little hurricane - press photoBased in Southern California, little hurricane is a dirty blues rock outfit born by way of North Park, San Diego. The band was formed in early 2010 when guitarist Anthony “Tone” Catalano and drummer Celeste “C.C.” Spina met through an ad on Craigslist. Oddly enough they both lived on the same street and had a similar jazz band background. They found a common interest in unique and vintage equipment and love of grimy, down and dirty blues. An old nightstand transformed into a speaker cabinet, vintage lamps, and ratty suitcases turned instruments are just a few of the things you can expect to grace the stage alongside little hurricane.

After finding success at Lollapalooza and on Austin City Limits, little hurricane has been touring the country constantly before appreciative audiences. They will be returning to Portland for a show at the Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside, on Thursday, September 24, for a 9:00 pm performance. Tickets are available at, $18.00 – $20.00, This is a 21 & over only show. Folk rockers Rin Tin Tiger will open the night.

Beth Hart - photo by Greg JohnsonBeth Hart is an enchantress. Discovered performing on the streets of Los Angeles, she has a voice that inspires, transforms, and takes you to the very depths of the human soul. She has collaborated with the likes of Jeff Beck, Slash, and Joe Bonamassa, performed at The Kennedy Center to honor bluesman Buddy Guy and received a standing ovation led by President Obama, has released a handful of albums that have reached toward the top of Billboard’s records charts and earned Grammy and Blues Music Award nominations. An extraordinary songwriter and performer, Beth Hart is the complete package.

On Saturday, September 26, Beth Hart will be making her first stop in Portland after a lengthy absence when she takes the stage at The Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. She is currently touring in support of her latest release Better Than Home. Show time for this 21 and over performance is 8:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance through from $25.00 – $35.00 (plus service charges).

BB King Show PosterBB King’s passing last May left a huge void in the blues community. King was the elder statesman and most recognized artist of his genre world-wide, and his music influenced and touched the lives of countless musicians and fans. September 16 would have been “The King’s” 90th birthday and to show just how much he meant to our local artists, the Trails End Saloon (1320 Main Street, Oregon City) will host a special birthday tribute celebration show entitled “From The Heart” on Friday, September 18 at 8:00 pm.

Guitarist Sonny Hess organized the “From The Heart” celebration and it will feature many of the finest regional musicians whose lives BB influenced by playing with and learning from him. They feel that the Thrill is Not Gone from their hearts. The night will be hosted by The Stevens Hess Band with Sonny Hess, Vicki Stevens, Jim Hively and Kelly Pierce, with special guests including Norman Sylvester, Jim Mesi, Lady True Blue, Rae Gordon, Peter Dammann, Ken DeRouchie, and more!

The fun begins at 8:00 pm, and this great collection of musicians are planning a professional jam to follow the tribute show. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so make sure to bring your membership card to show at the door for a $1.00 discount on admission. Join us at The Trails End Saloon to feel the thrill!

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

This sure has been wild summer with so many great artists playing around town and throughout the Northwest. My girlfriend (and booking agent/promoter herself) Cherie Robbins have been making so many trips to various venues and festivals, and while we’re doing this we are also attempting to bring along a merchandise table of Cascade Blues Association products with us. This is nothing new for CBA volunteers, but it is something that has not happened as much the past few years as it did previously and we want to start that tradition rolling again.

Since early spring we have been regularly showing up at places in town like Jimmy Mak’s and The Lake Theater & Café when acts falling into the blues realm, especially touring acts show up. We have also done a number of festivals like the Gorge Blues Festival in Stevenson, Kalama Music Festival and Bronze, Blues & Brews in Joseph, Oregon. We also recently made the trip to the Ilwaco Blues & Seafood Festival, but this was more of a vacation trip for us. Along the way there are so many people who have been so kind to us, from allowing us to show up at the last minute to giving lodging and meals while we are there, which is way more than we ever expected or would have asked for. Thank you big time to people like Dean Mueller at The Lake, Jimmy Makarounis, Mike & Wendy Ingraham at The Birk, Pete Poulson in Kalama, Jeri Davis-Paletta for hooking us up with several events and, Clint Carter in Ilwaco. These people are the best at supporting the Cascade Blues Association and letting us get our presence seen. I also have to throw a huge thanks out to fellow board members Merry Larsen and Jon Pierce, along with former board member Jody Gunn, for being there to assist in carrying supplies, setting up and watching over the table for us when available at several of the events.

