Guitarist and songwriter Corey Kennedy has been described as an alternative, punk, blues, folk, indie artist hailing from Akron, Ohio. That covers a lot of ground in one breath, which only goes deeper with his own description of his act on his Facebook page, “If Jim Morrison and Jack White got white girl wasted at a dive bar in the afterlife, and sang ‘Missed The Boat’ by Modest Mouse, the squeaky and slurred mumbles would be somewhat similar to the anxious blues tone that is Corey & The Tribe. Sifting in between the sheets of blues and rock, remnants of the old times and the modern age of sounds have been married into an anxious foot tapping frenzy.” This is truly an eclectic presentation of music that just may have a little flavor for everyone.

Corey & The Tribe’s will be hitting Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, Tuesday, March 28 for an 8:00 pm show. Admission is $5.00.

Randy McAllister BandRoustabout, maverick, spiritual, gritty, amazing, genius, wild, bad-ass, soulful… These are some of the words used to describe this Texas bonafide blue blood. He’s been flying in the face of convention his whole career. No smoke, no mirrors, no choreography, no industry machines. One of the most versatile bluesmen on the scene today, Randy plays driving drums and world-class harmonica (sometimes at the same time), writes incredible songs and sings like no one else. This is East Texas roadhouse soul by one of America’s true blues/roots originals.

Randy McAllister will be returning to The Birk, not only for a performance, but also for a handful of workshops during his March visit. On Sunday, March 26, his band will be holding an afternoon concert starting at 2:00 pm. Admission is $10.00.

On Monday 27, McAllister will host a harmonica workshop at 6:00 pm, then a singer/songwriter workshop at 8:00 pm. On Tuesday 28, he will hold the harmonica workshop at 2:00 pm, then the singer/songwriter at 4:00 pm. Workshops are $35.00 each, or two for $50.00. Call The Birk for sign up information at 503-755-2722.

International Blues Challenge - Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers

International Blues Challenge - Rae Gordon & The Backseat DriversThe Blues Foundation’s 33rd annual International Blues Challenge (IBC) was held in Memphis over March 31 through February 4, with more than 260 acts from fourteen countries performing on Beale Street before fans and industry personnel representing blues festivals, recording labels, agents, promoters, venue owners and others, for a chance to gain recognition and potential performance gigs. The IBC has been called the closest thing to a convention for the blues, with multiple showcases, seminars, jams and the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards taking place over the week of activities.

This year’s event certainly turned out to be fruitful for women in the blues as all three of the winning bands were led by strong female vocalists. First place going to Dawn Tyler Watson representing the Montreal Blues Society. Her guitarist, Ben Racine, was also declared the best instrumentalist – guitar winner in the band category. Second place for bands went to The Souliz Band featuring Sugar & Spice from Florida’s Suncoast Blues Society. Third place was awarded to our own Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers representing the Cascade Blues Association. It was reported in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, that the three bands’ scores were all neck and neck, which may account for the time lapsed awaiting the announcement of the results.

In the solo/duo category, Al Hill from the Nashville Blues Society was the first place winner and also chosen as the best instrumentalist – guitar winner for the category. Second place went to Brody Buster’s One Man Band from the Kansas City Blues Society. He was also selected as the best instrumentalist – harmonica winner for the event.

The Blues Foundation also announced the winner of the Best Self-Produced CD competition from the entries submitted by affiliated blues societies during 2016. JW-Jones’ disc High Temperature, representing the Ottawa Blues Society was selected for this year’s honor.

The Pacific Northwest was generously represented at the IBC, with six regional blues societies sending multiple acts. Aside from the third place winning band, Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers, the Cascade Blues Association also sent solo David Pinsky and youth showcase entry Timothy James & Ryan Stadler. Other Northwest socieites included Eugene’s Rainy Day Blues Society with semi-finalist The Hank Shreve Band, duo NattyBone, and youth Suite Clarity; from Washington Blues Society came semifinalist Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method, solo Stanislove, and youth Samsara Blues Band; South Sound Blues Association had the Randy Oxford Band and youth act Groovy Voodoo; White Rock Blues Society included Maple Blues Award winner Harpdog Brown & The Travelin’ Blues Show and duo Isaak & Hart; and from Fraser Valley Blues Society came band James “Buddy” Rogers, duo The Blue Hearts, and youth A Street Blues. All performed in the Greater Pacific Northwest Showcase in Club 152 as well.

