Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Robert Randolph & The Family Band“Robert Randolph is an American Original,” says Blue Note Records’ President Don Was. “He has mastered what is, arguably, the most complex instrument in the world and developed a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo.”

Robert Randolph & The Family Band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The band followed with three studio recordings over the next eight years which, together with tireless touring and unforgettable performances at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, won them an expanding and passionate fan base. Randolph’s unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio.

Robert Randolph brings his intensely driving live performance celebrating his latest release Lickety Split to The Aladdin Theater on Saturday, April 1 for an 8:00 pm show. Tickets are $25.00 advance through and $27.00 at the door day of show. This is an all ages event. The Aladdin Theater is located at 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue.

New Orleans Bluesman Luke Winslow-KingLuke 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. Like the warm tones of an old gramophone, Luke Winslow-King makes it possible for us to lose all track of time and century.  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.

Luke Winslow-King last toured through Oregon this past and he will be returning to the state for a couple shows in early April.

On Sunday, April 2, Winslow-King will be playing at The Trillium Café in Hood River. Located at 207 Oak Street, contact the venue at 541-308-0800 for show time and admission.

On Monday, April 3, he will appear at Portland’s The White Eagle Saloon at 7:00 pm for a 21 and over show. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and can be purchased at, or at the door day of show for $10.00. The White Eagle is located at 836 N Russell Street.

Walla Walla Guitar Festival

Walla Walla Guitar FestivalNow in their sixth year, The Walla Walla Guitar festival has gotten even bigger than ever before. Combining forces with Feast Walla Walla, you’ll be treated to amazing national and regional acts, along with gourmet food and wine offerings. This multi-venue event will host approximately thirty bands performing in downtown Walla Walla starting with a jam on Thursday, April 6, with the main festival taking place Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9.

It all opens up at Sapolil Cellars on Thursday night with a pre-festival jam hosted by Randy Oxford and Robin Barrett.

On Friday, the festival officially kicks off with a 7:00 pm performance at Walla Walla Elks by Alligator recording artist and multiple Blues Music Award winner, including the 2013 BB King Entertainer of the Year, Curtis Salgado.

Friday will continue with The Friday Kick-Off Party, at The Eagles, The Elks, The VFW and Sapolil Cellars with performances from Junkyard Janes celebrating their 20th Anniversary, Shoot Jake, Brett “Bad Blood” Benton, Iguana Hat, Frog Hollow and Josephine Fox.

On Saturday, an acoustic showcase will begin at noon at The Elks with two acts; Chicago’s Jaik Willis and glass neck guitar master Ned Evett. Multi-platinum awarded master guitarist Pete Anderson will appear at The Elks. And the “Large Show” will be held in the Feats Party Tent with Robin Barret & The Coyote Kings featuring Tiph Dames, and The Mannish Boys All Stars with Sugaray Rayford, Kid Ramos, Anthony Geraci, Jimi Bott, Willie J. Campbell and Allan Walker. The Guitar Crawl begins at 8:00 pm at Sapolil Cellars with Debra Arlyn and Rafael Tranquilino, while at The VFW Post 992 The Thunder Brothers and Vaughn Jensen will hold the stage. The Walla Walla Eagles will host The Randy Oxford Band along with Polly O’Keary and The Rhythm Method. An all-star jam will be hosted by Vaughn Jensen from midnight ‘til 1:45 AM at the VFW to end out the night.

On Sunday Morning, the Downtown Gospel Brunch will feature a gourmet breakfast buffet while International Blues Challenge third place winner Rae Gordon will provide Southern Gospel performances, as you enjoy your Mimosas and Bloody Marys!

The Coyote Kings Invitational Walla Walla Guitar Festival is brought to you by Robin Barrett & Coyote Kings Tourism ,Walla Walla, The Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, The Walla Walla Blues Society, CH2M, The Washington Blues Society, The Cascade Blues Association, The Inland Empire Blues Society and the Blues Therapy Radio Show.

