This fall, aspiring musicians from around the country will gather for a five-day blues guitar camp to hone their skills and immerse themselves in the music. This year’s instructors include four of the world’s finest acoustic blues musicians: Ernie Hawkins (Pittsburgh), Steve James (Seattle), Suzy Thompson (Berkeley), and the camp’s artistic director (Portland’s own) Mary Flower. The event is held in the Columbia River Gorge at the beautiful Maenucha Retreat Center in Corbett, OR, September 30 through October 2 . Due to the limited number of students accepted each year (only 46), this camp sells out quickly. All attending will receive intimate, close at hand classes, lectures, and a student concert.

mary-flower-press-photoMary Flower is a multiple Muddy Award recipient and Blues Music Award nominee who has also competed in the National Fingerpicking Championship. Steve James is considered one of the finest bottleneck slide players and storytellers in the blues scene. Ernie Hawkins is an internationally renowned virtuoso who plays and sings blues, ragtime, and gospel in the early 1900’s east coast Piedmont and Texas steel-string flattop fingerpicking styles. Suzy Thompson is a master of the blues violin and a powerful vocalist in the style of Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith and is remarkably able to sing and play fiddle at the same time.

Following the workshop in the Gorge, the four instructors will appear in a special concert at The Secret Society Ballroom in Portland on Sunday, October 2. The Acoustic Blues Masters concert is open to the public and begins at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance for this show at for $25.00. Those wearing a Blues in the Gorge T-shirt will receive $5.00 off at the door. This is a 21 & over event. The Secret Society Ballroom is located at 116 NE Russell. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so make sure to show your current membership card at the door to receive a $2.00 discount on admission. (Sorry, only one discount can be used, either the CBA or the Gorge T-Shirt)

For more information on the workshop and event, go to

the-congress-press-photoThe Congress is a band that shows reverence for its roots through cohesion and creativity, with a relentless energy that stamps a tangible sonic signature that is equal parts rock & roll, old-school soul music, and outlaw country. They have an obsession with rhythmic feel, songwriting, and instrumental mastery that they showcase on their sophomore release The Game. The band stripped down to the bare basics for The Game, utilizing a core of Scott Lane on guitar, Jonathan Meadows on bass and vocals, Chris Speasmaker on piano, and Raphael Katchinoff on drums. Originally from Colorado, the band now calls Virginia home and it has toured in support of such established acts as the Tedeschi-Trucks Band, Lake Street Drive, and Hard Working Americans.

The Congress will be making two stops as they tour through Oregon.

On Friday, October 7, they will be performing at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld.  Tickets for this 7:00 pm show are available in advance through for $15.00. Admission at the door will be $20.00.

Then on Saturday, October 8, The Congress will appear at The White Eagle Saloon in Portland at 9:00 pm, with opening act The Lovely Lost. Admission is $10.00 advance, $12.00 day of show. The White Eagle is located at 836 N Russell.


luke-winslow-king-press-photoLuke Winslow-King is a New Orleans-based guitarist, singer, composer, producer, and songwriter. His work is an eclectic mix of Mississippi delta blues, folk music, traditional jazz, and roots rock & roll. His alchemical songs blend contemporary ideas with styles from bygone eras producing a sound that is rustic and urbane, elegant, and entirely his own. It is a sound that looks to the past to move to the future. This along with his burgundy voice, dapper attire, and versatile guitar playing have earned him a reputation as a musician who delivers soulfully energetic and dynamic performances which earned him a New Orleans Blues Artist of the Year award in 2015.

On Friday, October 14, Luke Winslow-King will be at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld. Tickets for this 7:00 pm show are available for $10.00 advance through, and $15.00 at the door day of show.

He will be taking the stage at The Volcanic Theatre Pub,  70 SW Century Drive in Bend, on Wednesday, October 19. New Orleans based singer/songwriter Sista Otis opens the show. Call 541-323-1881 for more information.

