Founded in 1995, the Sunbanks Music Festival in Electric City, Washington is a twice-a-year event that offers the best in national and regional musicians. This four-day festival will take place on May 19 – 22 against the backdrop of Banks Lake, near the Grand Coulee Dam. This year the event will feature acts James Harman’s Bamboo Porch Revue, The Delgado Brothers, Selwyn Birchwood, Hamilton Loomis, Matt Anderson & The Bona Fide, Karen Lovely Band, Ken DeRouchie Band, Casey Miller & The Barnyard Stompers, Billy Stoops & The Dirt Angels, Franco & The Stingers, Stacy Jones Band, and many others. For more information, including tickets, camping and lodging, visit the festival’s website at

When it comes to the blues in Portland, one name always rises to the top of everyone’s favorite list: Lloyd Jones. With a career spanning more than forty-five years, from Brown Sugar to In Yo’ Face to The Struggle to Soul Cookin’, Lloyd is the master of the soulful understatement and down-in-the-alley groovin’ blues.

lloyd jones - photo by Greg JohnsonA year ago, Lloyd Jones celebrated his 65th with a big time show at Duff’s Garage. So many people came that night that many were turned away at the door because there just was not enough room to hold all of those friends. Since it was so much fun, he’s going to do it all over again, bringing The Struggle along with several other surprise guests.

“I only do this once in a great while because people under 60 don’t know we exist and everyone I know over 60 are dead,” Lloyd remarks. “So email a ‘live’ person (or load up on meds) and actually come out and dig on the ‘Crushing Funkstivity’ that is ‘The Struggle’ before we head to Europe and the East Coast!!!!

It all happens again at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd on Friday, May 20 at 9:00 pm. Make sure to arrive early enough, because this one is going to be packed again! Come out and wish Lloyd a happy birthday!

To pin down the sound of a Gulf Coast roadhouse, you have to triangulate using Red Dirt country, Texas blues, and Louisiana swamp pop. Or, you could take a shortcut and Google “Delbert McClinton.”  It’s a Saturday night soundtrack for oil rig and refinery workers, ranch hands, and longshoremen. All of which makes it the musical tradition shared by every musician growing up in Houston, Texas. On Saturday, May 21, Portland music fans will have a special opportunity to experience the Gulf Coast sound when three old Houston friends reunite to transform Vie de Boheme into a rockin’ Texas roadhouse.

Drummer Roger Espinor went to high school with guitarist Danny Gardner, while Rich Layton learned harmonica and fronted a neighborhood garage band across town. Over the years, each musician established himself in Houston’s inner city music community and played in various traveling bands that crisscrossed the region. Although Roger and Rich never crossed paths in Houston, each migrated independently to the Northwest in the late ‘90s. Roger was a founding member of The Rose City Kings and now is the driving force (along with his wife Debby on keys) behind IBC semi-finalists, Sister Mercy.  Meanwhile, Rich fired up his namesake twang and tremolo outfit, Rich Layton & The Troublemakers. When CBA President Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson introduced Roger and Rich a year ago, the two quickly discovered they had a mutual friend in Danny Gardner.

With his band The Romeo Dogs, Danny has been a revered figure on the Gulf Coast roadhouse circuit for decades. As a songwriter, he captures the essence of star-crossed, trailer park sweethearts, cry-in-your-beer heartbreak and truck-stop wanderlust. Rich recorded a couple of Danny’s songs on his band’s first album and keeps a batch in rotation with the T-Makers live shows. At a benefit last year, Rich was backed by the Sister Mercy band for a version of Gardner’s “One Bag &  A Suitcase” — and that put the twinkle in Roger’s eye to get Danny up to Portland. When news travelled along the grapevine that Danny was considering a honeymoon trip to the Northwest, Roger and Debby put the wheels in motion for this musical reunion. Within days, Cherie Robbins offered to put the promotional muscle of Cherie’s Blues Highway behind the event.

After the music kicks off with short sets by each band, Danny, Rich, and Roger will be backed by a rotating line up of band mates from Sister Mercy and The Troublemakers.  It’s shaping up to be a master class in Texas twang and tremolo. Be there to witness as Vie de Boheme, 1530 SE 7th, transforms from a cool wine bar to red hot, rocking roadhouse. Showtime starts at 8:30 pm, admission is $10.00.

The West Coast blues sound can easily be identified by its guitarists and harmonica players — both have played a major part on securing the essential ingredients that make that sound swing. When it comes to those guitar players and harp masters who have made their marks through time, both Rusty Zinn and Blues Music Award winner Mark Hummel rank among the best. The pair released an acoustic blues album, Back Porch Music, a few years back, but whether they’re hooking their audiences with acoustic or electric music, these guys are undeniably hitting the mark every time.

