Introducing John Blues Boyd: The Real Deal
Little Village Foundation

john-blues-boyd-cd-coverIf you listen to just one new artist this year, you should direct your attention to John Blues Boyd. At the age of 71 he has released his debut disc with the urging and guidance of the Little Village Foundation.  Boyd claims that he always had a feeling for the blues, but life had to come first, making ends meet to cover his expenses. It wasn’t until his wife of 49 years, Dona Mae, passed away in 2014 after an extended illness, that Boyd was finally able to look into the blues — not only as a means of coping with his loss, but as a profession.

The album, appropriately titled Introducing John Blues Boyd: The Real Deal, was recorded in Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose. There is a lot of autobiography behind the songs presented here. The album opens with a bit of retrospective on Boyd’s life, “I Am The Real Deal,” and the closing piece “John, The Blues Is Calling You” brings the events of his life up to date. The love for his wife and her suffering is documented in three tunes, “I’m So Weak Right Now,” “When Your Eyes Met Mine” and “Screaming In The Night.” A fourth number, written by Kid Andersen and Rick Estrin, is yet another tribute to her, titled “Dona Mae.” Of the songs included on the album, all but three were penned by Boyd. The only exceptions (aside from the already mentioned “Dona Mae”) were written by Rick Estrin, including an outstanding take on Estrin’s humorous “That’s Big!”

Every track on the album is pure blues that resonates with every note. The Real Deal is just that; blues played at its absolute best in traditional electric Chicago or Delta fashion. And having spent a great deal of his life living in Mississippi, the exposure was there. Not to mention his cousin was the late legendary bluesman Eddie Boyd.

Being released by Little Village Foundation, Boyd was accompanied in the studio by a gathering of the talented musicians that have become go-to artists for the group. They include such well-known blues greats as label leader Jim Pugh, Rick Estrin, Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar, Big Jon Atkinson, June Core, Terry Hanck, D’Mar Martin, Frankie Ramos, and Robert Welsh to name just a handful. Bringing John Blues Boyd into the studio is another prime example of the label’s drive to bring lesser known or overlooked musicians to the forefront. And we should all be happy that John Blues Boyd now has music that we can all hear! And from the sounds of it, we should be hearing a great deal more from this new 71-year-old artist as he has claimed in a recent article that he has already recorded 52 songs and has another 60 ready to lay down. This is without doubt, one of the best blues releases of the year! And though the term has been overused, mostly for people undeserving, John Blues Boyd truly is “The Real Deal.”

Total Time: 45:33

I Am The Real Deal / You Will Discover / I’m Like A Stranger To You / That’s Big! / The Smoking Pig / That Certain Boy / Dona Mae / I’m So Weak Right Now / When Your Eyes Met Mine / Screaming In The Night / (Have You Ever Been To) Marvin Gardens / Be Careful With Your Love / John, The Blues Is Calling You

Texas Blues Voices
Appaloosa Records

fabrizio-poggi-cd-coverTexas has long been fertile ground for outstanding blues musicians. It has carved a tremendous niche in the history of the genre, stretching back to Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. It’s still serving as a birthplace for so many newer artists, too. So it was only natural that Italian bluesman Fabrizio Poggi has held a life-long goal to perform and record with the musicians of the Lone Star State.

Poggi is a Blues Music Award nominated harmonica player, with twenty recordings and four books under his belt. He has collaborated with quite a number of great musicians over the years, including the likes of Ronnie Earl, Sonny Landreth, Charlie Musselwhite, Marcia Ball, and Otis Taylor to name but a few. So it should be no surprise that making his dream come true of working with some of Texas best saw some of its favorite sons and daughters jumping at the chance — the result is Poggi’s newest release, Texas Blues Voices.