Luke Winslow-King will also be appearing at The Secret Society Ballroom on Thursday, October 20 as a double bill with New Orleans’ vocal jazz group The Stolen Sweets, starting at 7:00 pm. The Secret Society is located at 116 NE Russell Street. Tickets are $10.00 for this 21 & over show and can be purchased in advance through

Who would have thought it? The entire week prior to the date for this year’s Cascade Blues Association’s annual Rummage Sale the weather had been sunny and comfortably warm, but on the Saturday morning of our rummage sale, the rains came — big time. Our trusty Rummage Sale leaders Cherie Robbins and Rae Gordon, Board Members Greg Johnson, Wendy Schumer, Fred & Joann Morgan, and a handful of volunteers like Deidre DeMier & Al Hooten, Jimmy Wong & his family, and Gary Jaskowiak (on Friday for truck loading), were on hand to set up the sale, pop-up tents and tables were put up and a truck full of donated items were at The Bomber parking lot, but we were not able to set everything up before it was determined that it just wasn’t going to happen that day. Attempts to relocate to an indoor site were futile.

Thanks to Jimmy Wong for volunteering his barn in Mulino to store all of the items to save the CBA from the expense of continuing the U-Haul truck and finding a storage unit. Better yet, he has volunteered his barn to hold the rescheduled Rummage Sale indoors, plus he has an outdoor covered stage for performances (if the weather is good, inside the barn if not).

So . . .the Rummage Sale has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 15, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The location is 26412 S Highway 213 in Mulino, Oregon, directly behind the Mill Barn Espresso drive through stand. There will be music and plans are looking to hold another side event at the same time, so keep up to date by checking the CBA website and Facebook page.

A special thanks go out to all the musicians who were originally scheduled to perform at the Rummage Sale in September: Timothy James, Justus Reece, Kathryn Grimm, and Ben Rice, we will try to see if you’re now available for October. Thanks to Robin Gibson for bringing his PA system for set-up, plus all of his work with the moving of the sale items to Mulino. We will still need volunteers for the new date, so if you’re available to help, contact Rummage Sale chair-person Cherie Robbins at

Muddy Award

muddy_awardMark your calendars for Wednesday, November 2 as the Cascade Blues Association’s annual Muddy Awards celebration will return with a fun-filled night of excitement, recognition, and amazing music. It will take place at The Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder Street, upstairs in the main ballroom, beginning at 6:30 pm. Various music celebrities and CBA board members will present awards, as selected by our members, in a number of categories honoring the musical achievement from the past year.

Of course, the Muddy Awards would not be complete without musical entertainment. This year’s event will follow tradition set a few years back with an opening set from this year’s Journey To Memphis winning band Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers. Midway through the awards, we will have a short intermission set for the solo/duo Journey To Memphis winning act David Pinsky. And to top the night off in grand fashion, an All Star Set featuring many of past and current Muddy Award winners and nominees, put together and led by the soulful vocals and steamy guitar of Ken DeRouchie. Ken already has commitments from some of the best musicians in the region, so expect another over the top night with the All Stars.

The Muddy Awards is an all ages event and is free for CBA members with their current membership cards. Non-members are just $5.00 for one of the most anticipated nights of the year in Portland’s blues community.

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder Street, Portland
Wednesday, October 5 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $3.00
Opening Acoustic Set – The Tracey Fordice Band
Second Electric Set – The Beacon Street Titans

As the Cascade Blues Association’s thirtieth anniversary gets nearer, it is often fun to think back on many of the memories that the organization has put together to promote our local musicians. Many of those happen each month with our General Membership Meetings where we have introduced new artists that have since become some of the region’s and nation’s top performers as well as bringing familiar friends who just want to play for our members and say thanks. The October General Membership Meeting is shaping up to be one that you’re not going to want to miss. We’ll be bringing two of our favorite bands performing in a new format that is sure to offer excitement, fun and a reason to get up and dance.

