On Saturday, March 4, the non-profit West Valley Community Campus will be holding their first ever Old School Music Festival & Sleep-Over. Located in the old Willamina Union High School, this event will feature a variety of some of the finest regional musicians covering the gamut from rock, blues, folk, bluegrass and punk. Artists scheduled to appear include Hillstomp, Root Jack, Cedar Teeth, The Jackalope Saints, The John Dough Boys, Ezra Bell and An Unquiet Grave. This unique festival will take place indoors and as the name implies you can camp out in the gymnasium setting up your tents just like in grade school or hook-up your RVs outside.

Tickets for the Old School Music Festival & Sleep-Over are available at westvalleycommunitycampus.or starting at $25.00, with children under 12 for free. You can also purchase tent and RV reservations. The West Valley Community Center is located at 226 SE Washington Street in Willamina, Oregon. It all starts at 4:00 pm on March 4 and continues until 2:00 pm Sunday, March 5.

Buck Johnson

Buck JohnsonSinger/songwriter Buck Johnson hails from the back roads of Shady Grove, Alabama, just outside Birmingham where he grew up singing Gospel throughout the South with his musical family. Since then he has performed in churches, bars, festivals and concert halls throughout the world. He is currently the keyboardist and backing vocalist for legendary rock band Aerosmith and has also toured and recorded with such notable artists as The Doobie Brothers, Tal Bachman, John Waite, Shawn Mullins, Matthew Sweet, Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles and many more. As a songwriter, Buck has been influenced by the music he grew up with…namely Southern-Rock, Gospel, Blues and many English bands that were influenced by music of the South such as The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, The Beatles, and many others.

Buck is excited about the release of his debut album, Enjoying The Ride, and is currently touring in support of the disc. The music showcases songs that reflect his life journey with all its ups and downs.  Buck Johnson will be performing two nights in Northern Oregon to help celebrate the release.

On Saturday, March 11, Buck Johnson will be at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202, Birkenfeld for a 7:00 pm show. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Tickettomato.com for $20.00 or at the door day of show for $25.00.

Then on Thursday, March 16, Buck will be appearing at Duff’s Garage in Portland at 9:00 pm. Duff’s is located at 2530 NE 82nd. Contact the venue for admission information 503-234-2337.

In the cold winter months, live music lovers usually have to wait for the summer festival season to kick up their heels and dance to local and nationally acclaimed acts. LeeAnn Gibbons had an idea, with humble beginnings over a conversation at the kitchen table, to counteract the dreary days of winter with music, while at the same time benefitting charity.

Now in its sixth year, the Winter Blues Festival offers some of the best local and national acts, highlighting some of the biggest stars of the West Coast from California to Washington.

  • Lloyd Jones, Portland’s award-winning total package when it comes to the blues and roots music. A much sought after entertainer throughout the United States, he is also known as one of the founding members of the blues in the area as it is known today.
  • Cee Cee James, based in Washington, is as raw and real as it gets. Capable of bringing an audience to its knees with her performances, she is a gifted songwriter and she’ll bring THE MISSION OF S.O.U.L. to the Winter Blues Festival stage.
  • Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers, fresh back from competing in the International Blues Challenge and capturing 3rd place overall in an event that saw more than 260 acts from around the world. Rae is a Cascade Blues Association Muddy Hall of Fame inductee, winning the “Duffy Bishop” Female Vocalist award the past three years.
  • Guitarist and singer/songwriter CD Woodbury is an 8-time winner of Washington Blues Society awards and has had his recordings continue to rise on charts.
  • Long-time local favorite and nationally acclaimed musicians, Bill Rhoades & The Party Kings/Queens will finish the night with a special All-Star jam. Harmonica player Bill Rhoades is known as the “Godfather” of the Northwest Blues” and has long been credited with being one of the reasons the Northwest scene is well known for good blues throughout the world.
  • California-based band Jim Gustin and Truth Jones is a high energy soulful, blues act that has been turning heads wherever they go. The mix of the smoky raspy vocals from Big Jim Gustin paired with the strong and lovely voice of Jeri Goldenhar are a sweet and delicious combination.

