The Cascade Blues Association held their 25th annual Muddy Awards celebration on Thursday, November 7th at The Melody Ballroom in Portland and with little doubt it was certainly the night for Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes. The band took honors in seven of the twenty-two categories presented, including both Contemporary & Traditional Blues Act, Kevin for Electric Guitar, Jimi Bott for Drums, both the NW Recording & National Recording for Long Walk Home and Performance of the Year for their big band set at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

Other recipients included Ben Rice whose band tied with Kevin’s for Traditional Blues Act and he also received the award for the “Curtis Salgado” Male Vocalist. Rae Gordon was Read more

t bone walker poster yellowJimmy Mak’s, the premier Portland destination for jazz and a whole lot more is proud to present the T-Bone Walker Tribute band on August 10th.  This all-star lineup brings back the classic T-bone Walker following the teachings of T-Bone to the letter and performing classic hits such as “Street Walkin Woman” and “Strolling with the Bone” in the period correct style that he made famous. The band consists of guitarists Franck Goldwasser (Paris Slim), Chris Carlson, Vyasa Dodson, with Reinhardt Melz. Louis Pain. Stevie Kerin, Jim Wallace, John Mazzocco, Chris Mercer, Joe McCarthy, and Bradley Ulrich. “What makes this project exciting to us and hopefully attractive to the public is the ability of these musicians to play his music with the same grits, groove and gravy that he brought to the stage. We are trying to play these songs with the cultural integrity that Portland demands from their bands.” said John Mazzocco. “We believe that the fans of T-Bone deserve a full Read more

Last fall, Steve Kerin went back home to visit his friends and family in Lafayette, Louisiana. While there, he gathered a few of his friends and laid down the tracks that make up his latest CD titled Joy. Though he has already celebrated its release with shows down South, it is now time to throw a little party in his current home town of Portland. Joy is filled with various musical visions behind the mind of Steve Kerin and the dozen numbers on the disc are all well-crafted and a delight to hear. Here’s your chance to catch the songs performed live by Steve and a few of his friends, plus the opportunity to pick up a copy of your own. The CD release party will be held at Duff’s Garage (1635 SE 7th) on Sunday, May 19th. This will be an early show, starting at 7:00 pm. Ticket price is $12.00, but as a CBA co-sponsored event, members can obtain a $1.00 discount at the door by showing the current membership card.

Song Isle Publishing

 Since first moving up to the Portland area from Louisiana just a few short years ago, Steve Kerin has captured the listening audience here with his stunning work on the piano and has earned himself two Muddy Awards as keyboardist. Well versed in the styles of New Orleans masters like James Booker, Dr John and Professor Longhair, Steve is quite the accomplished crafter of his own material as well. Having showcased his talents with several bands in Portland, including Atomic Gumbo, Berthaline, Franco & The Stingers and Kolvane as well as others, Steve returned to his native Lafayette, Louisiana to put together his new CD, Joy.

The album features almost entirely Louisiana-based musicians, such as Jerry LeJeune on drums, Pat Breaux on accordion and Michael Juan Nunez on guitar, providing that truly authentic flavor of the Bayou and Crescent City. Portland guitarist Bob Shoemaker also makes an appearance throwing down some fine slide guitar. And Steve himself did the work of a one-man army of studio sidemen having played not only piano, but also guitar, bass, organ, triangle, accordion, ukulele and various strings and percussion.

Like the music of Louisiana, Joy takes on a variety of different sounds. They come across very chameleon-like with their interpretation with Steve rolling through several approaches that can cross-over to genres like Cajun, country, folk, rock, funk and blues. All done in spectacular fashion, the twelve selections are all Steve Kerin originals.