tracey-by-bill-duikovicOpening the night will be The Tracey Fordice Band. In their previous incarnation as a Tracey Fordice & The 8-Balls, they received the 2014 Muddy Award for Best New Act as well as represented the Ashland Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. For the meeting the band will be performing in a special acoustic setting, with Tracey helming the piano and vocals, Randy Yearout on guitar, Todd Ommert on bass, Johnnie Corrie on congas and percussion, plus special guests George Discant on harmonica and James Toussaint on fiddle. Tracey and the boys will be acoustically performing selections from their latest recording, Out Of The Blues. Always a fun time to be had whenever the Tracey Fordice Band performs with their catchy and often humorous tunes

The second set of the night also is sure to get the room jumping. Fresh off their appearance at the beacon-street-titans-press-photoWaterfront Blues Festival as a Journey To Memphis finalist and the CBA Picnic, we will welcome the return of The Beacon Street Titans. The band that delivers the feel of the jump blues sound from Kansas City along with a bit of West Coast swing always get the audience dancing. The group will be a little smaller than you may have seen them before, as they’ll be working as a quartet for the meeting with Howard McClung on vocals, harmonica and saxophone, Daryl Boggs on guitar, Bill McNamera on drums and Steve Malski holding down the bass. The band has described their sound as Roomful of Blues meets the Squirrel Nut Zippers — now that’s a tasty combination.

We’ll keep you up to speed on what’s going on and coming up in our local blues scene for the month and hold our popular free ticket drawings for prizes (don’t forget to pick up a ticket as you enter the venue). This is the place to get your monthly kick-off for blues and to meet up with good friends. This is always a fun night, and we’ll see you there!

best-cdIf you’re planning to offer your self-produced CD to the Cascade Blues Association for consideration as its entry in The Blues Foundation’s competition, then time is running short — all entries must be received no later than the October 5 General Membership Meeting at The Melody Ballroom. This is to ensure that we have plenty of time to have a committee together to listen and score the entries properly before they’re due in Memphis by the end of the month.

Since 2005, The Blues Foundation has held an annual competition to recognize excellence in independent blues recordings. The Best Self-Produced CD competition allows affiliated blues societies from around the world to submit one entry each, preferably selected by a regional competition. The Cascade Blues Association has taken part in this event since its inception, including having the overall winner chosen in 2011 — Joe McMurrian’s Get Inside This House.

All are welcome to enter with the exception of artists who have been nominated for or received a Blues Music Award or recordings that are released on labels that have been nominated or received a Blues Music Award. No compilation discs are accepted. The CBA will accept for consideration only discs from artists in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho.

The listening committee will judge the entries using the same criteria that The Blues Foundation will later use in its own evaluation. These are: Blues Content (is this a blues recording?), Musical Performance (musicianship), Audio Quality (production values, levels), Cover Art & design (professional packaging — is this recoding ready for the rack at your favorite music outlet?), and Credits & Liner Information (informative, professional).

After submissions from each affiliated blues society have been received, The Blues Foundation will conduct judging in three stages, with the first two rounds being conducted by a select group of radio/print media people. The finalists will be announced a week prior to the 33rd annual International Blues Challenge and the winning recording will be named at the IBC finals in Memphis on February 4, 2017.

Entries may be mailed to: BSPCD c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, Oregon 97228, but they must be received by October 5.

ramblings on my mind

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

Well this month’s Rambling column is not so much a rambling from my part, but rather an explanation. Every now and then, people ask just what they receive for their $25.00 membership to the Cascade Blues Association. Well, let me give a few examples here.

First off, your membership card guarantees you free admission to our monthly general membership meetings. Those who are not members are required to pay $3.00 to get in. If you attend every meeting of the year it’d cost you $33.00 — right there you have saved $8.00. I only have included eleven months of meetings here as the November meeting is our annual Muddy Awards show. Non-members for that event pay $5.00 for entry, where you’re getting in free for one of the most anticipated blues events of the year in Portland.

