Montana-based blues rockers, The Kenny James Miller Band will be making a rare trip down to the Portland area for a pair of shows the first week of February. This Inland Empire Blues Society award winning band is a favorite throughout Eastern Washington, Montana and Idaho with their high energy performances known for keeping audiences entertained and asking for more each and every night. The trio consists of guitarist/songwriter Ken Sederdahl, drummer Mark Miller and bassist Mark Cornett. They are a tight outfit playing mostly original music sure to appeal to fans of bands like Robin Trower, ZZ Top or Government Mule. With one album under their belts, Revelator, they have recently been selected to be showcased on Montana PBS’ Emmy winning show 11th & Grant that documents the best bands in the state, airing this spring.Kenny James Miller Band - photo by JMK Photography

The Kenny James Miller Band will be playing at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, for a 9:00 pm show on Thursday, February 5th. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so remember to show your current membership card at the door for a $1.00 discount.

Then, on Friday, February 6th, the band will be on the West Side of town, performing at Coach’s Bar & Grill, just off the intersection of Hwys 26 & 217, at 10162 SW Parkway, for a personal friend’s birthday celebration. Showtime is 9:00 pm, contact the venue for admission and further details.

Walk Away
VizzTone Records

Jimmy Carpenter CD coverJimmy Carpenter once again steps outside from his gig with Walter “Wolfman” Washington to showcase his own creative energy as a songwriter and leader with his second solo release, Walk Away. One of New Orleans premier saxophonists and sidemen, he takes on both guitar and vocals here displaying his depth of talent. And as is true with many Crescent City musicians, Carpenter eases between R&B, funk, jazz and blues seemingly effortlessly.

With a local band that features Casandra Faulconer on bass, John Gros on keyboards, Wayne Maureau on drums and percussionist Michael Skinkus. The album also features guitarist John Fohl throughout, plus Mike Zito and Anson Funderburgh on a song each. Antonio Gambrell blends his trumpet alongside Carpenter for a trio of numbers and Memphis-based vocalist Reba Russell takes the lead on the country-tinged “Fellow Traveler” to close out the album along with backing vocals on another three.

As a lyricist Carpenter has a knack for putting together classic lines such as “sometimes I wish that you would leave me so I could watch you walk away”(“Walk Away”) or “you’re a hard act to follow, there is nothing wrong, but she’s not you”(“She’s Not You”) and “everywhere I go they’re playing songs about you” (“Favorite Muse”).

His singing voice is pleasantly soulful with nice delivery, making him a double punch along with his tasteful sax work that comes across consistently, especially on something like the instrumental tracks “7th Street Shuffle” and “C King Blues.” Both are highlighted on “Hard To Be Cool” accented by John Gros’ organ playing. On “Crazy ‘Bout You” there is somewhat of a Springsteen quality on this catchy pop flavored number where Carpenter fills in both the feel of Bruce and Clarence Clemons’ parts. “On The Outside” also takes a more rocking take that will leave you snapping your fingers along; think in the lines of Dave Edmunds here.

But do not think for a minute that Jimmy Carpenter does not know his blues, this album has a little bit for everyone. Very masterfully crafted, all original and all a lot of fun. Walk Away is something you should hear and give it a listen now.

Total time: 59:54

Can’t Let Go / Walk Away / When You’re Ready / She’s Not You / 7th Street Shuffle / No One’s Ever / More Than Meets The Eye / Hard To Be Cool / Crazy ‘Bout You / C King Blues / Favorite Muse / On The Outside / Fellow Traveler

Man & Guitar
Nugene Records

With some people all you need to do is set them alone in a chair with a guitar and magic appears. So it seems with Ian Siegal, the British blues master who consistently is named one of the finest artists of the genre throughout Europe. Usually Siegal works with a band for his recordings and so when a solo release comes out it is certainly something to celebrate. Many fans had been clamoring for a new solo disc. Many more for a live album to capture the pure energy and guitar tenacity erupting from his strings onstage. So this new release, Man & Guitar delivers on both counts. Ian Siegal CD cover

Recorded in London’s famed Royal Albert Hall in late 2013, it is everything you could hope for from Siegal. Running through his own ingenious originals alongside beautifully rendered covers, this live performance easily offers the guitar man at his best.

Selections for this live performance ranged from numbers from his most current release at the time The Dust, to his Blues Music Award nominated Candy Store Kid, to traditional blues by Son House, Charlie Patton and Fred McDowell,” to Texas troubadour Tom Russell and even a little 19th century Stephen Foster. All are done to perfection . . . well almost, the only time something is out of place is when Siegal tells us he goofed on the Charlie Patton’s “Pony Blues.” But as he states in the liner notes, “This is all the songs from start to finish imperfections and all.” But that is exactly what makes live performances unique and inspiring in the hands of the right person. Ian Siegal is such a person. His take on Taj Mahal’s arrangement of “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business” is every bit as lively and tongue-twisting as Taj’s, right down to his impersonation of Wolfman Jack.

