ramblings on my mind

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson, CBA President

For the past several years I have made a tradition of naming my top ten favorite albums of the year in this column in December. As I have stated before that my choices can differ from day to day, there are just too many great recordings to choose from. And that means there are a number that could’ve been included on any other given day. I also made it a point that all choices had to be released in 2016. That left out a true favorite that came out in late November 2015 that I didn’t pick up until January, but I have to abide by my own rules here, so Jonn Del Toro Richardson’s Tengo Blues couldn’t make the list. But do pick it up, it’s a fantastic disc. The same for two local artists that were released in 2016 and could easily make the ten selections tomorrow or another day: Lisa Mann’s Hard Times, Bad Decisions and Mitch Kashmar’s West Coast Toast. Tough choices to make, but here are the albums in no significant order that have found a significant time on my play list and continue to do so.

Top of the heap this year, with no question whatsoever from my mind, is our own local hero Curtis Salgado’s latest The Beautiful Lowdown. Whenever I think that Curtis has reached his peak he amazes me by putting out something even more incredible. This is a flawless disc with great local and national talent behind him. It is soulful and deep. Every track knocks it out of the park. It won the Muddy Award for National Recording, I highly anticipate that it will be up for several Blues Music Awards as well.

If there is any one album that bleeds and breathes the blues this year it has to be John Blues Boyd’s The Real Deal. This is pure authentic traditional blues to its very core. The Little Village Foundation is doing great leaps by bringing forth lesser known artists and putting them in the forefront with a backing band that dreams are made of that often includes Kid Anderson, Jimmy Pugh, Rick Estrin, Big Jon Atkinson, and Aki Kumar. They did so last year with Wee Willie Walker (who also has a sensational new live album this year) and they have hit gold again with John Blues Boyd. I knew from the very first listen months ago that this was going to be one of my selections for the best albums of the year. It’s just that damn good!

I have known Dave Muskett for a number of years and always enjoy his performances. Perhaps that may be why I have been enchanted with his Recorded Live At The Slippery Noodle Inn release with the Dave Muskett Acoustic Blues Band. It is a simple and raw recording, capturing all the good times feel of his show. He offers great playing, superb songwriting and the sound is spot on.

As I have stated before, I am a sucker when it comes to a soulful vocalist. One artist who has been on my list before reappears here with another masterful soulful performance — Johnny Rawls’ Tiger In A Cage. Whether he is singing his own original material or a cover by The Rolling Stones or Sam Cooke, Johnny Rawls knows how to do it right with a voice that just drips soulful blues manna.

Another soul vocalist returning is Dave Keller. His previous release Soul Changes from 2014 still remains one of my most favorite discs of the decade. His latest, Right Back Atcha, is a winning follow-up. Not only does Keller have the perfect voice, he is a gifted songwriter who says the words of love in his lyrics that you wished that you could speak to yours on the spur of the moment. One listen to a song like “Deeper Than The Eye Can See” speaks volumes: “If you could see my insides, like an x-ray machine, all my feelings and you’re all my dreams, your love goes deeper, deeper than the eye can see.” Wow!

One album that completely took me by surprise this year that I can’t stop listening to is Peter Karp’s live album The Arson’s Match. A collection of songs he had written earlier in his career that had little distribution are brought back to life on stage with a band that includes a dream cast with Dennis Gruenling on harmonica, Dave Keyes on piano and a guitarist named Mick Taylor that just happens to be one of my all-time favorite players. Karp’s own guitar work and vocals are simply captivating.

Yet another album that I knew would be included as soon as I heard it for the first time early in the year is Janiva Magness’ Love Wins Again. Janiva is again singing songs with deep meaning from her life’s experiences, but things are so much brighter nowadays since she has found true love. And it’s reflected in her lyrics. Though there are hardships also present, she lets us know that as long as there is love everything will work out in the end.