The Cascade Blues Association also co-sponsors multiple events and concerts throughout the year, and these co-sponsored events offer discounts to our members for admission. Most of the time it might be a $1.00 discount, but it can vary and has been as much as $5.00 or more at times. Go to a lot of shows and the $25.00 membership is starting to pay for itself quickly and then some.

Every summer we have held a members only picnic. Your membership allows you entrance into this event. We have also held a Holiday Party in December, which again as a member you have free access. The Holiday Party is open to the public, but there is a $5.00 entry fee.

You receive the CBA’s BluesNotes publication delivered to your home monthly as part of your membership. Many other societies have gone the route of only offering their monthly, bi-monthly or even quarterly publications online only. We continue offering this hard copy to our members because they have said they prefer to have it that way. This costs us a great deal every month with editor fees, printing, and mailing. It far outweighs the funds that we receive through memberships each month.

We have heard the complaints that the papers do not always arrive before the end of the month to your homes. The BluesNotes have been put together the same way, the same dates each month for well over two decades. Submissions must be received by the 15th of the month prior. Everything is proof-read before it goes to the editor, who then puts the paper together over the next two to three days. Then it is again proofread and edited until it is ready to be submitted to the printers. They usually receive that by the 20th and then give them a day or two for printing and it is sent to the Post Office. This is where we lose control of how the paper is delivered. We have asked how the time frame varies when all are delivered at the main branch at the same time. The papers are mailed as bulk mail at a non-profit postage rate. Because of this, when it is sent to your local post office branches it is up to the staff there as to when it will actually be sent out on their routes, thus meaning that some people will receive their papers before others.

Another perk of being a member is having the right to vote for the Muddy Awards. All of our nominations and final votes are done by our members. We had been talking for the past few years of doing our voting online and we made that jump this year. Things don’t always flow as intended with new methods and we did have some glitches. A lot of people received “404” error messages. Often it was found when researched that either memberships had expired or for some reason were not showing up in our membership lists. But our webmaster was quick to respond and offered to assist anybody needing extra help to get things under way. We hope that you were able to get into the nomination program and if you did have problems you contacted the webmaster. Final ballot voting will be handled the same way as will future Muddy Award voting. New programs often take a little kicking and touch-ups to make sure that they’re working right.

Sometimes change is difficult for people to adhere to. We gave notice in the BluesNotes, at the monthly meetings and at the summer picnic that the Muddy voting would be done online this year. It only makes sense. Most people have means to go online with home computers and smart phones. There are other outlets available for those who do not own their computers to gain internet access, such as the public libraries. And we offered assistance to help those still having problems individually.

Why did we decide to make this change and had been thinking about for some time? Simple, it is cost efficient for us to do it this way to begin with. When you add up two sets of ballots for each member, printing paper ballots and mail expenses adds up to close to $1000.00 every year. Then we had to have the post office checked almost daily to keep up with the ballots being returned and then one person individually going through each ballot and creating a matrix of every vote sent in. Then the ballots and matrix went to a second person to verify. This is quite time consuming and may encounter human error that would have to be double checked if calculations differed. By going online, the calculations are done by computer and are accurate. They also are met by the firm deadline of when the cut-off for receiving them occurs.

Overall, if you look at what you do receive through your CBA membership, the benefits far exceed the amount that you pay. A number of other organizations may only provide you with a membership card and sometimes a newsletter and that’s it. Many may not even have monthly gatherings other than to talk about business without live music, let alone a picnic, holiday party and awards event. We strive to bring you the most bang for your dollar each year, but we want to provide the best overall service to the majority of our members as best we can. If you have ideas on how we may improve we are open to your thoughts.

Live in ’67 — Volume Two
Forty Below Records
By Randy Murphy

john mayall cd coverLast summer, I reviewed John Mayall’s new album chronicling a series of live dates in various London clubs during the spring of 1967. Now, Mayall and his pals at Forty Below Records have released, on honest-to-goodness vinyl no less, the next volume of these remarkable recordings.

