Chris Smither - photo by Jeff FasanoChris Smither has been performing blues and roots music for more than fifty years. Growing up in New Orleans, where he says the folk music scene of the fifties and sixties barely touched, he was drawn to and influenced by the acoustic sounds of musicians like Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Smither is perhaps best known for his song “Love Me Like A Man” that other musicians have recorded numerous times. He is a proficient and well-respected songwriter and has even had an album of his songs recorded by a multitude of artists including the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Jorma Kaukonen and Dave Alvin. Smither’s own latest release is a double-disc anthology of his music titled Still On The Levee.

An engaging performer, Chris Smith returns to Portland for one night at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta Street on Thursday, November 12. The show begins at 7:30 pm and tickets can be purchased in advance at for $20.00 advance or at the box office day of show for $23.00. This event is open to all ages, minors permitted with a parent or legal guardian.

The Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society will once again present its annual Rose City Blues event from Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 8. It will be in a new venue this year, The Ballroom Dance Company, 8900 SW Commercial in Tigard. There will be dance instruction, workshops, competitions with cash and festival ticket prizes, DJs, and live performances, headlined by Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes on Friday, Nathan James on Saturday, and Fried Bananas on Sunday. Each night is scheduled to go late, until 5:00 am, so if you want to dance the night away to great blues music, register now at

Onstage, Kansas City’s Danielle Nicole is a fiery, high-energy performer who clearly shows that she has spent most of her young life in front of audiences. As a member of her sibling band Trampled Under Foot, she won the International Blues Challenge in 2008 and the band’s album Badlands took home a 2014 Blues Music Award for best contemporary album. Danielle also received the BMA for 2014 bass player of the year. A commanding vocalist, Danielle formed her own solo project, released her first solo album, Wolf Den, in 2015. Making her first Northwest tour with the Danielle Nicole Band, she will be appearing twice in Oregon in mid-November.

On Friday, November 13, the Danielle Nicole Band will play a 7:00 pm show at The Birk, 11139 Hwy. 202, in Birkenfeld. Tickets can be purchased in advance through for $10.00, or $15.00 at the door day of show.

Then on Saturday, November 14, Danielle and band will be in Portland at The White Eagle Saloon, 836 N. Russell Street. Showtime is 9:00 pm and tickets are available through for $10.00 advance, $12.00 day of show.

Redray Frazier - photo by Aaron HewittRedray Frazier is perhaps the best kept secret in Portland. He moved to the city five years ago from his native New York City where he worked a number of various groups before releasing his first solo recording, Follow Me, in 2007, and recorded and toured with former Talking Heads leader David Byrne. His shows have been described as quite diverse, from “performing mellow, spiritual sets with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and singing with the intensity of a gospel-touting revivalist in front of a full band.”

Eight years following the release of his first album, Redray Frazier now has a new recording, Blood In the Water. In celebration, there will be a CD release party at The Secret Society on Friday, November 13. Alongside him is a superb band that played on the album and will be joining Frazier for the show, including keyboardist Jeff Baxter, guitar player Matt Brown, drummer Ezra Holbrook, bassist Tom Nunes, and DJ Radical Klavical on turntables. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased ahead of time at This is a 21 & over show. The Secret Society is located at 116 NE Russell. Show time is 9:00 pm.

“Expect to hear Redray Frazier do what he does best, delivering a soulful mix of rock, folk and blues, seamliessly flowing each style together into one unique sound that ignites the spirit.”

Every year blues fans gather at the Waterfront Blues Festival to help raise funds for the Oregon Food Bank to feed the hungry throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Unfortunately, the need goes far beyond what is raised during the summer. With that in mind, the Ken DeRouchie Band created a winter food drive last year that saw participation from eleven businesses putting food collection barrels at their locations. This brought in 1983 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank.

This year, the band will be holding the second annual Ken DeRouchie Band Food Drive with a goal of bringing in 5000 pounds of food, with 25 participating businesses from November 14 through December 12.

To get things started in a big way, the Ken DeRouchie Band, in association with Cherie’s Blues Highway, will be holding a kick-off concert at the Trails End Saloon, 1320 Main Street in Oregon City, on Sunday afternoon, November 15. Along with the Ken DeRouchie Band, the concert will feature some special guests, including the fabulous Rae Gordon. Running from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, admission is 10 cans or dried/boxed food items to donate to the Oregon Food Bank.

“Please come help us make this food drive a success,” Ken DeRouchie explains. “We, the music lovers of Portland, have the ability to change some lives for the better. Men, women and children right here in our communities. I want to make a difference, but I need your help to do it.”

Look for collection barrels for the Ken DeRouchie Band Food Drive at locations throughout the metro area, including Rogue Ales Public House locations, Portland Music Company, Banner Bank Tualatin branch, Vie de Boheme, The Blue Diamond, Tiny’s Coffee locations, and the Trails End Saloon, with other businesses awaiting confirmation.

Warren Haynes - press photoGrammy Award winning artist Warren Haynes is recognized as a cornerstone of the American music landscape and revered as one of the finest guitar players in the world. Throughout his prolific career Haynes has been part of three of the greatest live musical groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, and the Dead. His virtuosic artistry has led to thousands of unforgettable performances. His latest project, Ashes & Dust, takes on a newer approach for Haynes, stemming away from the jam band format and moving toward Americana roots music. This is perhaps the most personal recording of his career.