The 34th annual International Blues Challenge will return to Beale Street next January 16 – 20, 2018.

G Love & Special Sauce

G Love & Special SauceG Love & Special Sauce return to Portland in celebration of their newly released album, Love Saves The Day, with a performance at The Hawthorne Theatre & Lounge on Thursday, March 23. Love calls the new album, “the fullest realization of the hip-hop blues” that he first pioneered with Special Sauce in the early ’90s. Filled with their down and dirty “trashcan blues” sound, G. Love making his guitar snarl and his harmonica moan, bassist Prescott bringing nimble funk to the bottom end and Clemens’ drum work crackling with power. “The music,” G. Love enthuses, “jumped off the tape.”

Love views today’s music world as the Wild West, with “all the lines washed away;” however, his genre-blurring music now is more relevant than when he started. “It’s a good time to be doing what we are doing,” he asserts, noting Gary Clark Jr., Jack White, Robert Randolph and Galactic as some fellow keepers of the blues flame who “maintain the roots but push music forward.”

The Hawthorne Theatre & Lounge is located at 1507 SE 39th Avenue. Tickets for this 21 & over show are available for $25.00 advance through or $30.00 day of show at the door. Show time is 8:00 pm with City of the Sun opening.

Laith Al-Saadi

Laith Al-SaadiIn 2016, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of NBC’s “The Voice.” Now he’s poised to bring his authentic blend of blues, soul and classic rock to audiences around the nation and the world. Laith Al-Saadi has always had the perfect combination of Midwestern hustle and incredible musical chops – honed at the University of Michigan school of music in his hometown of Ann Arbor, and on stages across the country working with legends like Taj Mahal, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Gregg Allman and B.B. King.

Guitar World Magazine has called Laith Al-Saadi a cross between “Danny Gatton and Buddy Guy at their best,” and Guitar Center crowned him one of the top four blues guitarists in the United States.

Audiences have agreed, propelling Al-Saadi’s most recent release “Real” to the top of the blues chart for five weeks and the top 20 album chart for two weeks. Laith also had four singles in the top ten iTunes singles charts, and his albums “In The Round” and “Long Time Coming” spent time at the top of the rock and album charts.

Laith Al-Saadi will be performing at Mississippi Studios on Friday, March 31 for a fully seated event. Tickets for this 21 & over show are available at for $25.00 and also at the door day of show for $30.00. Mississippi Studios is located at 3939 N Mississippi Avenue. Show time is 7:30 pm.

The 2017 Inner City Blues Festival returns to the Eagles Lodge Saturday, April 22. Originally in the 1980s and 1990s, the festival was a community event for various civil rights and social justice causes. Since its return six years ago it has been a major supporter of the cause Health Care For All Oregon, the campaign to bring universal health coverage to everyone (

This year’s event once again brings a sensational line-up of all-star musicians and dancers, featuring: Norman Sylvester Band; Obo Addy legacy Project “Okropong;” Mary Flower; Tevis Hodge Jr.; Mic Crenshaw; Sheohorn; The Strange Tones with The Volcano Vixens; Boco Alegria; Steve Cheseborough; Lloyd “Have Mercy” Jones; Tony Ozier “Doo Doo Funk;” Mad As Hell Doctors, Nurses & Interns!. Special emcees for the night will be Paul Knauls, Renee Mitchell and Ken Boddie.

The Eagles Lodge is located at 7611 N Exeter Ave. (at the intersections N Lombard & Exeter). The Inner City Blues Festival will begin at 5:30 pm and run until midnight.  Advance tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased online at or at the following outlets: Music Millennium, Geneva’s Shear Perfection, Peninsula Station, Musician’s Union Hall and the Cascade Blues Association’s general membership meetings. Admission at the door day of show is $25.00.