The one problem with making some commitments so far in advance,though, is it prevents you from being everywhere that you want to be. That was the case while we were in Joseph. We so wanted to be at the benefit for Alyssa Lily, but could not make it back in time. But we did do as much as we could to help promote this event to spread the word in advance. Big time blessings to all involved, from the musicians to the volunteers to the Trails End to the people who donated items for the auction and especially Tracy Turner-Pain & Soul Sisters, Inc. You’re all angels for your kindness!

I also want to thank everybody who came out to The Lehrer on Sunday, August 16, for the first fundraiser for our Journey To Memphis winners Sister Mercy. A great afternoon of music with Rich Layton and Tevis Hodge, Jr. helping out. Please come out and support our IBC acts as often as you can! Sorry we did not have anything make it into the BluesNotes regarding this show, but as mentioned in my column last month, we were not even sure if The Lehrer would be open beyond the end of the month.

Speaking of The Lehrer, there is nothing in my heart that I enjoy more than being able to retract my comments about their imminent closing in last month’s column. It is through the music community that they are still open, and hopefully can remain going. The aid of musicians Ken DeRouchie, John Mazzocco, and Dave Kahl putting together a huge fundraiser for the venue happening after the BluesNotes deadline was huge!  And a group of acts helping out for this event. They know the importance of keeping all venues alive, because frankly when they close, that is less opportunity for them to work. The Knuckleheads, The Strange Tones, Ken DeRouchie Band, Lisa Mann, Lloyd Jones, Karen Lovely, Dover Weinberg, LaRhonda Steele, and Arietta Ward all stepped forward and I am sure others stopped by to lend their support, too. Please attend events at all of the venues, pay cover when called for, tip the bands, buy food and beverages while there …. Just keep the clubs in business. It will make everybody more happy!

Last word from me for this month. Support our IBC acts. Buy tickets for the Cascade Blues Cruise happening on The Portland Spirit on October 3. Thanks to Rae Gordon for putting this all together to raise money for all three of our acts heading to Memphis: Sister Mercy, Rogue Rage Duo, and Justus Reece. Throw in Karen Lovely and Rae both performing along on the ship with all three acts and it will be an amazing day. This cruise set up by Rae last year pretty much raised most of all the money her band needed to get to IBC through flying, lodging, and food. Let’s make this one be profitable for the 2016 entries! I’ll be there for sure, and you know this will sell out! Get your tickets now!

Mary Flower and the BBQ Boys - press photoMary Flower’s award-winning fingerpicking guitar and lap-slide prowess is soulful and meter perfect.  When she joins with the BBQ Boys, a joyous blend of blues, ragtime and swing is born.  The BBW Boys are a subset of the BBQ Orchestra started in the early 90’s by the late Fritz Richmond, jug player with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. The BBQ Boys are Stew Dodge on Fiddle, Doc Stein on dobro, Spud Siegel on mandolin and Mark Vehrencamp on tuba.

This amazing group of elite musicians will be appearing at The Lake Theater and Café on Monday, September 21 for a 7:00 pm performance. This is a wonderful setting for such an acoustic group, with perfect acoustics and unblocked sightlines. Tickets are $15.00 and can be ordered in advance through

Dave and Phil Alvin - photo by Greg JohnsonSome thirty years ago, brothers Dave and Phil Alvin broke out in Southern California with one of the most powerful bands of their time, The Blasters. They turned out one great song after another, including classics like “Border Radio” and “Marie Marie.” After many years of only occasionally working together, they released a tribute album to one of their blues heroes and early influences, Big Bill Broonzy, titled Common Ground that captured Grammy and Blues Music Award nominations and found them working at major blues festivals (including the Waterfront Blues Festival) around the country. The brothers are currently touring with their band The Guilty Ones to introduce material for their upcoming new release this month, Lost Time.

