By Harvey Brindell

I arrived in Portland in July 2015 and by early August was working on putting my band together. I recruited a drummer and a bass player who were experienced players but, by their own admission, had little to no experience playing blues. When I said “I play Chicago blues” they both agreed that they also wanted to play that style, and after a few changes to the original line-up and the addition of a harmonica player, The Tablerockers are now booking gigs and playing regularly — and Chicago blues remains our niche.

I’ve spent years listening to, learning from, and going to see the practitioners of Chicago Blues, so imagine my surprise when a band member, club owners, and new friends told me they had to google “Chicago Blues” to understand exactly what I meant when I said “We play Chicago blues.” But allow me to digress slightly to add some meaning to all of this…

I arrived in Lincoln Nebraska in June 1985 after living in the Macon Georgia area for fifteen years. Now, little musical history: Macon was the home of Capricorn Records, which was both a recording studio and a record label and the Mecca for most southern rock bands. So when I arrived in Lincoln, I was steeped in southern rock and only knew Chicago blues from having listened to some blues records during the blues revival era in the sixties.

One night, after living in Lincoln for about a week, I was driving in my car and heard the guy on the radio announce: “This is live from The Zoo Bar, Magic Slim and The Teardrops.” I knew I had to find the place, so I did, and for the next thirty years I got to see some of the best Chicago blues a fan could ask for, many on multiple occasions.

In addition to Magic Slim and The Teardrops (when John Primer was still Slim’s sideman), I saw Junior Wells, with Buddy Guy on guitar, and of course Buddy bringing his own band to The Zoo. I also saw Phil Guy, Li’l Ed and The Blues Imperials, Luther Allison, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, Albert Collins, Charlie Musselwhite, Son Seals, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Koko Taylor, Bernard Allison, Big Twist and The Mellow Fellows, along with many other acts.

To avoid sounding like a Chicago blues snob, the line-up at The Zoo Bar also regularly included many of the west coast and Texas blues practitioners like, Rod Piazza and The Flyers, William Clarke, Little Charlie and The Nightcats, Kim Wilson, Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Chris Duarte. And yes, Portland’s own Curtis Salgado and Mitch Kashmar. Some of those bands, when they showed up, they were booked at the Zoo for a solid week.

I also had the opportunity to represent the Blues Society of Omaha as their photographer at The Chicago Blues Festival for twelve years. During those years I got to see many legendary blues performers including Pinetop Perkins, Willie Big Eyes Smith, Honeyboy Edwards, Lonnie Brooks, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Billy Branch, Eddie C Campbell, Mojo Buford, Luther “Guitar Jr” Johnson, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Little Arthur Duncan, Harmonica Hinds, Bob Stroger, Sam Lay, and on and on and on.

So if you don’t understand what I mean when I say “The Tablerockers are here and we play Chicago Blues” all you have to do is listen, it’s no idle assertion. I know of what I speak.

The current line-up of The Tablerockers includes: Harvey Brindell on guitar and vocals; Marty Presslar on harmonica and vocals; Sean Scheewe on drums; and Walter Guy on bass and vocals. For more information about The Tablerockers visit our website at: To view some of Harvey Brindell’s photos from the Chicago Blues Festival visit:

Bill Rhoades - photo by Greg JohnsonAre you ready? For those of you who’ve been waiting and wondering – we’re back!

The 2016 Blues Harmonica Summit will be happening on March 19 at the Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., from 8:00 pm to midnight.

At this years show we’re adding some new names and faces. Four of the featured artists have never played the show before. Thought we’d better bring out some of the folks who are making sweet music on the Mississippi Saxophone.

First off, from Seattle will be a fellow who comes highly recommended! I don’t know much about him but they say he can really play! This would be Joe Cook, who has his own

band and is working in the Puget Sound area. We’re looking forward to hearing this gentleman.

Next up is another harpman who they say has a professional sound and who is out there playing in the Portland area. George Discant comes recommended by Arthur Moore and master percussionist Johnny Moore (Jim Mesi Band).

