Journey To Memphis

The Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in the next year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, held in early 2018. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held in early June at a venue to be determined.  The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted from now until Wednesday, April 5 at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All eligible acts that meet our criteria as described below will be able to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues Association.
  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, Washington or Idaho are allowed to enter the Journey To Memphis.
  • Any act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete.
  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again.
  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.
  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances when not under control of the act, such as health issues.
  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.
Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings“The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.” – Guitar Edge Magazine

Albert Cummings is a masterful blues rock guitarist whose soulful and explosive style many have compared to greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Freddie King, and Jimi Hendrix. Onstage, he is a magnetic front man and singer and infuses modern creativity into everything he does. Cummings has toured with blues legends like B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, and others, and these shows exposed him to audiences grateful for his hard-rocking shows. Cummings performs live like man who very life depends upon every tune.

Albert Cummings brings his dynamic guitar pyrotechnic blues to the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta Street, for a show on Wednesday, January 18. This 8:00 pm performance is open to all ages with minors accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets can be purchased for $17.00 in advance at or at the door day of show for $20.00.

David Bromberg

David BrombergDavid Bromberg has played with everyone and toured everywhere. He can lead a raucous big band or silence an audience with solo acoustic blues. Bromberg’s sensitive and versatile approach to guitar playing has earned him a coveted position as the first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for many recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists like Bob Dylan, Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon. His range of material, grounded in the folk and blues idioms, continually expands with each new album to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country, and ethnic music.

An extremely captivating performer, David Bromberg will be returning to Portland on Friday, January 13 for an 8:00 pm full band show at The Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue. Tickets for this all ages event are $35.00 and can be purchased in advance through or at the door day of show for the same price.

Canadian Guitarist Jesse CookOver the years, Jesse Cook has tried to cross-pollinate his music with music from different parts of the world. After two decades of crisscrossing the world in restless pursuit of inspiration, innovation, and collaboration, the Paris-born, Toronto-raised Cook changed course for his ninth studio album One World. Instead of exotic locales, he stayed home in his studio, and instead of a foreign legion of performers, he relied on his own devices. And as an alternative for exploring musical cul-de-sacs — flamenco, classical, rumba, world beat, pop, blues or jazz — he united them. He’s earned 11 Juno nominations and one win for 2000’s Free Fall. A classical guitarist as a child, he then studied flamenco, then jazz; weaving three musical and guitar traditions in his background. For Jesse, music is a constantly evolving thing.

Jesse Cook will be appearing at The Elsinore Theater, 170 High Street SE in Salem on Wednesday, January 25. Tickets for this 7:30 performance range from $27.50 to $45.00 and available at

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi HendrixLauded by critics and fans alike, the multi-artist Experience Hendrix Tour is set to return in 2017 to celebrate one of music’s greatest innovators: Jimi Hendrix. This latest edition of the annual tour will kick off on Friday, February 17 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland.

Now in its second decade, the tour celebrates the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix by bringing together a diverse array of phenomenal musicians. Billy Cox, bassist for both the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys, anchors a rhythm section that provides the foundation for exciting renditions of numerous signature Hendrix favorites such as “Purple Haze” and “Little Wing.” Artists scheduled to appear in Portland include Buddy Guy, Keb’ Mo, Zakk Wylde, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, Chris Layton, Mato Nanji, Noah Hunt, The Slide Brothers, and Henri Brown.

Jimi Hendrix was a pioneer in both rock and blues; he expanded the possibilities of what could be achieved on his instrument and in popular music. Likewise, the Experience Hendrix Tour continues to expand as Jimi’s legacy grows. In 2004, the first tour came to fruition with a three-date string of shows on the west coast, starting in Hendrix’s hometown of Seattle. By 2008, the Experience Hendrix Tour had become a full-fledged, coast-to-coast expedition and continuing to date without showing any signs of slowing down. Audiences are presented the opportunity to see great artists paying homage to Hendrix while collaborating with each other in ways they’d never do in their own live shows.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album Are You Experienced (released on May 12, 1967) as well as the follow up album Axis: Bold as Love (released in the UK on December 1, 1967). 1967 was also the year Jimi Hendrix rose to intercontinental prominence when he made his U.S. debut at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, lighting his guitar on fire to a mesmerized audience. The repertoire from this stage of Jimi’s career serves as a cornerstone in Experience Hendrix Tour sets, as songs like “Fire,” “Manic Depression,” and “Are You Experienced” are played by various musicians on a nightly basis.

Experience Hendrix at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway Avenue starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets range from $42.50 to $95.00 and can be purchased online at or at the Portland’5 Box Office.

Every pair of tickets purchased comes with one (1) physical CD of the new Jimi Hendrix album, Machine Gun. You will receive an additional email with instructions on how to redeem your CD.

