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 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 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


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 or at The Aladdin box office day of show.

The Sugaray Rayford Band is made up of world-class musicians. Ralph Carter on bass, Gino Matteo on guitar, Leo Dombecki on keyboards, Lavelle Jones on drums, Allan Walker on sax, and Gary Bivona on trumpet. With the onstage prowess of Sugaray he needs to have a stellar band to keep up with him, and with this group he certainly has just that.

Sugaray returns to Oregon for two shows in March, the first taking place on Friday, March 17 at the Double Mountain Brewing Company in Hood River. He will be headlining the brewery’s 10th Anniversary Party in the big tent, located at 8 4th Street. And don’t forget that it is St. Patrick’s Day, too, so make sure to wear green and celebrate. For more information, contact Double Mountain at 541-387-0047 for admission and times.

On Saturday, March 18, Sugaray and the band will return to what they have called their absolute most favorite venue to play, The Birk. Located at 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld, the band refers to the place as a second home and always makes sure that it is a stop any time that they tour through the Northwest. Show time is 7:00 pm, with tickets available in advance through for $25.00. Purchase them early if you choose to go, Sugaray always sells out at The Birk.

Hunter & The Dirty Jacks

Hunter & The Dirty JacksHunter & The Dirty Jacks are an Americana-crafted rock & roll band with influences based in the blues. Like a smoky whiskey with phosphorescent ice cubes in a blues-tinted glass. Led by frontman Hunter Ackerman and flanked by guitar players Carmelo Bonaventura and Jon Siembieda, with Aaron Barnes grooving the bottom end on bass and Brian Lara keeping the rootsy tribal beats, this band has been packing roadhouses and clubs in every town from San Diego to Seattle to Denver. For their music, think throwbacks and songwriting style like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors paired with a modern edge like the Rival Sons, Black Keys, Jack White, Mumford and Sons, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, in a young, hip, accessible package. They have worked onstage alongside many familiar artists, such as Eric Sardinas, Coco Montoya, Kirk Fletcher, Arthur Adams, The Delgado Brothers, Roy Gaines and more. Their album, Single Barrel, was declared as one of the top 20 albums of the year by Blues Rock Review magazine.

The band will be making a return appearance at The Birk on Sunday, March 19 for an afternoon performance beginning at 2:00 pm. The Birk is located in Birkenfeld at 11139 Hwy 202. This is an all ages show with a $10.00 cover charge at the door.

Rich Layton & The Troublemakers

Rich Layton & The TroublemakersMatt Miner Presents and O’Connor’s Vault welcomes roots rockers Rich Layton & The Troublemakers with special guest Jon Koonce to the heart of Multnomah Village, Friday, March 3 at 7:00pm. Both Rich and Jon are dedicated “keepers of the flame” for American roots music. When they join forces, the fuse is lit for a night of high octane swamp rock, country, rockabilly and the honky tonk blues!

Rich Layton & The Troublemakers echo the sound of an East Texas roadhouse. With comparisons to such artists as Marty Stuart, Dave Alvin and JD McPherson, the band’s live shows take audiences for a ride from Sun Studios to Chess Records, and Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield. Rich’s original songs thread seamlessly into the mix, weaving his Gulf Coast roots through tales of rock and roll redemption, harmonica-fueled and swampified.Jon Koonce - The Lost Cause

Together a decade now, the band has released two albums, and performs at festivals and events throughout the NW, including the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. Each summer, Rich joins Lyle Lovett as a special guest when The Large Band comes to town. Rich also has played on Portland tour stops by his friends Lucinda Williams, Dale Watson and the late Buckwheat Zydeco.

Jon Koonce is an Oregon Music Hall of Fame member for his early work with Johnny and the Distractions, and has just released his 13th album, The Lost Cause. Since the seventies Jon has built parallel careers fronting rock bands and singing his own songs solo on acoustic stages across the country. His gritty blue-collar approach to rock carries over in his solo work with strong unabashed statements about right, wrong, truth and justice, supported by clean, clear energetic guitar work.

O’Connor’s Vault, 7850 SW Capitol Highway, is a friendly, comfortable neighborhood music venue offering a full restaurant menu and full bar. Tickets for this event can be purchased in advance at