La Rhonda Steele Etta James Tribute Show @ Jimmy Mack's
La Rhonda Steele Etta James Tribute Show @ Jimmy Mack's

La Rhonda Steele
Etta James Tribute Show @ Jimmy Mack’s

When it comes to a list of the true divas of Portland’s soul, blues, and jazz world, no roster is complete without including LaRhonda Steele. LaRhonda, along with the Adrian Martin Sextet will be taking command of the stage at Jimmy Mak’s on Friday, September 23 to pay tribute to one of the most unique and talented artists of the past century, Ms. Nina Simone, in a show that could only be titled, “I Put a Spell on You.”

From the sultry “Sugar in my Bowl” to the powerful “Mississippi Goddam,“ you will hear and experience many of the classics that Ms Simone imprinted in our hearts. Nina Simone earned the title “High Priestess of Soul” because of her magically musical presentation of extraordinary soulful, seductive and hypnotic songs.

LaRhonda Steele’s personal music has a deep background in Gospel, but she has deftly earned her place amongst the best singers in blues, jazz and soul in the Northwest. Over her career she has worked onstage with such local luminaries as Curtis Salgado, Linda Hornbuckle, Thara Memory, Norman Sylvester, Ken DeRouchie, Obo Addy, Paul deLay, and Janice Scroggins.

The Adrian Martin Sextet includes Adrian Martin (guitar), Mark Steele (piano), Leah Hinchcliff (bass), Michelle Meddler (saxophone), and Mike Snyder (drums).

Tickets for this 8:00 pm show are $17.00 reserved and $15.00 general admission and can be purchased through Jimmy Mak’s is located at 221 NW 10th

This night will be soul stirring! Don’t miss it!

One of the top musical happenings on the coast every year is the annual Ilwaco Blues & Seafood Festival. The Muddy Award nominated event returns this year on Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 at Tjim-thackeryhe Port of Ilwaco, Washington, and again it’s featuring a spectacular line-up.

Headlining this year’s festival will be blues guitar legend Jimmy Thackery. Whether he headlines a festival or jams for hours in one of numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note so it will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. Thackery will close out the festival on Saturday night.

On Friday, audiences will be treated to performances by 2016 Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award winners Bottleneck Blues Band, International Blues Challenge participants The Tracey Fordice Band, the ever-popular North Coast Blues with The Cadillac Horns, and a special performance from the Ilwaco High School Jazz Band’s All Star Jam.

Saturday’s showcase features alongside Thackery, Portland’s own Billy D & The Hoodoos, and Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee The Norman Sylvester Band.

Blues duo Natty Bone with guitarist Natty O and harmonica player T-Bone Stone will entertain both days during set changes.

An after-party jam is scheduled to take place at The Sea Hag Bar & Grill, 209 1st Avenue S., following the festival.

Tickets for the Ilwaco Blues & Seafood Festival are $15.00 for Friday, $25.00 for Saturday, or $35.00 for a combo ticket for both days. The festival will run from 3:30 pm until 10:00 pm both days. There will be a selection of northwest beers and wines available along with a variety of seafood vendors on-site.

The festival location returns to The Port of Ilwaco Marina, but it’s in a slightly different spot this year — still along the waterfront but with more available parking. Check out the festival website at for more information.


the-record-companyJust a couple months removed from its highly praised appearance at the Waterfront Blues Festival last July, the Los-Angeles-based The Record Company will be returning to Portland for a show at Mississippi Studios on Monday, September 26. The Record Company writes and plays raw, sincere rock n’ roll. Influenced by the rough honesty of their heroes: bluesman John Lee Hooker, early punk band The Stooges, and rock royalty The Rolling Stones, their sound incorporates slide guitar, distorted bass, a garage-sale Ludwig drum kit, and the heartland-hued voice of Chris Vos who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. The three-man group started in late 2011, hanging up some old mics and recording live in the bass player’s living room in Los Feliz, CA. Since then they have played concert halls and festivals across North America and into Europe, opening for acts as diverse as B.B. King, Social Distortion, Buddy Guy, Grace Potter, and Trombone Shorty.

Show time at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Avenue, is 8:00 pm. Tickets for this 21 & over only show may be purchased in advance through for $15.00, or at the door day of show for $17.00.

Muddy Award

muddy_award-225x284Muddy Waters is arguably the most influential bluesman of the twentieth century. Waters was instrumental in bringing the sounds of the Delta north to Chicago, electrifying it in the 1950s, and then tirelessly promoting its popularity. Beyond this, Water’s band was an artistic incubator for the many renowned musicians of the next three decades, such as Otis Spann, Buddy Guy, and Francis Clay, who spent time playing in his bands and recording on his albums. The timeless music he created still stands today among the best of the genre.