Dave & Phil Alvin will be performing at The Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., on Thursday, September 24. Tickets are available for $25.00 advance and $30.00 day of show through Minors are permitted when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Show time is 8:00 pm.

Harlis Sweetwater - press photoHarlis Sweetwater hails from Southern California and while he’s renowned as an exceptional guitarist and songwriter, he is also hailed as one of the greatest vocalists of any genre you may encounter. He formed the Harlis Sweetwater Band in 2012 to get back to the Blues/Soul and Americana music he loves, enlisting fellow musicians Jimmy Sena on drums and Jason Holser playing bass; both with extensive recording and performing experience, to lay down a solid foundation of groove for his wild, bluesy & intense guitar playing and husky soulful voice. The chemistry of the band’s players makes for high energy performances that both entertain and mesmerize, and often the party on stage rivals the one in the audience, making the Harlis Sweetwater Band one of the more fun and entertaining bands to see live. The band’s two albums, Lights Goin Down and Put It In Dirt have received rave reviews from around the world.

The Harlis Sweetwater Band will be touring Oregon in late September, including a stop at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, on Thursday, September 24 for a 9:00 pm show. Admission is $7.00. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so bring your current membership card to receive a $1.00 discount at the door. Opening the night will be Lightnin’ Willie and the Poor  Boys. (See separate article ) This is sure to be a dynamic double headed bill.

Then on Saturday, September 26, the band will be performing for an early 7:00 pm show at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202.

Make a point to catch this up and coming band while in our area!

Tracey Fordice and the 8-Balls
Greetings CBA Members and more,

It’s been a busy summer and also a lot of fun. We have had some great shows and been to a lot of fun places. Hope to see everyone in the months to come.

Well we have finally completed our long awaited new CD, and it’s a good one!

It’s entitled, Out of the Blues and features 11 original songs from the band, and one penned by George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt’s “other guitarist). We have also enlisted the help of some of Portland’s finest musicians to add their flare to our music. You’ll hear Phil “Suburban Slim” Wagner on guitar, Jim Wallace on harp, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, and Ben Medler on horns, David Alvey on guitars, Franklin Spicer on organ, Jim Toussaint on Fiddle, and Chris Baum on piano. Not to mention the multitude of instruments that we put down ourselves on these tunes!

Being produced and recorded by David Alvey at Drool’n Dogg Records, co-produced by Randy Yearout and Tracey Fordice, with mastering by Steve Sundholm, you know it’s going to sound good. It’s got lots of Blues (rockin’ and traditional), Soul, Gospel, and a New Orleans flavor that will please everybody, including a nod to the British Invasion that helped bring the Blues to the forefront of the music scene in the 60s.

We can’t tell you how pleased we are with it, and the efforts put in by Johnnie Corrie, Steven Mills, Randy Yearout, and myself, Tracey Fordice, were outstanding, and possibly some of our best work ever. We think you will feel the same!

Look for a CD release party at the Lehrer on September 18, and an in-store performance at Music Millennium on September 19.

Blues to you,
Tracey Fordice and the 8-Balls

Sister Mercy
We are honored to be Cascade Blues Association’s Journey to Memphis winners for 2015 and are so excited to head to Memphis in January.  There will be several opportunities to lend your ear and support for our trip.  Rae Gordon has been instrumental in getting the 2015 Blues Cruise set up for October 3 from 3:30 – 5:30 on the Portland Spirit.  Join the Journey to Memphis All-Stars for a great afternoon of music.  We also want to call out The Lehrer and Cherie’s Blue Highway for sponsoring an afternoon show in August.  Our recent album Head Over Heels has been getting rave reviews since its release in December 2015.  Thanks also to the great sound guys at the Waterfront Blues Festival so quick set up and sound quality.