Beverly Frentress - Dust On My Shoes

Local recording artist and playwright, Beverly Frentress, of Stone Soup Blues, in conjunction with PDX Playwrights, presents her original play with original songs, score, and lyrics, Dust on My Shoes, The Musical. Co-produced by Miriam Feder.

Offered at Fertile Ground 2017 Theatre Festival January 22, 2:00pm and January 29, 12:00pm, at the HipBone Studios, 1847 East Burnside, Portland. Followed by performances at the HipBone Studios February 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25 at 7:30pm.

Marital decisions and consequences lead to a modern day blended family with teenagers. Set in anywhere,USA. Allan and Malinda allow us to put a scope on their lives. When fidelity is questioned, they take a closer look at their relationship. Family, teenagers, parents, and lawyers all weigh in. Through catchy lyrics and melodies and an engaging plot, from blues to ballads to pop, to Rock, R & B, and Electronica, comes the journey. An original book and song, with an original music score. You’ll come away warm and hopeful, through music and the theatre!

Thank You

Thank YouThe CBA would like to extend a huge thank you to the following individuals who volunteered their time to help us out at this year’s Holiday Party. The CBA greatly appreciates your time and efforts:

Ann McLaughlin
Beverly Jones
Bonita Davis
Bryan Olson
Carol Hamley
Cherie Robbins
Cheryl Jorgansen
Coila Ash
Jeff Hayes
Jeff Levine
Kathy Kiwala
Lucia Michaud
Priscilla Ditter
Richard LaChapelle
Ron Beed
Sandy Forst
Steve Broderick
Steve Jorgansen
Tom Rich

The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers
Vasteye Music

Recently, this year’s Grammy nominees were announced and among them was the latest release by Vasti Jackson, The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers, in the traditional category. Now, this may seem a little odd when you consider the album is a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, who has been called the original country performer, but you need to look back in time. Music was music in those early years and a lot of the songs being sung crossed ethnicity. It was only when companies began selling music that it was sorted into categories like “Hillbilly” or “Race” records for marketing purposes.

Jimmie Rodgers’ music spanned genres. He was called a variety of nicknames including “The Singing Brakeman,” “The Singing Hobo,” or “Blues Yodeler.” He was extremely popular and he had a series of hit songs that became staples of American music.

Vasti Jackson was enchanted by train songs as a young man which he has retained throughout his life. So naturally Rodgers’ music appealed to him when he heard it again recently in a tribute program. It brought back memories and he decided to pay his own tribute to the music with The Soul Of Jimmie Rodgers. But he has brought it to a more modern standard. Yes, he still performs the music as a solo artist with just his guitar as the troubadours or itinerant musicians of those earlier times would have done. The music just sounds more crisp and clear in his hands and that is more a reflection of how recordings have been improved in the past century.

The song selections will be familiar as they have stood the test of time. They also show the diversity of Rodgers’ songwriting talents to appease to listeners of the period. Jackson does not take on the yodel that Rodgers was known for and he also mixes in two of his own original compositions that easily fit in the Jimmie Rodgers mold (“Lowdown Hoedown” and “Train Rollin’ Blues”). Included are classics like “Waiting On A Train,” “Miss The Mississippi And You,” “The Women Make A Fool Out Of Me,” “In The Jailhouse Now,” and “Those Gambler’s Blues” (the last is in actuality Rodgers’ take on the traditional “St. James Infirmary”).

Vasti Jackson is an extraordinary musician and songwriter in his own right and has received a number of high accolades throughout his career as one of Mississippi’s finest Delta bluesmen. The Soul Of Jimmie Rodgers is a heartfelt tribute to an American icon. It doesn’t matter what you might decide to label it: blues, country, Hillbilly, roots, Americana or anything else. In the long run it is simply good music that continues to hold its place in our national traditional songbook.

Total Time: 36:07

Standing On The Corner / Those Gambler’s Blues / In The Jailhouse Now / Ninety-Nine Years Blues / Miss The Mississippi And You / Waiting On A Train / Hobo’s Meditation / The Women Make A Fool Out Of Me / Lowdown Hoedown / Train Rollin’ Blues

This Is Where I Live

William Bell first made his mark on the soulful blues market back in 1961 when he released the song “You Don’t Miss Your Water” for the fledgling Stax label. Though perhaps not gaining the attention that many of his label mates may have ultimately received over time, the smooth vocalist and songwriter certainly left his mark creating a series of popular songs. Many of those songs became some of the label’s best known numbers including “I Forgot To Be Your Lover,” “Everyday will Be Like A Holiday,” “Share What You Got,” and most notably perhaps “Born Under A Bad Sign” that he co-wrote with Booker T Jones for Albert King.

