california-honeydrops-photo-by-keith-bersonThe California Honeydrops don’t just play music — they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring a vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibe to their shows. They’ve taken the party all over the world, playing festivals of all kinds and touring widely across North America, Europe and Australia. In 2016 the Honeydrops were honored to support Bonnie Raitt on her North America release tour — and in the past have been privileged to support the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy, and Dr. John. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.

The band will returning to Portland for a two-night stand, Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, at The Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Avenue for 9:00 pm shows with opening act Steep Ravine. Tickets are available in advance through for $20.00. This is a 21 & over only event.

sista-otis-photo-by-cm-bjornbergFollowing up on her October tour that saw New Orleans-based Sista Otis making stops in Southern and Central Oregon, the talented songwriting guitarist will be making a return whirlwind three-night, five-show run through Portland, Corvalis, and Hood River.

Renowned for her bluesy soul performances, Sista Otis cut her musical teeth as a traveling, street-kid performer, writing and singing her songs for pocket change, to later become a national touring and international recording artist. Originally from Detroit,  her 2004 breakout recording, Worldwide Release, generated high acclaim and airplay in twelve countries around the world. It received praise from publications such as Rolling Stone and The Advocate who called her one of the top ten indie artists to see live in the United States. The Detroit News described her as having “enough power to fuel a fire and enough soul to make James Brown proud.”

She will be performing at the following locations:

Thursday, Nov 3 – Bombs Away Café, 2527 NW Monroe Avenue in Corvalis at 8:00 pm.

Friday, Nov 4 – Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd in Portland at 6:00 pm.

Friday, Nov 4 – River City Saloon, 207 Cascade Avenue in Hood River at 10:00 pm.

Saturday,Nov 5 – The O’Neill Public House (formerly Biddy McGraw’s), NE 60th & Glisan in Portland at 6:00 pm.

Nov 5 – Trillium Café, 207 Oak Street in Hood River at 10:00 pm.

Contact the venues for further information.

Anders Osborne

Anders OsborneWhile growing up in Sweden, Anders Osborne discovered enough of a connection to American blues that he decided to move to the United States and settle in New Orleans where he’s since become a mainstay on the city’s immense musical scene. Between the potency of his richly detailed songwriting, his intensely emotional, soulful vocals, and his piercing, expert guitar work, Osborne is a true musical treasure. He is among the most original and visionary musicians writing and performing today and has been heralded by Offbeat magazine with being named the city’s best guitarist three times and best songwriter twice. Guitar Player magazine has named him “Poet Laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene.” With a handful of recordings on the Alligator label (his latest titled Spacedust & Ocean Views), appearances on the television show Treme, and performing with the likes of other well-known Louisiana artists as Keb’ Mo’, Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone, and Mike Zito.

Anders Osborne will be performing at The Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue, on Thursday, November 17,  in a double bill with singer-songwriter James McMurtry.  Show time is 8:00 pm and it is open to all ages, with minors being accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets are $29.50 in advance through, or $32.00 day of show at the venue.

john-mayall-photo-by-arnie-goodmanThere are few performers today who can be labeled truthfully as legendary, but when attached to John Mayall the title is indeed fitting. A keystone in the development of the early ‘60s British blues scene that immigrated across the Atlantic and around the world, he is still at the top of his game more than fifty years later. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and vocalist, Mayall, along with his band The Bluesbreakers, has introduced the world to many premier rock and blues musicians who have gone on to solo success, such as Bluesbreakers alumni Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, and Jack Bruce. Tirelessly touring and releasing stellar recordings, Mayall was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2016.

John Mayall always draws attention whenever he performs in Portland. He will be returning to the Aladdin Theater on Monday, November 7 for what is certain to be another outstanding show. Tickets are $30.00 and are available in advance through Minors are welcome with a parent or guardian. The Aladdin Theater is located at 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave. Show time is 8:00 with an opening set by Portland bluesman Joe McMurrian.

thad-beckman-and-mary-flower-press-photoMary Flower and Thad Beckman are two diverse yet overlapping talents, and they’ll team up for a double bill at The Lake Theater & Cafe, 106 N State St in Lake Oswego, on November 7. Each will perform individual sets and then will close the night playing together for a few songs that will surely create some magic in the theater.

Multiple Blues Music Award nominee, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mary Flower is that rare breed of American roots artist. With a devotion to the art form that is both lovingly and historically accurate while steeped in a creativity that lends it vitality and energy, Flower’s music continues to evolve and flourish in an age of increasingly digitized and compressed music.

