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If you had intentions of seeing B.B. King at the Elsinore Theater in Salem on March 1st and you do not have tickets, then you’re probably out of luck. The show has been sold out for a few weeks now, but if you’re really intent on catching the show, there are tickets available throughout second-hand ticket sellers, but expect to spend about 10 times the original price.

But if you have not seen B.B. King before this might still appeal to you. After all, we’re talking about perhaps the single most identifiable name in the history of the blues. He’s a Grammy winner, a Blues Music Awards winner, inducted into both the Rock & Roll and Blues Hall of Fames, and a Medal of Freedom recipient, the most highly prized award bestowed by our country for the arts. B.B. King is an American icon with more than six decades of awe-inspiring performances and recordings to his name.

And to make the event even more appealing, add a special opening set by Cascade Blues Association International Blues Challenge representative Ben Rice. Certainly another milestone in young Rice’s career portfolio and highly deserved.

Showtime is 8:00 pm. The Elsinore Theater is located at 170 High Street SE in Salem.

Ben Rice

Ben Rice

The Kalama Blues Festival returns on Saturday, August 17th for another full day’s worth of terrific blues music featuring several regional bands and headliner Studebaker John & The Hawks. Just a short drive north of Portland, this event is located right on the banks of the Columbia River at Waterfront Marina Park. Food vendors will be on site including local wine and beer. Admission is only $8.00 and two cans of food to assist Kalama Helping Hands.

Studebaker John will bring his classic traditional Chicago sounds that have been fan favorites since the 1970s. Also on the line-up will be The Bill Rhoades Band, The Robbie Laws Band, The Ben Rice Band and The Vermen.

It all starts at 1:00 pm. Camping and lodging are available nearby. For more information check out www.cityofkalama.com.

Ben Rice Band J2M winners photo by Greg Johnson

Ben Rice Band J2M winners photo by Greg Johnson

Four acts won the right to take part in the Journey To Memphis finals at the Trails End Saloon in early June, The Mojo Blasters, Tevis Hodge Jr., Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band and the Ben Rice Band. The finals were held on July 4th on The Oregonian Front Porch Stage at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival before a huge crowd with all four acts presenting dynamic performances. And when it was all said and done, the judges voted for the Ben Rice Band to represent the Cascade Blues Association in Memphis next January at the International Blues Challenge.

This year’s event was unique. Tevis Hodge Jr. had already won the right to go to Memphis prior to the Waterfront as he was the only solo/duo act that had advanced to the finals. He was competing against the bands for Read more

Greetings, blues people! The band and I would like to thank the many among you who supported our Indiegogo campaign for tour sponsorship, and all the rest of you who sent us well-wishes. While we were sadly forced to cut the tour short, it was an adventure to travel the western states with Jeff Knudson, Brian Harris and the hilarious Dave Melyan. And thank you from Allen and I for the condolences on the death of his father. Hank Markel was a loving father and husband, a Korean War vet and a Yankees fan, he will be sorely missed.

The show must go on, as they say, and in July it is going on outside… July 4th we will be competing in the Journey to Memphis Finals at the Waterfront Blues Festival, the competition is from Noon to 3pm. Congrats to the Mojoblasters, Ben Rice Band and Tevis Hodge Jr for also making it to the finals! Then later that day, I will take the Read more

Ben Rice

Ben Rice

Please join the Cascade Blues Festival first thing July 4th when you attend the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival as we present the finals for our Journey To Memphis competition starting at noon on the Front Porch Stage. Four acts will compete to see who will represent the CBA and the region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN next January.

Eleven acts participated in the first round, held at The Trails End in Oregon City the first weekend of June. Those acts included: Alan Hager & Dave Fleschner, Chad Rupp & Josh Makosky, David Pinsky & Phil Newton, Howard Wade, Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Rae Gordon & Gaddis Cavenah, Tevis Hodge Jr., The Ben Rice Band, The Hitmen, The Mojoblasters, and The Rae Gordon Band. All acts were judged in five catagories, following the guidelines set by The Blues Foundation and the top two scoring acts from each night advanced to the finals at the Waterfront Blues Festival. Those winners were: Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Tevis Hodge Jr., The Ben Rice Band and The Mojoblasters.

 

Lisa Mann

Lisa Mann

A huge thanks to The Trails End for letting us hold our opening round at their venue, and to our judges: longtime musician Jim Mayer, music publicist & promoter Matt Kalinowski and sound engineer, music product specialist & KBOO DJ Phil Garfinkel. Also a quick thanks in advance to the Oregon Food Bank and the Waterfront Blues Festival for allowing us to use the Front Porch Stage for our event finals and for the prize package they offer as well.

 

Make a point to also check out 2012 Journey To Memphis winners The Muddy Sons and Franco & The Stingers, as well as 2012 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winner Ray Bonneville and 2013 Band winners Selwyn Birchwood Band, all performing at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

 

 

Alan Hagar

Alan Hagar

Always one of the Cascade Blues Association’s largest events of the year is the Journey To Memphis; our regional competition to select our representatives from the region to compete in The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge next year in Memphis, Tennessee. This year’s event returns to the newly renovated Trails End Saloon in Oregon City on Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th, starting at 8:00 pm both nights.
This year we have fourteen entries; seven will compete each night before a set of three judges scoring the acts on blues content, instrumentation talent, vocal talent, originality and stage presence. All will have a timed 30-minute set and the two highest scoring acts from each night will advance to the finals held on July 4th at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival.

Admission to the Journey To Memphis is $10.00 each night. All admissions will cover the cost of production and form the base prize received by the winners to help defray their traveling expenses to Memphis.

Scheduled Times and Act Sets are as follows (note: these are subject to change as the acts are not required to play a full 30-minute set. If they go overtime, they will be penalized a point for every 10 seconds over.)

Friday, June 7th:

  • 8:00 – Howard Wade
  • 8:40 – Alan Hager & Dave Fleschner
  • 9:20 – Rae Gordon Band
  • 10:00 – Alan Benson Experience
  • 10:40 – Chad Rupp & Josh Makosky
  • 11:20 – The Mojo Blasters
  • 12:00 – Ben Rice Band

Saturday, June 8th:

  • 8:00 – Rose City Rats featuring Savanna Coen
  • 8:40 – David Pinsky & Phil Newton
  • 9:20 – Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band
  • 10:00 – Tevis Hodge, Jr.
  • 10:40 – Beacon Street Titans
  • 11:20 – The Hitmen
  • 12:00 – Rae Gordon & Gaddis Cavenah (Duo)