Salem-based Gabriel Cox’ debut disc a couple years ago was such a wonderful surprise. He has an amazing voice and his songwriting skills are off the chart. His sophomore release I Surrender displayed that the first recording was no fluke. He has the goods and it makes me anxious to hear what he will come up with next. From the opening call and response a capella of “Willie Brown II” to the beautiful closing title track, Cox has my full attention.

Luther Dickinson stepped away from The North Mississippi All Stars, taking a number of his previously released songs and took another look at them. Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook, Volumes I & II  places them into an acoustic atmosphere, recorded live in the studio and working on the concept that the greatest works of art are never truly completed, but something that lives and grows over time. And it all sounds fresh and new all over again. Absolutely brilliant!

Doug MacLeod is another friend whose new releases are always something I look forward to. Even more I love his performances as he never uses a set list and plays exactly what may be on his mind at the time. Filled with great storytelling, every show is unique. Live In Europe captures just one of those nights where everything is clicking. But that could be almost any night when it comes to Doug as I have seen him perform more times than I can count and he has never given anything other than a remarkable show every time out. So a live album is the perfect setting for him, as it is his natural element.

Let me repeat, this is a list of recordings that I have been listening to repeatedly. They are the ones that came immediately to mind when putting this list together. But there are so many others that could also fall into here on any given day. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bobby Rush, Fiona Boyes, Terry Hanck, just so many wonderful albums from 2016. But this is my list and I’m sticking to it. If there’s something here you’re not familiar with, check them out. They may surprise you.

Lloyd Jones

Yes, it’s holiday season and I’m delighted to spend it with special friends (like you) at Jimmy Mak’s  Saturday, December, 17. Santa may drop in for a minute to sing with his sweet angels: Teresa James, LaRhonda Steele, and Lisa Mann. Don’t miss this one!

After the New Year Teresa and I will head south to Join Delbert McClinton’s “Sandy Beaches” cruise January 5-13. Then up to Canada in February. Yippes, it’s gonna be a crazy year already!!

 Lloyd Jones

Groove Merchant



The Thunder Brothers

Hey Thunderheads,

We would like to thank the Cascade Blues Association for awarding the Muddy Waters Award for “Best New Act” to The Thunder Brothers this year. The CBA provides a central hub for this amazing music community that we have here in Portland. Thank you CBA board and members for all that you do to keep this music that we all love thriving. It takes a village to raise an idiot, or something like that, and we, The Thunder Brothers, have our own amazing village. Thank you Thunderheads for your endless and enthusiastic support, and thank you Andree and Walt for all that you do to keep this storm raging. Congratulations to our fellow nominees and all of the Muddy Award winners this year.

We want to send a big Thunderthanks out to Dr Jane Manning KBOO (Portland OR), Squrl Music KMSW (Hood River and The Dalles OR), and The Mighty Mouth Blues show NWCZ (Tacoma WA) for spinning The Thunder Brothers EP. Send us an email or facebook message if you hear us playing on another station.

Greg Johnson has written a deluge of a review of The Thunder Brothers EP that was published in the November edition of the BluesNotes. You can read that review here…http://www.thethunderbrothersmusic.com/press2.html. Thank you Greg for your kind words.

There is a winter storm warning for The Trails End Saloon in Oregon City OR on December 9th. The Thunder Brothers will bring on a holiday storm with Jr. Thunder Ben Rice opening the set with his lightning fast acoustic riffs. This is a CBA sponsored event so CBA members will receive a discount at the door. Just present your membership card. Reservations are highly recommended for this event. The show starts at 8:30. The Trails End Saloon, 1320 Main St, Oregon City, (503)656 3031.

As always, you can check for Thunder storms in your area, order Thunderwear, and get the latest storm news on our web site http://thethunderbrothersmusic.com. And if you haven’t done it already, drop by The Thunder Brothers facebook page and give us a like. Http://facebook.com/thethunderbrothers.