Heading down to Austin and working with famed Grammy winning engineer Stuart Sullivan, Poggi rounded up  a handful of the city’s best musicians to work as his core band: guitarists Bobby Mack and Joe Forlini, keyboardist Cole El-Saleh, and the rhythm section of bassist Donnie Price and drummer Dony Winn. The dream team of guests that he pulled into the mix are all over the top, offering a selection of covers and a few songs written by the artists performing.

Stand-out numbers on the disc would have to include Ruthie Foster singing Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee’s “Walk On,” Lavelle White working her song “Mississippi, My Home” with Carolyn Wonderland and Bobby Mack inserting terrific guitar solos, Shelley King’s is sensational on her piece “Welcome Home,” and Guy Forsythe’s resonator guitar playing on the traditional “Run On.” All of the performances are outstanding. Other musicians appearing are Mike Zito, Mike Cross and WC Clark. And Fabrizio Poggi blows some dynamic harmonica throughout.

If you have not been exposed to Fabrizio Poggi before, this is a superb disc to get your introduction. Filled with amazing playing by everybody in the mix. And it’s got a nice history of Texas blues going on, too. Texas Blues Voices is definitely something to put on your list to take a listen to. You won’t be sorry.

Total Time: 47:09

Nobody’s Fault But Mine / Walk On / Forty Days And Forty Nights / Rough Edges / Mississippi, My Home / Neighbor Neighbor / Many In Body / Welcome Home / Wishin’ Well / Run On

Blues Immigrant
Tongue ‘N Groove Records

matthew-skoller-cd-coverChicago-based harmonica ace Matthew Skoller is back with his fifth release. It’s fitting for a musician who has been laying down some of the sharpest harp music in The Windy City for nearly three decades, working alongside the city’s greats like Junior Wells, Lurrie Bell, John Primer, Koko Taylor, The Kinsey Report, that he has brought many of his best friends with him to create a masterful recording, Blues Immigrant, including guitarists Carlos Johnson and Eddie Taylor Jr. and keyboard professor Johnny Iguana.

Skoller is not afraid to address social issues in his music, something that has never been far from most blues music since the genre first took roots well over one hundred years ago. He sadly talks about the disappearance of the mom and pop businesses that made this country great in the number “Big Box Store Blues.” And he tackles how corporate greed is over-powering consumerism and life in general with “Story Of Greed.” The title track, “Blues Immigrant,” offers an autobiographical account of Skoller’s life beginning with his grandparents arrival in the country in 1922. But sometimes he thinks that regardless of just how much history has gone by and the troubles he’s seen, he still feels that he needs a green card to reside — has he paid enough dues, or does he need a green card to play the blues?

A welcome addition to the album is Skoller performing the Blues Music Award nominated song that he wrote for Lurrie Bell, “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music.” His presentation is sleek and filled with his signature vocals and burning harmonica.

Most of the tunes on the disc were written as part of Skoller’s songwriting partnership with Vincent Bucher, who also co-produced the album. But there are some great cover tracks included, too. Among those is a terrific take on Haskell “Cool Papa” Sadler’s “747,” perhaps best known by Joe Louis Walker’s version of the song. Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson’s “Get Down To The Nitty Gritty” and Papa Lightfoot’s classic instrumental “Blue Lights” both shine highly.

Skoller truly strikes home with his satirical piece “Only In The Blues.” It’s a sad vision, but quite true. Where but the blues can you find “His girlfriend is his manager / His brother books the gigs / Ex ol’ lady does the website / And supports his only kid / Thinks it’s only temporary / And he calls ‘payin’ dues’ / It’s a funky situation found only in the blues.” Or how about the performer being called the real deal and legend who out-sells BB King and Buddy Guy, despite the face that he’s only nine years old. Come to think about, this probably is more factual than satire.

Matthew Skoller continues to prove with every release he puts out and every performance he plays, he is one of Chicago’s true modern masters of the blues. And yes he has paid his dues. This is exactly the type of music you expect to hear when you think about Chicago blues. And it is amongst the very best to be found!

