ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson / CBA President

This sure has been wild summer with so many great artists playing around town and throughout the Northwest. My girlfriend (and booking agent/promoter herself) Cherie Robbins have been making so many trips to various venues and festivals, and while we’re doing this we are also attempting to bring along a merchandise table of Cascade Blues Association products with us. This is nothing new for CBA volunteers, but it is something that has not happened as much the past few years as it did previously and we want to start that tradition rolling again.

Since early spring we have been regularly showing up at places in town like Jimmy Mak’s and The Lake Theater & Café when acts falling into the blues realm, especially touring acts show up. We have also done a number of festivals like the Gorge Blues Festival in Stevenson, Kalama Music Festival and Bronze, Blues & Brews in Joseph, Oregon. We also recently made the trip to the Ilwaco Blues & Seafood Festival, but this was more of a vacation trip for us. Along the way there are so many people who have been so kind to us, from allowing us to show up at the last minute to giving lodging and meals while we are there, which is way more than we ever expected or would have asked for. Thank you big time to people like Dean Mueller at The Lake, Jimmy Makarounis, Mike & Wendy Ingraham at The Birk, Pete Poulson in Kalama, Jeri Davis-Paletta for hooking us up with several events and, Clint Carter in Ilwaco. These people are the best at supporting the Cascade Blues Association and letting us get our presence seen. I also have to throw a huge thanks out to fellow board members Merry Larsen and Jon Pierce, along with former board member Jody Gunn, for being there to assist in carrying supplies, setting up and watching over the table for us when available at several of the events.

The one problem with making some commitments so far in advance,though, is it prevents you from being everywhere that you want to be. That was the case while we were in Joseph. We so wanted to be at the benefit for Alyssa Lily, but could not make it back in time. But we did do as much as we could to help promote this event to spread the word in advance. Big time blessings to all involved, from the musicians to the volunteers to the Trails End to the people who donated items for the auction and especially Tracy Turner-Pain & Soul Sisters, Inc. You’re all angels for your kindness!

I also want to thank everybody who came out to The Lehrer on Sunday, August 16, for the first fundraiser for our Journey To Memphis winners Sister Mercy. A great afternoon of music with Rich Layton and Tevis Hodge, Jr. helping out. Please come out and support our IBC acts as often as you can! Sorry we did not have anything make it into the BluesNotes regarding this show, but as mentioned in my column last month, we were not even sure if The Lehrer would be open beyond the end of the month.

Speaking of The Lehrer, there is nothing in my heart that I enjoy more than being able to retract my comments about their imminent closing in last month’s column. It is through the music community that they are still open, and hopefully can remain going. The aid of musicians Ken DeRouchie, John Mazzocco, and Dave Kahl putting together a huge fundraiser for the venue happening after the BluesNotes deadline was huge!  And a group of acts helping out for this event. They know the importance of keeping all venues alive, because frankly when they close, that is less opportunity for them to work. The Knuckleheads, The Strange Tones, Ken DeRouchie Band, Lisa Mann, Lloyd Jones, Karen Lovely, Dover Weinberg, LaRhonda Steele, and Arietta Ward all stepped forward and I am sure others stopped by to lend their support, too. Please attend events at all of the venues, pay cover when called for, tip the bands, buy food and beverages while there …. Just keep the clubs in business. It will make everybody more happy!

Last word from me for this month. Support our IBC acts. Buy tickets for the Cascade Blues Cruise happening on The Portland Spirit on October 3. Thanks to Rae Gordon for putting this all together to raise money for all three of our acts heading to Memphis: Sister Mercy, Rogue Rage Duo, and Justus Reece. Throw in Karen Lovely and Rae both performing along on the ship with all three acts and it will be an amazing day. This cruise set up by Rae last year pretty much raised most of all the money her band needed to get to IBC through flying, lodging, and food. Let’s make this one be profitable for the 2016 entries! I’ll be there for sure, and you know this will sell out! Get your tickets now!