The Winter Blues Festival has helped many charities throughout the years including C.H.A.P. (Children’s Healing Arts Project), the Oregon Food Bank and United By Music North America. This year’s charity beneficiary is the Youth Music Project, an organization based in West Linn, but providing services throughout the Portland Metro area. The Festival will also be accepting donations for the Oregon Food Bank and request six cans of food or purchase an emergency food box for $10.00 at the door to help feed the hungry in our region.

The Winter Blues Festival is held at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge & Ballroom, 13121 SE McLoughlin Blvd, on Saturday, March 11. Doors open at 2:30 pm, with music beginning at 3:00 pm. The venue offers large dance floors, a full service bar and food menu, on-site parking and is across the street from the MAX Orange line and bus stops.  There will also be a raffle and silent auction.

For tickets plus lodging and camping information, please visit www.winterbluesfest.net

Birds of Chicago- photo Natalie Ginele Miller
Birds of Chicago- photo Natalie Ginele Miller

Birds of Chicago- photo Natalie Ginele Miller

Birds of Chicago, is a collective based around JT Nero and Allison Russell. Whether touring as a duo or with the full family band, Nero and Russell have emerged as two of the most compelling new voices in North American Roots music. Nero’s fractured country-soul voice wrapped in Russell’s silver and gold tones, is a fine thing. Not too perfect, not at all saccharine, you’ll hear echoes of mountain gospel, street corner doo-wop, and classic soul. Accompanied by just a banjo and a guitar, it’s haunting. Fired by the band, it’s a full tilt revival. Music this raw and soul-rich demands to be experienced live, and Birds of Chicago have developed a fervent following, touring 200 nights a year since their formation in late 2012.  For these Birds, singing for a room full of new people, hearts wide open, keeps off the cold and chases off the shadows.

Birds of Chicago will be playing at the Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, on Sunday, March 12. Tickets for this 21 & over show are available in advance through Ticketfly.com ranging from $15.00 to $18.00. Show time is 9:00 pm.

Robert Cray photo James-L. Bass

Robert Cray photo James-L. BassBlues Hall of Fame inductee and five-time Grammy Award winner Robert Cray returns to Portland for one night only at The Aladdin Theater on Saturday, March 4. Rolling Stone Magazine credits Cray’s stellar 1986 release Strong Persuader as reinventing the blues with his “distinct razor sharp guitar playing introducing a new generation of mainstream rock fans to the language and form of the blues.” Considered one of the greatest guitarist of his generation, Cray has recorded more than fifteen Billboard topping albums and has worked with the best of the genre, from John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt and so many more. His newest release, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, will be hitting the stores in April featuring his soulful rendition of that flavorful Memphis sound, so expect to hear new tunes from the upcoming album.

Show time for the Robert Cray Band’s performance is 8:00. The Aladdin Theater is located at 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue. Tickets are available at Ticketfly.com and at the box office day of show for $45.00. All ages are welcome, minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.


3hattrio3hattrio is quite a genre-defying band. Made up of three musicians, Hal Cannon on vocals. Guitar and banjo, Eli Wrankle on violin and Greg Istock on stand-up bass, the music they create can be hypnotic and mesmerizing. Described as American Desert Music, it is so much more. It intermingles the sounds of folk, country, gypsy jazz and bluegrass while coming across at times in the forms of Americana and trance blues, the type of music that may bring to mind Otis Taylor or the South Memphis String Band with Alvin Youngblood-Hart and Jimbo Mathus. The band hails from Utah’s Zion Canyon, with three albums to their credit, they state that it is their surroundings in the desert that inspires their sound.

“Rare music, beautifully played and dripping with emotion. This is one of the most impressive albums (Solitaire) I’ve heard this year, so simply played and yet so deep and complex.” – Andy Snipper, Blues Matters Magazine

3hattrio will be performing at The Lake Theater & Café, 106 N State Street, Lake Oswego, on Monday, March 13, starting at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00, and VIP tables are available for $80.00 (seats four, closest to the stage), and can be purchased at the venue’s website laketheatercafe.com.