Total Time: 43:10

Big Box Store Blues / The Devil Ain’t Got No Music / Blues Immigrant / Only In The Blues / Tear Collector / Story Of Greed / 747 / Organ Mouth / My Get It Done Woman / Get Down To The Nitty Gritty / Blue Lights


New Music to Note

Here’s a list of new music received at the CBA office or purchased personally this past month that should be noted:

Alexis P. Suter Band – All For Loving You (American Showplace Music)
Anni Piper – More Guitars Than Friends (Sugar Daddy Records)
Backtrack Blues Band – Way Back Home (Flaming Cheese Records)
Bakin’ Phat – Voodoo Eyes (Self Produced)
Big Harp George – Wash My Horse In Champagne (Blues Mountain Records)
Bobby Black Hat – Accidental Blues (Self Produced)
Bruce Katz Band – Out From The Center (American Showplace Music)
Fabrizio Poggie – Texas Blues Voices (Appaloosa Records)
Grady Champion – One Of A Kind (Malaco)
Jessie Rae – Blue Funk (Self Produced)
JJ Thames – Raw Sugar (Malaco)
John Blues Boyd – Introducing John Blues Boyd The Real Deal (Little Village Foundation)
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – Live in 1967 – Volume Two (Forty Below Records)
Johnny Rawls – Tiger In A Cage (Catfood Records)
Lisa Mann – Hard Times, Bad Decisions (JayRay Records)
Matthew Skoller – Blues Immigrant (Tongue ‘N Groove Records)
RB Stone – Some Call It Freedom (Some Call It The Blues) (Middle Mountain Music)
Robert “Freightrain” Parker – Freightrain Live (Self Produced)
Shoji Naito – New Cool Old School (Ogden Records)
Sunday Wilde – Bluesberries & Grits (Hwy 11 Records)
The Dogtown Blues Band – Everyday (RVL Music)
The Paul Deslauriers Band – Relentless (Big Toe Productions)
Thunder Brothers – Thunder Brothers EP (Self Produced)
Vaneese Thomas – The Long Journey Home (Segue Records)

rae-gordon-and-the-backseat-drivers-photo-by-cherie-robbinsRae Gordon is a familiar name in the local blues community. Not only for her music talent, but for her amazing support of musicians and their craft. Rae and her band, the Backseat Drivers, will be representing the Cascade Blues Association at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January. This month, Saturday, October 8, Rae has organized a blues cruise fundraiser to help them get to Memphis. Rae and the band answered some questions to let us know more about them.

Who are the band members and what part do they play in the band?

  • Rae Gordon – vocals
  • Al Hooton – bass
  • Ed Pierce – drums
  • Kivett Bednar – guitar
  • Pat McDougall – keys
  • Scott Franklin – sax
  • Allan Kalik – trumpet

Rae – I started my music career in the piano bars and comedy clubs of Los Angeles, opening for comedians and running an open mic that brought the best of music and comedy together. It was an interesting but awesome start, where I learned to bring a little humor into my shows and be able to connect with an audience.

Bass player Al was a trumpet player in the Midwest earlier in life, spending a lot of time in funk combos and swinging big bands. But when he moved to the Pacific Northwest, he discovered how much fun it was to be back in the rhythm section and became a bass player and never looked back! Al uses both bass guitars and electric upright basses when laying down the foundational tones as a Backseat Drivers, and also delivers backing vocals.

Drummer Ed is a sought after player known for not only his boyish good looks, but his extreme versatility as a player. His ability to morph with any song thrown at him, from a soft jazz standard to a funky get up and groove, is well known. Ed grew up in Eureka, California, and started playing percussion at the age of 11. In high school and college he played drums in a variety of rock and jazz groups, as well as playing steel drums in the Humboldt State University Calypso Band. After graduating from college in 1996, he moved to the Portland area, where he has played drum set with many jazz, blues, and R&B groups for the last 20 years. In addition to the Rae Gordon Band, he has played at various times as the main drummer with some of the local legends including DK Stewart, Johnny Martin, Paul deLay, Lloyd Jones, Terry Robb, Geno Michaels, Roger Woods, and many others.