Throughout it all the guitar work of Siegal is not only impressive, it is superb. If you have never heard Ian Siegal perform before, or may only be familiar with his electric band output, Man & Guitar is something to definitely seek out. He may come across as a diamond in the rough on stage, but this is a pure gem in all its polished finery. For what everybody in Great Britain may already know, it’s time for the rest of us to wake up too. Ian Siegal is a blues master.

Total Time: 45:54

The Silver Spurs / Mary Don’t You Weep / Interlude: Big George / Mortal Coil Shuffle / Interlude: Charlie / Pony Blues / I Am The Train / T’ain’t Nobody’s Business / Interlude: Young Mickey / Falling On Down Again / Medley: Preachin’ Blues – Live So God Can Use You – You Got To Move / Gallo Del Cielo / Hard Times (Come Again No More)

Carolyn Wonderland - press photoA musical force equipped with the soulful vocals of Janis and the guitar slinging skills of Stevie Ray, Carolyn Wonderland reaches into the depths of the Texas blues tradition with the wit of a poet. She hits the stage with unmatched presence, a true legend in her time. For more than twenty years this multi-instrumentalist has been a leading force on the Austin blues scene and a major draw at festivals and venues across the country, with a handful of first-rate recordings and several appearances on Austin City Limits.

Wonderland will be bringing her rocking band back to Portland for another sure-to-be thrilling night at the Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 NE Alberta Street, for a 8:00 pm show on Tuesday, February 10th. All ages are welcome, minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets may be purchased through for $16.00 general admission in advance or $18.00 day of show.

By Kat Rose

The Strange Tones were excited to play the first New Year’s Eve at the new Duff’s Garage, located at 2530 NE 82nd.

The band has developed a marriage of blues, surf and Rockabilly that they have coined “Crime-A-Billy” to describe their own distinguishable, unique sound.

This band is the complete package with Guitar Julie (vocals and guitar), Andy Strange (bass, guitar, and harmonica), Suburban Slim (vocals, guitar), backed by Andy Gauthier’s energetic drumbeat.

NYEJulie’s lyrical style vocals and steaming guitar are well teamed with Andy’s backbeat on bass. He also plays harmonica on the original tunes “Wigglin’ Fool” and “Runaway Dog”. Andy Gauthier’s precision drumming and Suburban Slim’s fierce guitar and vocals on songs like ”Strollin’ With You” and “Kathryn Style” add to the band’s versatility.

Due to a recent bicycle accident, Andy was relieved on some songs by Whit Draper. Whit was a member of the original band and performed on their first CD Stink Bomb!.

The Strange Tones performed songs from their latest CD At Home With The Strange Tones as well as some old favorites from their previous CDs We’re On Our Way, Crime-A-Billy, and Stink Bomb!.

The band’s live energy was reciprocated by whooping and hollering and a packed dance floor.

I talked with Julie after the show and she exclaimed, “What a perfect way to ring in the new year with all our Strange Tones family and friends. We have such a long history with Duff’s, so it was great playing in their new room. And having Strange Tones alum Whit Draper sit in made it extra special!”

Twenty First Century Blues
Self Produced

If you prefer your blues straight ahead with no frills, played the way it should be, then the Bottleneck Blues Band may just be up your alley. The group is made up of four long-time friends who have been enjoying performing for fans and friends for the past four years in local venues such as The Blue Diamond, The Stickman Brewery, The Lehrer and Biddy McGraw’s as well as a few festivals like Hempfest and the Kalama Blues Festival. Led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bell and keyboard master Seth Zowader, the quartet is completed with the solid rhythm section of drummer Devon Shazier and bassist Dave Cushman.Bottleneck Blues Band - promo photo

Twenty First Century Blues is the first release from the Bottleneck Blues Band and most of the tracks were first take recordings, as stated on their website, which make for a true sampling of the way the band actually sounds live. The delivery is authentic. There is no over-embellishment that you’re likely to find with a lot of newer acts these days, and because there is no over-playing you are treated to a steady pulse that is raw and natural. Everything flows nicely. The sound mixes well throughout with the individual soloist brought to the forefront when appropriate and the solos work exceptionally well as noted on tunes like “Riverboat Blues” with Zowader and Bell trading the lead spots, and also Bell’s slide on “Jack & Jill.” The disc opens with a short Delta styled acoustic run on guitar that leads into a more rockin’ pace with “Life Gets You Down.” The band can certainly display a lot of fresh angles to their blues approach and even give a bit of country taste on the song “Barstool” that features guest Jerry Aasen providing a little extra flair with his harmonica.

Bottleneck Blues Band are the perfect way to spend the night with the blues, whether catching them onstage at a club or by spinning the Twenty First Century Blues CD. The band wanted to pay tribute to the genre’s past and they got it right.