Mark Hummel - press photoThe pair is currently on tour and will be playing several dates throughout the Northwest, along with RW Grigsby, one of the finest blues bassists on the West Coast. The tour will take them to a couple dates in Oregon, well worth the drive to see.

On Saturday, May 21, Hummel, Zinn & Grigsby will be performing at The Pines Tasting Room, 202 State Street in Hood River. Show time starts at 7:00 pm.

Then on Sunday, May 22, the group will be out at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202, in Birkenfeld. This is an afternoon show starting at 1:00 pm. Admission is $20.00. Doors open at noon.


Alabama raised James Harman picked up on the black blues and soul music playing on juke boxes and the radio while in his teens. Originally, he sang in the church choir, but by the time he was eighteen he was already performing the clubs and jukes throughout the South and cut his first recordings in 1964. Throughout the years he lived and performed in a number of cities, until he found himself firmly planted in the Southern California scene in the early 1970s. He became friends and musical partners with many of the region’s heaviest players, including Canned Heat, Kid Ramos, Nathan James, and Hollywood Fats, and has gone on to record numerous critically acclaimed albums.  He has fronted several versions of his own band and has received many Blues Music Awards nominations, with two wins and another five nominations in 2016. One of the most prolific song-writers and a superb harmonica player, James Harman is an engaging and commanding performer.

James Harman - press photoJames Harman returns to the Portland area with his Bamboo Porch Review at The Lake Theater & Café on Monday, May 23 in support of his current Blues Music Award nominated recording Bonetime. The Lake Theater is located at 106 N State Street in Lake Oswego. Show time is 7:00 pm with tickets available through the venue’s website Admission is $15.00.

In celebration of Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday, many of Portland’s finest blues, roots, rock, and folk musicians will gather at Mississippi Studios on Sunday, May 29, for a tribute concert in honor of the American music master. Artists performing at this event will include The Paul Brainard Horns, The Quick and Easy Boys with Steve Kerin, Lewi Longmire and The Left Coast Roasters, The Adequates, Gravel, Anna Tivel and Jeffery Martin, Adam East and Kris Daleen, Jim Brumberg, Taylor Kingman, Moorea Masa, Karyn Ann, and Tommy Alexander & Paris. Tickets for this 21 & over event are available at for $12.00 advance, with a sliding scale ticket price from $10.00 – $15.00 day of show. Mississippi Studios is located at 3939 North Mississippi Avenue.

The river of soul music flows deep and strong, and 25-year-old Leon Bridges is immersed in its life-giving current. The Forth Worth, Texas native and Columbia Records artist released his debut album, Coming Leon Bridges - photo by RamboHome, in the summer of 2015. “I’m not saying I can hold a candle to any soul musician from the ’50s and ’60s,” Bridges says, “but I want to carry the torch.” Humility aside, Bridges’ light is burning bright and with a passion for R&B that was instilled into his heart at a young age, he has taken his extraordinary voice to new levels while following the traditional format of the music. “Every now and then, music-biz hype isn’t hype – it’s well-deserved praise for real talent.” Leon Bridges is definitely that level of talent and about to take on the world.

Leon Bridges’ shows have been receiving high acclaim everywhere he performs. Your chance to catch him in Portland happens on Saturday, May 28, for an 8:00 pm show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1111 SW Broadway, with an opening set by vocalist Andra Day. This is an all ages event, with tickets available through the Portland’5 Centers For The Arts website, ranging from $29.50 to $42.50.

There has always been something magical about the guitar. When in the hands of a master player it creates dreams that make us move, dance, and smile. But when you press a little bottleneck or a metal slide on the instrument’s strings, it takes us to an even more fantastical place that enhances the need to take those motions to another level.

Monti Amundson understands this passion. He is one of those masterful musicians that can work a slide guitar to that height. He also has a couple friends who share in this love of the slide and he has once again gathered their Sultans of Slide - Monti Amundson photo by Greg Johnsonservices to offer a night of pure slide guitar bliss. Along with Monti, Northwest award-winning guitar heavy-weights Kevin Selfe and Seattle’s Rod Cook will be taking over the Trails End Saloon on Saturday, May 28 at 9:00 pm for another night of the Sultans of Slide. In their hands the visions of past slide greats like Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, JB Lenoir, and Elmore James can be brought back to life, all while offering their own unique original material, too. Backing this dynamic trio of guitarists will be a rhythm section of equally high standards: Frederico Pol on bass and JM Thunder on drums. Let the pyrotechnics begin!

. The Trails End Saloon is located at 1320 Main Street in Oregon City.


