Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry is one of North Mississippi’s best kept secrets, but that should certainly not be the case. With his productive and diverse background, Perry is a musician who knows how to rock a juke using only his guitar, foot and voice. Perry obtained his musical start playing gospel and was recorded by Chess Records. He’s toured with such renowned gospel greats as Shirley Ceasar and The Five Blind Boys, graced many famous stages like The Apollo, and hit the road with such Blues luminaries as Little Milton, Freddy King, and T-Bone Walker. He even took second place in the solo/duo competition of the International Blues Challenge a few years back.

“I’m not your typical bluesman,” Perry told an interviewer.  “I’m stable and in a stable marriage for many years, so I don’t sing about love lost and things.  I look around me and see what I see and write about it and sing about it.  The sounds that Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Charlie Patton and all that stuff that they was playing, I have tried to take and borrow from that and add in my own special blend of experience over the years.”

It is very rare to have a musician like Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry play in our part of the country, so you should definitely make a point in catching his performance at The Birk, 11139 Highway 202, Birkenfeld, OR, on Saturday, April 4, 7:00 pm. Come out and experience some true Mississippi blues.

“Harmonica virtuoso Musselwhite raises the level of emotional expression on his instrument beyond even the masters he learned from…the grizzled veteran richly decorates his music with telling nuance and chiseled detail.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Mississippi born Charlie Musselwhite is one of the most revered blues musicians in the world.

The harmonica master, also a respected singer and songwriter in his own right, has won countless awards during his legendary career including induction into the Blues Hall of Fame and collaborated with innumerable musical giants of the past 50 years including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Williams, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, and John Lee Hooker, just to name to name a few. With 32 recordings to his credit since his 1967 highly-acclaimed debut Stand Back! Musselwhite continues to enthrall audiences around the world and win over new blues fans everywhere.

The blues legend returns to Portland for a special engagement at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., on Thursday, April 2. Showtime is 8:00 pm with tickets selling for $26.00 advance and $30.00 day of show through Minors are welcome with a parent or guardian.

Seattle’s blues diva Lady A will present Bluzin The Northwest at Jimmy Mak’s on Saturday, April 4 for one show only featuring Mississippi’s Dexter Allen, the Linda Hornbuckle Band, and Lady A herself. Plan on a night of outstanding soulful blues entertainment.

Dexter Allen - press photoDexter Allen may best be known for his time as the guitarist for the Bobby Rush Band, but he began performing at the age of twelve as a multi-instrumentalist working guitar, bass, drums and keyboards in gospel outfits. Though he can play a variety of instruments, often on the same song, it is his blazing work on guitar that sets him apart as well as his deep soulful vocals. And he can play it all, blues, soul, and funk, with the very best of them. With three albums in his pocket, including his latest outstanding disc Bluez Of My Soul, Dexter Allen is ready to take on the world from Mississippi and beyond.

Blues and funk diva Lady A has been singing for more than twenty years and began her solo career with the Baby Blues Funk Band in 1994. She has performed in gospel, blues funk and even Motown revues, and always brings out the Southern overtones from her Louisiana upbringing. With a pair of acclaimed recordings, Lady A has been commanding stages across the Pacific Northwest and across the country.

The backing band is also stellar, as members of The Linda Hornbuckle Band will be the power behind the show. Drummer Brian Foxworth is sure to lay down a groove and offer his vocals to the mix of the show, while Randy Monroe mans the bass, Peter Dammann and Doug Lewis handle the guitar duty, and Louis Pain plays the Hammond B3. This band alone is worth the admission price.

Jimmy Mak’s is located at 221 NW 10th, showtime is 8:00 pm. Advanced tickets can be purchased at, $15.00 reserved and $12.00 general admission. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event and members can receive a 10% discount by using the code “CBA” when ordering online before March 31.

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 5 and Saturday, June 6. 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 4.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted now until Wednesday, April 1 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 by a random drawing, 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.

Jimmy Thackery - photo by Alan GrossmanWhether Jimmy Thackery headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double-edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note that will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. “I put all my senses on hold and find the zone and follow what’s inside. There’s an electricity from your mind to your heart to your fingers. You just try and remember to breathe.”

