Bayou Boyz, Soul Cookin’, and More
Things have changed a lot over the last year, the last few months, and even weeks. There have been health and living issues, but everything is on track and getting better. The loss of Blackwell’s caused us to regroup and rethink a lot of things that we’ve taken for granted, though, through the help of a great network of friends and fans, one venue lost has turned into two venues gained.
The month of May finds Soul Cookin’ still doing Wednesdays, 8:30-11:30, and the Bayou Boyz kicking it on Sundays, 5-8:00, at Spirits Pub, 4037 NE Cully Blvd. It’s the perfect replacement, with much of what you loved about Blackwell’s – a roadhouse with a bit of juke joint thrown in – but in a much-improved setting. With a full bar, a menu that’s simple, but varied, at reasonable prices, a covered smoking patio, great sight lines and friendly clientele, Spirits has the makings of a place that’s comfortable enough to call home.
As it has been for the past few years, Soul Cookin’ features Lloyd Jones, Brian Foxworth, and me, David Kahl, with either Dover Weinberg, Steve Kerin, or Louis Pain on keys. The Bayou Boyz, featuring Steve, Brian, and David in a Louisiana-based mashup of musical styles, has gone through two big changes. The first, of course, is the venue, but the bigger one is our guitar-vocalist. World-renowned instrumentalist, Mark Shark, has found demand for teaching to be so high that he had to step away from a full-time commitment to the band. He’ll still pop in occasionally, so there’ll still be some chances to see him with his old band mates. Fortunately, another great player is filling in that slot. Dan Berkery, who you’ve probably seen with the Rose City Kings, Sultans of Slide, Next Waltz, or several other great groups, is the perfect fit, exciting, entertaining, and a great hang.
Rounding things out for off-night entertainment, Mekong Bistro, 8200 NE Siskiyou, may seem an odd choice, but there’s convergence here. What do the Mekong area of Southeast Asia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Portland all have in common? They’re all river deltas, places where life flows, from backwaters and bayous, into larger bodies. They are places where the convergence of cultures makes something greater than the individual parts.
Mondays, 7:30-10:30, the Bayou Boyz puts a different spin on things. Over the past year-and-a-half, folks like Jesse Lee Young, Mark Bowden, Peter Dammann, Hershel Yatovitz, Ty Curtis, and more have brought their talents to the bandstand, expanding the musical range and creating opportunity. Bayou Boyz – Family Style is jamming on that riff, bringing a different featured guest each week. The response has been encouraging enough that things are looking very good for the future here. Speaking of which, AC Porter’s Tuesday nights have found a new home at Mekong Bistro, as well. Running from 7:30-10:30, AC draws on a deep pool of featured guests, backed by a rotation of David Kahl and Timmer Blakely, John Moore, Brian Foxworth, or Jimi Bott. This is about as good as it gets, but it needs your support if it’s going to last. Mekong Bistro has everything you’d want in a dedicated music venue – roomy stage, seating, and dance floor, excellent cuisine, and plenty of parking.
Looking forward, stay tuned for updates on the Waterfront Blues Festival related shows at Hotel Rose, as well as what looks to be a major fundraising event in support of the Creative Community Cooperative Project – here’s a hint: remember the Mayor’s Ball, Artquake, and Neighbor Fair? Some of the best new things come from repurposing the old.
People the 1-4-5 Blues Jam Party has been bringing some truly remarkable talent to stage! Please count yourself invited as we continue to bring live music to this great little venue. This jam is about you!!! Bring your instrument and count on having some fun playing blues with friends! The illustrious David Kahl teams with either Gene Ermel or Chandler Bowerman as your rhythm section! You never know who will show! You are so invited! Bring some friends and have a bite with us! 8PM Thursday nights! The Lair, 17720 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Milwaukie, Oregon, OR 97267-6101.