By Laurie Morrisey

Justus Reece - photo by Greg JohnsonThe local blues scene is no stranger to young talent. In fact, I’d say Oregon is doing a pretty fine job of keeping the blues alive through our youth. One of the newer artists is 19-year-old Justus Reece. He will be representing the CBA at The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis next month. This is the first time the CBA has been represented in the youth showcase.

According to CBA President Greg Johnson, “Justus will be able to meet other young blues artists from around the world, participate in jams for both young musicians and those hosted by recognized touring musicians, as well as being able to explore Beale Street, Memphis, and the Delta firsthand.”

Justus was born in Portland and raised in Hillsboro. He started playing music in front of people at the age of nine when he started taking music lessons. He joined his church band when he was 12, and for the past four years he has been a student of Terry Robb.

Music is a part of nearly every aspect of his life. He is currently a part time student at Portland Community College. “As a kid I wanted to be some type of counselor. I’m working on becoming a music therapist.”

“I don’t remember ever not really being into blues music, I’ve always loved music. I’m thankful I grew up around it. Neither of my parents are musicians, but as a child, there was always music playing. I perform when I have an opportunity to.”

Justus style and influences are varied. “My music comes from many places–from the Delta to India. Some of my favorite musicians are Frank Zappa, Charlie Hunter and Jimi Hendrix.”

He plays a few different stringed instruments, as most players do, but when he performs, he only plays guitar. He’s fairly new to performing professionally, so he hasn’t played with many musicians as he’s had few paid gigs. “I have had the honor of sitting in with Franco Paletta and Barney Murnin of Get Down Jones.”

In 2011 Justus won a Fender Stratocaster at the Blues for MS fundraiser. “I still own the Strat and play it nearly every day. I already had one, but nothing compares to the one I own today. I am thankful for that.”

Justus held a fundraiser to help with expenses for The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase in Memphis next month. For those who weren’t able to attend, but are interested in donating, money can be mailed to Justus Reece, 172 NE 34th Ct., Hillsboro, OR 97124, or through his pay pal account at reecegp@msn.com.