Bob Log III

Bob Log IIIThe Owl Magazine states, “One would have to be in a pretty foul mood not to be entertained by the mysterious awesomeness of Bob Log III. Sure, his musical skills are something to behold, his one-man-band brand of blues/Americana displaying dexterity, creativity, and plenty of good old rock ‘n’ roll, but then there’s his wacky persona.”

Bob Log III is not your average musician. Appearing on stage in a jump suit and hidden behind a racing helmet with a phone receiver attached working as a mic, he showcases his dexterity at performing as a one-man band with guitar and kick drum while singing vicious blues, Americana and rock. Described as loud, strange and electrifying, he’s like Jerry Lee Lewis crossed with a little of Tom Waits’ heavy industrial sounds.

Bob Log III brings his eclectic showcase to Dante’s, 350 W. Burnside, on Wednesday, March 29, for a 9:00 pm performance. Tickets for this 21 & over show are $12.00 and can be purchased in advance at

Nick Schnebelen

Nick SchnebelenNick Schnebelen has blues in his blood. Nick and siblings grew up with their parents who played music full time in the Kansas City blues scene. Along with his sister Danielle and brother Chris, they formed the band Trampled Under Foot which took the blues world by storm winning the International Blues Challenge in 2008. Nick was named the Albert King most promising guitar winner of the event. After playing together for several years, the siblings went their own ways pursuing solo careers.

Nick has traveled the world playing festivals such as Notodden in Norway, Montreal, and on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. He continues to tour world-wide, bringing his raw blues energy guitar and vocals, backed by a hot rock n blues band. He has currently been working with renowned drummer/producer Tony Braunegal for a new recording to be released in 2017, but has found the time between to take on his latest world tour. The tour will bring The Nick Schnebelen Band to Oregon in March for two performances.

On Wednesday, March 29, Nick Schnebelen will appear at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, for an 8:30 pm show. Admission is $10.00. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so show your current membership card at the door to receive a $1.00 discount on admission.

On Thursday, March 30, Nick will head out to The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202 in Birkenfeld. Show time will be 7:30 pm. Tickets will be available through for $10.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door.

Paris Slim

Paris SlimFormer Portland resident and Delta Groove recording artist, Franck Goldwasser aka Paris Slim will be heading back north for a spring tour of Oregon that will be making stops at numerous venues and featuring special guests along the way. Paris Slim, without doubt, is one of the finest and most creative guitarists internationally who has a handful of critically-acclaimed solo recording and a WC Handy Award (Blues Music Award) nomination for his disc Blues For Esther. Since moving to the United States from France in the 1980s, Paris Slim has been a mainstay of the West Coast blues scene working with artists such as Jimmy McCracklin, Troyce Key, Curtis Salgado, Alastair Greene and The Mannish Boys.

The tour will all begin on Friday, March 31 when Paris Slim will be joined by bassist John Mazzocco and drummer Brian Foxworth as he appears at Duff’s Garage, 2530 NE 82nd, in Portland. Contact the venue for admission information at 503-234-2337.

The trio will then be appearing the next night, Saturday, April 1 in Hood River for a show presented by Squrl at The Pines Tasting Room, 202 Cascade Avenue. Admission for this 7:00 pm performance is $20.00 and can be purchased in advance at the venue.

On Monday, April 3, Paris Slim will be joining Lloyd Jones at The Muddy Rudder for Lloyd’s regular acoustic showcase. Located at 8105 SE 7th in the Sellwood neighborhood, this is a free event, beginning at 8:00 pm.

On Tuesday, April 4, AC Porter & The Live Wires featuring Jim Wallace will welcome Paris Slim to the Blue Diamond, 2016 NE Sandy Blvd, for a special free evening in tribute of blues legend Muddy Waters, at 8:00 pm.

Then, on Saturday, April 8, Paris Slim will be appearing in Eugene alongside Henry Cooper at Mac’s At The Vet’s Club, 1626 Willamette Street. Show time is 8:00 pm, contact the venue for admission information at 541-344-8600.