Total Time: 39:32

Where We Come From / Life Gets You Down / Jack & Jill / Say To You / Love Dat Girl / Downtown / Hold Me Down / Social Security Blues / Riverboat Blues / Barstool / You End Up With The Blues

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

The Journey To Memphis will be held in two rounds. The opening round will take place over two nights at The Lehrer on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The two highest scoring acts each night advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted now until Wednesday, April 1st at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All eligible acts that meet our criteria as described below will be able to compete. We will adjust the time schedule to ensure all are included. Each act will perform either Friday or Saturday and are scheduled as drawn at random, so we request that you do not schedule other gigs until you know which night you are scheduled.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

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

Applications can be sent to Journey To Memphis c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, Oregon 97228-6566. All entries must be received no later than April 1.

Eric Johnson & Mike Stern - press photoTwo of the world’s most adept guitarist players are joining forces for a show that is certain to amaze both fans and players alike. Eric Johnson is able to mesh the sounds of country, blues, pop, rock and jazz and has collaborated with the likes of Sonny Landreth, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang and Steve Miller. He has also won a Grammy Award along with ten nominations. Mike Stern is a jazz and fusion guitar master with three decades of performances behind him with six Grammy nominations of his own. With the two of them on stage together, expect to be treated to a show that will expand all boundaries possible on guitar.

Eric Johnson and Mike Stern will be performing at The Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., on Friday, February 6th. Show time is 8:00 pm and minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets are $35.00 advance/day of show and may be purchased at either the Aladdin Theater box office or through

McMenamins White Eagle Saloon will be throwing a terrific Valentine’s Day show, Saturday, February 14th, that’ll feature two of the Northwest hottest acts, Ayron Jones & The Way and Rich Layton & The Troublemakers.Ayron Jones & The Way - press photo

Seattle blues rockers Ayron Jones & The Way have become one of Seattle’s hottest up-and-coming acts with their hybrid style of guitar playing pioneered by Jimi Hendrix, in which the chord and solo are played at the same time, and infused the raw energy of punk with the inner-city attitude of Hip-Hop. The result is a soulful reincarnation of that iconic Seattle sound. Think Stevie Ray Vaughan meets Nirvana.

Rich Layton & The Troublemakers are Portland’s premier purveyors of classic Gulf Coast music that covers both familiar music from Texas and Louisiana alongside their own rockin’ originals that Layton describes as “Rich crafts sharply drawn songs of good times and bad choices, big dreams and bad timing. Hope may hang by a thread, but it’s never out of reach.”

The White Eagle is located at 836 N Russell Street. Admission is $8.00 advance and day of show. 21 & over only. Advance tickets may be purchased at

summit20“We’re Back”! The 20th Annual Blues Harmonica Summit” will be held on Saturday February 21st at The Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St, from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. $10.00 cover at the door. 21 and over only (sorry). Hard to believe that it’s been going for 20 years, but we’ve managed with all the great support from our harmonica fans.

This year’s show will feature one of the world’s greatest women blues harmonica players, Lynnann Hyde! Coming over the mountains from Bend, OR, Lynnann got a lot of attention and turned some heads the last time she was at the Summit!

Though he’s been very ill from cancer treatments, Mike Moothart can still blow the harp better that most players out there and he will be at the Summit ready to prove that.

Making the trek down south from Seattle will be the great Kim Field. If you ever get the chance to read the book “Harp Blowers & Heavy Breathers,” Kim wrote that excellent book about many of the great harmonica players. One of the best from Seattle!

One of our great and eclectic harp men from here in Portland, Johnny Ward will also be on the bill. I say it every time that Johnny plays, you never know what he’s going to come up with and it’s a harp lesson to hear what he does.

Another veteran player from here in Portland, Dave Mathis is appearing at the Summit. Dave currently plays with Michael Osborn and the Drivers and if we’re lucky he’ll bring Michael along for some stinging guitar licks.

And last is your host and harp player, Bill Rhoades, a multiple Muddy Award winner and long-time Northwest Bluesman. Bill brings a vast knowledge of blues music and can wrestle with the blues harp himself!

Backing up all of our featured harp players will be an All Star House Band. If you like blues guitar, three of the Northwest’s finest will be on the bill. From Eugene, OR, Sir Henry Cooper and his unique slide guitar; originally from Austin, Texas, Newel C Briggs and his beautiful fretwork; and “The Orca” Chuck Laiti from here in Portland, with his slashing style!

On drums will be “Sweet” Jolie Clausen, another Northwest Vet. And on bass will be Katey May Angel.  All Blues All The Time!

Don’t miss this Harmonica Party / Show Down / Harp Slingers / Harp Bash / Harp Throw Down / Harmonica Armageddon! No matter what you call it, this is the First, Original and One and Only “Blues Harmonica Summit”! Don’t miss it! I don’t know if we have another 20 years in us. See it while you can!