Thad Beckman, with seven solo recordings under his belt, has performed on Late Night with David Letterman and Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, and at The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Waterfront Blues Festival and countless other festivals, theaters, and clubs across The USA, Canada, and Europe.  John T. Davis of The Austin American Statesman describes Beckman as  “a voice that rasps like shoe leather on roadside gravel, and a finger-picked guitar on which notes fly by like railroad ties under a fast moving freight.” And Tom Russell simply calls him “one of America’s best guitar players and a damn good songwriter.“

This incredible twin-billed show will begin at 7:00 pm, with tickets available for $15.00 at



Four local singers known for their work in the blues, soul, and more will combine for an intimate night offering the music of Bette Midler. Rae Gordon, Julie Amici, LaRhonda Steele and Melissa Buchanan, plus a band of talented musicians, will bring Midler’s material to life at the unique setting of a quaint movie theater on the shores of beautiful Lake Oswego.

Award winning and multi-talented Bette Midler has won over countless hearts for years as both a singer and as an actress. A force to be reckoned, she is one of the hardest working woman in show business, who started in humble beginnings as a nightclub act in piano bars alongside Barry Manilow in the 60s and continues to delight audiences and inspire other singers to this day. Midler’s music includes some of the best known tunes that are included in the songtrack to many people’s lives.

Rae Gordon has long sought out Midler as an inspiration to her own musical journey, following in some of Miss M’s footsteps by starting in piano bars and also opening up for comedians. The ability for Midler to move from one song to another with humor, grace, and drama made this singer admire her connection to the audience and aspire to do the same. She is joined by her friends Julie Amici, LaRhonda Steele, and Melissa Buchanan, with Dean Mueller on bass, Ed Pierce on drums providing the rhythm for The Band of “Friends” that you’ll just have to attend to see who they are.

The Lake Theater & Café is located at 106 N State Street in downtown Lake Oswego. Tickets are available for $15.00 online at Show time is 7:00 pm.

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

The Cascade Blues Association, like many non-profit organizations its size, is made up of members and especially volunteers. We are only as strong as those volunteers who help us throughout the year, either at events or serving on our Board of Directors. Each year, the membership is invited to elect the new Board Officers in December. As of the past few years we have held a very small Board, currently we only have seven people, which means that these individuals are putting in a very significant amount of time and energy bringing everybody the events and happenings expected from the CBA every year. We can have up to fifteen people on the Board. I know of one similar blues society that has close to twenty people serving on their Board currently. Imagine how much more we could accomplish if we had that many people.

The more we have, the easier it is for all of us to get things done. With more people we can expand our visions. We can go after grants, we can do marketing to help us gain more attention for our blues community, member drives, fundraising, and we can come up with even more ideas to make the organization stronger.

Our events do not have to be run by Board members. We are open to volunteers taking on the lead for events that we have. That was the case with the original organization of the Rummage Sale with Rae Gordon taking the helm the first few years and Cherie Robbins this year. It is a lot of work and we need to thank them for bringing their assistance and lead to us.

So often I hear it said that the CBA is a clique. That we support the same acts and nobody else. That is nowhere near the truth as we try to support everybody as much as we can.

The BluesNotes for example is a labor where we attempt to seek out all special events and touring artists to let you know what is happening. That outlet is put together by only four people for the most part from writing through editing and publishing. It is time consuming and we have asked for help numerous times. And we offer the Bandstand for acts to promote their events themselves at no charge. Then look at the calendar. Without that how many gigs might go unnoticed? If these two outlets are not utilized then you’re doing a disadvantage to yourself as an act.

If you believe that the CBA is a clique, make a difference. Join the Board, run for an elected position, write for the BluesNotes, volunteer. You can help make a change, but if you just sit back and vocalize your dislike it will not make improvements that you may envision or expect. It takes a lot more than just a small handful of people to accomplish that. Each Board member has but one vote for any new project or idea, so you can make a difference by becoming a part of it.

