Greg Johnson / CBA President

This past December marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Cascade Blues Association becoming a business and a non-profit organization. There have been a number of changes since the inception, not only in how the company is run and the events that we hold, but definitely in the make-up of the music community itself. The CBA strives to continue to support the blues scene in Portland and the Northwest despite the coming and going of venues, and laws and personal economics that alter the way we go about attending events as often as many of us might have in the past.

The CBA had faced challenges with a drop in membership at the beginning of the year, which we recognize and made a point to correct. I am happy to say that as the year came to an end we saw an increase over the preceding months that have brought us back to the 1000 member levels once again and steadily rising. This took a lot of work on the behalf of our Membership Secretaries Fred and JoAnn Morgan, who tirelessly sent out notices for renewal and requests to expired members from the previous two years asking them to consider coming back. And so many did. Thank you.

We still print out the BluesNotes for our members every month, despite many other blues societies turning to online publications only, or cutting back to bi-monthly or quarterly printings. Our members have stated that they want to receive the paper, so we will continue doing so at this time. It is a great expense on us and very time consuming. But we have also gone toward the more modern edge as well with Vice President Wendy Schumer putting together our monthly e-mail blasts with much of the BluesNotes content to our members. So now, no matter how slow the mail may be coming to your homes, you can still get the news delivered to you electronically.

One event that we have held the past ten years of so is the Red, White & Blues Dance (formerly the Sweetheart Dance). We have decided that this will not happen this year as we are more interested in holding a Thirtieth Anniversary event instead.  We simply do not have the funds in our accounts to hold both and feel that the anniversary celebration is more important this year. We will look at the Red, White & Blues Dance again next year.

As for the Thirtieth Anniversary, we are currently looking at what we may be able to afford to present such a celebration of our blues community correctly. Venues are being approached to find one the proper size, dates available and for a cost that we may be able to handle.  Sponsorships may be requested to assist, but we will need to work the details out for that yet.

Our monthly membership meetings will have an increase in admission for non-members, going from $3.00 to $5.00. This is the first time we have increased the admission since we first began charging for non-members. We still intend on our members having free admission, though many other blues societies charge their members like everybody else. This means your annual dues will save you even more as at this time we do not plan on raising those fees either. It does not seem like a lot, but believe me every small amount counts.

An even bigger challenge that we may face is the location for our monthly meetings. The Melody Ballroom has been sold and they’re planning on serious renovations for all levels of the building that may affect some of our upcoming meetings. We are set for January, but the new owners are supposed to contact us to discuss the future changes. We’re hoping that we will continue to be able to hold our meetings here as we have for well over two decades. Cross your fingers everyone! Thanks to Kathleen and the Kaad Family for being so generous to our group for so long. We will miss you and you the very best.

But no matter what challenges the CBA may face over time, we will always be 100% in support of our musicians, venues and regional events. We still plan on holding our signature events such as the Journey To Memphis and the Muddy Awards, and we ask for you to help us out when you can. And if we need to find another location temporarily for our meetings we will do so. Please thinks about volunteering for events, special committees that we have, or for the BluesNotes. Or consider becoming a Board Member if you have the time and commitment. We’re always in need of extra assistance and support for our blues community is always appreciated.

Let’s look forward to starting off the next thirty years of the Cascade Blues Association as continuing to be one of the best blues organizations and communities possible.

Portland/Northwest Blues Strong!!

The International Blues Challenge

On Saturday, January 7, come to the Trails End Saloon to support several of the Northwest acts that will travel to Memphis in February to compete in the renowned International Blues Challenge on that city’s famous Beale Street. Each of these acts have won their respective blues societies’ regional competitions, and this will be one more opportunity to help raise funds for their trips and give them a chance to prepare their sets prior to arriving in Memphis.

To help them prepare, the acts will perform in a situation like they will experience at the International Blues Challenge, with timed sets and judges scoring their performances.  Special celebrity judges will be on hand who have first-hand knowledge about competing in Memphis. They will be Kevin Sutton from the 2012 IBC  1st place winning band The Wired from the Washington Blues Society,  Karen Lovely, three-time BMA nominee and 2010 2nd place IBC winner from the Cascade Blues Association, Tommy Marsh from the Crooked Eye Tommy Band, 2016 Ventura County Blues Best Band from the Los Angeles area, and a 2012 IBC competitor representing the Santa Barbara Blues Society.

