Jim Miller - photo by Greg Johnson

James “Jim” Miller had his hands in many fires within the Portland music community over the years. He was always on the look-out to bring joy and accomplishment through the power of music. Whether he was playing himself, assisting other artists, producing major events or bringing the healing effects to those in care facilities or senior centers, he was always willing to give his heart and commitment without a thought of receiving anything in return but smiles from those he touched.

Many people who did not have a chance to know Jim very well may only recognize him for his bass duties with various bands, or as the production manager at the Waterfront Blues Festival. They may be unaware that he was the first president of the Portland Musicians Association, a co-founder of The Bite of Portland, a founding member of The Mystic Krewe of Nimbus, and the creator of Golden Harvest Music that brought live music to those in assisted living and care facilities. That he played with numerous local acts including stints with The Cannonballs, The New Iberians, Atomic Gumbo, Jaime Leopold & The Short Stories and as a duo partner with Franck Goldwasser. Or that he worked or played at one time with each of the following national acts: Iron Butterfly, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Albert Collins, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Campbell and BJ Thomas. He supported many music organizations, including the Cascade Blues Association and had served as a band leader for the Muddy Awards All Star Band and helped create a screen saver featuring CBA Hall of Fame artists and Heroes of the Blues honorees.

Jim Miller passed away in a coma on December 24, 2013, due to the effects of a heart attack ten days earlier. He leaves behind his life partner Wendy, his personal family and his enormous extended family in music. In tribute to Jim, guitarist Franck Goldwasser has released for download on bandcamp.com, a collection of fourteen songs the two had recorded in 2010, called Social Moments. Proceeds from the downloads of this recording will aid Wendy with immediate expenses.

Well, we do not typically anticipate having to make some small changes now and then, but sometimes we just cannot help it. Please make note that our monthly membership meetings in both January and February will not be taking place on the first Wednesday of the month.

The first Wednesday in January falls on the New Years Day holiday and, like most people, the staff at The Melody Ballroom would likely enjoy spending it with their families, so we will be holding our meeting the following week on Wednesday, January 8th.

In February, we will be holding the meeting on the first Thursday of the month, the 6th. This is to allow The Melody Ballroom to schedule a huge party with more than 450 people attending. We are donated the use of the room every month and this is the first time I can recall in the many years we’ve been at The Melody that they have asked us to make this exception, so it is only fair that we make the move to allow them to be able to host this paying event. It is only one night later, something we have done with the Muddy Awards every year.

One other date change of note for now, a great deal of the Board of Directors will be traveling to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. So in order to still have a Board meeting for the month, and to have a quorum for voting purposes, we will be moving this meeting to January 14th. Board meetings are open for all to attend and we are currently seeking At Large members to help us out. Let us know in advance if you wish to attend as the office is in a secure building and we’d have to let you in. The office is located at 2020 SE 7th, just about four blocks south of Duff’s Garage.

Meeting times are still the same. 7:00 pm for the membership meetings and 6:30 for the board meetings. Thank you for understanding.

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

Well it is December, which means it is time to select your elected officers for the year 2014. It also means that I need to get back on my soapbox and appeal to our members the need for help. The Cascade Blues Association is recognized as one of the largest blues societies in the country, yet the people behind the scenes handling the day-to-day business is quite a small number (actually it amounts to far less than 1% of all members). This means that the same people are doing all the work to make sure this operation continues to run and that we are able to put on the events and programs that you want us to. I receive a lot of great ideas from members on what the CBA should be doing or how we can Read more

It has certainly been an honor to serve as your Cascade Blues Association President for nearly 12 years and I am asking if you would consider me back for a 13th year. My main drive with the Cascade Blues Association has never wandered, it has always been about how we can garner more attention for our local artists locally, regionally and nationally. I have also held the ethic that all musicians are treated equally and fairly. That is why you see promotions of events in the BluesNotes whether they are co-sponsored by the CBA or not, as I believe it is the role of the blues society to inform its members of all blues related events. I have been the main contributor of the BluesNotes for many years, with nearly every article in the paper aside from the Bandstand and most feature stories having been composed by myself. That in itself is more than a full time job. I try to attend as many shows and events as I can, taking the time to document the scene with photographs. I travel usually twice a year to Memphis where I assist in the International Blues Challenge as a venue Read more

We recently posted this list on the CBA Facebook page. It received a thankful response from so many that we thought we would run it in the BluesNotes, too This list is a compilation of regional musicians who were nominated for the 2013 Muddy Awards. Though the final ballot is limited to only a few in each category, all of the following artists were recognized by our members in the ballots returned to us for nominations in the first round.

