Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland

Wednesday, April 3rd, 7:00 pm

Members always Free – Non-members $3.00

Opening Acoustic Set – Lucy Hammond’s NW Roots Uprising

Second Electric Set – Tracey Fordice & The 8-Balls

It’s the first of the month, so you should know by now where to be on that first Wednesday. The Melody Ballroom of course. You always want to make a point to join us for the Cascade Blues Association’s monthly membership meeting, where you’re sure to run into long-time friends and maybe make a few new ones, all while hearing two great sets of blues.

This month we’re going to open the acoustic set featuring a new project of the sensational vocalist Lucy Hammond’s titled “NW Roots Uprising.” With the assistance of co-producer Kevin Nettleingham at his award-winning studios, Nettleingham Audio, Lucy is bringing a diverse combination of songwriters and artists together to put together a collaboration CD. This will give fans a chance to hear new material from some of their favorite artists, while perhaps being exposed to somebody they may be altogether unfamiliar with in the process. The artists will get an opportunity to explore, experiment, work and create new material with one another in means they may choose to feature on their own individual projects. Funding for the project is fan-based through which is a win/win for both the musicians and the fans. It will provide production costs, requisite airplay print promotion and mini-tours while the backers receive creative rewards from the artists.

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Blues Music Awards DVD cover

This year’s event was captured masterfully by AudioGraphics Masterworks in a beautiful video production and the sound was recreated by one of Memphis’ best studios, Ardent. The line-up is a virtual who’s who of the blues world, including people like Charlie Musselwhite, Tab Benoit, Joe Louis Walker, Tracy Nelson, David Maxwell, Billy Boy Arnold, Samantha Fish and so many more.

The DVD is broken down into two sections, one for Public Broadcast airings which feature acceptance speeches mixed within the performances and the second showcasing songs from those who were nominated and collaborations onstage of exceptional pairings. Highlights have to include the rousing take by Johnny Sansone on the song of the year, “The Lord Is Waiting The Devil Is Too,” Hadden Sayers and Ruthie Foster trading verses on “Back To The Blues,” Otis Clay’s soulful “Got To Get Back” with The Bo-Keys’ horns behind him, Daniele Schnebelin’s fierce and passionate vocals on Trampled Under Foot’s “Goodbye,” Tab Benoit’s “Medicine,” Victor Wainwright’s “Big Dog’s Running This Town,” Grady Champion on “Thank You For Giving Me The Blues,” J.P. Soars’ “Doggin’” and perhaps my personal favorite of the night, the acoustic duet of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on “Back Where I Started.”

The Blues Music Awards is one of those events that every blues fan should make an effort to attend. Always a memorable occasion, sitting at tables with artists and enjoying great performances. There are 26 songs on the DVD (25 listed on the CD sleeve, but a track by David Maxwell was left off by mistake) covering more than two hours and 13 are included on the CD. This is merely a drop in the bucket for an event that lasted more than six hours altogether. Even if you did not have the opportunity to attend, this collection is well worth owning. Outstanding from start to finish.

This Time Another Year
self produced

This is Brandon Santini’s sophomore solo disc and he has thrown together a stellar band to work with, most notably the addition of guitarist Jeff Jensen. The pairing of Santini and Jensen has proven to be somewhat magical as Santini’s easy-going manner onstage is offset by the frenetic pace of Jensen’s guitar playing. They’re the perfect foils for one another.

Santini has an exceptional knack for writing tasteful songs with memorable instrumental catches and lyrics. The title song, a reworking of Charlie Musselwhite’s “This Time Another Year,” maintains a steady walk as Santini’s harp rolls back and forth, crisp but never overplayed, making the song totally his own. Again with Jensen the two trade off leads on the number enhancing with the right amount of fills to compliment the other. Early in his career Santini had a tendency to play like John Popper, but over the years he has matured following the path of Chicago masters like Sonny Boy Williamson or Little Walter instead. He has mastered that direction knowing that when you blow a note you make it have meaning, it does not need to be overworked. And with that sense Santini has built his own unique sound that is as easily identifiable as those aforementioned greats.