He’s one of the few blues guitarists who learned first hand from the masters of the blues, not off a blues record or DVD. Though most associate Jimmy with his 15 years as the co-founder of the Nighthawks, he ended his time with them in 1987. Since then, Jimmy has been on the road as a solo musician for 15 years doing nearly 300 shows a year and proving each night that he is still the guitar powerhouse in the blues.

Jimmy Thackery will be bringing his fiery guitar attack showcase to Oregon for two shows in April that is sure to bring out old and new fans.

First, on Wednesday, April 8, he will be appearing at The Birk, 11139 Highway 202, in Birkenfeld, for a 7:00 pm performance.

Then, on Thursday, April 9, The Trails End Saloon will welcome Jimmy Thackery for a 9:00 pm show. Admission is  $15.00  and this is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so remember to show your current membership card for a $1.00 discount at the door.

The sixth annual Soul’d Out Music Festival is set to hit the venues of Portland on April 14-20 with another stellar and diverse line-up this year. And there is plenty for blues lovers to get excited about as well, with numerous acts scheduled that’ll cross over between multiple genres.

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley - photo by Greg JohnsonOn opening night, April 14, The Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, Charles Bradley, “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” will take command with his show-stopping performance of over the top soul stylings and deep gospel groove. Bradley started his career as a James Brown impersonator, but with two highly acclaimed recordings and a much praised showing at SXSW, he has been surging to the top of venue and festival wish lists everywhere, having appeared at recent festivals such as the Waterfront Blues Festival, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the Newport Folk Festival. Tickets for Charles Bradley are available through, ranging from $25.00 to $38.50. This is a 21 and over only show.

The California Honeydrops
California Honeydrops - photo by Josh Miller
April 16 will see an act returning to Portland that has won the hearts of many fans over the past few years for their infectious brand of street music mixed with New Orleans marching beats — a little Southern soul mixed with Bay Area R&B. There will be a little bit of something that should appeal to all listeners and all ages. In fact, it has been said about The California Honeydrops that they don’t just play music, they throw parties. Led by guitarist/trumpeter/vocalist Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament who had begun by busking in the underground BART subway stations in the Bay Area, the group is rounded out with saxophonist/clarinetist Johnny Bones, keyboardist Lorenzo Loera, and Bassist Beau Bradbury. They have released a handful of stellar recordings, the latest being 2013’s Like You Mean It. Fast becoming one of the most favorite live acts on the circuit today, get ready to move your feet and dance with The California Honeydrops. The Honeydrops will be appearing at Dante’s, 1 SW 3rd, for a 9:00 pm show. Tickets are $18.00 and available through

CeDell Davis
CeDell Davis - photo courtesy of Fat Possum
Delta blues legend CeDell Davis will be appearing at The Star Theater, on Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 pm. Having played the blues for more than 60 years, Davis tells the story of hearing Robert Johnson play on a porch in Helena, Arkansas when he was a young boy. He’d have to had been really young as Johnson had died before Davis reached his teens, but he states that he was inspired by Johnson to start playing the blues himself. Known as one of the most revered elder players in the Mississippi Delta, CeDell Davis is notable for his unique style of slide guitar using a kitchen knife. This event is a 21 and over only show. Tickets are available through for $15.00.

Dezarie, with opening act Vieux Farke Toure
Vieux Farke Toure - press photo
Though the headliner for this show, Dezarie, is a reggae artist, this should be a double-headed bill of note as she is joined by guitarist Vieux Farke Toure, who is affectionately referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara.” Born in Mali in 1981, his father was the famed African guitarist Ali Farke Toure, whose original native styles closely resembled the first music that developed into the blues in America. Vieux took on the music he inherited from his father shortly before his patriarch’s death and soon took on a different angle incorporating rock sounds, but still holding true with the bluesy notes at the same time. It is a fiery style of playing that will capture you. Dezarie and Vieux Farke Toure will perform on closing night, Monday, April 20, at The Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell. Showtime is 9:00 pm. This is a 21 and over only event. Tickets can be purchased at Check with ticket website for prices to be announced.

All Access passes that will allow you to entry to all of these shows and others presented during the Soul’d Out Music Festival can be purchased through for $145.00.

Lloyd Jones

Here’s some fun for everyone!

April 25, at Duff’s Garage—2530 NE 82nd Ave.—we’re bringing out the full band extravaganza with The Atlas Horns. For the first time this year, we’re in Portland for a Birthday Celebration with friends and guests of all kinds sitting in.