The applications are in, the dates confirmed, and the sets scheduled — this is going to be one of the largest fields ever to participate in the Journey To Memphis competition to win the right to represent the Cascade Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge next January. Twenty acts will appear in twenty minute sets, ten each night, on Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4, at The Rose Room, 8102 NE Killingsworth. Admission each night is $10.00, which is the base for our prizes for the overall winning acts. Four acts, the two highest scoring from each night, will move on to the Waterfront Blues Festival on Monday, July 4, on the Front Porch Stage.

This year’s entries are:

Friday, June 3:
7:30 – Joanne Broh Band
8:00 – Julie Amici
8:30 – CD Woodbury Band
9:00 – David Brothers
9:30 – The England Trio
10:00 – Beacon Street Titans
10:30 – Tim O’Connor
11:00 – JT Wise Band
11:30 – Ben Rice Band

Saturday, June 4:
7:30 – William “Froggy” Hyland
8:00 – Timothy James
8:30 – The Thunder Brothers
9:00 – Rogue Rage Duos
9:30 – Randy Morrison’s Party Bus
10:00 – Eric “Sugar” Larsen Group
10:30 – David Pinsky
11:00 – Holfar Blue
11:30 – Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers

Please note: schedule times are subject to change. We have had acts drop out prior to the event in the past, which can cause rearrangement of set times and dates. We will keep you informed of any changes on our Facebook page and in the June edition of BluesNotes.

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland
Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $3.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Adam Scramstad & Jerry Zybach
Second Electric Set – Thomas T. & The Blue Chips

The Cascade Blues Association always tries to bring you the best blues our region has to offer at our monthly membership meetings. It can be old friends or newer acts deserving our attention. But it is always going to be top notch blues music. This month, we’re stretching beyond the city limits of Portland and reaching to a little further into Oregon to bring you a taste of what lies outside. And since our part of the country has an enormous depth of talent when it comes to the blues, it’ll be yet another exciting night to start the musical month out right.

Jerry Zybach and Adam Scramstad - press photoNo strangers to performing in Portland are two good friends of the CBA traveling from down the Willamette River a bit to play for us this month. Adam Scramstad and Jerry Zybach are without doubt extraordinary guitarists working either as solo musicians or within bands, on acoustic or electric guitars, and are both known throughout the Northwest and abroad.

Adam Scramstad hails from the Corvallis area and is known for his exceptional finger-style guitar. He can often be found here in the Portland area working alongside his mentor Terry Robb as part of the Terry Robb Trio.

Jerry Zybach lives in Eugene, and having spent time on the road with the legendary Honeyboy Edwards, he is now currently the guitarist and band leader for the Joanne Broh Band. Jerry can also be heard every Friday morning broadcasting from the KRVM studios as host of Breakfast with the Blues (though broadcasting out of Eugene, the station is available online).

For this project, Adam and Jerry are working together as an acoustic dip, focusing on the style and feel of 1930’s era Delta Blues, while sharing an interpretation of the genre’s history through their playing.

The second set of the meeting will bring for the first time at a CBA meeting Thomas T. and The Blue Chips. Thomas T. started playing the blues in Chicago where he got to see blues legends like Muddy Waters,Willie Dixon and Lightnin’ Hopkins. After moving to Oregon in 1991 he has been keeping the blues alive in various bands, finally getting together some of Central Oregon’s finest blues musicians.

Thomas T and The Blue Chips - press photoThe band started to come together after bassist and lead vocalist, Thomas T (Tsuneta) had left his traveling sales job and decided he wanted to form a blues band. “I had been in a cover band for 6 or 7 years with guitarist  Jeff Leslie and we both had added blues songs we liked to the set list. When I asked if he could play blues all night, he said ‘Sure!’’  They were quickly joined by Steve Beaudry , who Thomas calls “ a World Class harmonica player” who had exactly the tone and feel that fits so well with the Chicago and Texas style blues the band loves.” Joining most recently is drummer Jeff Ingraham, who has toured with and recorded several albums for Country music legend Merle Haggard.

The band have been pleasantly surprised by the warm reception in the live music scene in Bend and Central Oregon to a real blues band.  Local club gigs have steadily built since March 2015 through the year, finally culminating in appearances at the Bend Roots Fest and Fall Festival. While they couldn’t be happier with the reception, Thomas T. and The Blue Chips are looking forward to playing in Portland and on the Oregon Coast and are currently working on their debut CDfor a potential summer release.

And the band would like to add,“We are all looking forward to meeting the CBA members and playing our blues for people who know what the blues are about!”

Between sets, we’ll hold our free ticket prize drawing and let you know about what’s coming up in our area during May. And don’t forget, you can sign up at the May and June meetings to volunteer for both the CBA merchandise booth and for backstage positions at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

Remember to please respect the musicians while they are playing. If you must talk to your friends, kindly step out to the lobby/bar area of the Melody Ballroom. Thank you.