The WWFGF is a 21 and over festival. For tickets and additional information, please visit

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:

Charlie Wheeler Band – Blues Karma And The Kitchen Sink (Graphite Sound)
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues – Different Voices (Dawnserly Records)
David M’ore – Passion, Soul & Fire (Self Produced)
Elvin Bishop – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio (Alligator Records)
Kathy & The Kilowatts – Let’s Do This Thing! (Lectro Fine Records)
Patty Reese – Let In The Sun (Azalea City Recordings)
Professor Louie And The Crowmatrix – Crowin’ The Blues (Woodstock Records)
Sharon Lewis And Texas Fire – Grown Ass Woman (Delmark Records)
Sin City Ramblers – Busted (Self Produced)
Vin Mott – Quit The Women For The Blues (Self Produced)

Johnny Nicholas - Fresh Air

Fresh Air
Self Produced

Johnny Nicholas - Fresh AirJohnny Nicholas has indeed been around the block when it comes to the blues and performing. He worked and played alongside many of the legends of the genre — Big Walter Horton, Robert Lockwood Jr, Johnny Shines, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Hound Dog Taylor and many others. He formed his first band with a new guitarist named Duke Robillard in the 1960s, led another in the 1970s that featured a young Ronnie Earl, and of course he may best be remembered for his stint playing western swing with the Texas-based group Asleep At The Wheel with whom he won a Grammy Award.

Fresh Air is Johnny Nicholas’ latest release. His albums don’t come nearly as often as they should, with this being the follow-up to his well-received 2011 disc Future Blues. Recorded in Austin, TX and produced by Bruce Hughes, who also plays bass, Fresh Air finds Nicholas joined by a group of well-known performers that includes Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Steve Riley, John Chipman, and Cindy Cashdollar. Every number of this stellar recording offers an authentic take on the blues in Nicholas own unique way. He is a multi-instrumentalist that finds him playing a variety of guitars, piano and harmonica.

The album contains thirteen tracks and all but two are originals that Nicholas had a hand in penning. Two covers by Sleepy John Estes (“Kid Man Blues”) and Willie Dixon (“Back Door Man”) fit in nicely and have been given the right treatment to make them sound as if they too were Nicholas originals. Let’s just say that Nicholas, whether writing his own material or covering others, has a knack that reads like his own personal storybook.

Nicholas displays his creative wordplay with his lyrics. In “Sweet Katrina” he tells us about the woman who is meaner than a one-eyed dog, but has everything that a woman could use like a big screen TV and a closet full of shoes. In “Red Light” the song jumps while expressing how he wants to make a little time with the woman of his choice. He needs some roadside assistance because all he’s getting from her is a red light. The song is pushed forward with some fine lap steel work from Cindy Cashdollar. “How Do You Follow A Broken Heart?” is a tear-jerker. It’s slow paced guitar, again finding Cashdollar adding extra soft textures, that kind of reminds me of the ease of Charles Brown’s music. And then there’s “Play Me (Like You Play Your Guitar).” It’s got a swampy feel behind it and we know when Nicholas offers lines like “run your fingers down my neck,” “I love the way you squeeze that note,” or “play it like you never played it before,” this risqué number is a bit more than about a guitar. The closing track is well named as it is a piece of “Fresh Air” that is soothing and comes across expertly with tasteful mandolin and slide guitar.

It’d be hard to find a track on Fresh Air that isn’t appealing. Definitely an album that deserves attention and masterfully compiled with top notch musicians, instrumentation and soulful vocals. Johnny Nicholas has been around for more than fifty years and proves that he has earned his blues credentials throughout that time. Singer, songwriter, musician and performer, he is all of that and he’s delivered an album that highlights his talents to perfection.

Total Time: 63:05

Moonlight Train / Kid Man Blues / Blues Time / Red Light / Sweet Katrina / Play Me (Like You Play Your Guitar) / How Do You Follow A Broken Heart? / Bayou Blues / Roll On Mississippi / Back Door Man / Wake Up Bobby / Workin’ In The Garden / Fresh Air

Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire

Grown Ass Woman
Delmark Records

Sharon Lewis and Texas FireWhen you think about the Chicago blues women singers, there is an image that come immediately to mind — the full powered voices of people like Koko Taylor, Zora Young, Demetria Taylor, or Shemekia Copeland (yeah, I know Shemekia is originally from New York, but she stills presents a Chicago style when she sings). That is exactly what you get from Sharon Lewis, too. But her presentation is more than just a shouter, she has a lot of soulfulness and can bring forth a tenderness in her voice that is every bit of pleasing to hear, too.

Grown Ass Woman is Lewis’ sophomore Delmark release, and it’s packed full of great Chicago blues that will charm the purists and catch attention from new listeners to the genre. It’s simply great music.