The Cascade Blues Association honored Muddy Waters by naming its annual awards for the top artists, recordings, events, and venues after him — The Muddy Awards — and on Monday, September 26, four of those artists will pay tribute to the music of Muddy Waters with a performance at The Lake Theater & Café. Guitarist Alan Hager, bassist Dean Mueller, harmonica master Mitch Kashmar, and drummer Jimi Bott will deliver a first-class presentation worthy of the King of Chicago blues himself.

All four of these musicians have been multiple nominees for and recipients of a Muddy Award in various categories. The Muddy Waters Tribute was first performed at The Lake Theater & Café last spring to much accolades and is expected to bring in a full house once again. The Lake Theater is located at 106 State N Street in Lake Oswego. The Muddy Waters Tribute show will start at 7:00 pm, with tickets available for $15.00 general admission available in advance at

When Sugaray Rayford belts out a song, you not only hear it, you feel it. His command of a stage brings palpable excitement to the audience; he is a superb vocalist and entertainer, a fact that has been proven with two consecutive Blues Music Award nominations for the BB King Entertainer of the year. Just like the man, his dynamic voice is large. His old-school vocal style, echoes Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, and Teddy Pendergrass, and at six-foot-five, Rayford is a big man who moves with grace and energy. His fluid dance steps will remind you of the Legendary James Brown.

Sugaray Rayford (photo by Alejandro Rodriguez)

Sugaray Rayford (photo by Alejandro Rodriguez)

Over the years Sugaray has fronted bands such as Urban Gypsies, International Blues Challenge second place winners Aunt Kizzy’s Boyz, and The Mannish Boys. He’s also fronted his own Sugaray Rayford Band since 2010. This band is currently made up of world-class musicians. Ralph Carter on bass who is also his writing partner, Gino Matteo on guitar, Leo Dombecki on keyboards, Lavelle Jones on drums, Allan Walker on sax, and Gary Bivona on trumpet.

The Sugaray Rayford Band will be heading back to Oregon for a show at one of their most favorite venues, The Birk, 11139 Hwy 202, Birkenfeld. The show will take place on Friday, September 30, starting at 7:30 pm. Tickets for Sugaray are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 day of show.

What can be better than a day on the Portland Spirit, floating along the Willamette River, dancing and listening to the sounds of some of our region’s finest blues musicians? This October you’ll have the opportunity to experience three decks of gut-crunching, soul-lifting blues and also help raise funds to send the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey To Memphis winners to Tennessee to compete in the International Blues Challenge in late January/early February.

The Portland Blues Cruise was the brainchild of Rae Gordon while she was searching for a way to raise funds for her band’s trip to the IBC several years ago, and it was so popular and successful that it’s carried on now to its third year. Rae and her band, The Backseat Drivers, will once again be representing the CBA in Memphis, so they’ll be working the main stage on the middle deck of The Portland Spirit. Solo winner David Pinsky and Youth Showcase entry Timothy James will be featured on the top acoustic deck. Also helping out will be former CBA IBC artists Franco Paletta, Blues Music Award winner Lisa Mann, and other special guests who will be sure to add to the fun.

The Portland Spirit will be decked out in a Memphis theme, including food that can be purchased on board. This year’s Portland Blues Cruise will depart on Saturday, October 8, from Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 750 SW Front Avenue, at 3:00 pm. Boarding gates will open at 2:30 pm. Tickets are now on sale through for $25.00. Admission will be $30.00 on site, but best to buy in advance as this event will more than likely sell out.

(Please Note: For those folks who are planning on attending the Oregon Music Hall of Fame show that same night, you’ll have time to do both! The Portland Spirit will return and unload at 5:00 pm, giving ample time to head off to the Aladdin Theatre).

On Saturday, October 8, the Oregon Music Hall of Fame will present a special evening celebrating this year’s honor roll inductees. The class of 2016 Duffy Bishop (photo by Greg Johnson)includes prominent musicians and industry members Pete Krebs, Fernando, Brian Berg, Paul Brainard, Tim Ellis, Bart Day, Dave Cutter, the band Sleater-Kinney, plus one of the Northwest’s most favorite blues artists, Duffy Bishop.

Duffy Bishop will also be performing at the concert, as will Three Leg Torso and a set with Fernando and guests Pete Krebs and Paul Brainard. The night will be emceed by Tony Starlight.

The Oregon Music Hall of Fame event begins at 7:00 pm and will be held at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Avenue. Tickets can be purchased in advance at for $25.00 advance, or $30.00 at the door day of show. There are also a limited number of $100.00 Gold Circle reserved seats in prime center location available through only (these will sell out so order as soon as possible).