Jim Gustin & Truth Jones

Jim Gustin & Truth JonesJim Gustin is a blues singer and guitarist from Santa Clarita California who has been performing in and around the Los Angeles area for more than thirty years. He has a distinctive, powerful voice; soulful and deep with a smoky rasp, and is a passionate and energetic performer. He has well written catchy songs that reveal his many varied influences to his groove oriented blues. He is also a very solid guitarist with great tone and a funky feel.

His musical partner, Jeri Goldenhar, aka Truth Jones, has been singing since she was a little girl, although at over six feet tall, it’s hard to imagine her as a knee high, little red-headed child. She has a big voice to match her impressive stature. She can belt out gospel and soul rarely heard from suburban white girls.

Together they released the album Can’t Shed A Tear in 2014, a recording that has been described as a passionate, honest, soulful and gritty blues with a touch of Southern rock and country.

The pair are backed by a dynamic band, including Michael Stanton on bass, Wendell Stroup on drums, Steve Alterman on piano and Lawrence Tamez on saxophone.

Jim Gustin & Truth Jones will be appearing at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld, on Sunday, March 12, for an afternoon performance starting at 2:00 pm. This show is open for all ages with an $8.00 admission at the door.

Cee Cee James has long been one of the most powerful female vocalists in the blues community. Full of fire and energy, she delivers passionate performances and is an acclaimed songwriter who has told her own story of pain and loss throughout the years. Her remarkable skills at crafting lyrics is certainly at the top of her game with her latest release, Stripped Down & Surrendered, which Blues Music Magazine’s Don Wilcock named as one of his top ten releases of 2016. “This time she faces her demons straight on and brings hard blues to a new bar height,” claims Wilcock.

Cee Cee James will be celebrating her new disc with a Portland CD release party to be held at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, on Friday, March 10. Show time is 9:00 pm and admission is $10.00. Cascade Blues Association members can receive a $1.00 discount at the door by showing their current membership card.

Orphan Jon & The AbandonedOrphan Jon & The Abandoned is an American roots and blues band from the Central Coast of California who are quickly becoming a go-to band because of the high energy and passion. Roots and blues is their life blood, and it shows. It is the band’s goal to captivate the audience from the first note struck until the last chord is played while entertaining them both musically and visually. When you see and hear them you will be taken on a journey through the ups and downs, the twists and turns, peaks and valleys of the vibrancy of love and everyday living through their music. They are a rare breed full of spirit and charisma, and they put on a show that is both energetic and captivating with a tight sound like no other.

Front man Jon English aka Orphan Jon, can be moving, emotional, heartfelt and intense at one point, and then soothing, soulful, lustful and desiring at another point in both his body language, lyrics and vocals. Add the journeymen experiences of guitarist Bruce Krupnik, the rhythm section of bassist Tony Jack Grigsby and Stan Whiting on drums and you have a band that totally captures the essence of what the blues is all about; hard work, rough life, grinding days, moving souls, touching hearts and heartfelt love, day to day, and all the time.

Orphan Jon & The Abandoned will be performing at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd on Thursday, March 23. Show time is 9:00 pm with a $5.00 cover.

Then, for two consecutive nights, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned will be holding stage at The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202, Birkenfeld. Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25, both nights starting at 7:00 pm with a $10.00 admission.

Walter Trout (photo by Jeff Katz)

Since beginning his career as a musician in the 1960s, guitarist Walter Trout has worked with an amazing array of artists, including Percy Mayfield, Deacon Jones, Joe Tex, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before taking out on his own solo path. His performances are legendary and his guitar playing is fiery and memorable. But, as Trout’s army of international fans are painfully aware, recent times have taken the bandleader to the brink, following a bleak diagnosis of life-threatening liver failure and hepatitis C in 2013. Trout’s rebirth began with a successful transplant in May 2014, and gathered pace with 2015’s Battle Scars: the acclaimed studio album that channeled his near-death experience into raw autobiographical songs.

Walter Trout is , better than ever, celebrating his latest live recording, Alive In Amsterdam, nominated for best Rock Blues Album in the 2017 Blues Music Awards. His current tour will be stopping in Portland on Thursday, March 16 at The Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue. This all ages show will begin at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $25.00 and are available in advance at Ticketfly.com or at The Aladdin box office day of show.