Playing behind Lewis is a stellar band, Texas Fire, with guitarist Steve Bramer making significant contributions not only with his instrument but with songwriting, too. Keyboard whiz Roosevelt Purifoy tears things up throughout the recording and sure-fire and steady rhythm comes from bassist Andre Howard and drummer Tony Dale. Guest artists appearing have Sugar Blue blowing harp on a couple numbers, Joanna Connor’s burning slide work on a couple others, Carey Bell’s son Steve Bell showing that he caught his father’s legacy on harmonica, and Kenny Anderson playing trumpet and writing horn arrangements.

If you had any questions about Chicago’s continued legitimacy as the blues capitol, Lewis flat out tells you there’s nothing to deny about it in the opening track “Can’t Do It Like We Do.” And she lays down proof to the claim by calling off names of those who keep it alive: Billy Branch, Mike Wheeler and Nellie Travis. A great way to start off the album and she carries it on throughout, wanting you to shout out “Hell Yeah!” if you agree; certainly a number that is sure to get an audience frenzied.

But Lewis explores other topics than just her city. “Freedom” is a political statement. “Freedom cannot be freedom until freedom means freedom for everyone.” On “They’re Lying” she tells us not to listen to people who gossip, they’re just spreading falsehoods that hurt. Then on “Old Man’s Baby” she speaks about how an older man will take care of her and be more truthful than a younger man: “I’d rather be an old man’s baby than a young man’s fool.” The songwriting on Grown Ass Woman is strong on every selection.

Lewis closes the album with two covers that are smartly done. Bramer’s guitar is biting and Lewis’ voice growls on a funky reading of BB King’s “Why I Sing The Blues” and The Allman Brothers’ “Soul Shine” is a terrific way to draw everything to a close in a positive and tender way.

With Grown Ass Woman, Sharon Lewis has declared that she is the new force of nature to reckon with when it comes to Chicago vocalists. Listening to this album should leave little doubt to that. Outstanding.

Total Time: 56:33

Can’t Do It Like We Do / Hell Yeah! / Chicago Woman / They’re Lying / Don’t Try To Judge Me / Old Man’s Baby / Grown Ass Woman / Walk With Me / Freedom / Call Home / Home Free Blues / High Road / Why I Sing The Blues / Soul Shine


Elvin Bishop CD cover

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Alligator Records

Elvin Bishop CD coverThis is a bare bones recording with just Elvin strumming out his trademark superb guitar lines, Willy Jordan working his percussion on cajon, and Bob Welsh switching between guitar and piano. They present a great deal of sound between them and its traditional sounding blues through and through. Oh yeah, add into the mix on a triple of numbers harmonica work from good friends and masters Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, and Rick Estrin and you know you can’t go wrong.

Most of the tracks are original, but there are also five covers. Of those Willy Jordan shines brightly on the vocals for Sunnyland Slim’s “It’s You Baby,” Bobby Womack’s much-recorded “It’s All Over Now” and the Dave Bartholomew/Fats Domino classic “Let The Four Winds Blow” where he throws out a little scat alongside crisp slide work from Bishop. The other two covers are Ted Taylor’s “Can’t Take No More” and a return to Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Honey Babe” that Bishop first recorded back in 1975 on the Let It Flow album.

Charlie Musselwhite and Bishop team up for their co-penned “100 Years Of Blues.” They talk about the legends that they have been around and paying their dues throughout the years that total between the two of them to more than 100. They jokingly state that they’ve been around so long that when they started the Dead Sea was just sick.

If you’re hungry you might just get a little more so listening to “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About” as Bishop asks the guys where they should eat. In some fast food joint or depending on where they’re at, he names off some favorite establishments around the country and what they have to offer. When suggested that he play a solo during the song, he says to let him take some of the grease off of his fingers first. But it just may be that grease bringing such a soulful sound in the first place.

Those are but two examples of Bishop’s penchant for slyly worded lyrics, whether they be social commentaries or just plain let’s have some good time fun. There’s definitely more of the latter presented with this group. It’s hard not to smile when listening to the words and the music is just icing on the cake.

This is down-home as you can get. Raw and authentic. Just three guys having a good time messing around and you’re invited to the party. Check your attitudes at the door because this one has the dial set to happy.

Total Time: 44:45

Keep On Rollin’ / Honey Babe / It’s You, Baby / Ace In The Hole / Let’s Go / Delta Lowdown / It’s All Over Now / 100 Years Of Blues / Let The Four Winds Blow / That’s What I’m Talkin’ About / Can’t Take No More / Southside Slide

With the heart of a genuine Texas bluesman, the head (banging) of a Zappa and Lemmy disciple, and the boots of a man resting in the dust outside of town at sunrise, Scott H. Biram journeys through the harrowing human condition like no one else. A walk on the Biram side straddles the chasm between sin and redemption and The Bad Testament lands somewhere west of the Old Testament and south of an AA handbook. It’s a record of hard-grinding lost love, blues and deep, dark Americana.

