ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

First thing I want to say this month is a very big thank you to everybody who set sail on the Cascade Blues Cruise this past month. You all helped raise some money for our Journey To Memphis representatives and had a chance to hear them all hopefully. We could not have asked for a better day either. A tremendous thank you so much to Rae Gordon for putting this event together for them again this year. Please keep your eyes open for further fundraising events, including one on November 8 at The Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro for our youth showcase act Justus Reece.

Of course, November also means the Muddy Awards. You’ll have another opportunity to catch our other Journey To Memphis winning acts Sister Mercy and Rogue Rage Duo performing at the event. It is always a grand affair and a lot of fun to attend the awards show, with lots of great music and many happy winners. I want to wish good luck to all of the nominees. But please be advised that it may be a little more difficult this year with parking, as the new pub has opened across the street from The Melody Ballroom. Hope to see you all there.

Last month was also a bit painful as The Lehrer, despite all their efforts to stay open, had to close their doors for good. Brad Lehrer tried to do his best at bringing live blues to the West Side of Portland where venues are not as available as other parts of town. But it is not an easy business to run. Just ask anyone who’s tried to do so. It is definitely a reminder that we need to continue to support all of the venues around town. It cannot be kept up by just a few, it is all of our responsibility if we want to see live music survive. And if you’re out at a club and they do not offer blues, drop a hint to them that it would be something that you’d like to see there. There are a lot of blues musicians in this city, and with venues closing it will be tougher to see them play and we certainly don’t want to lose them to moving to another town where they may feel opportunities are more prevalent.

I also have to apologize that I may have missed a number of recordings that should be reviewed. So many great new albums and so little time to be able to write about each and every one that has come out. Just our local artists alone have been releasing some of the best material I have heard from anywhere as of late. I highly suggest that you check them out, and to just note a few: The Sportin’ Lifers, Karen Lovely, Rae Gordon, Tracey Fordice & The 8 Balls, Big Al Carter, Kevin Selfe, King Louie & LaRhonda Steele. These are but a few of many. Pick up a copy or two or three — this helps support our artists, too. And you’ll be able to enjoy them whenever you like.

Hope to catch you at the Muddy Awards or in the clubs. Always good blues to be found throughout Portland and the region.