The acts performing at the Trails End are the Cascade Blues Association’s Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers, David Pinsky, and Timothy James (youth); the Washington Blues Society’s Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method; and NattyBone from the Rainy Day Blues Society. Following the individual judged performances there will be an All Star jam featuring the contestants.

The Trails End Saloon is located at 1320 Main Street in Oregon City. Admission is $10.00 at the door, plus there will be a silent auction and drawing all to help the acts on their trip to Memphis.

It’s been ten years since the great Paul deLay passed away, but a room full of Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award winners will bring his songs and spirit back to the stage on Saturday evening, January 21, at the Alberta Rose Theatre.

Just This One is a concert performance of a new musical based on the music and life of Portland’s favorite blues monster. Multiple CBA honorees will perform “Beautiful Bones,” “Silly Smile,” and “Maybe Our Luck Will Change,” plus dozens of other deLay’s tunes.

Sugaray Rayford (photo by Alejandro Rodriguez)

Sugaray Rayford takes the lead. A six-time Blues Music Award nominee, his Waterfront Blues Festival main stage set was the 2014 Muddy Performance of the Year.  He’ll be joined by CBA Hall of Famer and two-time Blues Music Award winner Lisa Mann, whose mantle overflows with Muddy hardware for Singer, Bassist, and Recording of the Year. LaRhonda Steele, the 2016 “Duffy Bishop” Female Vocalist of the Year, also joins, along with rising local star Saeeda Wright. Best Regional Act and International Blues Challenge participant Hank Shreve will honor Paul’s unforgettable harp work. Northwest Event of the Year Muddy winners United By Music will present a feature set of deLay’s tunes. They’ll all groove under the direction of Dave Fleschner, keyboardist on multiple Muddy moments with Curtis Salgado, Karen Lovely, United By Music, and more.

The concert is produced by CBA member Wayne Harrel, who wrote the book for Just This One. “Our goal is to tell just enough of his story so that when you hear ‘I’m gonna miss talkin’ to you,’ you truly feel what he was trying to say.”

Duffy Bishop knows the feeling. “I loved his intelligence,” she says, “his wit and energy. When somebody like Paul can say what’s on his heart, put it out there, that’s very sexy.”

A very sexy – and award-winning – cast of performers will take the Alberta Rose stage January 21 to celebrate the wonder of Paul deLay once more. Tickets for Just This One are $20.00 advance or $24.00 at the door, with special preferred seating in the first few rows center for $35.00 and are available at This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event so CBA members can use the code word “CBA” for a $2.00 discount when ordering online. The Alberta Rose Theatre is located at 3000 NE Alberta Street. Show time is 7:30 pm and this is an all ages show, with minors allowed when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Andy Stokes

On Monday, January 30, The Lake Theater & Café is proud to host an intimate evening of soulful sounds featuring two of the Northwest’s premier musicians: New5 recording artist Andy Stokes and Portland’s Boss of the B-3, Louis “King Louie” Pain.

Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee and Muddy Award winning vocalist Andy Stokes has one of the most powerful and soulful voices on the planet. As the leader of the band Cool’R in the 80s he set the standard for soul in Portland and The Andy Stokes Band continues to deliver night after night. Stokes recently released his newest recording, Full Circle, that has already received high acclaim.

Louis “King Louie” Pain has long been one of the foremost keyboardist in the Portland area, working with icons like Paul deLay and Sweet Baby James Benton. Downbeat magazine named his most recent recording with LaRhonda Steele as one the best releases of 2016.

Filling out this exciting group: drummer Edwin Coleman III of Soul Vaccination and The Thunder Brothers.

The Lake Theater & Café is located at 106 N State Street in Lake Oswego. Tickets for this 7:00 pm show are available at General admission tickets are $15.00. Special VIP tables are $80.00 and can seat four in the lower section of the theater closest to the stage.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie RaittWhen it comes to influential musicians of the past fifty years who have crossed genres between blues and rock, Bonnie Raitt is one who definitely stands out. It seems almost impossible to believe that she has been around the scene for so many years as she comes across as eternally youthful, but since the early 1970s she has been a major force as a more than exceptional guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, and performer. Her fan base is world wide, and Portland is no exception.