But here we are, fifty-five years since that first single and William Bell has cut a disc of music that will stand the test of time and will reestablish his own legacy as a performer. This Is Where I Live has brought Bell full circle back to Stax. And it is filled with some of the deepest soul ballads and upbeat tracks to hit the scene this past year or any year in memory. It could easily have been released back in the day, as it fully captures the sound emanating from the studio throughout the 60s and 70s, filled with horns and tales of heartbreak and joy. It is everything that you could have ever asked for in the genre and then some.  Helping to guide Bell on this amazing recording is producer John Leventhal who also provided multiple instrumentation (guitars, bass, keys, drums and percussion) and back-up vocals, while co-penning a number of the selections.

Bell’s songwriting is filled with stories of love lost and the self-exploration brought about by it. He looks back at where he has been, who he is and where he wants to be in “The Three Of Me.” He compares what goes on in life with your chances in a casino in “The House Always Wins.” The arguments and words that lead to the breaking of a relationship in “All The Things You Can’t Remember” that he’ll never be able to forget.  That lost love is more noted in “More Rooms,” as he realizes just how empty the home they shared is now without her.  Promises were made in an attempt to make it right with “I Will Take Care Of You.” But when it was all said and done tragedy occurs as she put “Poison In the Well” and he drank it. A classic example of Bell’s story-telling showing a return to his well-known form.

But not everything on This Is Where I Live is about sadness and loss. He shares his life growing up in the South on “Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge” and “People Want To Go Home.” He recounts the good times and the people he has known in music and his return home to Stax where he belongs in “This Is Where I Live.”  Two covers are also presented: Jesse Winchester’s soft acoustic piece “All Your Stories” and “Walking On A Tightrope” that was written by Leventhal with his wife Roseanne Cash. There is even a retelling of “Born Under A Bad Sign” that Bell presents in a softer approach than originally recorded back in 1967.

Now in his mid-70s, William Bell has arisen like a phoenix to fully reclaim his spot in the music world, piecing together one of the absolutly most amazing discs of the year. If you want to hear a soul album that feels like a step back in time and music done right, this is one that you’re not going to want to overlook. Do yourself a favor, run out and buy This Is Where I Live. You will feel the passion, the personality and the emotion that only the purest of vocalists and the craftiness of a master story-teller can deliver. The honest truth here is that William Bell has delivered nothing short of a soul masterpiece.

Total Time: 38:55

The Three Of Me / The House Always Wins / Poison In The Well / I Will Take Care Of You / Born Under A Bad Sign / All Your Stories / Walking On A Tightrope / This Is Where I Live / More Rooms / All the Things You Can’t Remember /  Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge / People Want To Go Home.

Delmark Records

Chicago-based Guy King has released one superb recording with his latest, Truth. Tasty guitar licks abound alongside very soulful vocals. Originally from Israel, King has been capturing many fans over the years for his pleasing take on the music that The Windy City has been known for excelling in, including one Buddy Guy who has deemed King as “a bad man!” Of course, after listening to Truth, it’s easy to understand why he receives such accolades.

Dick Shurman served as producer on Truth, and he’s certainly no stranger to the best of blues artists, having worked with musicians such as Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Magic Slim, Robert Cray, and Charlie Musselwhite among so many others over the past forty plus years. He brings out the very best in Guy King who has the range to seemingly emote sounds of the genre from nearly any time frame effortlessly. With maginificent covers by artists like Ray Charles, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Pee Wee Crayton, Doc Pomus, Percy Mayfield, and well-known songs like “Bad Case Of Love,” “The Same Thing That Can Make You Laugh (Can Make You Cry)” or “One Hundred Ways,” King clearly shows that he has studied the music and knows how to present it too. His takes are deftly soulful and original, not to mention his own songwriting that he displays on a handful of tracks that stand out on their own as well, with the title number dishing up a little jazzier side to his blues that just scores big time.

This is Guy King’s fourth release under his own name, having spent a number of years as guitarist and band leader for the late Willie Kent. Each and every release that King has put out continues to offer just how much he grows as a solo artists while paying heed to those who came before and influenced him. There is no imitation despite the number of material previously released by others. This is fresh and exciting. Guy King is an artist in his own right who needs to be paid attention to. The man is cooking with gasoline and is ready to light the blues world on fire.

Total Time: 1:11:07

The Same Thing That Can Make You Laugh (Can Make You Cry) / Truth / My Happiness / It’s About The Dollar Bill / A Day In The Life Of The Blues / Cookin’ In Style / See Saw / Hey Now / I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues / There Must be A Better World Somewhere / King Thing / Bad Case Of Love / Something’s Wrong / If The Washing Don’t Get You (The Rinsing Will) / One Hundred Ways