Billy D & The Hoodoos

Hello bluz lovers It’s finally here, our first CD, Somethin’s Wrong, came out almost six years ago and has done very well for us. Our New CD, Overnight Success, will be released on New Year’s Eve at The Trails End Saloon in Oregon City and we’re thinking it will be every bit as good as its predecessor. An actual old school straight blues song on this one, a handful of bluzrockers, a sweet ballad, and a bunch of slide guitar rave-ups. Music and dancing to commence about 8:30pm. Please c’mon out and dance into 2017 with us and our new CD. We so appreciate all the support over the last few years since we’ve been in PDX…best damn blues town anywhere!!!

See you soon and keep rockin’ my friends!!!

Billy D


Strange Tones

Season’s Greetings Music Lovers!

We’re very excited to announce that we’re continuing the Crime-A-Billy Christmas tradition this year with two shows, and we’ll be featuring a brand new Strange Tones vintage holiday TV special, “A Mysterious Encounter on Crime-A-Billy Mountain”. This short film kicks off a festive evening of live music, multimedia entertainment, original video backdrops, and unbridled merriment!

Joining us in the festivities will be our partners, the lovely Volcano Snow Vixens and a large cast of top-notch musicians, along with a variety of Crime-A-Billy Christmas characters. Yes, yes, keep your eyes and ears tuned in for the likes of Fiddlin’ Jim Toussaint, Randy Yearout, Tracey Fordice, Jim Wallace, Elvin Alfred Priestly, giant gingerbread men and nutcrackers, a jolly fellow who likes to wear red, and more.

Along with our many guests, this multimedia show is sprinkled with treats and surprises that just might give you a refreshing, warm and fuzzy feeling inside. At least, that’s what has been reported to us by previous Crime-A-Billy Christmas show attendees! We especially like this quote that we found on the website Evensi: “Incredible show…song, dance, choreography…should play to 5,000 people at $50/each…it’s that good! Reliving it now with Christmas CD.”

At any rate, we like playing more intimate venues for this particular event and are happy to have a show at Duff’s Garage on Dec. 9 and another show at the Skyway in Zigzag on Dec. 17. The Duff’s show will have advance tickets available at ticket tomato.com, and we’d like folks to consider bringing two cans of food for Oregon Food Bank. This is a CBA co-sponsored event, and there will be a $2 discount for card carrying CBA members.

Sending a very Happy Holidays to everyone!

Guitar Julie, Andy Strange, Suburban Slim, & Andy Gauthier


David Kahl

I’d like to thank you all for honoring me with Muddy Awards for Bass and Lifetime Achievement. It’s been nearly 50 years since I first publicly performed and there are times when I can definitely feel it. I’d like to think that you aren’t recognizing what I do, so much as what I’ve tried to do and why. For this, I thank you, but I’d rather have your help than to have your praise.

During the course of my career, I’ve seen a lot of changes in both the music business and in society, the vast majority not good. In the face of adversity, the response of this community, musicians and fans, alike, has been affirming. We have pulled together to help others in need; you’ve even done so for me and my wife, Lynn, but the question remains — what can we do to help others, especially struggling, but talented musicians, even as we help ourselves? How do we relieve their daily burden, allowing them to focus their attention and talents to the gifts that they offer to rest of us? For artists, it’s getting tougher to make a living here in Portland, let alone to try and get by. I personally know of too many who have had to rely on not only benefits and crowdfunding, but on social services and second jobs, who have had to drastically change their living situations, verging on homelessness, who are several paychecks away from losing it all, or who have just given up and chucked it all in. Portland now stands the real chance of losing the creative forces, the community that has traditionally defined its character and a key reason for its livability.

It takes more than just wanting things to change for the better. It takes creative thinking, hard work, and, where resources are limited, resourcefulness. Every problem implies a solution. The more complex the problems, the more creative the solution must be. With this in mind, I’ve put together a plan, the Creative Cooperative Program, which holistically addresses a wide range of issues, from housing, to education, food insecurity, health and wellness, work spaces, business development and operations, and a whole slew of others. Modeled on a variation of food pods, these cultural pods would have high impact in a small footprint, set up on sites in several neighborhoods, plug their educational expertise into local schools, and create after school, weekend, and summer programs for area youth. Musicians and their families may have needs, but they are not needy; they’re a resource.