To review how these historical performances came to light: Tom Huissen, a 16-year-old Dutch blues devotee, shadowed Mayall and this particular edition of The Bluesbreakers — Mayall on organ and vocals, John McVie on bass, Peter Green on guitar and vocals, and Mick Fleetwood on drums (and in this album, R&B singer Ronnie Jones sitting in on “Double Trouble”), around London during April and May of 1967 while toting his single-channel, reel-to-reel tape deck. Thankfully, Huissen captured on these priceless tapes a small taste of the nascent blues scene of mid-sixties Britain.

Just as the first release, these recordings are not close to high-fidelity, though to my ears this second volume on vinyl sounds a bit warmer than the first volume on CD — besides, listening to this music on a turntable, well, just feels right.

The performances Huissen captured here are invigorating and potent. While there’re no clunkers in the batch, there are a couple of soul-stirring highlights. The first cut, Mayall’s “Tears In My Eyes” showcases Peter Green’s ability to shift his guitar playing flawlessly from soulful into combustible in just a few short bars. “Greeny” a full-tilt, straight-ahead boogie number is another highlight, as is John McVie’s bass solo on “Chicago Line.”

But again, the whole album is terrific and it’s difficult to single out one or two tracks for recognition. It would also be quite difficult to underestimate the value of these recordings, and the only thing that overshadows their historical importance and cultural legacy is their musicality. Besides, how can blues tunes recorded in London’s Marquee Club or the Ram Jam in 1967 possibly go wrong?

So, my advice is to buy these albums, spend a few pleasant days listening to them, and then go see Mayall live at the Aladdin on November 7.


Tears In My Eyes / Your Funeral And My Trial / So Many Roads / Bye Bye Bird / Please Don’t Tell / Sweet Little Angel / Talk To your Daughter / Bad Boy / Stormy Monday / Greeny / Ridin’ On The L&N / Chicago Line / Double Trouble.


Not Quite Legal
Revved Up Records

chase-walker-band-cd-coverThe Chase Walker Band’s second release, Not Quite Legal, is a great indication that these teen-aged musicians were not just another flash in the pan group of youngsters trying their hand at the blues. They really mean their place in the genre and their rocking it big time with their approach, while showing that they’re still growing as a band, too. It is kind of scary just how good these kids are, as songwriters as well as musicians.

Band leader Chase Walker is already quite an accomplished guitarist. He also has plenty of savvy and sass as a songwriter and vocalist. There is a bit of adult language that crops up occasionally in a couple numbers, “Cold Hearted” and “Don’t F It Up” and its earned the release a parental advisory warning label, but even these songs display a creative musical drive that belies the band member’s ages.

Aside from Walker, the band features drummer Matt Fyke and bassist Randon Davitt, who contributes his own songwriting skills and vocals on the track “Changed.” Backing vocals from Jade Bennet-Mateo and April Stephenson also add exceptional soulful contributions to the band’s sound.

Enjoyable covers of Toots & The Maytall’s ska piece “54-46” and a rootsy version of The Wood Brothers’ “Honey Jar” enhance the musical diversity of the album. Then there is “Red House”; this Jimi Hendrix number may make many people say, “Oh boy, that old song? Everybody and their mother has done that one. Here we go again.” But rest assured, this is a superbly rendered take of the song, starting out with Walker working with solid resonator guitar playing that builds up the drive as the band joins in. It shows a lot of respect to Hendrix’ tradition without sounding like every other band who has covered the song. And the distorted vocals brings it all home. Well done!

The band throws in a hidden track at the end of the disc titled “Yabba Dabba” that really shows off the trio working in a jam feeling. They may be young, but they’ve been working together enough to grab each others’ feel and approach to the music. And it just keeps getting better. Keep your eye on the Chase Walker Band, these kids have got it going on and bring across on both recording and in live settings! Wow!

Total Time: 49:33

Done Loving You / Red House / The Walk / New State Of Mind / I Warned You / Cold Hearted / Don’t F It Up / 54-46 / Changed / It’ll Pass / Honey Jar / Living On Thin Ice