We will be showing off some new songs before the concert season takes us back out on the road again. We’ll be going up through Canada, then off to Denmark, Sweden and Norway in June and July. To find out more details please sign up to our email list on the website

Last year we partied in Reno as guests of the Reno Blues Society on my birthday. They were soooo kind and welcoming—we were honored and delighted. Giant thank you’s to The Reno Blues Society!

This year, I’ll be returning home from Hawaii and recommend festive garb. I mean push the envelope…do that thing you been wanting to do for so long but were waiting for the right time and place. When I say fun, I mean they will have to close Duff’s for two days to clean up the mess!

Remember, we had my 1,000th birthday at Duff’s a couple years ago, so I’ll be 1,029 this year…in dog years….“Treat Me Like The Dog I Am,” baby!

Lloyd Jones
“Groove Merchant”

Pin and The Horn-its

Hi to all of our “Old Friends” out there!

For those of you that don’t know,  Pin & The Horn-its was originally formed in 1986 by locals Larry Pindar, Mike Cross and British Blues pioneer Chris Mercer. The band started out as 9 pieces, was a mainstay of The Waterfront Blues Festival for the first decade as well as appearing at The Mount Hood Jazz Festival and The Rose Festival many times. In that period the band released a Cassette of the 9 piece called One Shot Deal in the late 80’s and later in the early 90’s the 10 piece released a CD entitled Stingin The Blues. After that the band just sort of faded away and co-leader/business manager Mike Cross moved to Pocatello, ID, to attend to family matters.

Mike’s back now for good and just like Jake and Elwood we got the old band back together! We ARE living the cliché!

This time we went even bigger, adding 4 more pieces from the original 9 to 13. We have added a permanent trombone player, John Gordon for a minimum of 6 horns.  I’m playing guitar and singing a few, as is Mike. We have added percussionist Vinnie Bargas and a female lead and background singer by the name of Holly Cole.  Of course our partner in crime and co-leader Chris Mercer is arranging and leading the horn section as our musical director.  John Granger, Rick Rier, Brad Ulrich, Mike Klobas are back and we welcome bassist Ed Coture, trumpet/flugelhornist Joe McCarthy, and “Hood” icon Leslie White on keys/organ and vocals.

We had the first concert debut of the “new” band at The Crystal Ballroom recently to a packed house at the Too Slim benefit and our “club” debut at The Lehrer March 5. Club dates already “on the books” are all at Duffs, all on Saturdays: April 18, May 23 and June 27th. Hope to see you all there!

Larry “pin” Pindar

LaRhonda Steele

In celebration of Easter weekend the Lake Theater & Cafe, (106 N State St., Lake Oswego,) will be featuring an evening of gospel music with LaRhonda Steele. Beginning with her first solo performance in church at the age of 13 and now as the choir director for the Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, she is uniquely gifted to bring magic to such an event. For many years LaRhonda has been part of the Waterfront Blues Festival’s “The Old Time Gospel Hour” featuring Linda Hornbuckle and Janice Scroggins. For this special post-Easter Music Monday on April 6 she will call on some of her friends who were also often part of that memorable program including Arietta Ward, Nafisaria Scroggins, MaryEtta Callier, Ron Shoals, and Mary Tucker. This premier collection of gospel voices will be accompanied by husband Mark Steele on keyboards and Tyrone Hendrix on drums.

The Lake Theater offers a highly acclaimed dinner menu and full bar. The show starts at 7:00, doors open at 6:00, and all ages are welcome. Ticket price is $15 and they are available at the Lake Theater & Cafe website:

Ill Take You There Mavis Staples - book coverI’ll Take You There, Greg Kot’s new biography of Mavis Staples, is so much more than just a bio of Mavis. This book chronicles many aspects of American life from the dawn of the civil rights era through the present, as seen in the context of Pops Staples and one of the most enduring family bands of all time, the Staples Singers. It visits such topics as life in the Jim Crow rural south, the great migration, travel on the chitlin’ circuit, the role of entertainers supporting the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the fascinating world of the young soul singers  born in Mississippi who grew up on Chicago’s south side, including Mavis and her siblings, Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, and many more.

Kot examines the dynamics of the top southern soul recording studios and their house bands at Stax and Muscle Shoals Sound studio. There are insights into Pops’ songwriting and the collaborations Mavis forged with other musicians as she established her solo career.