This is what I’m asking of you – help to make this a reality. Then I can feel like I’ve actually earned my award.

And, while I’m asking, please help support venues and bands. A couple gigs that happen to be pretty important to me are at Blackwell’s, on Wednesdays, 8:30-11:30pm, with Soul Cookin’ – Lloyd Jones, Brian Foxworth, and special guests – and on Sundays, 5:00-8:00pm,  with the Bayou Boyz – Mark Shark Schatzkamer, Steve Kerin, and Brian Foxworth. Of course, I’m playing bass.

David Kahl


Tick Tock Tick
Gramafono Sound

Will Porter - Tick Tock TickThe first release by Will Porter, 2003’s Happy, was produced by the legendary New Orleans master Wardell Quezergue, and it featured a number of stellar musicians. The album received high praise despite low distribution, and it was soon realized that a second recording should be in the works. Over time Porter’s silky-smooth vocals have been heard working with a number of artists and he has himself been behind the scenes alongside longtime friends like Dr John, Leo Nocentelli, and Jimmy Haslip. Many recordings for Porter’s follow-up project were put together throughout the years while working with Quezergue and yet it still took another five years after the producer’s passing in 2011 to finally get the mixes and production just right to be unleashed upon the public. But without question, that wait was certainly worth the time. Tick Tock Tick is an astounding collection of ever so sweet vocals combined with the right musicians to perfection.

The album opens with the title track, one of the two Porter and Dr John collaborative pieces, and it melds the very distinct opposite vocal styles of the two friends. It is a funky little piece that also shows just how diverse in approach this recording truly is. Much of these differences in sound is the product of whoever happens to be accompanying Porter on an individual number, and that in itself is quite impressive to say the least. Whether it is a ballad like “Why Do We Get Blue?” with The Yellowjackets’ Jimmy Haslip, a Bob Dylan number, “Make You feel My Love,” sung with Bettye LaVette, or any one of the songs where The Womack Brothers join him on vocals, such as Ike Turner’s “I’m Blue (Shoo Be Do)” or the gospel inflected “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” Unfortunately like Quezergue, both Curtis and Bobby Womack have passed on prior to the release of this disc.

Aside from those already mentioned, Tick Tock Tick is packed full of great musicians adding their impact to the quality of this album. They inlcude Tower of Power’s Mic Gillette, The Meters’ Leo Nocentelli, Johnny Bamont from Huey Lewis & The News, even The Louisiana Philharmonic Strings.

But when it is all said and done, it is Will Porter himself who shines above all else. He possesses the kind of voice that only rarely comes around. It is highlighted on every single number included, but especially stands out on “Don’t Go To Strangers.” His baritone voice will melt your heart. It comes across with strings in the background as a classic love piece that you may expect from other enriched vocalists the likes of Lou Rawls, Johnny Adams, or Bill Withers. Yes, Porter ranks right in that same class. Tick Tock Tick is a soul masterpiece, a fitting tribute to the genius of the late Wardell Quezergue and shouts to the world that Will Porter will be heard — so listen up now!

