Hello friends, Just a heads up that my new CD is nearing completion and should be out in the late summer. This is being recorded at Ron Rogers studio in SE Portland. This is an all analog “live in the studio” recording with a great line up of musicians that includes Mary Flower, Don Campbell, Ken West, Stephen “Sammy” Lind and my buddy Jeff Masters came up from Los Angeles to play harmonica on a few tunes. Although I usually play solo live, this CD is very much an ensemble affair with a lot of different instruments. Of course, we will have a CD release party or two when it is out. Stay tuned.

Although I consider the ukulele just a small part of what I do, it has been very, very good to me in that I have played several ukulele festivals (yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a ukefest!) nationwide and my uke videos for some reason are very popular in Europe. Here are two upcoming workshop / festivals that do not fit into the Blues Notes Calendar. August 2,3 and 4, I will be part of the Oakridge Ukulele Festival in Oakridge, Oregon. Three days of workshops, jamming and concerts. Should be fun time as the entire town is turned into three days of uke mayhem. Also, August 11 thru 17, I will be giving a week long in depth ukulele workshop with everything from blues, ragtime, swing and even rock n roll in a wonderful forest setting in the Columbia Gorge in Menucha, Oregon. This class is almost a sell out as we go to press. Go to for more info. Do not forget that I give private guitar and uke lessons, so contact me through my website if you are interested.

Until next month, keep diggin’ the blues and stop by and say hi at my gigs.


James Clem

Over the years, The Cascade Blues Association’s Sweethearts Dance has become a Valentine’s weekend tradition, as we have brought some of the finest local talent to help celebrate the event. That talent has included the likes of  Mary Flower, Duffy Bishop, Robbie Laws, Bill Rhoades, The Strange Tones and one year we even had Blues Music Award winner Watermelon Slim drop by to help out while he was in town. Always a fun night of the blues and dancing with that special sweetheart, we’re hoping to have you join us again this year on Friday, February 15th at Vie de Boheme (1530 SE 7th). And we’re going to make this year’s event a showcase of local Women in the Blues.

We will open the night with a familiar face if you attended last year. Melissa Buchanan sat in with the Deep Blue Soul Revue last year and she was so well received we decided to invite her and her new band to play this year. The artful subtleties and straight, but powerful delivery of the vintage masters are inspiration to Melissa as she works to deliver a performance to remember. She employs several genres of music to fit the audience mood or event ranging from jump blues to smoldering torch songs. Melissa also has a swing and blues dance background, so when it comes to performing music, danceability is of utmost importance.

Making the trip from Eugene for the second set will be the Joanne Broh Blues Band. A past finalist in the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey To Memphis and a musical mentor with United By Music, Joanne Broh is also a recipient of the Rainy Day Blues Society’s Rooster Awards for Female Vocalist. Joining Joanne for the performance are several of the Eugene area’s finest players, including Jerry Zybach, Jim Badalich, Sean Brennan and John Bryson. Joanne has been known to offer a variety of music, from rock and funk flavors, but it is always steeped heavily with the blues in everything she does.

Headlining this year’s Sweetheart Dance will be one of the quickest rising stars on the international blues scene today, and recent transplant to the Portland area from Southern Oregon, Karen Lovely. Following her taking second place at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, representing the Cascade Blues Association in 2010, Karen has released two highly praised CDs, received seven CBA Muddy Awards and was nominated for three Blues Music Awards in 2011. And she has also been a favorite for festivals and concerts throughout North America and into Europe. Joining Karen will be her regular guitarist Leonard Griffie, making the trek up from Ashland for the event, and a yet to be named group of Portland area all-stars to compliment her performance.

Vie de Boheme is an urban winery with great food and plenty of room for dancing. Admission to the Sweetheart Dance is $10 per person or $15 for couples. Everything will start at 8:00 pm, so grab your sweetheart and come celebrate Valentine’s Day with three outstanding vocalists and good friends. Always one of the most fun nights on the CBA calendar every year. Hope to see you there.