Speaking of Sonny Boy, there are two covers of his on this disc, “Bye Bye Bird” and “Raise Your Window.” They are done with glowing tribute to the master, yet also delivered with an original sound of their own at the same time. Most of the tracks are originals by the band and are quite pleasant and bluesy. I love the step-up of “Got Good Lovin’,” the slow blues of “Late In The Evening” and the frivolity of “Fish Is Bitin’” co-written by Jensen and bassist Bill Ruffino. Jeff Jensen rises to the forefront with his sensational playing on “Dig Me A Grave”.

The band, besides Jeff Jensen, includes the aforementioned Bill Ruffino, who like Jensen departed from the West Coast to Memphis where he teamed up with his former bandmate. On drums is longtime Memphis musician James Cunningham who has worked with Robert Nighthawk Tooms and Mike Forrest in various band formats, including the Wampus Cats and the Eric Hughes Band. Making a guest appearance on three numbers is Victor Wainwright including “What You’re Doing To Me” which he co-wrote with Santini and Jensen. The band also covers one of Wainwright’s pieces, “Coin Operated Woman.”

I first met Brandon Santini many years ago, introduced by mutual friend Billy Gibson. At the time Gibson was working seemingly constantly on Beale Street, earning the moniker “The Prince of Beale Street.” Gibson is not as common a sight on Beale anymore, but Santini has surely taken on the role himself. You can find the band working the clubs several times a week. Perhaps it is time to pass the title from Gibson to Santini. A more worthy successor would be hard to find. Brandon fits it nicely. And This Time Another Year supports the claim.

Total Time: 53:33

Got Good Lovin’ / This Time Another Year / What You Doing To Me / Late In The Evening / Dig Me A Grave / Bye Bye Bird / Things You Putting Down / Been So Blue / Coin Operated Woman / Help Me With The Blues / Raise Your Window / Fish Is Bitin’

Long Walk Home
Delta Groove

Jump ahead two months. Kevin & The Tornadoes had just completed a stellar set at the Waterfront Blues Festival featuring many of the same cats from the new album on stage with them. I was sitting in the VIP area with Tornadoes bassist Allen Markel and his wife Lisa Mann as I noticed Kevin across the way in conversation with Delta Groove boss Randy Chortkoff. Kevin soon walked over with a grin on his face. “You just got signed, didn’t you?” I asked him. He didn’t need to say anything. By the way his face lit up even more I knew he had. And why not? A good portion of those appearing on the album, like Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor, Doug James and even Tornadoes drummer Jimi Bott had all been on Delta Groove releases in the past. It was a natural fit with its traditional blues flavored by with a little West Coast flair.

 The album, Long Walk Home, is by far the finest moment in Kevin Selfe’s songwriting abilities yet. The guest artists are a nice touch, but in reality it is the core group of The Tornadoes, Kevin with Allen and Jimi, that make this all come to life. The tracks are filled with gritty down home guitar work that takes you to the swamp or to the back alleys and even a little resonator thrown in for good measure. You can sense the Louisiana bayou come through on something like “Midnight Creeper” or “Too Much Voodoo.” You can feel the impact of Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor on the slide piece “Put Me Back In Jail.” The pulsations of “Duct Tape On My Soul” and “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” delivers prime Kevin Selfe creations that have been primed for some time in his live performances. And his writing also makes you wonder about his luck with the opposite sex as he relates tales of the woman who breaks up after having him pack her things and moving her into a new home (“first you broke my back, then you broke my heart”) on “Moving Day Blues,” the “Dancing Girl” who shakes it with all those guys right in front of him while he plays, a little bit too provocative for his taste, and the girl who shows up after he’s been waiting for her to come home all night long whose clothes aren’t on just right and she’s “Walking Funny.” The stories are first class and blues through and through.