Guitarist Kivett is fast becoming known for his gracious grooves and ability and hails from Austin, Texas. He moved to Portland about 5 years ago and has been playing guitar in blues bands for 22 years. He graduated from the Berkeley College of Music in 2005. He currently also play in The Pining Hearts, a psych-surf band, that has been turning heads around the Portland Metro area. He became a Backseat Driver recently. In addition to playing music in multiple projects including Land of the Living, he is also an accomplished painter, who has had his artwork displayed in various galleries and shows around Portland and Austin, Texas.

Keyboard player Pat has performed with a long list of bands and artists, including his own blues/R&B outfits Runaway Train and Tall Static. He was the musical director for the Portland-based band supporting Tony Coleman (BB King’s drummer for many years), and a member of the Muddy Award-winning lineup of Bill Rhoades & The Party Kings. These days he can often be heard playing with Lisa Mann, Kenny Lavitz, Karen Lovely and Ben Rice. Pat has composed music for commercials, independent films, theatrical productions and corporate presentations; his compositions have won recognition from the Portland Music Association and Keyboard magazine. During the day Pat works in marketing communications – building websites, writing and editing copy, and developing technical documentation.

Sax player Scott was outstanding Senior in Music, Beaverton High School, 1978. All State Band, 3rd in State Solo Contest, 1978. Mt Hood Community College, 1 o’clock Big Band 1978-80. Clackamas Community College 1 o’clock Big Band 1982-3. He continued His music studies at Marylhurst University in the late 1980’s, and then at Portland State University, graduating with a B.S. in Music in 1992. Over the years he’s performed and/or recorded with: Dub Debrie, Ants in the Kitchen, Midnight Blue, The Coasters, Papa Salty, The Fabulous Farelanes, Franco Paletta and The Stingers, The Arnold Brothers, Smokehouse, The Jazz Pinheads, Luminos, The JC Rico Band, Billy’s Brass Band, and of course…..Rae Gordon and the Backseat Drivers!

Trumpet player Allan is one of the most active and in-demand commercial players in Portland and also one of the busiest private lesson teachers. He has been teaching privately since 1982 and was on the faculty of the University of South Florida from 1989 to 1991. He has been a clinician at dozens of schools throughout Oregon, Washington and Florida. Allan has performed with Ray Charles, Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Lew Soloff, George Adams, Jon Faddis, and locally performed with Uncle Phunk, Bob Miller Almost All Star Band, Caramel Chocolates, Deep Blue Soul Revue, Ants in the Kitchen, Department of R&B, Return Flight, The Swingline Cubs and Thunderfunk. Allan earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music at the University of South Florida.

Were you all born and raised in the Portland area?

Rae – I grew up in Southern California and spent a lot of my time in Riverside County.

The Backseat Drivers are a talented bunch of musicians from different parts of the US, who have decided to make the Portland area their home. Rae grew up in Southern California and in Tacoma, mostly in Riverside County, California. Ed grew up in Eureka, California; Al hails from the South Bend, Indiana area; Pat and Scott are Portland area raised—from Portland and Beaverton; Kivett headed this way from Austin, Texas; and Allan comes from a longer distance in Florida.

How long have you been performing together professionally and individually?

Rae – I started my music journey in the piano bars of LA, and opening up as a singing act for comedians.

I have long been a fan of every one of the musician that are now in my Backseat driving. When I decided to do another band project, it was so natural for us all come together and that was quick! The Journey to Memphis contest in June was our first official gig together and the response to what we were putting out was so appreciated by us all. I have admired these musicians all for years in their other projects and as people. Sax player Scott Franklin and drummer Ed Pierce were in my former project the “Rae Gordon Band” and they also strike me as really good men, the good guys you always hear about. I always liked Al’s laid back, everything-will-be-cool groove and his common sense that lays a good foundation for what we are doing. Pat and Allan have the sense of humors that won’t quit and are always at the ready to match wits with. Kivett is cooler than cool and is as approachable as they come. I recently rediscovered his playing at a jam and really dug his gritty sound and slide work. I had lost track of his whereabouts, musically speaking, for a few years and was delighted to hear him again and hear the sound I was looking for. He has a great attitude and also has a great singing voice. The others I have played with as special guests or sitting in. The best part of this talented bunch is their sense of teamwork, humor, honesty and humbleness.

