing it on a regular basis in the years to come.

Total Time: 53:40

Move / Barnyard Blues / Jealous Kind / Lick ‘Er / Trust Me / Down South / That Feel Good / Put It Where You Want It / Guitar Boy / Love’s Sweet Sensation/ It Hurts Me To My Heart / Let’s Get Down To Business


Joe McMurrian

Here’s an exciting night happening at Mississippi Studios on Sunday, December 28th, featuring three fantastic popular blues-roots acts from the Portland area. Headlined by guitar/banjo master Joe McMurrian, the night will also present some old-time roots music by the Smut Jellyroll Society and The How Long Jug Band. Tickets are $8.00 – $10.00 and available through This is a 21 & over only show. Mississippi Studios is located at 3939 N Mississippi Avenue. Showtime is 8:00 pm.

Joe McMurrian & The Eclectica

Progressive blues/roots band from Portland, Oregon led by guitarist/songwriter Joe McMurrian. WOODBRAIN (formerly JMQ) is redefining the scope improvisational roots music while blending such influences as delta blues, jazz, rock, folk and just plain powerful sound.

Smut City Jellyroll Society

The Smut City Jellyroll Society plays music from the 20′s and 30′s, blues and early jazz from folks like Bessie Smith, Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller, Ma Rainey, Big Bill Broonzy, Harlem Hamfats and the Mississippi Sheiks among others. The sound is energetic and great to dance to, and the songs can be a little bit on the risque side. They also perform some original material in the style of the period.

The How Long Jug Band

Jug bands can play a variety of different genres, including blues, early jazz and ragtime. More than the songs they play, jug bands are defined by their use of homemade instruments — trading drums for a washboard, trumpet for kazoo and tuba for jug. The How Long Jug Band has been upholding this tradition with performances in and around Portland for four years. They recently released their second album, Skoodle Um Skoo.

Sister MercySister Mercy is a band that has deep roots in the Portland music scene featuring former members of the local favorite act The Rose City Kings and introducing to the region’s blues scene the sensational voice of April Brown. Originally from Los Angeles, Brown has worked renowned rooms in that city including The Whiskey and The Roxy, as well as being trained in comedy.

You may have caught Sister Mercy this last summer at the Cascade Blues Association’s summer picnic and will remember the fiery and exciting set they delivered. The band has just finished recording their debut CD, titled Head Over Heels and to properly celebrate its creation they have booked a CD release party at The Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, on Sunday, December 14th, for a 7:00 pm show. Portland musician Jennifer Smieja opens the show. This is a 21 & over only show with tickets available through for $10.00 admission.


Nobody But Me
Electro-Fi Records

Rip Lee Pryor CD coverIf traditional blues is what you’re looking for, then Rip Lee Pryor’s Nobody But Me is about as authentic as you’re going to find. This is bare boned music and when I say bare boned I mean right down to the marrow. Most of what you’ll hear here is simply Pryor, his harmonica and guitar telling a straight-forward story without heavy embellishments with his guitar. His harmonica playing takes you right back to the influences of both his father, the legendary Snooky Pryor, and Sonny Boy Williamson II. This is sitting on your porch or in the back corner of a smoky bar stripped down where you might be playing just for your enjoyment music. Where you might occasionally draw somebody else to be inspired to sit in along with you. That’s how most of the disc comes across, while there are a few numbers where Pryor is joined by a bass and drummer (Alec Fraser and Bucky Berger respectively), it is mostly the emperor’s new clothes baring everything for all to see. And though it comes across as down-home country blues, Pryor is delivering his music from the big city of Chicago. The music of the Maxwell Street performers may come directly to mind when listening to Rip Lee Pryor.

Nobody But Me is Pryor’s debut recording for the Electro-Fi label, the same company that issued his father’s records for several years until his death. The song selections cover five of his father’s compositions, three from Sonny Boy and an Elmore James number. The remaining three tracks are his own originals. But the raw feel of the numbers is all Rip Lee Pryor. Even if it’s a song everybody knows and loves in its original rendition, Pryor strips it down and recreates it as his own. “One Way Out” for example, reminds me of Duster Bennett’s version of the same song. A man, his guitar and a harmonica in a rack. Whereas Bennett’s take may be more upbeat, Pryor still brings across the spryness of the song in his own manner.

Rip Lee Pryor may be a throw-back to earlier musicians, but this is a man sharing his blues. And it doesn’t get much more real than this.

Total Time: 43:18

Shake Your Boogie / Nobody But Me / You Gotta Move / Wake Up Baby / Lonesome / Crazy Bout You Baby / Keep Our Business To Yourself / Heard The News / Stuck On Stupid / I Got My Eyes On You / Pitch A Boogie Woogie / One Way Out

“It takes an audience to raise a musician,” notes local singer songwriter Ellen Whyte.  And to have the chance to reach out to new fans takes a fresh approach.  Knowing that many Oregon musicians have struggled to make the next step in their careers a “second season” may be the answer.