Live @ The Purple Fox Loft

Here is the album I have been waiting for from Ben Rice for some time. Yes, it is a live recording, but it is also a reflection on his career and the growth of a performer. Having watched Ben since he was in his early teens, this is definitely a showcase of an emerging artist who, if any destiny is at play, should be breaking out big time nationally/internationally. Two straight years as a finalist in the International Blues Challenge doesn’t hurt anything either.

Live @ The Purple Fox Loft is a demonstration of how deep Ben Rice’s talents actually reach. Not only does he give forth splendid renditions of timeless blues classics, his songwriting achieves a level all its own. His singing is also top notch with phrasing that comes across clearly and strong, no matter how loud or quiet he brings it. And don’t get me started on his guitar work. He is simply one of the best guitarists in the region, whether it’s on his electric, his steel-bodied National, or his cigar-box. He is a master of each, and they’re all displayed throughout this live performance.

The song selections are a cross collection of his career to date. Songs like “I Got Loaded” or “Can’t Be Satisfied” are covers that have long been in his repertoire. And his original numbers are emotional and personal at times and always memorable, whether it’s his well-known take of “Ida Mae” that he has recorded a few times now, talking about “Fishing” trips with his father, absolute friendship on “Turn My Back On You,” or the beauty of “You’re Gonna Go Away,” they are all over the top presented in this live setting. Plus, how can you overlook his version of “Key To The Highway,” with its introduction blended with “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”? This is the one song everybody wants to hear at his shows. It is unique and original in its approach and I was told firsthand that it brought two judges to tears at the International Blues Challenge. I take this as fact because the person telling me was one of those two judges.

The flow of the performance is spot-on as each song flows freely to the next. And Ben is backed by a dynamic rhythm section with drummer Mark Banner and bassist Calen Uhlig. Both have their own highlights in the show. Banner’s perhaps during his percussive trade-off with Ben on the washboard cigar-box on “Can’t Be Satisfied.” And Uhlig (who I have personally thought of as one of the most under-recognized musicians in Portland) bringing on the funkiness of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” in the instrumental break on “I Saw The Devil.” This is a strong outfit and that will always make for a successful performance.

Live @ The Purple Fox Loft clearly stands right out front for me when it comes to exceptional live recordings. Ben Rice is no longer the shy kid talking in front of a microphone who can lay everything out when he plays and sings. This is a maturing musician and one who is destined to make his mark in the blues world. This live recording is testimony to that!

Total Time: 1:17:02

Shake A Hand / Ida Mae / Can’t Be Satisfied / Turn My Back On You / Fishing / I Saw The Devil / Somewhere Over The Rainbow / Key To The Highway / In The Doghouse / You’re Gonna Go Away / Fallen Angel / I Got Loaded

By Laurie Morrisey

If you’re up on the dance floor swinging to a jump blues sound, chances are you’re listening to The Beacon Street Titans. These seven musicians have over 214 years of combined experience and this lively band was nominated for the Cascade Blues Association 2013 Muddy Award for Best New Act.

Beacon Street TitansBut how did they become The Beacon Street Titans? “After a couple of years of playing under less-than-inspired band names that sounded good at the time but we ended up hating after seeing it in print, Dan, our first saxophone player showed up one day and asked ‘What about The Beacon Street Titans?’ We, that is, myself, Howard, and whatever drummer we had at the time (we’ve auditioned 23 drummers over the years) thought ‘Yeah, we like it.’ It sounded like a big band. By that time we all had aspirations of growing the band so we felt The Beacon Street Titans seemed to live up to our aspirations, even if the number of personnel hadn’t quite filled out yet. The more guys we took on and the closer we got to a swing-centric set list, the more it resonated with our fans. It was definitely a step in the right direction branding-wise,” according to Daryl Boggs.