Did each of you always want to perform professionally or if not, what did you “want to be when you grew up”?

Rae – I wanted to be a police officer, but I think all of us had music in our souls from the day we drew breath, sometimes it just takes a while, it’s about 50/50 on day jobs or not, but it’s obvious we would all want to be doing music 24/7.

Rae – I recently quit a day job where I was a marketing assistant for 10 years in tourism to do music full time. To help make ends meet, I also started a part time marketing and events consulting business that allows me to put music first and have flexible working hours helping other people live their dreams.

Who has influenced your music?

Rae – My biggest two influences growing up was Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin. It is something I inspire to take on stage with me always, the fun flirty audience friendly style of Bette and the grab your soul from your head to your toes of Aretha.

How would you describe your music?

Rae – I enjoy singing all kinds of styles that help me stretch and move around in my vocal range. But, the style I’m now working towards is a gritty soulful sound that makes you want to get up and dance.

Did you have any formal training or self-taught?

Rae – I have officially had 3 lessons in my life! One was Seth Riggs down in LA, the 2nd was Ellen Whyte and the 3rd was Mark Bosnian. I learned a lot from all three.

What CD’s do you have out?

Blue Lemonade and Dirty Flowers, co-written with Gaddis Cavenah. Music by Cavenah, lyrics by Gordon. The Blue Lemonade debut album made #10 in July of 2013 of the Billboard Blues Charts.

Any more CD’s in the works?

Rae – I am starting preproduction and writing of an original gospel album with a couple covers titled In Between as well as another blues album titled Better Than I Was.

Who have you played with?

Rae – I have been blessed and honored to have shared the stage with so many folks that I can’t even begin to thank. My last project I shared the stage with some amazing talented folk, like Gaddis Cavenah, who helped me develop a great band and was my first songwriting partner. He was the sole reason I was able to get my first album out. Joseph Conrad on bass, Ed Pierce and Edwin Coleman III shared the drum chair, Scott Franklin on saxophone is a mighty force and Joe McCarthy graced us with his tuneage now and again when I got to do a bigger band.

I have been a part of the rotating sisters of Sonny Hess’s Northwest Rhythm & Blues show and it is and has been a turning point in my life to have learned so much from Sonny and that group that include more of my influences locally like Lisa Mann and Lady Kat.

The 1st Sunday of every month has me playing with the likes of Ken Brewer, Jim Solberg and various guest artists for the 1st Sunday Gospel show at the Trails End Saloon in Oregon City. It’s an amazing way to get spiritual in a Come as You Are place.

After I took a break last year from having my own band project, I enjoyed so much doing some shared stage time with Big Monti Amundson. What an incredible songwriter and person. He really got me to dig deep and challenge myself musically as well as playing with different projects as a guest. As I move forward on my own band project again, I really appreciate bringing that along with me.

I also appreciate the time I had with the Etta James Tribute band with some powerhouse players like DK Stewart, Joe Conrad, Joe McCarthy, Peter Dammann, Ed Pierce, Chris Mercer and the wonderful women like Duffy Bishop, Lisa Mann, Lady Kat, LaRhonda Steele. I learned so much from them and was honored to have been asked to do those shows. Sometimes you look back at one gig, one moment and realized it changed your life forever. When DK asked me, it was one of those moments. I have moved on to work on another tribute close to my heart, Bette Midler and will be doing a combined show with LaRhonda Steele, Julie Amici and Melissa Buchanan at the Lake Theater November 14th, bringing the songbook to life.

