CBA President Greg Johnson diagnosed with cancer

CBA President Greg Johnson diagnosed with cancer

Now for some sad news. If you aren’t on Facebook, you may not know that CBA President Greg Johnson was recently diagnosed with cancer. 

The blues community is stepping up to help Greg and his wife Cherie, please help if you can.
Read below for the details from the GoFundMe introduction story below, here is the link to the campaign.

“This GoFundMe campaign is being created for Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson, Portland’s Cascade Blues Association President, who was recently diagnosed with cancer by Tracy Pain.

On Tuesday, March 23rd, Greg was rushed to the ER by his wife Cherie Johnson with abdominal pain.  Upon examination and tests, it was determined that Greg had a potentially dangerous obstruction and had to undergo emergency surgery the following day.  During that surgery, the doctors discovered a mass and performed a biopsy.  That mass was later confirmed as cancer.

While Greg’s doctors were able to successfully treat his obstruction, the news of the cancer was an unexpected and devastating blow to both Greg and Cherie. Aside from the challenges Greg faces in recovering from the invasive surgery he’s just endured (which in itself will involve special care and rehabilitation in the weeks ahead), he is now faced with many months of radiation treatment, chemo, and additional surgeries. As you can imagine, this has been a life changing event for both Greg and Cherie; Greg was forced into taking an immediate leave of absence from his job and Cherie has had to dramatically cut her hours at work to help with her husband’s treatment and recovery.

Both Greg and Cherie have been extremely active in the Blues/ Music community for many years, supporting hundreds of musicians as well as innumerable music industry events and workers.  In particular, they’ve always stepped up in a big way when others have been stricken with cancer or other serious illness.  Now, it’s Greg and Cherie who need our help.  Please, show your support for this amazing, loving couple as they cope with the medical crisis they’re facing.  The upcoming weeks ahead will be critical as Greg undergoes more testing to see how far his cancer has advanced.  We will be posting updates as they come in.”

Debby Espinor and Angie deRouchie have also set up a meal train, the link is here.  If you can’t deliver a meal, but still want to help, the meal train also has options to donate restaurant or grubhub gift cards.

Cherie has also asked Terry Currier, Joey Scruggs and Shelley Garrett to work on a benefit.  Due to COVID we are going to wait until fall.

Sunday wilde’s - Peace in Trouble

Sunday wilde’s Peace in Trouble, A West Coast Collaboration

By Marie Walters & Sunday wilde

Last month saw the launch of Sunday wilde’s ninth album, Peace in Trouble, featuring guest Harpdog Brown. And launch it most certainly did – to worldwide acclaim, hitting blues and roots charts across Canada, the U.S., the UK and Europe at or very near the top. Within weeks of its release, it hit a succession of #1’s: Song and Album (Canada), Acoustic Blues Album, Acoustic Blues Song, and #7 Blues Album worldwide, #4 Blues Song Worldwide, as well as hitting #2 on Amazon’s Traditional Blues best seller list (just behind Nina Simone).

If you haven’t heard of Sunday wilde, you can check out her contributions to blues music. No stranger to the IBC’s in Memphis: three of her past albums have received nominations for Best Self-Produced, and last year she competed as a duo as well as Best Self Produced album. Nominated to the Independent Music Awards and International Songwriting Competition (where she also received an honourable mention) and won many awards for Best Female Blues, Best Acoustic Blues, Best Blues Song … you get the idea!

This album strips back blues music to its acoustic bones, just Sunday singing at her piano in her living room, with bass and other acoustic instruments adding full flavour. No drums. No guitars. Aside from Willie Dixon’s Home To Momma, Sunday wrote all the songs: tales of love, trouble, peace, worry, men, advice and friendships. A first listen to this CD catapults the listener to an old-time honkytonk juke joint where everyone lets loose with wild abandon and sticky liquor stains the floor.

But this is about to much more than the music, and this isn’t really a CD review (there are terrifically detailed reviews out there already, like this one from American Blues Scene or this from The Alternate Root). Peace in Trouble has been all about collaboration and reaching out in ways that may not have been apparent or possible prior to a worldwide pandemic forcing us to approach things differently.

Despite the singer-songwriter-producer residing in northern Ontario, there is significant Pacific Northwest connection to the music on this album, beginning with Vancouver B.C.’s harp player Harpdog Brown, who is featured on five of the eleven tracks and even inspired one of the songs. But Sunday didn’t tell him that one of the songs was inspired by (and about) him until after they’d already recorded it because, as she puts it, “I’ve written lots of songs about many different men. Some men do NOT like it, it makes them feel weird or something.” Luckily Harpdog was cool about it.