Lorna Bracken Baxter

Portland singer and diva Lorna Bracken Baxter keeps her family’s rich musical legacy alive

By John Rumler

Lorna Bracken BaxterFrom a very early age, vocalist Lorna Bracken Baxter knew that she was going to devote her life to singing and music. “It has always been in me, from the earliest times I could remember sitting at the piano with my dad at home.”

It’s been a sometimes bumpy road, but the Lorna Baxter Trio (Billy Hagen, guitar, Joey Aloia, bass) enjoyed a banner year in 2016, playing Lair Hill Bistro, Magnolia’s Corner, Maryhill Winery,  Solea’s, Mock Crest, Orenco Station Grill, Holiday Park, and numerous private parties, company events, and weddings.  Lorna looks forward to an even better year in 2017.

Her father, Warren Bracken, was one of Portland’s giants of both jazz and blues.  Few artists in Portland, or anywhere perhaps, have a music pedigree as impressive as Lorna, who, from the ages of 12 to 18, was the only child singing in an all adult church choir, the St. Rose Choir in Portland. At the time, in the early 1970’s there was a national campaign to “keep Christ in Christmas,” and after a nation-wide competition, the choir was selected as the winner and was nationally televised out of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland.

When Lorna was growing up, her musical influences were numerous, including female artists such as Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Cleo Laine, Dinah Washington, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Mahalia Jackson, Patsy Cline and local artist Nancy King.

“I loved how I could feel what they were singing,” Lorna says. “The pain, joy, the sexiness and I was drawn to the uniqueness of each of their voices.”

Her biggest musical influence though, is without any doubt her father. Born and raised in Paducah Kentucky, Mr. Bracken learned to play the ukulele and in the 1930’s he joined the Navy and became the conductor, bandleader and pianist of the US Navy Orchestra.  After receiving his honorable discharge, Bracken joined the Blanche Calloway (Cab Calloway’s older sister) Orchestra and a few years later, in the early 40’s, he joined Billy Eckstein’s orchestra as composer, arranger, and pianist.

When Eckstein began moving in a different direction after signing with MGM, he cut down his big band orchestra to a quintet and left Chicago for sunny California with a lineup of Al Killian -trumpet, Sonny Criss- alto sax, Wardell Gray-tenor sax, Shifty Henry – bass, Tim Kennedy -drums and Warren Bracken – piano.

In California, Bracken married Vivian Dandridge (Dorothy’s sister) although they later divorced. He moved up to Portland in the late 40’s, and formed his own scaled-down orchestra and became one of the city’s top performers/bandleaders known for his swinging jazz, bebop and blues.

Growing up in an environment where music was a way of life, Lorna engaged in many musical adventures. When she was still in her teens, she sang in a variety of backyard and basement bands and she also did back up singing for a studio recording for the Rude Boys.

In 1982 she moved to Canada, and lived for 14 years on Vancouver Island and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It certainly wasn’t a blues mecca, but there was an interesting folk influence there that came at me from a different angle and I got to really like it,” she says.

Lorna worked at a group home for troubled youth and enjoyed providing a stabilizing and understanding presence. “They were runaways, throwaways, abused kids from very bad situations,” she recalls. Lorna and all the staff took many psychology classes and attended numerous counseling workshops, which she says, was a valuable learning experience. “We all grew a lot and it helped us all in our own relationships and with our own families.”

When time allowed, Lorna sang backup for other musicians, recorded with folk artist Jason Guest, and then moved back to Oregon in 1996 when her father died unexpectedly of heart failure: he’d struggled for much of his life with his weight, topping 400 pounds but at the time of his death, he drastically lost weight and weighed less than half of that.

Though Lorna lived in Canada and her father lived in Portland, she visited often and the two talked frequently on the phone. “We were always close. My dad, even though music was his life, remained a pretty balanced person. He was a fabulous listener and he was a sports nut—baseball, basketball, football, boxing, you name it.”

1996 Lorna settled back into Portland focusing on work and her family. When the music bug bit her again, she started circulating in the blues and jazz community seeing various artists including Paul Delay, Janice Scroggins, Nancy King, Linda Hornbuckle, Norman Sylvester and Franco Paletta. She says of Franco, who she’s known since 1982,  “Franco was bringing his harmonica to different jam sessions when I first met him. I knew him when he was just starting out.”