There is much to like here. I love the sassiness in “Everything Is Temporary,” uh-huh, yeah right! The deep down bluesy sound on the piano on “Bonnie And Clyde.” How much that “Greg’s Song” sounds like it could’ve been pulled right off from a Robbie Robertson recording. The beauty of “Joy” and “Blueberry Way.” The funkiness on “Cards.” The interplay of piano and slide guitar on “Yesterday,” that comes across to me as very John Lennon-like in its lyrics and approach. And closing with the acoustics of ukulele, fiddle, accordion and percussion on “Waikiki Yacht Club” weaving into the dialing of a radio focusing into the Lafayette station and segueing into an incredibly played piano solo that leaves a nice gentle flavor in your mind that makes you want to turn around and play the whole disc all over again.

Steve Kerin has a definite winning release with Joy. An amalgamation of fun sounds that befits the title.

Total Time: 50:47

One To The Bottle / Bonnie And Clyde / Joy / Everything Is Temporary / Yesterday / Going To Louisiana / Greg’s Song / Walking Down The Road / Cards / Blueberry Way / I Aint’s Complaining / Waikiki Yacht Club

Long Walk Home
Delta Groove

Jump ahead two months. Kevin & The Tornadoes had just completed a stellar set at the Waterfront Blues Festival featuring many of the same cats from the new album on stage with them. I was sitting in the VIP area with Tornadoes bassist Allen Markel and his wife Lisa Mann as I noticed Kevin across the way in conversation with Delta Groove boss Randy Chortkoff. Kevin soon walked over with a grin on his face. “You just got signed, didn’t you?” I asked him. He didn’t need to say anything. By the way his face lit up even more I knew he had. And why not? A good portion of those appearing on the album, like Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor, Doug James and even Tornadoes drummer Jimi Bott had all been on Delta Groove releases in the past. It was a natural fit with its traditional blues flavored by with a little West Coast flair.

 The album, Long Walk Home, is by far the finest moment in Kevin Selfe’s songwriting abilities yet. The guest artists are a nice touch, but in reality it is the core group of The Tornadoes, Kevin with Allen and Jimi, that make this all come to life. The tracks are filled with gritty down home guitar work that takes you to the swamp or to the back alleys and even a little resonator thrown in for good measure. You can sense the Louisiana bayou come through on something like “Midnight Creeper” or “Too Much Voodoo.” You can feel the impact of Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor on the slide piece “Put Me Back In Jail.” The pulsations of “Duct Tape On My Soul” and “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” delivers prime Kevin Selfe creations that have been primed for some time in his live performances. And his writing also makes you wonder about his luck with the opposite sex as he relates tales of the woman who breaks up after having him pack her things and moving her into a new home (“first you broke my back, then you broke my heart”) on “Moving Day Blues,” the “Dancing Girl” who shakes it with all those guys right in front of him while he plays, a little bit too provocative for his taste, and the girl who shows up after he’s been waiting for her to come home all night long whose clothes aren’t on just right and she’s “Walking Funny.” The stories are first class and blues through and through.

The band is also enhanced by the sensational horn parts arranged by Joe McCarthy. Some of these pieces have long been in Kevin’s songbook, like “Moving Day Blues” and “Walking Funny.” But they take on even more life with the brass added, courtesy of Chris Mercer, Brad Ulrich, Peter Moss, Doug James and McCarthy. Mitch Kashmar’s harp on “Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool” has that same impact, as does the keyboard work by Steve Kerin and Dover Weinberg in their appearances on the disc.

This is an album sure to be counted as one of the best Northwest releases of the year, and perhaps even amongst the best everywhere. Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes work endlessly throughout the region all year long; but with Long Walk Home I predict we’re going to see a lot less of the guys as they will be in demand far outside of the area once people get the taste of this release. Excellent is only a mild term when describing this masterful work. Bravo Kevin Selfe!