From the lands of the Calapuya will be another new face, William “Froggy” Hyland, who’s been playing here in the Northwest for some time, mostly in the mid-Willamette Valley. He played in a blues band with vocalist Vicki Stevens for a number of years in the Albany area.

Now a more familiar name will be our resident Harmaniac Mike Moothart. A veteran of the Mesi band and The Switchmasters, Mike is still tearing it up on the Harp. Paul deLay once called him “the Greatest Unknown Harmonica Player in the World”

And another fellow from the mid-Willamette Valley at the show will be Blues fisherman Mark Nousen. If you ever hear the sound of the blues harp wafting out over the wheat and cornfields near Harrisburg, OR, that would be Mark.

And last will be one of the newest inductees to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Bill Rhoades. Known for making noise with his band The Party Kings / Queens, Bill will also be your host at the show.

Speaking of bands, our House band will be the above mentioned group, The Party Kings/Queens with Chuck “Orca” Laiti on guitar and Texan Newel C Briggs on the other six string. On bass will be marathoner and blues freak Katie Angel and on drums will be “Sweet” Jolie Clausen.

Guaranteed Good Time! Great Music, food, drink, dancing and blues, blues, blues harmonica!

$10.00 at the door. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so receive a $2.00 discount for all card carrying CBA  members or members from any other blues associations, groups and E.T.C. (Sorry – 21 & Over Only).

Acoustic Guitar Summit - press photoThe  Acoustic Guitar Summit consists of three of the country’s best fingerstyle guitarists, Grammy winners Doug Smith and Mark Hanson along with Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee and Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award Hall of Fame recipient Terry Robb. The three have performed together over the years to rave reviews and have been heard on television, major films, and NPR. Their music is a mixture of classic, gypsy jazz, folk, Hawaiian slack key, and blues woven together into intricately crafted fingerpicking masterpieces.

These three amazing artists will be returning to Hillsboro’s Walters Cutural Arts Center, 527 E Main Street, on Friday, March 4 at 7:30 pm. Tickets for this performance are $18.00 advance, $22.00 day of show and can be purchased through

The McMenamins White Eagle Saloon will present a fantastic double-headed night of Americana and roots music as they present Smooth Hound Smith and Rich Layton & The Troublemakers on Friday, March 4.

Smooth Hound Smith - press photoSmooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin’ American roots duo composed of “one-man-band” Zack Smith (guitars/vocals/foot drums/harmonicas/banjo) and Caitlin Doyle (vocals/percussion).  Established in 2012 and currently based in East Nashville, TN, they record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues. Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, tasty harmonies, and a lot of tambourine, they are able to create something rugged and visceral modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints.

Rich Layton worked throughout Texas and Louisiana playing Gulf Coast rock, blues, country, R&B, blue-eyed soul, Cajun, and zydeco in clubs, dance halls, and roadhouses before relocating to Portland where his band, The Troublemakers, have become one of the premier roadhouse bands in the region. As a writer, Layton 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.

This outstanding twin bill at The White Eagle, 836 N Russell, will begin at 9:00 pm. 21 & over only, tickets are $8.00 in advance through or $10.00 at the door.

Rockpile was one of the premier British pub rock bands of the 1970s. With bassist and guitarist Nick Lowe, guitarist Dave Edmunds, drummer Terry Williams, who became a member of Dire Straits, and guitarist Billy Bremners, who would later join The Pretenders, their music has taken on a cult status and their updated takes on artists such as Joe Tex, Chuck Berry, and Gene Chandler has inspired countless musicians from a variety of genres.

For the second year, a gathering of many of Portland’s finest musicians from different musical styles will return to Duff’s Garage on Saturday, March 5 to showcase Rockpile’s catalogue. Those artists include Albert Reda, Erin Wallace, Joe Chiusano, Ken Coleman, Jon Beyer, Dennis Mitchell, Bob Love, Claes Almroth, and Steve Wilkinson. They plan on presenting thirty Rockpile numbers, including their classic album, Seconds Of Pleasure, in its entirety.