Around 2000 Lorna started hitting the blues and jazz jams with more frequency.

Sitting in with Norman Sylvester and his band at the Coliseum Red Lion and Candelight lounge, Janice Scroggins and Linda Hornbuckle at Billy Reeds.

Ron Steen, the drummer in her dad’s band for many years, was a big help, as Lorna frequented the jams at Steen’s Coffeehouse. Steen later booked and performed with her at Wilfs in downtown Portland.

But Lorna’s asthma became more of a problem, especially with the late night gigs in smoked filled rooms and bars. She often stopped in a Jimmy Maks to see Mel Brown and at Jazz de Opus to see Nancy King, but when she got home, she had to air out her clothes in the garage, shower to get rid of the nicotine film on her skin, and deal with the asthma onset. “I knew I could never perform in clubs, breathing the smoke-filled air. I figured that might be the end of my singing.

But in 2009, smoking was banned in bars, breathing new life into Lorna’s singing career.  She met Dan Gray, an extraordinarily gifted guitarist who invited her to work with him on some original music and was the encouraging factor to her forming a band.  The following year she launched the Lorna B band which featured top notch musicians such as Brett Malmquist on guitar, Donny Osborne, who played with Mel Torme, on drums and a host of others including Johnny Ward and Adrian Baxter of the Cherry Poppin Daddies on saxophone.  She also invited her brother Phil Reid who played bass, to join her band.

Lorna continued pushing into new musical frontiers with Johnnie Corrie and David Burrow on drums and she nailed down steady gigs at the Beaterville Restaurant and the Gotham Tavern in North Portland. She also played private parties, company events, street fairs, and charity events for groups such as the Oregon Humane Society and local Vietnam Veteran groups.

In 2012, just when all the doors seemed to be opening up for Lorna, she was attacked and severely injured which still affects her today. The trauma caused a spinal leak, permanent memory impairment and left a ringing and hissing sensation in her ears.

She was told she’d never be able to sing at her full volume again, but Lorna didn’t give up. The Blue Monk put on a successful benefit concert event for her in 2012 which helped some financially and boosted her spirits. Although she was forced to go on permanent disability, Lorna stubbornly inched forward in her recovery. “I lost a lot of things, but thankful I could remember the blues and jazz. I am so grateful for that,” she says.

In April of 2019, OPB aired a film entitled Jazz Town which tells the story of Portland’s Blues and Jazz scene, featuring her father, Warren Bracken and many of the city’s musical legends. Lorna, with her trio consisting of guitarist Billy Hagen and bassist Joey Aloia, were invited to perform at the pre-screening where many of Portland’s finest senior musicians appeared, including Lloyd Allen who played in one of her dad’s early quartets.

Billy Hagen, who’s appeared on stage 3 times with Chuck Berry and was the lead guitarist for Mel Brown and Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts, played often with the Lorna B Trio. “Lorna’s got a sweet, smooth voice, yet she can also belt it out and improvise really well. She also has a very advanced use of intervals.”

Ashbolt Stewart, one of the top drummers and bandleaders in Portland, has known Lorna for so long he says he can’t remember when they first met. “She’s been at this for a long time, we’re both old souls,” he says. “Lorna’s one of my favorite go-to gals.   She’s working really hard and getting around, she’s doing great.” Ashbolt said he loved playing with her band. “I love Lorna’s energy, optimism, and honesty. She never holds back.”

Now living outside of Eugene, Bobby Selover plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and pedal steel for Gumbo Groove, a jazzy bluegrass band that recently released its third CD. Selover played with the Lorna Baxter Trio in 2011 and 2012. “She’s a happy, bubbly person, very fun to be around as well as an excellent singer, performer, and entertainer,” he says. Selover describes her musical range as highly impressive. “It’s not just blues, but anything from Nina Simone to Billie Holiday to Miles Davis, to Gil Scott Herron. I talk to Lorna often on the phone and just the other day and I can’t wait to play with her again.”

Lorna and her band play regularly at Kimpton Hotel Vintage and at Orenco Station Grill.

For more information on Lorna and a full calendar listing, go to