Warren Haynes is touring in support of Ashes & Dust which will be coming to The Roseland Theater in Portland on Tuesday, December 1. Tickets are now on sale through, ranging from $28.50 to $40.00. Opening acts are Jonathan Tyler and ChessBoxer with show time starting at 7:30 pm. This is a 21 & over show only.

Not long after relocating from Washington to the Portland area, Cherie Robbins kicked off her monthly concert series Cherie’s Blues Highway last February at The Lehrer Pub & Eatery. She scheduled performers who may not perform regularly together and placed them into a family friendly, all ages atmosphere, and each month, the audiences grew larger and more enthusiastic.

If you missed the series, here are the performers whom she brought to the shows: February: Jada Amy with Ben Rice & Lucy Hammond; March: Franco Paletta & The Stingers with Alfie Harpo; April: The Joanne Broh Band with Lisa Mann & Ben Rice; May: The Highway Poets with Kivett Bednar; June: Michael Osborn & The Drivers with Peter Dammann & Bill Rhoades; July: United By Music with Bobby Rush, MizzLowe, Dave Fleschner & Alan Hager; August: Sister Mercy with Rich Layton; and September: Mitch Kashmar, Terry Robb & Ed Pierce.

Unfortunately, with the closing of The Lehrer, Cherie’s Blues Highway lost its current home and the shows featuring Norman Sylvester, Karen Lovely, Steve Kerin, and Andy Stokes all had to be cancelled. But Cherie’s Blues Highway will not be away for long as she is currently seeking a new venue to continue her monthly series. And watch for her in November as she helps bring the Ken DeRouchie Band Food Drive Kick-Off Concert to the Trails End Saloon on Sunday, November 15. Cherie wants to thank Brad Lehrer in believing in her series and offering it a home and looks forward to seeing all of you at her upcoming shows in the future. Thank you.

Big Al Carter CD coverThe entries for acts seeking to have their CD sent to Memphis to represent the Cascade Blues Association in The Blues Foundation Best Self-Produced CD competition were tremendous this year. We had the most entries ever with thirteen, and all were outstanding albums worthy of representing the CBA. But alas, we are only permitted one entry.

A group of CBA board members gathered together and listened to each of the discs, then scored each entry based upon blues content, musicianship, sound quality, artwork, and liner notes. The entries this year came from Ben Rice Trio, Big Al Carter, Bottleneck Blues Band, Hank Shreve Band, James Clem, King Louie & LaRhonda Steele, Lil’ Queenie, Pete Karnes Blues Band, Rae Gordon, Roseland Hunters, Sister Mercy, The Sportin’ Lifers, and Tracey Fordice & The 8 Balls. After all the entries were heard and scores tallied, the judges chose Big Al Carter’s disc Fresh Blues to represent the CBA.

We will be sending four copies of the album to Memphis where it will be then be scored by select judges, with multiple rounds whittling down the entries to the finals where the overall winner will be announced at the International Blues Challenge finals on January 30, 2016.

Thank you to all those who submitted their discs for our regional competition. All were amazing and well deserving of being heard.

Definition of Family Membership

It has come to our attention that many people are not certain what a $40.00 Cascade Blues Association Family Membership involves. A Family Membership includes two adults and up to three children under the age of 18 all residing within the same home (not for your visiting relations). One copy of the BluesNotes will be mailed to the home each month and you will receive two membership cards, two Muddy Awards ballots and entry for your family members to the summer picnic, holiday party, and Muddy Awards.

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

First thing I want to say this month is a very big thank you to everybody who set sail on the Cascade Blues Cruise this past month. You all helped raise some money for our Journey To Memphis representatives and had a chance to hear them all hopefully. We could not have asked for a better day either. A tremendous thank you so much to Rae Gordon for putting this event together for them again this year. Please keep your eyes open for further fundraising events, including one on November 8 at The Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro for our youth showcase act Justus Reece.

Of course, November also means the Muddy Awards. You’ll have another opportunity to catch our other Journey To Memphis winning acts Sister Mercy and Rogue Rage Duo performing at the event. It is always a grand affair and a lot of fun to attend the awards show, with lots of great music and many happy winners. I want to wish good luck to all of the nominees. But please be advised that it may be a little more difficult this year with parking, as the new pub has opened across the street from The Melody Ballroom. Hope to see you all there.

Last month was also a bit painful as The Lehrer, despite all their efforts to stay open, had to close their doors for good. Brad Lehrer tried to do his best at bringing live blues to the West Side of Portland where venues are not as available as other parts of town. But it is not an easy business to run. Just ask anyone who’s tried to do so. It is definitely a reminder that we need to continue to support all of the venues around town. It cannot be kept up by just a few, it is all of our responsibility if we want to see live music survive. And if you’re out at a club and they do not offer blues, drop a hint to them that it would be something that you’d like to see there. There are a lot of blues musicians in this city, and with venues closing it will be tougher to see them play and we certainly don’t want to lose them to moving to another town where they may feel opportunities are more prevalent.

I also have to apologize that I may have missed a number of recordings that should be reviewed. So many great new albums and so little time to be able to write about each and every one that has come out. Just our local artists alone have been releasing some of the best material I have heard from anywhere as of late. I highly suggest that you check them out, and to just note a few: The Sportin’ Lifers, Karen Lovely, Rae Gordon, Tracey Fordice & The 8 Balls, Big Al Carter, Kevin Selfe, King Louie & LaRhonda Steele. These are but a few of many. Pick up a copy or two or three — this helps support our artists, too. And you’ll be able to enjoy them whenever you like.

Hope to catch you at the Muddy Awards or in the clubs. Always good blues to be found throughout Portland and the region.