Total Time: 50:09

Duct Tape On My Soul / Mama Didn’t Raise No Fool / Moving Day Blues / Last Crossroad / Dancing Girl / Midnight Creeper / Walking Funny / Too Much Voodoo / Second Box On The Left / The Blues Is My Home / Put Me Back In Jail

Franco and the Stingers CD cover

Franco and the Stingers CD coverI Like It Just Like That

It seems like a long time since Franco Paletta & The Stingers last released Can’t Kick Love. But the wait is more than worth the time. I Like It Just Like That is a brilliant follow-up to that disc and surpasses it immensely. Utilizing the band that he won the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey To Memphis competition and took with him to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge, this is an ensemble that fires on the right track in every direction. The camaraderie between each member enhances one another, all masterful at their respective instruments. This is by far the finest collection of musicians Franco has ever worked with. And Franco himself has never sounded better on vocals and his harp work is dynamic.

Recorded at Droolin’ Dog Records and produced by Dave Alvey, Franco Paletta and Timmer Blakely, the album is filled with catchy tracks that take on a variety of blues directions. Opening with a strong harmonica and guitar pairing on “Oh Baby” the band kicks off in fine fashion, propelled by the added horns Joe McCarthy, Scott Franklin and Jeff Homan. Jason Thomas’ guitar bites with intensity, as he does throughout the album. Steve Kerin steps to the front on the third track with delicious keyboard work. He also pounds the ivories to perfection on numbers like “I Really Want To Sing The Blues” and “Red Hot Lovers.” The rhythm of Timmer Blakely on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums is rock solid, holding the whole band together flawlessly.

Personal highlights on this album filled with great numbers has to be the R&B feel of “It Brings A Tear,” sounding as if it could’ve been lifted from a soul recording from forty-fifty years ago. The Jason Thomas penned “Livin’ The Blues Again” showcases Thomas at his slow blues guitar best; quite moody in a walking the back streets in tears type moment that can raise the hair on the back of your neck. That is followed up with another great guitar number with “Gypsy Woman.” Franco’s churning harp on the title track is joyful and plays to effect the sense of his adoration for his life’s love. And of course there is “She’s My Little Girl,” a number that has become somewhat a trademark song of the band that just gets you into the mood to dance every time it’s played.

Franco Paletta’s songwriting continues to jump leaps and bounds. His voice is growing richer with flavor and emotion, which is only made more developed with those clever lyrics he is offering. I Like It Just Like That is the finest recording The Stingers have given to us yet; and if the progression of this band keeps growing the way it is, watch out for whatever they do next.

Total Time: 50:33

Oh Baby / Born To Please / When She Do That Thing She Do / She’s My Little Girl / I Like It Just Like That / Please Baby / Livin’ The Blues Again / Gypsy Woman / Red Hot Lovers / It Brings A Tear / I Really Want To Sing The Blues

Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes February 24

Hi everybody! So, I have some really big news to share with you this month…we have signed a recording deal with world renown blues label, Delta Groove! The new CD entitled Long Walk Home is set to be released worldwide on February 19 and features 11 songs, all originals. Lots of incredible musicians on it including my band mates Jimi Bott and Allen Markel, Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor, Doug James, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. So very excited and honored to be a part of the Delta Groove family! I wanted to say thanks to Jimi and Allen, and all the musicians for putting in many hours of hard work and effort that went into making this happen. And also wanted to say thanks to Randy Chortkoff of Delta Groove for believing in me and giving us this opportunity! For more information about the CD and about the band and upcoming schedules, please feel free to visit or

And speaking of upcoming schedules, now since we have the CD coming out, we’ve got to have a big party! On Sunday, February 24, we will have a CD release party at Duff’s Garage in SE Portland from 7-10pm. In addition to Jimi, Allen, and me, many musicians from the recording will be joining us on stage including Mitch Kashmar, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. Cover for the show is $12, and since it is a CBA co-sponsored show, members can get a $1 discount at the door.

This month marks six years since I packed up everything I owned and moved from Virginia to Portland without knowing a soul. Since then, I have made lifelong friends, experienced happiness inside and outside of music, grown both as a musician and as a person, have become part of a loving blues community. I can’t thank you all enough for welcoming me, accepting me, and showing your support over these six years. I am, and will be, forever grateful. Thank you all!