Total Time: 45:38

Tick Tock Tick / Why Do We Get Blue? / When The battle Is Over / Make You Feel My Love / I’m Blue (Shoo Be Do) / This California Sun / I Can Do Bad By Myself / Don’t Go To Strangers / Treadin’ Water / Tear It Up / Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

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:

Ana Popovic – Triology (ArtisteXclusive Records)
Big Head Blues Club – Way Down Inside: Songs Of Willie Dixon (Big Records)
Biscuit Miller – Wishbone (Bluebass Music)
Derrick Procell – Why I Choose To Sing The Blues (Self Produced)
Devon Allman – Ride Or Die (Ruf Records)
Eric Johnson – EJ: Song Explorations On Acoustic Guitar and Piano (Provogue)
Gina Sicilia – Sunset Avenue (Blue Elan Records)
Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul (Provogue)
Jeff Plankenhorn – Soul Slide (Lounge Side Records)
Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat – Live At The Kessler (Underworld Indie Records)
Joe Bonamassa – Live At The Greek Theatre (J&R Adventures)
Lurrie Bell – Can’t Shake This Feeling (Delmark Records)
Michael Burks – I’m A Bluesman (Iron Man Records)
Mississippi Heat – Cab Driving Man (Delmark Records)
Murali Coryell – Mr. Senator (Shake-It-Sugar Records)
Pete Karp – The Arson’s Match (KarpFoley Music)
Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers – Genuine Blues Legends (Little Mike Records)
Royal Southern Brotherhood – The Royal Gospel (Ruf Records)
Sam Butler – Raise Your Hands! (Severn Records)
Sari Schorr – A Force Of Nature (Hatman)
Steve Dawson – Solid States And Loose Ends (Black Hen Music)
Terrie Odabi – My Blue Soul (Self Produced)
The Joey Gilmore Band – Respect The Blues (Mosher St. Records)
The Lucky Losers – In Any Town (Dirty Cat Records)
Tweed Funk – Come Together (Tweed Tone Records)
Vasti Jackson – The Soul Of Jimmie Rodgers (Vast Eye Music)
Wee Willie Walker & The Greaseland All Stars – Live! Notodden Blues Festival  (Little Village Foundation)

Ken DeRouchie Band

Ken DeRouchie BandPlease join the Ken DeRouchie Band as they seek to help feed the hungry in our region during the holiday season. For the third year collection barrels have been set up throughout the Portland metro area and they’ll be accepting your food donations through December 10.

Last year there were 1822 pounds of food collected and another $325.00 in fund donations. That was almost double the amount collected the first year. This year they’re aggressively seeking to collect 5000 pounds! Let’s make it happen!

Food collection barrels are located at:

KINK FM 101.9
Alpha Broadcasting
PacWest Center
1211 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Banner Bank (Tualatin Branch)
7675 SW Nyberg St,
Tualatin, OR 97062

Banner Bank (Lake Oswego Branch)
412 A Ave., Ste. 100
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034

Rogue Distillery and Public House
1339 NW Flanders
Portland, OR 97209

Rogue Hall
1717 Southwest Park Ave.
Portland, OR 97201

The Green Dragon
928 SE 9th Ave
Portland, OR

Portland Music Co
531 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd,
Portland, OR 97214

Portland Music Company
2502 NE Broadway St,
Portland, OR 97232

Portland Music Company
10075 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005

Portland Music Company
12334 SE Division St.
Portland, OR

Trails End Saloon
1320 Main St
Oregon City, OR 97045

The Blue Diamond
2016 NE Sandy Blvd,
Portland, OR 97232

Five Star Guitars
2303 NW 185th Ave,
Hillsboro, OR 97124

Silkin Management Group
6655 SW Hampton St.
Suite 120
Tigard, OR 97224

Tiny’s Coffee Northeast
2031 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd,
Portland, OR 97212

Tiny’s Coffee  Southeast
1412 SE 12th Ave,
Portland, OR 97214

Guitar Center
1147 N Hayden Meadows Dr
Portland, OR 97217

Guitar Center
9575 SW Cascade Ave
Beaverton, OR 97008

Guitar Center
13029 SE 84th Ave
Clackamas, OR 97015

Laurel’s Wine Shop
263 N Hemlock
Cannon Beach, OR

If you can’t make it to one of these locations and would still like to help by providing a cash donation, go to the Ken DeRouchie Band’s website and click on the link to the Oregon Food Bank for the food drive’s location on their site.