Show time for this exciting show will be 9:00 pm. Duff’s Garage is located at 2530 NE 82nd. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event so remember to show your current membership card at the door to receive a $1.00 discount on admission.

For the first time, Lisa Mann, Bre Gregg, and Mary Kadderly will be performing together on the same stage as The Trifecta — a trio of talented ladies who will bring you a show filled with soulful performances, three-part harmony, and powerful musical interpretation sure to make you raise your hands in the air and shout hallelujah!

This spectacular combination combines Blues Music Award recipient Lisa Mann’s bass and vocal prowess ranging from rock to Memphis soul with Bre Gregg’s swampy soul and blues voice influenced by the likes of Nina Simone, Patsy Cline and Bonnie Raitt, and Mary Kadderly’s piano and musical styles that offer samplings of jazz, blues, pop, R&B and country western. Truly three very different female musicians playing together for what is certain to be a highly diverse and entertaining night.

It all takes place on Monday, March 7 at The Lake Theater, 106 N State Street, Lake Oswego, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased in advance through or by calling 503-387-3236.

Doug MacLeod - photo by Greg JohnsonDoug MacLeod is a traveling artist who writes and sings original songs that based upon his own life and experiences. A modern day troubadour, MacLeod learned from the old masters, lived the music, and survived the life and now carries forward a valuable tradition through the wit and wisdom of his songwriting and masterful story-telling. Doug MacLeod’s performances are unforgettable and as he will tell you, no two shows are ever alike; they will go “exactly like this” only once. They will make you smile, make you think and will teach you to value what is right and good within your own lives through humor and social commentary. Perennially nominated for the Blues Music Awards, he is a past recipient for both acoustic artist and acoustic album and has been nominated for both categories as well as song of the year this year.

Doug MacLeod will be returning to Oregon in March where he draws large appreciative crowds whenever he comes our way.

On Thursday, March 10 he will be playing at Salem House Concerts for $25.00 including the concert and dessert. Contact Marc Nassar for tickets and information at

On Friday, March 11. MacLeod will return  to The Pines 1852 Tasting Room in Hood River, 2nd & Cascade Street. Tickets are limited to just 60, expected to sell out quick. Show time is 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased at The Pines and Wacoma Books in Hood River.

Then, on Monday, March 14, Doug MacLeod will appear at The Lake Theater & Café, 100 N State Street, in Lake Oswego, for a 7:00 pm show. Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased in advance through the venue’s website at

Make a point to catch one of the most entertaining solo artists touring today.

Hunter & the Dirty Jacks - press photoHunter & The Dirty Jacks is an Americana band based in Southern California. Whether it’s blues, rock, heavy, roots, jammin’, or acoustic, their sound is filled with infectious riffs, soaring vocals, and bedrock solid grooves chocked full of high energy and compelling performances. Think a throwback and songwriting style that echoes The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors paired with a modern edge like the Rival Sons, Black Keys, Jack White, Mumford And Sons, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, in a young, hip, accessible package. American Blues Scene describes them as possessing “a tone that precedes millennium rock, but [with] a sound that transcends traditional Roots and Blues, creating a unique sound [all] their own.”

The band will be making a northwest tour in March and will perform two dates in northwestern Oregon. On Friday, March 11, they will be heading out to The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202, Birkenfeld for a 7:00 pm show. Then on Tuesday, March 15, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks will appear in Portland at the Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside for a 9:00 pm performance. The group will also be making tour stops in Eugene on March 16 and Medford March 17, check for further information.

It doesn’t have to be the summer festival season to see some of the best live music from around the nation.  The Winter Blues Festival solves that long wait for summer by bringing top national blues acts off of the big festival stages and into Portland’s own backyard for a day of music and charity while the sun is still hiding.

Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas

The humble idea for this festival began as a conversation at the kitchen table to counteract the dreary days of winter with music while giving back to charity. Now in its fifth year, it has become the most popular blues music event outside of summer.