Second Season Productions is the brainchild of Ellen Whyte and John Mullin. It all started about 8 years ago at an outdoor concert on a warm summer evening for about 150 people in West Linn, Oregon. Ellen and her band at that time were performing all original music. The audience was loving it–hanging on every lyric sung and every note played. There was a special magical connection that Ellen had with this audience. While this had happened before and since, something clicked that night.

John and Ellen talked after the show and continued the discussion over the years about the idea of Portland having a concert series called, “Second Season Concerts.” The idea is to capture the attention of a demographic that enjoys a variety of styles of music, some of whom don’t get out to hear live music very often.

How then to connect the love of music with a passion for performing? Organizing this kind of a concert series with the artists who have paid their dues and want to share what they have learned with new fans is what’s in the works. Starting February 1, 2015, three bands will perform at each concert on the second Sunday of each month. The location will be at The Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR. starting at 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Tickets will be very affordable. We encourage all ages to attend–think “Austin City Limits” meets Portland.

Here’s the thing though: We can’t do it without you. We need your help to make it happen. Please consider donating to: Second Season Productions, PO Box 356, Oregon City, OR 97045. Thank you!

The Second Season Productions Concert Series is sponsored by the Cascade Blues Association.



ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

I hope that you were all listening to Curtis Salgado when he was standing at the podium at the Muddy Awards. He was basically telling you the same thing I have been stating over and over again in this column for the past few years. Get out and check out some new music.

Curtis had spoken with me about a week before the Muddys and asked if he could be open about the awards show. I told him to fire away. He was concerned with seeing the same names year after year on the ballot when we have a world of talent within our region that is being overlooked. I told him I couldn’t agree with him more. Though the nominees selected are all worthy and deserving of the recognition, and most importantly they are the selections of our members, one can’t help but wonder why so many others working so hard night after night do not reach the ballot, too. When Curtis asked if I would mind his talking to the attendees at the Muddys, I told him I had no problem with that. Before the show started he cornered me and asked again just to confirm that there wasn’t an issue with his addressing his thoughts. Again, I told him to go for it, that I was behind him fully on this point.

There may have been some people upset by what Curtis spoke about, but he was only speaking the truth. And I would tend to believe that many of the people nominated over and over again would state the same thing. That is why we began retiring categories and naming them after those who have won at least a dozen times. This was started by request of some of the artists themselves as they felt that others should receive the recognition that they had received seemingly each year. Two categories next year will be retired and named for those with a dozen wins or more: R&B Act – Lloyd Jones and Drums – Jimi Bott. So, at least two categories should be offering new nominees.

Curtis wants to recognize his heroes, too. I saw him on stage at the Blues Music Awards where he said that he was up against the “real” blues men and that he’d give his award to Otis Clay if he could, because that was an influence for him and he felt deserving of the award for as many years as he has set our hearts afire with his soulful voice. That was the same thing he was talking about regarding local vocalist Andy Stokes. Here is a man within our own community who is a bone-deep soul man and entertainer and Curtis called Andy his vocal hero. Yet he is missing from the Muddy ballots. There was a smattering of applause in agreement with Curtis, BUT, if people would have stuck around until the end of the night, they would have also been true believers as Andy Stokes closed out the night and had those still there jumping with adrenaline. All I could say was WOW!!

All we are saying people, is there are a tremendous amount of talented musicians in our midst. You could probably attend a different show a few times a week for several months and not see the same act twice, there are that many. It’s always great to see names appear on the ballot that have been missed over the years, such as this year with folks like John Mazzocco, Doug Rowell, Dave Mathis and Ken DeRouchie. And I always get excited by the New Act category because it means you are paying attention to some acts you may not be familiar with.

Get out there and do yourself a favor, check out somebody new to you this month. Make a practice to do this regularly. Go to a new venue. You just might be surprised at what you discover out there. And maybe we’ll see some more names nominated along with your regular favorites. Lord knows there are enough out and about to make a difference.


On Friday, December 19th, Dante’s will be hosting a special holiday party with a sensational line-up of some of Portland’s very best musicians representing genres ranging from soul, blues, jazz, zydeco, Cajun and more. The Stumptown Soul Holiday Spectacular will feature artists such as Ural Thomas & The Pain, Karen Lovely, Dan Berkerey (aka Kolvane), Reggie Houston, Steve Kerin, Peter Dammann, Michael Dean Damron, Jennifer Smieja and Kris Deelane.

Dante’s is located at 1 SW 3rd and showtime is 8:00 pm. Tickets are $10.00 and available through