Way Down Inside
Big Records

big-head-blues-club-cd-coverIn 2011, Todd Park Mohr gathered a group of established blues giants alongside his own band Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Calling themselves the Big Head Blues Club,  they released the tribute album 100 Years of Robert Johnson that was an incredible recreation of the Johnson’s material and also garnered a Blues Music Award nomination.

Well, guess what? He’s back with a whole new line-up of the Big Head Blues Club. Along with The Monsters, Mohr has been joined by Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Denver-based vocalist Erica Brown who spent a few years playing with Dan Treanor. And this time Big head Blues Club is taking on another of the blues world’s most recognized songwriters, Willie Dixon.

Titled Way Down Inside, the songs included read just like the blueprint for the genre. And that’s because they pretty much are having been recorded by the giants of the blues from Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf to the rock icons The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and many others. Willie Dixon set the standard for writing blues music and this disc pays tribute in aces, hitting it square on target with every number. There is one exception here, with the inclusion of the JB Lenoir penned piece “Good Advice,” but it still fits the musical flow nicely and features Mohr, Morganfield, Branch, and Brooks sharing the vocal lines.

There’s lot of juicy good readings here. Popular numbers such as “Hidden Charms,” “Bring It On Home,” “Crazy Mixed Up Kid,” “The Seventh Son” and “I Want To Be Loved” are all included and maybe a few not as well known. A definite highlight is the pairing of Mohr and Brown on “The Same Thing,” that even mixes in a little bit of another Dixon composition “Insane Asylum” that is not mentioned in the track listing.

Big Head Blues Club is such a winning formula. Add in the Willie Dixon songbook and they’ve once again delivered a refreshing and exciting take on something all too familiar in a very loving and well-crafted tribute.

Total Time: 51:28

Hidden Charms / The Seventh Son / You Need Love / Bring It On Home / Let Me Love You Baby / Pretty Thing / Good Advice / Crazy Mixed Up World / The Same Thing / My Love Will Never Die / It Don’t Make Sense You Can’t Make Peace / I Want To Be Loved / Sittin’ And Cryin’ The Blues

AC Porter

By Laurie Morrisey

AC Porter is quite the character. In addition to being a great musician, when asked where he was born and raised, he responded, “I was born under the third ring of Saturn at a planetarium in Stockholm. Wait, that’s where I was conceived. I was born down the road apiece, in Eugene. Been in PDX since 1990—back when it was still a super cool lil’ city.”

AC says his music has “lots of room for improv within simple chordal structures, all blues oriented, even the slightly jazzy stuff.” His advice to other musicians is to “play it with dynamics, emphasis on interplay with an ensemble of great musicians, and above everything else, try to play with as much passion and emotion as you can connect with—they can be quiet passions, aggressive, frustrated, sexy, poignant, wistful, whatever—but put yourself inside it as much as possible. Hard to put into words, but an aware audience can feel it when you do it—so can the players.”

AC Porter is known around town as one of the great guitar player—mainly electric. “I could live a thousand years and not learn everything there is to learn about it, that’s for sure. Vocals are a work in progress—much more ‘naked’ when it comes to the voice.” He is a self-taught musician, and also taught by the examples from many other artists and fellow musicians. He had two years of theory that gave him some basics.

AC describes himself as a semi-pro musician. “I’ve been getting ‘paid’ to play for about 30 to 35 years. I think I likely used the fact that I made a bit of side money with music to justify my guitar habit, back in the day—I’ve got that much more under control these days. Probably because I can’t afford it.”

AC also has a day job. “Ever since I was 16 I have worked various jobs, and have had a union job in a healthcare facility the past 16 years. Lab work. Nothing fancy, but keeps the wolves at bay. Like I said, it costs a lot to play the blues these days. And since I’m not a trust fund/legacy/fortunate son, and I haven’t met that magical nurse with a purse, I will continue to work, and gladly. It’s good for the soul (sometimes!)—helps to keep a semi-pro musician with dreams of self-delusional grandeur humble and grateful. Keeps all that clapping and validation of one’s art in perspective.”