The band has been around for about 10 years, with Howard McClung (on vocals, harmonica and sax,) and Daryl Boggs (on guitar,) working together since the band started. Its founding rhythm section consisted of Craig Birnie (on bass) and Rick Berman (on drums). “Both are great human beings and talented musicians,” Daryl said.

“Lots of guys have been in and out on the rhythm section but Dan Covrett (on sax) has been with us about six years and Steve Maliszewski (on upright bass) joined up not long after Dan. Tom Ladouceur (on sax) joined perhaps two or three years ago. Jim Swecker (on trumpet) and Bill McNamara (on drums) are the most recent editions in the past year or two.”

All these Individuals have been playing professionally for decades. Steve and Bill said they always wanted to musicians. Daryl said he wanted to be a professional baseball player, while Howard said he had aspirations of being a machinist. “But from the time I started playing the harmonica, I knew I wanted to be a professional musician,” Howard said. Tom wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up, while Dan confesses he doesn’t want to grow up.

Daryl describes their music as “Portland’s answer to Roomful of Blues. We do a lot of blues, west coast jump, swing, jazz and R&B.”

Their musical influences come through their sound. “We are a product of two worlds coming together to perform music in a really special way. We started as a straight-ahead west coast blues band that slowly took on the sonic identify of something closer to neo-swing as we added more players who were rooted in jazz. Little Walter, Magic Dick, Jimmy “Baby Face” Lewis, Slim Gaillard, Buddy Rich, Joe Jones, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Stanley Turrentine, Houston Person, Sonny Stitt, Hollywood Fats and Benny Goodman are some of the band’s combined influences.”

The bandmembers have varying experience and musical education.

Daryl was self-taught and holds Certification from Musicians Institute/Hollywood California. “I played in Los Angeles for 18 years with some of the best unknown players in so Cal with various groups. The Daryl Boggs Quartet, my last outfit in Los Angeles, marked the pinnacle of my success out there. Over the years I’ve shared the bill with Mike Morgan and the Crawl, Big Sandy, Robben Ford, Kid Ramos, Doug McCloud, Lynwood Slim, Denny Freeman, Joe Sublett, Bugs Henderson, Smokey Wilson, Arthur Adams, Burning Water w/Michael Landau and Juke Logan, John Marx and The Blues Patrol, Lenny Kurley and The Blues Priority, Kenny Blue Ray.. . . and many more that slip my mind at the moment. Local players that come to mind are Franco Paletta, Linda Myers, Kirk Bryant, Donny Osborne and Ben Rice. Of course, the current players I’ve surrounded myself with in The Beacon Street Titans are some of the best I’ve ever had the honor to work with and I’m really very fortunate to call them my friends.”

Howard was also self-taught. “I’ve played with The 55th Street Blues Band, Dallas Tally Band, and Michael Fierro, but the best musicians I’ve ever played with are the ones in this band.”

Steve is self-taught with a music degree and played with the Willamette Falls Symphony Orchestra.

Bill also has a music degree. He has played with Tommy Newsome, Tonight Show Band, Ed Shaunessy, was founding drummer for Chesterfield King, and was with the Sultans of Swing for ten years in Bakersfield, CA. He played with Vicki Carr and for the Joan Rivers Show. He also played in college, Cal State Bakersfield, Jazz ensembles. Bill was with a professional jazz ensemble called Electric Oil Sump for ten years, well known in Bakersfield, CA. And he was the drummer in his own big band for over a year, Vintage Note, with sixteen pieces.

Dan’s music degree helped him as music director for the Del Vikings. He played with Steve Lucky (of the Rhumba Bums) when they were in the Blue Front Persuaders. He’s also played with countless local people.

Tom played with Kansas City Rockers, NorthWest Jazz Orchestra, Left Coast Jazz, “and, of course, the great The Beacon Street Titans,” he said.

They are currently looking at studios for their debut CD. To listen to their music and find out about upcoming show, visit them at