The lineup for this year’s WBF reads like the who’s who of the blues locally, nationally, and internationally. Earl Thomas had a near death experience when he lost his footing and fell 50 feet, while walking along a ravine. After he regained consciousness, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. Nine year later he recorded “Blue…Not Blues” a record influenced by his parents. Since then he has released 13 more records. He will be recording a new album with David Fleschner and Mr Vyassa (pronounced “Vee aws”) Dodson at Dave’s Portland studio this spring.


Kara Grainger

Robin Barrett & Coyote Kings with Tiph Dames

Robin Barrett & Coyote Kings
with Tiph Dames

Australian born Kara Grainger has toured all over the world from the US, India, Japan, Switzerland, and everywhere in between to sellout crowds.  Robin Barrett & Coyote Kings with Tiph Dames has been setting the northwest on fire with an award nominated CD and their brand of blues rock.  Their lineup includes musicians who have recorded and performed for international audiences.

Jim Mesi Band

Jim Mesi Band

The Jim Mesi Band is an infamous staple of the Portland Blues world highlighting the guitar talents of multi-award winning Jim Mesi, who was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. (Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lloyd Jones will be sitting in for Jim Mesi this show.) 2015 Muddy Award winner for Best Female Vocalist Rae Gordon brings her brand of blues to the WBF with special guest Big Monti on guitar.   Local artist Amber Sweeney is known for her booming voice that is soulful, but warm and gritty at just the right time.

UBMThe Winter Blues Music Festival is excited to have again a special set from United By Music North America, a performance-based entertainment group that started in the Netherlands for musically talented people who have developmental delays and intellectual challenges, along with their group of mentors including national recording artists that help mentor children and young adults with disabilities who are musically inclined and help set up situations where they can perform in front of an audience.

Rae Gordon and Big Monti

Rae Gordon and Big Monti

The WBF has enjoyed support from the local business and music communities and has found a home base at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge & Ballroom.  The event venue offers two stages, large dance floors, a full service bar and food menu, on-site parking and is across the street from the new MAX Orange line and bus stops.

The Winter Blues Festival has helped many charities throughout the years including C.H.A.P. (Children’s Healing Arts Project), the Oregon Food Bank and United By Music North America and this year will be no exception in giving back through music.

For those attending the festival from out of town, there are a number of lodging opportunities nearby, including the Milwaukie Inn, Econo Lodge and Kings Row in Milwaukie, Best Western Rivershore in Oregon City and Holiday Inn Express in Gladstone. There is also dry camping available at the Lodge.


Amber Sweeney

Join them on March 12, 2016, listen to award winning acts and make a difference for the Oregon Food Bank and United by Music.  Please bring 4 cans of food.  For tickets, please go to  The venue is the Elks Lodge & Ballroom, 13121 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie, Oregon 97222.

For more information or to request an interview or images of the music acts, go to Winter Blues Music Festival website, or contact LeeAnn Gibbons, by email at

takoma_records2On Saturday, March 12, Artichoke Music will present a special night featuring three of the original members of the legendary “Takoma 7,” touring together for the first time, Toulouse Engelhardt, Peter Lang, and Rick Rustin. The late John Fahey hand-selected and signed these three finger-picking guitar masters, along with Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho, to his now cult label, Takoma Records, thus raising the bar for all future acoustic guitarists.

Toulouse Engelhardt, nicknamed the “Segovia of Surf” is renowned for his free-form, lightning fast guitar stylings and colorful, cinematic melodies.

takoma_records4Peter Lang is one of the world’s preeminent 6 and 12-string finger-picking guitar players who credits the work of such country bluesmen as Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis, and Mississippi John Hurt as the principal influences on his dizzying finger-picking.

takoma_records5Rick Ruskin started playing guitar in 1962, and in merely one year became a respected professional musician. While still in Jr. High School, he was chosen to open for the Reverend Gary Davis who took the young guitarist on as a personal student that following summer.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for true lovers of acoustic, finger-style picking. Artichoke Music is located at 3130 SE Hawthorne Blvd. show time is 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 at Artichoke, call for reservations at 503-232-8845.