“I’d like to think I just love to play, whether it is for money or fun is of little consequence. I’ve evolved on that over the years, and believe if you can play at a level that people come out to see you, you SHOULD get paid—however, and this is not earth-shattering news—players are still getting the same pay, often, as they were getting from the clubs back in the 80’s and 90’s. Which means, of course, that due to prices and inflation, most musicians I know have been moving backwards as far as financial reward. It costs a lot to play the blues anymore—ironically.”

But even though music may not be profitable, it has always been a part of AC’s life. “I was always drawn to music. I literally grew up in a radio station from about 2 to 10 years old—KASH 1600. The building was the closest entity or structure to the Lane County dump back then. Very isolated, actually. My grandparents owned the station, and let my mom and I live in a small apartment on the property. I remember lots of sheep out there, and filbert trees. I also recall bugging the DJ’s and borrowing records. A lot. It’s part of Alton Baker Park now. Long gone.”

AC Porter says his musical influences include his dad, who was a jazz trombonist. “He named me after his favorite bone player, Curtis Fuller (the C in AC), and although he split when I was too young to remember him, he left behind some great jazz records—Coltrane, Miles, Monk, Ornette—and I listened to those cats and many other ‘discoveries’ I searched for—especially in high school, where I was surrounded by SERIOUS young, talented jazz players—many who would go on to thriving careers in playing and teaching at prestigious places. I was very lucky to be in that environment, as I didn’t have the skills, chops, or discipline, but I was definitely influenced by those co-students. Thank you, Matt Cooper! (Pianist extraordinaire). I still buy and listen to a fair amount of jazz from the 40’s on.”

“More conventionally, I was into Led Zep, Santana, Hendrix, Jeff Beck—- add the uniqueness of two of my fave artists of all, Zappa and Tom Waits, and that’s the early days of AC’s influences.”

“Then, about 21 or 22, I started hitting blues jams, and Bill Rhoades, Curtis Salgado, Lloyd Jones, Jimmy Cochran, Jim Wallace were all blowing this youngblood’s mind at Eugene blues haunts like Taylor’s and Max’s. Wallace and Rhoades really turned my head onto the real deal blues stuff, and I was a goner from the 80’s on. Got pretty heavy into The Kings, especially Albert and BB, Hollywood Fats, SRV and bro Jimmie, Albert Collins, and Magic Sam—you know the deal. A little late to the party, but I stayed for the duration!”


“Awards—best thing about them? A symbol of validation and recognition. But I struggle with the concept of them as well—I mean it’s impossible to quantify someone’s music or art as being the ‘best’, right? As Muddy himself said, ‘You can never be the best musician—you can only be a good one.’ That sums it up for me.”

“Now, having said my piece on that conundrum, I am the proud recipient of two awards from members of the CBA over the years—both for Best New/Reformed Act—one when I was with Bill Rhoades and the Partykings (shout out to his kings and queens he has playing with him these days) and one in 2011 for The Livewires—very nice. We were nominated this year for Best Traditional Act, and it went to that awesome guy Ben Rice, and deservedly so.”

“But the nomination I value most, was the year the CBA included me in the category for electric guitar. I was surrounded by players I absolutely love and look up to—Robbie Laws, Suburban Slim, and Jim Mesi that year—that was a gigantic honor, as a guitarist.”


AC doesn’t have any CD’s out, but he’s on a track or two of Norman Moody’s Moody Waters. “If, and it’s kind of a big ‘if’ at this point, I do a CD, I’d like it to be mostly live, with warts and all. A lot of blues albums these days, to MY ears, sound a bit too canned and ‘carefully crafted’ to the point that it strips away the soulful vibe that I absolutely am in love with on older recordings, even with their imperfections and ‘bad’ notes on occasion. Now, if I can have somebody make it sound like Mule Variations (Tom Waits) or Wicked Grin (John Hammond—produced by Tom Waits—see a trend? Lol) —then I’d be in heaven. Otherwise, I’ll let the live shows be those ‘moments in time’ that they were meant to be. Plus, I need to get off my butt and write more worthy tunes.”