An amazing group of artists will be gathering once again to pay tribute to Bonnie Raitt at The Alberta Rose Theatre on Saturday, January 28. Like Raitt herself, they easily cross genres. Many of Portland’s finest musicians will be performing the music of Bonnie Raitt: Anne Weiss, Lisa Mann, Bre Gregg, Ara Lee, David Jacobs-Strain, Jean-Pierre Garau, Dan Stueber, and Mark Bowden.

The Alberta Rose Theatre is located at 3000 NE Alberta Street. Show time is 8:00 pm and it is open to all ages with minors permitted when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets may be purchased in advance through for $15.00 or at the door day of show for $18.00.

Don’t miss out on this night celebrating the Queen of the Bottleneck Guitar. All Bonnie Raitt songs, all night long!

Johnny Nicholas - Photo by Cybelle Codish

Johnny NicholasFor four decades, Johnny Nicholas has showcased his consummate musicianship and vocal skills, having graced live music scenes across the country and abroad. The list of legendary musicians with whom he worked and performed alongside reads like a who’s who for blues and roots music, including people such as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howlin’ Wolf, BB King, Muddy Waters, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt, among many others. In fact, he gave guitarist Ronnie Earl his first gig, letting him play in his then band Guitar Johnny and the Rhythm Rockers. Nicholas also spent time as the lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for the Grammy Award winning band Asleep At The Wheel.

“Johnny Nicholas is one of the best bluesmen ever, black or white.” ~ Stephen Bruton

ScrappyScrappy Jud Newcomb Jud Newcomb is a Mississippi boy who hit Austin in the late eighties as a young guitar virtuoso, and has since evolved into a pillar of the local scene. He became the go-to guitarist in the music city for both studio and on-stage work. He can play anything, with anybody, at any time, and when it comes his turn you’ll want to hear every phrase, every nuance, every lick. He’ll close his eyes and slip somewhere far away, and the beauty will just pour from his fingers like praise from a mother’s lips.

Johnny Nicholas and Scrappy Jud Newcomb will be appearing together at The Lake Theater & Café on Monday, January 23. Admission for this 7:00 pm show is $12.00 and tickets can be purchased online up to 4:00 pm day of show at The Lake Theater & Café is located at 106 N State Street in Oregon City.

The pair are also appearing in Bend on Saturday, January 21at The Old Stone, 157 NW Franklin at 8:00 pm. Tickets are available in advance for $10.00 through or $15.00 at the door day of show.

Johnny Nicholas is scheduled to also appear at the Sunday Night Honky Tonk show at The Fixin To, 8218 N Lombard Street, on Sunday, January 22. Contact the venue for further information at 503-477-4995.

Seth Walker

Seth WalkerA soulful singer, skilled songwriter, and guitarist with a sharp, clear tone, Seth Walker has made a name for himself throughout the country, having lived in both Austin and New Orleans and recorded in Nashville. His upbringing brought him contact with classical music alongside country, rock, and pop, but thanks to an uncle he was introduced to the blues in his late teens and here he found himself under the spell of players such as Snooks Eaglin, T-Bone Walker, and BB King. His guitar work is clean with a classic electric tone, while his vocal skills echo Ray Charles, and Delbert McClinton. A compelling performer, Seth Walker has the skills to captivate an audience with his warm unique feel good style.

“This young man is pure talent, a masterful blues guitarist, a singer with some swing in his voice and a writer whose (songs) sound less composed than unleashed.” – Austin American Statesman

With a handful of highly acclaimed recording, Walker is currently celebrating his latest release, Gotta Get Back, with a tour that will be bringing him to the Portland area on Tuesday, January 31 at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd Avenue. Show time will be 8:00 pm and admission at the door is $10.00.

Seth Walker will also be appearing at the Fort Georges Brewery, 1483 Duane Street in Astoria on Sunday, January 28. Contact the venue for more information at (503) 325-7468.

Eric Johnson, long hailed as one of the world’s preeminent electric guitarists, celebrates his acoustic side with his new release EJ. While this album emphasizes Johnson’s formidable skills as a singer-songwriter, his first completely unplugged album is also his most immediate and intimate. For Johnson, the creation of sublime music has always been about the journey inward, an approach shared by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and other visionaries.