Self proclaimed as the ‘Dirty Old One Man Band,’ Scott H Biram is THE one-man band.  The master of the realm. Why? Because even though he’s one man, he ain’t one thing.  Austin-based Biram ain’t no candy-ass singer/songwriter either, sweetly strumming songs about girls with big eyes and dusty highways. His singing, yodeling, growling, leering, and brash preachin’ and hollerin’ is accompanied by sloppy riffs and licks from his ’59 Gibson guitar and pounding backbeat brought forth by his amplified left foot. The remainder of this one-man band consists of an unwieldy combination of beat-up amplifiers and old microphones strung together by a tangled mess of guitar cables.

Dayna Papaleo of the Rochester City News describe Biram as “[a]n impassioned multi-instrumentalist unleashing a brutal cacophany with the fury of someone whose check from the Devil finally cleared. Half dirty blues, half underground punk, half honky-tonk, half revival meeting…oh shut up about the math. You’ll see the light.”

Scott H. Biram will be appearing at Dante’s, 350 W Burnside, on Saturday, April 1, for a 9:00 pm show. Also on the bill will be Jesse Dayton with his guitar shredding, country-infused Americana sound and Texas duo Alien Knife Fight. Tickets for this night of eclectic sounds are available in advance through for $14.00. 21 and over only.

Muddy Waters Birthday Celebration

Muddy Waters Birthday CelebrationThe Northwest’s top Muddy Waters Tribute show will be returning on April 3 to the Muddy Award winning Lake Theater & Cafe, 106 N State St in Lake Oswego. The show will feature four internationally acclaimed blues musicians who relish in the performance of old school traditional blues. This night will feature the songs of Muddy Waters and his influences performed in their original style.

All four of the band members, Alan Hager, Mitch Kashmar, Jimi Bott and Dean Mueller, have won multiple Cascade Blues Association Muddy Awards and have performed around the world with their individual projects.

Alan Hager won the Muddy Award in 2016 for electric guitar and has been performing and touring with Curtis Salgado for a number of years. Considered one of Portland’s finest masters of traditional finger-picking guitar, he is a life-long student of the music and life of Muddy Waters.

A Muddy Waters shows is not the same without harmonica, and filling the shoes of the great Little Walter will be Muddy Award Hall of Fame member Mitch Kashmar.  One of the most soulful and powerful blues singers in the business today; his blues harp playing is second to none for creativity, drive and excitement.

Blues Music Award winning drummer Jimi Bott. Jimi has received so many Muddy Awards that they named the drum award after him. Perhaps the most qualified old school blues drummer in the world, Bott has played with Mark Hummel, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and The Mannish Boys over the years.

And finally, on the upright bass will be the multi Muddy Award winning Dean Mueller. Mueller was a Blues Music Award nominee with his former band The Insomniacs and is a faculty member at Port Townsend Blues workshop where he has had the opportunity to play upright bass with many of the blues greats past and present. As one of the dwindling few who still play blues on the doghouse, he will deliver the blues bass as it was originally conceived.

Show time for the Muddy Waters Tribute will be 7:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 for general admission be purchased online at

The Mannish Boys

The Mannish BoysEvoking the spirit of such legendary R&B revues as Johnny Otis, Ike Turner, or even the American Folk Blues Festival, The Mannish Boys look to single handedly restore this grand tradition and carry it forward into the 21st Century. The group’s various incarnations have consistently been comprised of some of the very best musicians in the blues and this latest version may be one of their best, featuring Sugaray Rayford on vocals, guitar hero Kid Ramos, bassist Willie J. Campbell and drummer Jimi Bott.

The fundamental concept of the band was simple; assemble a group of like-minded musicians to capture the spirit and joy of this timeless music and reintroduce it for a new generation to appreciate and discover. This project, which was only initially envisioned as a one-time testimony to the power of the blues, has now given way to a new institution privileged with the task of preserving this music and presenting it as a vital, living, breathing entity.

The Mannish Boys will be heading to The Birk for a spectacular night of entertainment on Friday, April 7. Show time begins at 7:30, but be sure to arrive early as this one is guaranteed to pack the house. Tickets for The Mannish Boys can be purchased in advance for $25.00 at or for $30.00 at the door if still available. The Birk is located at 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld.  Call the venue for reserved seating at 503-755-2722.