Music and band projects have always been personal growth opportunities not only for learning music, but for getting to really know people, on stage and off, it is truly a blessed life for sure. I continue to appreciate the most, the people I have learned from that tell me to not stop learning. It’s not always easy, but it IS always worth it. I am forever grateful of the time that has been given to me by local musicians sharing and caring. Whether that was a moment, a minute, an hour, or years.

Are there any former band members you want to mention?

It’s been a journey to say the least, many people and musicians I have had the honor to play with starting with my first guitar player in my first band “the Rebounders” Bob Leitch, to recent musicians who will always have some of my heart. I appreciate what I learned and realize how blessed I was when I look back at all the good times since I started doing a regular blues band in 2001.

Closing comments from Rae:

The Backseat Drivers is the bigger version of my new band project. I will continue to play trios and have other fun projects in the works, including the original gospel project and new CD, but the Drivers are my main focus. Now that I am fully self-employed, I intend to fully stay musical busy! Stay tuned!

I have recently started travelling more and experiencing other blues communities, but always love coming home to Oregon and to the strong, beautiful community that is the northwest. The talent in the Portland Metro area is immense and to be able to call some of them my friends, has been a gift for sure.

The big thing now on the horizon is having RGB do good by Portland and by the Cascade Blues Association, and be able to do well in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge (IBC). Please save all the dates of our fundraisers. Once a month, we will putting the Fun in Fundraiser.

October 8th, please join RGB, Lisa Mann and Franco Paletta along with David Pinsky, 14-year-old Timothy James, on the Portland Spirit with music on all levels. Proceeds to help with lodging and travel expenses for the IBC. Lend support to the duo and youth acts at this year’s Portland Blues Cruise. Tickets are now on sale through for $25.00. Admission will be $30.00 on site, but best to buy in advance as this event will more than likely sell out.

November 3rd, will find me and other volunteers delivering bag lunches in Oregon City, with the proceeds going to feed the band.

December 3rd, plan to get your Christmas tree with some of the Backseat Drivers! Some of us will be on hand to help you pick and cut a tree with proceeds helping us while we are in Memphis.

Make sure to also come January 7th to the Trails End Saloon for the goodbye party and last chance fundraiser for multiple acts from the Northwest going to the IBC including Polly O’Keary from Washington State. This will also serve as another judging opportunity where the acts will showcase their Memphis sets and be able to have a look one more time on scores and make any final adjustments before heading to Memphis to represent the NW.

Thank you for loving live music!

To keep up with Rae and her upcoming shows visit her website at

Lloyd Jones

Looky Here Everyone,

As summer comes to a close and the holiday season begins, we look forward to “hangin’ with friends and family back home.  This was the best summer ever (got to play at a Castle in Denmark, take the subway to a gigs in Manhatten NY, and play some wild California fests too) but let’s look ahead. way ahead!

Just confirmed Saturday December 17 at Jimmy Mak’s to put on a Special Holiday Show with the “Sweet Angels”. The magnificent Teresa James is coming in from Los Angeles to join me along with LaRhonda Steele, and Lisa Mann!! With Louis Pain on organ and Brian Foxworth on drums, this will officially be a ..”Supergroup’.

The show will include Angelic Features and Sweet Duets to make this a unique and magical event. Get your tickets now at for the early (7pm) or late (9:30) show!

Lloyd Jones

Harvey Brindell &The Tablerockers

THOSE LOCAL BLUES LEGENDS–Every part of the country has local blues legends, known to everyone in town for decades, whose fame lasts through several generations, but because of a personal choice to stay close to home rather than go out and stay on the road, their name remains unknown to the wider national blues audience. The guys who started playing in bands in junior high and continue throughout their entire lives. Dave Wagner is one of those guys.