She finished writing One Day We Will after Covid shut downs cut short Harpdog’s tour outside Toronto and he ended up crashing at her place both on his way there and back. Speaking about his take on the song, he tells of late nights “sharing stories and brown liquor, I somehow inspired her to write the song.” Sunday laughs as she explains the song is about a woman, her, “or any woman, hoping there’s gonna be a man that comes along that’s brave enough to hang out with them.” It takes a big bold personality to fit so comfortably with an equally big bold personality, and with pandemic lockdowns slowing down the pace of life, they would finally get their opportunity to work together on a project.

Then, while Sunday was putting finishing touches on the album this winter, Harpdog suggested she reach out to Seattle-based visual artist and blues musician Joel Astley to see if he was interested in doing some album art. Joel was excited to work with Sunday to create something unique. They teamed up to present a world premiere listening party of her new music aired on Facebook Live. People watched as Joel designed and painted the album cover art over the course of a few weeks, culminating in a special virtual event in January when audience members heard the brand new album for the first time through the art studio speakers on Joel’s live stream show while he painted his design. You can see snippets of the special event on Sunday’s YouTube channel. Joel has created a following for his visual art by broadcasting every Sunday evening from his art studio, and he is also known regionally for his work as an award winning singer, songwriter and harmonica player for the High Note Group (which incidentally has been nominated in EIGHT categories in the Washington State Blues Awards! Watch it on April 18th) The finished cover art is also available as a t-shirt via Joel’s Etsy shop.

Sprinkling in just a touch more West Coast collaboration with a Portland shout-out, Fraser Valley Blues Society President Cora Price (in British Columbia) and CBA Secretary Marie Walters were able to contribute some really cool animations to add visual oomph to Sunday’s Spotify channel. You can find more information on her website at and purchase her music via Bandcamp, Apple, Amazon.

Blue Diamond Bar & Grill that's Nasty

The Blue Diamond presents – That’s Nasty

Back by popular demand

Dirty blues is a tradition that goes way back to the days of Jelly Roll Morton and Ma Rainey. It’s been kept alive over the years by Chitlin’ Circuit artists like Barbara Carr and Denise LaSalle.

“That’s Nasty” continues this raunchy tradition by presenting dirty blues songs not only by these classic artists but with some new originals as well from the performing artists in this show. Lisa Mann, Sonny Hess, Lady Kat, Ellen Whyte, Kathryn Grimm, Myrtle Brown, JT Thomas, Kelly Pierce

If you love the blues and are not faint of heart, you don’t want to miss this show.
2 shows, reservations required.

The Blue Diamond, 2016 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232, Saturday, May 1st 5pm & 7pm shows  $20 (outside).

This will sell out, so get your tickets/reservations here




Artur Menezes - Fading Away

Artur Menezes

Fading Away

Review by John Taylor

Go ahead. Call it rock if you like.

But despite its raw edge, Artur Menezes’ fifth album, “Fading Away,” is authentic, bare-knuckled, indie blues at its core. The all-original album’s murky tones and dark themes are in the tradition of a long line of blues masters.

Five years after moving to Los Angeles, the Brazilian-born Menezes – an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter has – produced what might be his most impressive work yet.

With the help of producer Josh Smith (who chips in some guitar work for a track called “Free at Last”) and the great Joe Bonamassa (whose guitar provides a jolt of extra power on the belligerent “Come On”), Menezes has an album you’ll want on your playlist for a long time.

Menezes’ masterful guitar drives the album, sparking rock cuts like the title song and slowing down for deep exhales on “Fight for Your Love,” “Until I Can See” and his autobiographical “Green Card Blues.”

Among the standouts: the chilling “Devil’s Own,” a shadowy blend of Menezes’ writing (“She’s gone, he’s gone, two birds one stone …”) and the lost-soul wails of his guitar.

Recorded at L.A.’s Flat V Studios, Menezes has some impressive backups for this one.

Gui Bodi plays bass on nearly everything, yielding to Travis Carlton on “Free at Last,” and to Chris Chaney on “Fight for Your Love.” Lemar Carter’s on drums, with an assist from Zé Leal on “Northeast” and Gary Nowak on “Fight for Your Love.” Matt Mitchell brings the rhythm guitar on “Free at Last.”

Carey Frank plays B3 organ and piano, while Kesha Shantrell and Revel Day round out the crew with backing vocals.

While the album was largely completed pre-pandemic, Menezes reportedly layered on the lyrics and vocals during quarantine – which might account for some of the tone.

But whenever and however it came about, “Fading Away” is a statement album. Artur Menezes has established himself as legitimate blues-rocker who deserves to be heard.

