Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

It truly continues to amaze me how extraordinary Portland can be when it comes to attracting some of the larger and high-profiled musicians to come through our area. Just looking at April alone sees blues giants like Bonnie Raitt, Janiva Magness, Robert Cray, and Gary Clark Jr all hitting town. And the summer looks to be shaping up, too.

But when it comes down to the bare facts of it all, it is still our local musicians that make Portland a world class blues city that rivals any place. The talent level on any given night is staggering and I have said it before, but it is all so clear, we are spoiled rotten with the artists who live here. How many places can you go and find regular weekly gigs led by people like Lloyd Jones, Kevin Selfe, Lisa Mann, Franco Paletta, John Mazzocco, Mitch Kashmar, Ed Neumann, Rae Gordon, Sonny Hess, and so many others? Then throw in the regular people showing up at those gigs to sit in such as Mark Shark, Randy Monroe, Karen Lovely, and the not too uncommon Curtis Salgado. I can tell you that any of these people and a lot more that we have right here are the envy of people living elsewhere.

Speaking of Curtis Salgado — are you ready for the new release he has coming out? Clips online that have already been made available look great. And he has a handful of shows coming up that you’ll want to get your tickets for early as he is going to sell out everywhere he plays. Watch for him doing CD release shows and more in April at The Lake Theater & Café, The Trails End, and two nights running at Jimmy Mak’s.

Of course, another major night you don’t want to miss is the annual Inner City Blues Festival. It’s all organized by a crack team led by Norman Sylvester and once again features some of the region’s best musicians. Plus it all benefits Healthcare for All Oregon. Check it out at The North Portland Eagles Lodge.

The Cascade Blues Association’s Journey To Memphis competition is coming up the first weekend in June, but if you plan on participating do not forget that the deadline for entry is April 6 at the monthly CBA meeting. We have so much talent enter every year and it just keeps getting better and the people in Memphis take notice of our acts closely.

We’re also looking for committed individuals who can bring their skills to the CBA Board of Directors. It is a bit of work, but it will make you feel good knowing that you’re helping to make a difference in the area’s music scene by volunteering. We need help in many different aspects, so speak to a Board Member to let us know how you may be willing to assist. We are fairly small right now, so we would like to see a few more people jump on board (no pun intended).

But remember, we have all those fantastic musicians living here and touring into our city. We can’t keep that happening if you don’t go out and see their shows. Pay the ticket price or admission. If there isn’t one, make sure you tip the performers and the venue staff. It’s how the venues and musicians survive. It’s not easy for them if they can’t get the gigs, so do your part to help out. We’ll all be better for it, emotionally, culturally and for those behind the music financially, too. Thanks all, see you in the clubs!