The band is also enhanced by the sensational horn parts arranged by Joe McCarthy. Some of these pieces have long been in Kevin’s songbook, like “Moving Day Blues” and “Walking Funny.” But they take on even more life with the brass added, courtesy of Chris Mercer, Brad Ulrich, Peter Moss, Doug James and McCarthy. Mitch Kashmar’s harp on “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” has that same impact, as does the keyboard work by Steve Kerin and Dover Weinberg in their appearances on the disc.

This is an album sure to be counted as one of the best Northwest releases of the year, and perhaps even amongst the best everywhere. Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes work endlessly throughout the region all year long; but with Long Walk Home I predict we’re going to see a lot less of the guys as they will be in demand far outside of the area once people get the taste of this release. Excellent is only a mild term when describing this masterful work. Bravo Kevin Selfe!

Total Time: 50:09

Duct Tape On My Soul / Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool / Moving Day Blues / Last Crossroad / Dancing Girl / Midnight Creeper / Walking Funny / Too Much Voodoo / Second Box On The Left / The Blues Is My Home / Put Me Back In Jail

Dave Mathis CD In Your Face

In Your Face

Dave Mathis has long been one of the premier harmonica players in the Portland blues scene. This new release by Mathis may be referred to as his debut recording, but it is filled with highlights from his career over the past twenty years, really only a drop in the pond for as long as he has been blowing that tin biscuit around these parts. And that career has seen him perform with some of the very best talent around.

The disc starts out with a trio of numbers with Mathis playing alongside Kelly Joe Phelps; two from past Phelps’ recordings and a third previously unreleased take on “Poor Old Mattie” from a 1993 session. These are followed by a handful of selections from Adam Scramstad’s solo release Down The Muddy Creek; a jazzy piece from Kacy Colleen; a rocking blues tune from Seattle’s Bobby Holland and the Breadline; and a pair of songs with Mathis working with Michael Osborn & the Drivers, including a superb cover of The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Why Get Up.” In between are a couple entries from his outstanding pairing with guitarist Steve Cameron as The Blues Police with special note to their reading of “St. James Infirmary” which is perhaps one of the finest renditions of this song on disc by anybody. There are also five cuts of live performances of Mathis working with K.G. Jackson and Papa Salty recorded at Vancouver’s The Longhorn Bar & Grill which make this collection indispensable.

Dave Mathis is a true Portland blues icon. He always blows a breath of fresh air to any track he is a part of. There may be portions of his career missing from this album, but regardless, Mathis at any period of his lengthy time amongst the blues heavyweights in the Northwest is worth hearing over and over again. This reflection is a tasty bite of what the master has to offer.

Total Time: 70:44

Screaming & Hollering / Poor Old Mattie / Piece By Piece / Louisiana Blues / Hot Rod Tracy / St James Infirmary / The Sprawl / Brother Can You Spare A Dime / Same Thing / Blues Don’t Bother Me / Woke Up Evil / One Of These Days / Ol’ Main Line / Cold Grave / Bright Lights, Big City / Why Get Up

Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes February 24

Hi everybody! So, I have some really big news to share with you this month…we have signed a recording deal with world renown blues label, Delta Groove! The new CD entitled Long Walk Home is set to be released worldwide on February 19 and features 11 songs, all originals. Lots of incredible musicians on it including my band mates Jimi Bott and Allen Markel, Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor, Doug James, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. So very excited and honored to be a part of the Delta Groove family! I wanted to say thanks to Jimi and Allen, and all the musicians for putting in many hours of hard work and effort that went into making this happen. And also wanted to say thanks to Randy Chortkoff of Delta Groove for believing in me and giving us this opportunity! For more information about the CD and about the band and upcoming schedules, please feel free to visit or

And speaking of upcoming schedules, now since we have the CD coming out, we’ve got to have a big party! On Sunday, February 24, we will have a CD release party at Duff’s Garage in SE Portland from 7-10pm. In addition to Jimi, Allen, and me, many musicians from the recording will be joining us on stage including Mitch Kashmar, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. Cover for the show is $12, and since it is a CBA co-sponsored show, members can get a $1 discount at the door.