Over the years, his unwavering devotion to perfecting his art has become as legendary as his attention to the instruments he plays. This is evident in his songs, interviews and the way he plays guitar and piano. As Stevie Ray Vaughan put it, “The guy has done more trying to be the best that he can be than anybody I’ve ever seen. He plays all the time, and tries to get his instrument in perfect shape all the time. He works hard on his tone, sound, techniques. He does incredible things with all kinds of guitars – electric, lap steel, acoustic, everything. Few people understand that when the guy was fifteen, he was playing Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery stuff, and he was doing it right – that’s pretty cool. Eric is a wonderful cat. He’s always been one of my favorite people in the world, as well as one of my favorite guitar players.”

Eric Johnson will be appearing at the Aladdin theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue, on Tuesday, January 31. This is an all ages show starting at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $25.00 with advance sales available at

The Lightning Kings

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland
Wednesday, January 4, 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $5.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Tevis Hodge Jr.
Second Electric Set – The Lightning Kings

As we step into the New Year we need to look at a few changes. One is an increase to attend our monthly membership meetings for non-members. This is the first time in many years that we have made any changes in fees, including memberships which we will continue at $25.00 a year for a single membership at this time. It is a small step, but we need to do this to meet our monthly business expenses — one step at a time.

But at the same time we intend on bringing you quality blues entertainment each month at these meetings. Whether they’re artists with whom you’re familiar or new, emerging talent, there will always be two great sets each month.

Tevis Hodge Jr will open the evening with a solo performance on acoustic guitar. He was exposed to blues music at an early age and due to his African-American heritage and his love for the music, he is compelled to continue the traditions of his people. He’s inspired to keep true to the traditions and techniques of the musicians of yesterday for an authentic experience, while at the same time accenting his own original flare and interpretations, placing himself among the many original blues musicians of the past 80 years. His songwriting coincides with those traditions of yesterday, which keeps an authentic flow from song to song, whether it be his own material, or an old traditional tune. This is where he shines as an artist, being more than a re-creator of the old, he is a contributor to the new in the vein of yesterday.

Hodge works in various band configurations and as a solo act. He is a regular performer at the Inner City Blues Festival the past few years and represented the Cascade Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge. Aside from local artists he has also performed on stage with vaudeville legend Baby Gramps and folk giant Peter Yarrow. Hodge can also be caught the first Sunday of every month at The Spare Room and he is currently working on his second CD to be released this coming spring.

The Lightning KingsThe second set of the night will feature a newer band to the area that have been picking up a lot of steam with performances at venues such as Billy’s Blues, Duff’s Garage, and The Heavy Metal Brewing Company, The Lightning Kings. This four piece outfit are described as bluesy rock with a funky beat. They have hosted a few fundraising events lately for the American Cancer Society and the Doernbecher’s Childrens Hospital Toy Drive. The band is made up of guitarist Thomas Andersen, bassist Matt Lind, keyboardist Rich Petko, and drummer Seth Troublefield, and they’re letting you know that this will be “rockin’ blues and a funky ass shakin’ good time, so wear you’ dancin’ shoes!”

Pick up your free drawing ticket as you enter the venue for a chance to win prizes and don’t forget that we’ll also have the multi-CD package drawing tickets for sale at a $1.00 each. Buy as many as you’d like for this winner take-all collection. Looking forward to seeing everybody there, to kick the new year off right!

Jeffrey Foucault

Jeffrey FoucaultMartin Chilton, culture editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, calls Jeffrey Foucault “an original, beguiling songwriter with a marvelously expressive voice.” With ten albums under his belt, this skillful troubadour is currently touring across the country with drummer Billy Conway. Poet and writer Chris Dombrowski describes Foucault’s music as “a tough, spare collection of darkly rendered blues and ballads, like a field recording of a place that never existed. In a series of letters to lovers, friends, heroes, and family, Foucault deftly weaves together disparate strands of sound and experience, raw love, and hard wisdom.” He has been compared to legends like Townes Van Zant, John Prine, Steve Earle, Bruce Sprinsteen, and Bob Dylan for both his poetic lyrics and his stage presence.

Foucault will be bringing his rugged folk rock with a dash of blues to the Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, January 16. Show time is 9:00 pm and is open to those 21 & over only. Tickets range from $8.00 to $12.00 and are available in advance through