When a national act comes through the Zoo Bar in Lincoln NE and for one reason or another needs to find a bass player to fill in for a night or two, or sometimes longer, the locals tell them “call Wags”.  And whether you know him as Wags, or Shakey, or simply as David, if you’ve ever been to the Zoo Bar, you’re likely to have seen him either up on stage subbing on bass with a national act or playing bass and singing in one of the many local bands he’s been part of.

When Magic Slim’s brother, Nick Holt, first got sick, Slim called Dave and asked him to fill in for an extended period of time. When Sherman Robertson came into town and needed a bass player, he called Dave. The list of players that Dave has either helped out locally or gone on the road to play with also includes Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone,   Chris Duarte, Jon Lawton (The Headhunters), Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, Taildragger and others.

I had the chance to play with Dave on and off for twenty five years in several iterations of   The Honeyboy Turner Band (Honeyboy Turner & Cryin’ Heart, The Blues Orchestra featuring Honeyboy Turner, The Honeyboy Turner Band.)  I also had the opportunity to record two studio albums with Dave.

Dave Wagner is the standard by which I judge bass players. The bar is set high and if you’d like to see and hear for yourself, Dave will be in Portland playing with my band, Harvey Brindell & The Tablerockers, at Jo Bar on NW 23rd Street on Friday Oct 28th.

So here’s an opportunity to see, hear and meet one of those “local blues legends” right here in Portland.

Harvey Brindell & The Tablerockers


The Ellen Whyte Plus Sized Band

Hey Everyone!

I want to extend an invite to you all to come out to The Trails End Saloon, 1320 Main St, Oregon City, OR, Saturday night, October 15 for a one-of-a-kind celebration, featuring The Ellen Whyte Plus Sized Band! We’re calling it the “BIG 5!” Showtime 8:30pm.

Why is it called “The Big 5?” Here’s the run down:

  1. It’s the 20th anniversary of our first release, “Different Point Of Blue.”
  2. The 25th wedding anniversary of John Mullin and me.
  3. John’s pending retirement after 42 years of dedicated advocacy work in Human Services work.
  4. 20 years of friendship, songwriting and making great music with Garry Meziere
  5. My birthday

The 10 piece band will be there with our great friend and special guest, Renato Caranto! Put it on the calendar and circle it in red! See you soon!


The Thunder Brothers

Hello “Thunderheads”,

We just returned from the Sunbanks Blues Festival.  We can’t say enough about the great work Billy Stoops does. A big “Thunderthanks” to Billy and the Sunbanks staff for a job well done and a “Thunderful” time.

Then on to The Spar in Tacoma for a “Thunder packed” evening of music and friends, old and new.

The Festival coincided with the release of our EP of original songs, as well as our new line of “Thunderwear”, which includes men’s and woman’s t-shirts, tank tops, and decals.  Hats and more are on the way.

Our EP and all of our “Thunderwear” will soon be available for order on our now up and running “Thundersite” at

This is where to find out our schedule and keep up on The Thunder Brothers projects, as well as on our Facebook page.

On Friday, October 14th, we will be storming the historic Trails End Saloon in Oregon City with a special opening acoustic solo set by Ben Rice.  And if you can’t make it to the show, please be sure to stop by and visit our Facebook page or check out the website  and leave  your email address there if you would like to be on our mailing list.

Thank you for your support.

The Thunder Brothers


David Kahl – Soul Cookin’, Bayou Boyz, and More

There have been some major changes and a bit more than usual in my life since March 20th when so many came together for “A Life For Lynn” at the Rose Room. 71 musicians performed that day and at least another 35 offered their services! We could have put on a festival with such an outpouring. As it stands, I find myself grateful for the efforts of all the volunteers, contributors, and the venue, but, in particular, for Ty Curtis and Tracy Turner-Pain, who spearheaded such an overwhelming labor of love. It made the transition to a less active career a lot easier, at least for now. I do miss playing with Ty and, most certainly, hanging with him, Jerry Jacques, and Louis Pain, but, as they say, life moves on – and, boy, has it moved.