This month marks six years since I packed up everything I owned and moved from Virginia to Portland without knowing a soul. Since then, I have made lifelong friends, experienced happiness inside and outside of music, grown both as a musician and as a person, have become part of a loving blues community. I can’t thank you all enough for welcoming me, accepting me, and showing your support over these six years. I am, and will be, forever grateful. Thank you all!

Hey Everybody,…Nice seein’ you again. Just wanted to throw out a BIG THANK YOU to all those who made donations that helped us get to Memphis! We appreciate each and every one of you.

The new cd is finished, and we’ll be announcing a cd release party somewhere soon.

Thanks for your support of Franco Paletta and The Stingers, and LIVE BLUES MUSIC!!! See y’all in the clubs!

Hey Blues Lovers. The Gustos want to thank the CBA for having us up to play at the Jan. meeting. We had an awesome time as always. Hope you all had a great holiday season. Just wanted to get a quick note in to let everyone know, that in addition to our show at the super cool Duff’s Garage on Feb. 21st, we will also be rockin’ that Soul Brand Gusto Music all night in Salem on Feb. 9th, 9pm at the newly rejuvenated Duffy’s Hangar. Look forward to seeing you guys out there as we get up to Portland more. You guys got gusto! See you soon.

Gusto Brothers

Believe it or not, it’s now been a year that Soul Cookin’ – Lloyd Jones, Carlton Jackson, Dover Weinberg, and Dave Kahl – have been holding down the groove at Blackwell’s on Wednesdays and hosting a ridiculous lineup of talent that is mind-boggling. LaRhonda Steele, Karen Lovely, Curtis Salgado, Ural Thomas, Peter Dammann, Richard Arnold, Arietta Ward, Lloyd Allen, Peter Moss, Mike Klinger, Brian Harris, Lisa Mann, Allen Markel, and a whole bunch more have turned this into a veritable who’s who and what’s next kind of night.

From 8:30-11:30pm, the place is jumping with activity – joking, laughter, heckling, encouragement, and applause. It’s all in good fun and everyone gives as good as they receive. Located at 1815 N.E. 41st Avenue, across Sandy Boulevard from the Hollywood Theater, Blackwell’s has a great vibe. Roomy, but intimate, the sound in the club is stellar – strong and even, but not too loud. There’s a good menu – you can even get a night time breakfast – plenty of available parking, central location, and affordable prices. No cover makes this all the more compelling. Come out and join us. We’d love to see you.

For the past few months, the Dover Weinberg Quartet has been extremely fortunate to have had our good friend and world-class guitarist, Alan Hager, join us for some pretty serious music in a not-so-serious setting for our Tuesday nights at Duff’s Garage. Alan always brings the right touch to the stage, whether we’ve delved into the trove of Tommy Johnson, the funkiness of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, the grit of Muddy Waters, or the hard bop of Charlie Parker. He’ll still be working with us for a few more of these in February, but, with the return of Chris Carlson, there are only a couple more chances for you to catch this incredible talent in a fully supportive ensemble of band mates and friends. Thanks, Alan. You’ve elevated our game each time you’re with us. While we’re at it, we’d also like to thank Duff’s owners, Jon and Jennifer Wallace, and bartender, Chris Olson, for giving us a home where we can just do our thing.

The Dover Weinberg Quartet – with the rhythm section of Kelly Dunn and Dave Kahl – sets a solid bar for others, not by their musical capacities and capabilities, alone, but by just playing the tunes for their own sake, finding the joy and adventure in each one, and sharing the goodwill with a very receptive and supportive audience. From 9pm to midnight, you can catch these guys, as well as a bunch of other truly special players who regularly sit in.

While we’re at it, let’s add a welcome home to Chris Carlson and Duffy Bishop. You two have been deeply missed. Maybe you folks ought to come out and say so, yourselves. It’ll only cost you a $3.00 cover charge. Duff’s is located on S.E. 7th Avenue at the corner of Market Street. You can’t miss it. It’s where all the noise and laughter is coming from.