AC Porter has played with a long list of local blues musicians. “It’s blues, so pretty much everybody that can lay claim to being a blues player in Portland. But pretty long ‘history’ with Bill Rhoades, definitely Jim Wallace, Stu Kinzel and Lynnann Hyde.”

He said he’s shared the stage with an abundance of local players. “It’s truly RIDICULOUS how much talent is right here. I’ve played with Whit Draper, both Johnny Moore’s, Jim Mesi, Timmer Blakely, John Neish, Duffy and Chris, Rick Welter, Kevin Selfe, Paul DeLay, Norman Sylvester, Doug Rowell, Big Monti, Lloyd Jones, Curtis Salgado, Don Schultz, Allen Markel, Dave, Kahl, Peter Dammann Jimi Bott, Suburban Slim, Jolie Clausen, Jeff Strawbridge, Katie Angel, Mitch Kashmar, Lisa Mann, Rae Gordon, Ashbolt Stewart…See? It’s getting kinda long in the listing department. I could go on for two more paragraphs, locally.”

“Also, I have sat in with Little Charlie Baty (The Nightcats) on numerous occasions over the years. One of my favorites, and memories I’ll cherish until dementia sets in. And Junior Watson (Well, he watched while I played his incredible gear with his bandmates…at least he was smiling.) Those two can put a lump in any normal guitarist’s throat, I’ll tell you that.”


“I’m super lucky to be surrounded in my lil’ ol’ band by stellar musicians who ‘get’ it, when it comes to playing blues, and really LIKE blues, not just using it as a means to a musical or economic end. I’ve played with guys like Whit Draper, who I think is the absolute most underrated roots/blues/swing guitarist in Portland. And as humble as anyone could ask for. Just outstanding talent and a great human. Timmer Blakely, who’s been playing almost every Tuesday night with us for a while—busy man, with multiple bands and one nighters—easy to hear why—great ears, and sensitive to what’s going on around him like few I’ve played with. John Moore—it just ain’t the Livewires without his crushing shuffle and enthusiasm EVERY time we play. On many Tuesdays at the Blue Diamond, Dennis Lusk will join us on keys, as well, which adds a different dimension to the ‘edge’ of the band.”

In Closing

In all his words, the line that may sum it up, “I’m a lucky guy when it comes to music around here.” No, Portland blues fans are the lucky ones.

And the 2016 Muddy Awards Winners Are…

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Photos by Tony Kutter

Contemporary Blues Act – Ben Rice Band

Traditional Blues Act – Ben Rice Band

“Lloyd Jones” R&B Act – Andy Stokes

Regional Blues Act – Hank Shreve Band

New Act – Thunder Brothers

“Duffy Bishop” Female Vocalist – LaRhonda Steele

“Curtis Salgado” Male Vocalist – Andy Stokes

Electric Guitar – Alan Hager

“Terry Robb” Acoustic Guitar – Mary Flower

Bass – Dave Kahl

Keyboards – Steve Kerin

“Jimi Bott” Drums – Brian Foxworth

Harmonica – Mitch Kashmar

Horns – Peter Moss

Venue – Lake Theater & Café

NW Recording – Lisa Mann – Hard Times, Bad Decisions

National Recording – Curtis Salgado – The Beautiful Lowdown

NW Event – United By Music North America at Hotel Rose

Performance of the Year – Tie

  • Kevin Selfe Buy My Soul Back CD Release Party at Bossanova Ballroom 35
  • Karen Lovely at Waterfront Blues Festival

“Paul deLay” Lifetime Achievement – David Kahl

Additional Awards not voted on.

Back What You Believe in Award – Wendy Schumer

The Hurley Award – Barry McKinley