This fall, aspiring musicians from around the country will gather for a five-day blues guitar camp to hone their skills and immerse themselves in the music. This year’s instructors include four of the world’s finest acoustic blues musicians: Ernie Hawkins (Pittsburgh), Steve James (Seattle), Suzy Thompson (Berkeley), and the camp’s artistic director (Portland’s own) Mary Flower. The event is held in the Columbia River Gorge at the beautiful Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, OR, September 30 through October 2 . Due to the limited number of students accepted each year (only 46), this camp sells out quickly. All attending will receive intimate, close at hand classes, lectures, and a student concert.

maryFlower-LGjpg-855x500Mary Flower is a multiple Muddy Award recipient and Blues Music Award nominee who has also competed in the National Fingerpicking Championship. Steve James is considered one of the finest bottleneck slide players and storytellers in the blues scene. Ernie Hawkins is an internationally renowned virtuoso who plays and sings blues, ragtime, and gospel in the early 1900’s east coast Piedmont and Texas steel-string flattop fingerpicking styles. Suzy Thompson is a master of the blues violin and a powerful vocalist in the style of Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith and is remarkably able to sing and play fiddle at the same time.

Following the workshop in the Gorge, the four instructors will appear in a special concert at The Secret Society Ballroom in Portland on Sunday, October 2. The Acoustic Blues Masters concert is open to the public and begins at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance for this show at for $25.00. Those wearing a Blues in the Gorge T-shirt will receive $5.00 off at the door. This is a 21 & over event. The Secret Society Ballroom is located at 116 NE Russell. This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, so make sure to show your current membership card at the door to receive a $2.00 discount on admission. (Sorry, only one discount can be used, either the CBA or the Gorge T-Shirt)

For more information on the workshop and event, go to

Imagine making a big difference to your blues association while cleaning your closet of your unneeded items — now imagine having fun while making that difference! The annual rummage sale is coming up fast, and you can donate your good used items and turn it into cash for the CBA, offer just a little bit of your time helping to run the sale, and introduce new people to the CBA . The CBA is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization and your donation is tax deductible!

LIVE BLUES: Terry Robb, Timothy James, Justus Reece, and Kathryn Grimm!
BARGAINS: Furniture, tools, kids items, household, collectibles, antiques, musical instruments and more!
WHEN: September 17, 2016, 9am – 3pm
WHERE: The Bomber Restaurant, 13515 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97222
WHY: To help fund programs of the Cascade Blues Association and offer live blues music and bargains while educating the public on all that the CBA does and grow membership and awareness of the organization.


To make this year’s rummage sale a success, we need you and your stuff! You need to clean your house, garage, and tool shed anyway, now is the perfect time to do it, don’t wait until Spring!

DONATIONS NEEDED: Furniture (dressers, shelves, small desks, coffee tables, etc. SORRY NO couches, but futons are ok), tools, kids items, pet supplies, collectibles, and musical instruments highly desired (no full size pianos, but consoles welcome).

DONATION DROP OFFS: Please bring your good used items to The Bomber Restaurant parking lot before 9am on September 17, before sale. If you will not be in town that weekend, but feel you have items that would sell well, please contact Cherie Robbins. If in boxes, consider bringing to CBA September meeting where a van will be made available to load items (no furniture at that time).

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: More hands make for quick work, but more bodies make for more fun! To volunteer, please contact sale chair Cherie Robbins at

Volunteers are needed all day, but here are the most important times:

6:30AM – Oregon City Storage Location – load moving truck

8AM – The Bomber Restaurant Parking Lot, lots of help needed to unload truck as quickly as possible and place on tables.

9AM-3PM – Helpers needed to work with customers, help load customer vehicles and make thing like pretty!

3PM – Loading truck to donate to charity Thrift Store & clean up restaurant parking lot. The more help for this makes it easier at the end.

There are often more people wanting to donate items, but cannot drop off themselves the day of the sale. If you can donate a couple hours to pick up some great items that will help make a big difference for the sale. Please let Cherie know.

AJ CroceFrom his debut as a jazz-influenced, blues-based artist to his evolution into a pop music iconoclast, singer-songwriter A.J. Croce has traveled a circuitous musical road. The son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, A.J.’s career began with at age eighteen opening for B.B. King. In the span of a twenty-plus-year career, A.J. has headlined festivals, concerts, and major listening venues worldwide. He has performed on shows including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Austin City Limits, Good Morning America, E!, and CNN, and he has shared the stage with an innumerable list of eclectic artists from Willie Nelson to Ray Charles, Bela Fleck to James Brown, Lyle Lovett to Morphine, and Rod Stewart to Ben Harper. An ivory-searing New Orleans piano style established an essential juju, but his exploratory pop gems revealed a spectrum of influences from art rock to Americana and beyond. As the late Allen Toussaint described Croce: “It is a pleasure to witness triple uniqueness: pianist, songwriter, singer and at such a level. Who does he sound like? The answer is himself: AJ Croce.”

On Monday, August 1, A.J. Croce will be appearing at The Lake Theater & Café, 106 N State Street in Lake Oswego. Tickets for this 7:00 pm show are $20.00 and are available in advance through the venue’s website,