Read more

For the past quarter-century, the Cascade Blues Association has honored many of the most beloved artists, venues, events and recordings of the region with the annual Muddy Awards. Named in honor of the most important postwar Chicago bluesman, Muddy Waters, for his contributions to the modern blues scene. Nominees and recipients for the awards are completely selected by the members of the Cascade Blues Association through a process of two ballots, with nearly 1100 ballots sent out each time. And a grand celebration is then held to announce and recognize the decisions made by our membership.

This year’s 25th Annual Muddy Awards will be held on Thursday, November 7th, starting at 6:30 pm at The Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St. We have the upstairs grand ballroom reserved as this event is one of the largest blues happenings every year in Portland, with Read more

As part of the International Blues Challenge’s series of events happening in Memphis every winter, a competition amongst self produced CDs has been taking place since 2005. The Cascade Blues Association has participated in this competition since its inception and have done nicely with our entries, several making the semi-finals and especially well with the two discs we have submitted by Joe McMurrian, who placed in the finals in 2007 and winning the overall prize in 2010 with his disc Get Inside This House.

The Cascade Blues Association opened entries for the 2014 event at the end of August with a deadline for submitting in early October. We received eight entries: Dave Mathis’ In Your Face, Franco Paletta & The Stingers’ I Like It Just Like That, Hank Shreve Band’s I’ve Had Read more

Alice Stuart (press photo)

Alice Stuart (press photo)

Please keep Alice Stuart, one of the greatest musicians of the Pacific Northwest in your thoughts and prayers as she experienced a medical emergency this summer. Alice has had to cancel many of her scheduled shows over the past couple of months to take a leave from performing for the time being, following guidance from her doctor. A special fundraising event will be held in Seattle on September 29th, featuring an all star line-up. If you would like to help out, you may go to  her GoFundMe campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/450q2w.

Alice Stuart is a musical legend, having first recorded in the 1960s and influenced many of folk and blues best known female artists including Bonnie Raitt. She was a member of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, performed at the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival, has released albums on the Arhoolie and Burnside Record labels, performed on the Dick Cavett Show and the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, represented the Cascade Blues Association and Washington Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge, most recently led the band The Formerlys, and has regularly performed at numerous venues throughout the Northwest including a monthly show at Portland’s LaurelThirst Public House. There are not many artists who can claim the credentials and talent of Alice Stuart.

The Cascade Blues Association wishes to send its love and best wishes to Alice Stuart for a speedy recovery and return to the stage. The Northwest music scene is a better place with Alice being a part of it.




If you would like to have your CD considered by the Cascade Blues Association for submission in The Blues Foundation’s Best Self Produced CD competition, please send your disc to BSPCD c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 14493, Portland, Oregon 97293. You may also turn your submission in at either the September or October Cascade Blues Association General Membership Meetings. No discs will be accepted later than October 2nd.

All discs submitted must have been released after November 1, 2012. A committee set up by the Cascade Blues Association’s Board of Directors will listen to each submission and, like the Journey To Memphis, will rate each on a series of categories (blues content, instrumentation, vocals, art work and liner notes). Entries are only accepted by acts within the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Idaho and Washington). We must receive your entry no later than October 2nd. Please note, the entry that we submit to The Blues Foundation will require that we send them four copies of the disc for their judges. We will notify the appropriate act for the extra copies needed to send.

trailsendsaloonCody Myers was a sharp 19-year-old who had a passion for music, was a devout Christian, with a desire to help those less fortunate when his life was tragically taken from him three years ago. His family decided to continue his life’s dream of assisting underprivileged youth who wish to learn music which might ultimately lead to faith. They formed the Cody Myers Music Outreach Foundation providing music, instruments, instruction, and guidance both musically and morally thru a structured setting of responsibility, respect and accountability to oneself, Cody and the Foundation.

The Cody Myers Music Outreach Foundation will be holding their third annual benefit Read more