Ramblings On My Mind - October 2020

Ramblings On My Mind 

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

As our world continues to be on hold due to the pandemic, we watch over and over again as our dreams of nice summer weather with gatherings to enjoy music and friends disappear before our eyes. Here in Portland and throughout our region, summers are usually one long weekend after another with multiple choices to experience the music we love. Northwest festivals such as the Gorge Blues & Brews, Waterfront, Cathedral Park, Winthrop, Mount Baker, Sisters and others are all highly anticipated and prepared for months in advance. Street fairs, markets and house parties are usually in abundance. But one by one we watch as the cancellations are announced and accumulate. It’s hard. But the possibility of losing friends and musicians because of the contagious nature of this virus would be so much more so.  

We may end up losing some of the businesses we cherish. Without means to support themselves with income from their product, such as performances and food sales, and landlords who need their rent payments to make ends meet on their end as well, we will sadly see some gone forever. It hurts us all. 

The Cascade Blues Association sees most of our membership renewals during the summer months, most notably at festivals. That is also when we do most of our merchandise sales. And we normally have a number of advertisers come through to promote their events. The loss of income takes its toll, and we have already had to suspend printing the Blues Notes during this period due to expenses. We still have our monthly obligations to meet with bills, and the Board of Directors have not even been able to meet in person due to the stay-at-home orders and the limitations expected for social distancing. Our communications have been strictly by email and social media for the most part. The business end of the Cascade Blues Association has to continue even while things are shut down. It does make things tough, so hopefully the world will turn itself right side up again so everything can be addressed and we can return to promoting the music we all love and care deeply about.  

This time shall pass. It has to. This lost summer will eventually be a memory. But it will also make us hold the things that we may take for granted a little more closely. Music brought us all together and hopefully it will help us get through this hard period, too. 

Michele D’Amour

Michele D’Amour is a born storyteller and award-winning songwriter who penned her first song at the age of 6 and became a published poet in her early 20s. Her lyrics treat difficult topics with a sense of soulful whimsy and wry humor. Michele sang in her church choir, wrote songs and sang lead for some local bands before honing her craft at several of the blues jams in the Seattle area. Upon the advice of friends, she formed Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers in 2011. The band features Patrick McDanel on bass, guitarist Mike Kohary, drummer Dave Delzotto, Brian Olendorf on keys and saxman Noel Barnes. They have been recognized with multiple awards and nominations from the Washington Blues Society and were named by LA Music Critic as 2019’s best blues band. 

At The Garages Satellite Pub, 4810 SW Western Ave, Beaverton. Friday, June 5, 8:00 pm. $10.00 cover. 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

There are few artists whose names are synonymous with one instrument and how it’s played in service to an entire genre. 

Utter the phrase “young blues rock guitarist” within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The Louisiana-born axeman and songsmith has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens. 

In a 20-year recording career that began when he was just 16, Shepherd has established himself as an immensely popular recording artist, a consistently in-demand live act and an influential force in a worldwide resurgence of interest in the blues. 

Opening the night will be Canadian blues icon Colin James. The award-winning guitarist is one of his country’s most-renowned and prolific musicians, with 19 releases and endless touring throughout North America. 

Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St, Friday, June 5, 8:00 pm. $45.00 general admission tickets at revolutionhall.com. 21 & over.