In the long run, the CBA belongs to its members. The purpose is to promote our local blues community. All of it. We have a large membership, those on the Board can be overwhelmed with so much going on with its current size. You can’t expect much change from a small group trying their best as volunteers to keep up with all expectations every year. They are not gaining anything from doing this, no free perks or reimbursement.  It is all done for their love for and desire to see the blues community enriched and recognized. With as many members that we have, there should be more willing to step forward to contribute. We need your help. Please.

voteEvery December, the Cascade Blues Association asks its members to attend the monthly membership meeting to cast their votes for the people who they would like to run the organization for the coming year. All five officer positions (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Secretary) are open for anyone who would like to seek the positions. We do request, however, that for the Membership Secretary position that you have knowledge of spreadsheets and mailing, and for Treasurer you have a firm grasp of accounting and filing taxes.

If you would like to place your name on the ballot for any of the CBA positions, please submit a letter stating your intent to run and outlining your qualifications no later than Friday, December 2. If you would like your letter published in the December BluesNotes, please submit the letter by November 15. You may mail your letter of intent to Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, OR 97228-6566.

We are in need of At Large Board Members, too. If you have an interest in working on our Board, but not wanting to fill one of the elected positions, please speak to any of our Board Members.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Musician’s Toy Run Benefit, hosted by Francine West, will once again hold a day-long show aimed at bringing holiday joy to children. The event returns to the Trails End Saloon, 1320 Main Street, Oregon City, on Saturday, November 5 from 3:00 until midnight. Admission is only $5.00 or the donation of new unwrapped toys. Last year brought in $4,420.29 and five boxes of toys for the ABATE/Shriners Toy Run and they’re hoping to bring in more this year.

Francine West and her band The High Speed Wobblers will host a day filled with some of the very best musicians on the West Coast. Lloyd Jones, Jim Mesi, Norman Sylvester, Dover Weinberg, The Remedy Band, Hang Um High, and the Rose City Ramblers will all be hand to help with the cause. Also Bay Area boogie pianist and International Blues Challenge finalist Wendy DeWitt along with her partner Kirk Harwood will travel up to Oregon City to join in the fun. This is a remarkable line-up for a not-to-be-missed show that helps support a very good cause indeed!

Harvey Brindell & The Tablerockers

Booking Your Band Part 1 “The Following”

Booking a band is an area that I have considerable experience and expertise in. I often get questions from other musicians about the best way to get a band booked. One of the biggest frustrations I hear is what to tell club owners when they ask “how big is your following.” As we all know, that’s unpredictable. You can consistently pull in a great crowd in one place and go to another place and have few people show up. And you certainly don’t want to lie to club owners about what they might expect if they hire you. So how can you handle this?

When I initiate a contact with a new venue that I’m trying to book my band into I always tell them who we are, what we do, and provide a link to my website, Facebook page, ReverbNation page, and You Tube page.

And of course, one of the first things that some club owners often ask when they respond is “how big is your following”? That immediately makes me think, “this person didn’t follow up on the information I sent them about my band.” A brief visit to my website provides everything you need to know about my band. Beyond what kind of music do we play and are we any good at it, which our recorded live videos will tell you, our schedule should provide some hint at what our following may be. If we’re playing every weekend, if we’re playing twice on most weekends, if most venues have us back in, over and over again, doesn’t that tell you what you need to know about my band.

The information on my website also answers the question about whether or not my band is a good fit for any given venue. I make it absolutely clear that we play Chicago Blues. We don’t play blues rock, or classic rock, or rock and roll and then throw in a few blues songs. We bring exactly what we say we’re gonna bring, Chicago Blues. So the question then becomes, does this club provide an atmosphere and support a crowd that will dig a night of Chicago Blues?

When I was living in Lincoln, NE I got booked into a club in town that had just started doing live music and seemed to be looking for their identity. It was a cozy room with a nice stage and a great sound system. Because it was a local venue, a lot of friends that came to our shows at other local venues came out to hear us in the new place. First set went great but as soon as we took a break the guy running the sound system turned into a DJ and cranked up the hip hop/ dance music at a volume that made small talk difficult at best. Most of the people that were there to hear the blues left during that break. And on each subsequent break, the same thing happened. We played that club one more time and it was the same story.

So when a club owner asks “how big is your following? “ I usually direct them to my website and ask them to look at my schedule, watch some of my video, look at the pictures of my band and then consider whether their club can provide the right atmosphere for people who would likely come out to hear what the information on my website portrays my band to be.

Up next: “Website vs Social Media”


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 Feature songs and Sweet Duets to make a unique one of a kind event. Get your tickets now either show!

Here’s are direct links to purchase tickets for Dec. 17th Jimmy Mak’s show(s):

7:30-9:30 pm show: (doors open at 5pm)

10 pm show: (doors open at 9:30pm