Kot, a long time music critic for the Chicago Tribune, has had a long working relationship with the Staples, which gives him an enormous advantage in researching such a far-ranging book. His research is built on archival material from record labels, publishers, and music journalism, and also hundreds of interviews spanning many years with not only members of the family, but music industry professionals, media members, many, many musicians, friends, neighbors, fans, and others as well.

For the public familiar only with the uplifting gospel and blues music that made Mavis a star, the complications and tragedies of her life will come as a revelation, and her artistic triumphs take on a much deeper significance.

This book is highly recommended.

I’ll Take You There,  Kot, Greg Scribner, 2014 294 p.

reviewed by Rob Shoemaker, ©2015

Rite On! Rite Now!
Self Produced

Catfish CD coverFor anyone looking for an album that will get your pulse racing, look no further than Catfish & the Hollywood Hound Dogs’ Rite On! Rite Now! This is great grind-it-out West Coast blues with more than a hint of rockabilly, reminiscent of bands like Hollywood Fats or Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers — crunching harmonica riffs enmeshed with a swinging guitar that bring you right into the mix with the opening salvos of “Hound Dog Boogie.”

Front man, harmonica player, and vocalist Gilbert “Catfish“ Mares penned all but two of the numbers on this album, and you can tell that he has studied his West Coast blues history. Jumping and pounding just the way you like it, Catfish is joined by the slashing guitar stylings of Anthony Contreras, the “done-right” bass of Mark St. John-Jones, and the powerful drumming of Evan Caleb Yearsley. And since Thomas Yearsley of The Paladins engineered and mixed  Rite On! Rite Now! you know that there is going to be a steady pace of quick grooves throughout.

The two covers are both songs much covered by Hollywood Fats back in the day, “Rock This House” and “Too Many Drivers.” Both feature the stylings of guest Mike Malone, and Nathan James also takes part in the former.

You got to love this one. It’s full of attitude that’s going to make the speakers on your player smoke! Just try to sit still while listening to Rite On! Rite Now! I really don’t think it’s possible, and Catfish is destined to be the next name to watch when it comes to harmonica playing dynamos.

Total Time: 43:39

Hound Dog Boogie / Rock This House / Handsome Devil /Hot Rod Momma / High School Drama / Wrong Number / She Gotta Problem / Too Many Drivers / Super Bee / Fish Years / Fine, Foxy & Full Of Lovin’

The third edition of Cherie’s Blues Highway Series returns to The Lehrer on Sunday, April 12 with a special showcase featuring Ladies of the Blues of the NW. Producer Cherie Robbins continues to combine the talents of Oregon and Washington performers who often do not have the opportunity to share the stage with one another. For the April show, Cherie has brought together a trio of some of the most powerful female blues artists and vocalists found in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle’s hardest working soul and blues diva Lady A will be one of the featured artists for this show. Fresh from competing in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis with the Randy Oxford Band and headlining a short tour with Mississippi’s Dexter Allen earlier this month, Lady A is a commanding performer. With roots in both Louisiana and Seattle, she has been thrilling audiences in the NW for more than 20 years.

Portland’s Lisa Mann is on a fast-moving roll at this moment, following on the heels of her highly praised release Move On, she has received Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association, received the coveted Sean Costello Rising Star Award from Blues Blast Magazine and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award. One of the region’s most beloved artists, Lisa Mann is a remarkable vocalist and tremendous bassist.

Holding everything together for this show will be Eugene’s Joanne Broh Band. Joanne herself is a powerful dynamo who can easily slide between musical stylings such as blues, funk, jazz and soul. A winner of the Rainy Day Blues Society’s Best Female Vocalist Award, she has found herself opening shows for the likes of Karen Lovely, Lionel Young, Ty Curtis, Leon Russell, and Lydia Pense & Cold Blood. Joanne’s band is also made up of some of Eugene’s most talented musicians: guitarist Jerry Zybach, bassist Jim Badalich, and drummer Danny Miller. This outfit will definitely hold down the house behind the trio of vocalist on hand.

The Lehrer is located at 8775 SW Canyon Lane in Beaverton. This is an all ages event and takes place from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Admission is $10.00. Come on out and witness three of the most talented blues ladies in the Northwest for what is certain to be an afternoon not to be missed.