I’ve had a few gigs with Terry Robb, Fiona Boyes, Mitch Kashmar, Too Loose, Karen Lovely, and others that help ease things. Then there are Wednesday nights at Blackwell’s with Soul Cookin’ – Lloyd Jones, Brian Foxworth, Dover Weinberg, and, when they’re out, some incredibly talented special guests. It’s hard to single them out, but I have to, considering the announcement of a new group that has grown out of these Wednesday night socials and celebratory get-togethers.

Steve Kerin is well known and loved, as person and performer, by most of you. This guy’s infectious energy and deep Louisiana roots are more than enough to bring out a crowd that’s ready to party. What a lot of people don’t know is how incredibly diverse his musical taste and talent ranges. This is a plus that we’re going to put to good use.   Shark Schatzkamer has worked and recorded with some of the biggest names in music, among them Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, John Trudell, and Bob Dylan. He is an acknowledged master of stringed instruments and tunings. His reputation is strong and well respected enough to have garnered a commission by Taj Mahal to transcribe his work. As varied as his work is, Mark has a strong love for Louisiana-based music. Pairing him with Steve Kerin was something that just happened and the result was good enough to revisit a couple more times on Wednesdays.

Response was overwhelming, from both the audience – who suggested that it should be a band – and the owner of Blackwell’s, Jan DeLorme, who offered us another regular night of work. With Brian Foxworth and me holding down the rhythm section duties, we are excited about this project. On Sundays, from 5:00-8:00pm, we’ll be bringing some good times, good music, and good vibes to Blackwell’s, 1815 N.E. 41st Avenue, in the heart of the Hollywood District. Although there was a lot of good-natured clamor to call it “The Dave Kahl Band”, we settled on a name that we think is more properly descriptive, The Bayou Boyz is going to set itself deep in swampified, funky, hot and humid Louisiana roots, while exploring new realms and discovering new voices. This is looking to become quite the adventure for all involved. We’d love to have your company.


James Clem

Hi friends, I just got back from playing a lot of dates in Europe. In fact the whole trip lasted five weeks. I started off playing a two-day festival in Ireland and then several gigs in SW England. From there I had a nice welcome playing a sold out SRO show at a studio in London. The next day I did a slide demo for Diamond Bottlenecks at the huge London Acoustic Show in central London.

As I write this I am getting ready to play a show in Antwerp, Belgium and another here in two days. From Belgium we are off to play a cool jazz club in Paris, France (with a gypsy jazz group opening) and then two workshops in Amsterdam, Holland. Except for the Irish festival these are all small venues so no one will get rich playing these places but the experience of meeting people, seeing new places and getting such a great audience response you cannot put a price on. I have had lots of days off for sightseeing as well.

In other news, I got word from Pandora radio that both of my new CD’s Sugar Moon and Road’s Gettin’ Muddy are now on their playlist so submit my name on their site and give a listen. You can also pick those CD’s up at Music Millennium and on iTunes. Hope to see some of you out there at my gigs and keep me in mind for any events you have planned and guitar (and ukulele) lessons.

James Clem


Ashbolt Stewart

Hello fellow Blues Lovers~

October is my birthday month! I’ll be showcasing tunes from my CD Beats Workin’ on Saturday, October 15 with an all-star band at The Montavilla Station, then going coastal to Lincoln City on my actual 67th birthday at Snug Harbor on Saturday, October 22. Then throwing my Portland party at Montavilla Station at the Sunday Bolt Upright JAM on Oct. 23. All shows free from 9pm-1am. I hope to be swinging the drums with both hands and singing some new originals. Hope to see my blues family at these shows!

Also, I want to give a very heartfelt thank you to my Portland community, especially my blues family for all the emotional encouragement that I’ve received since my shoulder injury July 1. My whole world has been turned upside-down this summer and you’ve given me SO much encouragement I know there will be a brighter day ahead very soon. Thanks to each and all of you from my heart.