Total Time: 46:03

Fading Away / Devil’s Own / Come On /  Northeast / Fight for Your Love / Free at Last / Until I Can See / Green Card Blues

Curtis Salgado - Damage Control

Curtis Salgado

Damage Control
Alligator Records

Review by Randy Murphy

When I first began to listen to Curtis Salgado’s new release, “Damage Control,” it only took a couple of bars from Jim Pugh’s stout piano and Mike Finnigan’s sparkling organ to hook me completely. I hear a lot of new music, but during the last few years there have only been a couple of albums that immediately took off the top of my head. Shemekia Copeland’s “America’s Child” was one. So too was Ole Firmer’s “Live in Appingen.” But now there are three. Salgado’s combination of fervent, rough-hewed vocals, kick-ass bandmates, and splendid songwriting has produced an album that moves effortlessly from rock-infused blues and ‘50s-inspired rock ‘n’ roll to soulful R&B and lovely gospel — all of which Salgado neatly wraps up in sardonic, and often elegiac, lyrics. This is an album of superb musicianship, but it also has a vast, doozy of a heart.

Frankly, while writing this review I felt like a man splitting firewood with an icepick — I wasn’t sure I had the right tools for the job. There’s a sublime character to this album that’s difficult to describe. Any musician can play with feeling, but it takes something else, perhaps just potent insights into the nature of the human heart, to take music beyond mere feeling. Whatever that thing is, it’s here in spades.

There’s hardly a single dud on the record. Things start out with “The Longer That I Live,” an up-tempo tune steeped in a rock groove with Kid Anderson’s tasty guitar licks weaving around and through Pugh and Finnigan’s keyboards. It’s a stunning start to the album. Two other tunes deserve highlighting: “Always Say I Love You (At the End of Your Goodbyes)” and “You’re Going to Miss My Sorry Ass.” These two songs set the stylistic margins for this heady musical mix; the former a restrained, poignant plea to never assume loved ones will be here tomorrow, the latter a boisterous, pungent warning that one should take care when selecting those loved ones.

Not sure what else there is to say about this terrific recording but to point out that any album that delves into the career of Julius Caesar (“Hail Mighty Caesar”) easily crosses the Rubicon on its journey to musical nirvana. Go buy this album now.

Total Time: 51:21

The Longer That I Live / What Did Me In Did Me Well / You’re Going To Miss My Sorry Ass / Precious Time / Count Of Three /Always Say I Love You (At The End Of Your Goodbyes)  / Hail Mighty Caesar / I Don’t Do That No More / Oh For The Cry Eye / Damage Control / Truth Be Told / The Fix Is In / Slow Down

New Music to Note-September 2021

April 2021 New Music Releases

There is so much good music out there. To help sort through it, we recommend starting here.

Alex Maryol – In The Meantime (Self Release)

Artur Menezes — Fading Away (VizzTone)

Cousin Harley – Let’s Go! (Little Pig Records)

Curtis Salgado – Damage Control (Alligator)

ElectroBluesSociety – ElectroBluesSociety featuring Boo Boo Davis (Black & Tan)

Erwin Helfer & The Chicago Boogie Ensemble – Celebrate the Journey (Sirens)

Franck L Goldwasser – Going Back to Paris: The Paris Slim Mountain Top Sessions 1998/1999 (Self Release)

Grant Haua – Awa Blues (Dixiefrog)

Layla Zoe – Nowhere Left to Go (Self Release)

Mike Felton – Fast Mikey Blue Eyes (Landfill Records)

Nalani Rothrock – The Rock House Sessions (Self Release)

Paul Size – Can’t Lose Playing the Blues (Feffrey Records)

Queen Esther – Gild the Black Lily

Rick Fines – Solar Powered Too (Self Release)

Rick Holmstrom – See That Light (Holmstrom Music)

Robert Ealey and His Five Careless Lovers – Live at the New Blue Bird Nite Club (Record Town Records)

Rowland Jones – Live! (Self Release)

Steven Tyler – Existential Blues (Self Release)

Sunday Wilde – Peace in Trouble (Self Release)

The Rusty Wright Band – Live From the End of the World – First Wave (Sadson Music)


April 7th Member Drawings

April 7th Member Drawings – How to WIN!!!

If you are a current CBA member, we are offering you a chance to win prizes during the “Virtual CBA Membership Meeting/Livestream”

This month, in addition to our usual CD give-a-way, you can also win a table for 4 for the Sonny Hess Trio show at Artichoke Music on Saturday April 18th.

Here is how to win during the livestream that starts at 7pm:

  • For the CD drawing…in the “comments” type in “I’m a proud CBA member
  • If you’d like to be entered to win the show tickets too, type in “I’m a proud CBA member and I love live music

I’ll be using the current membership file plus any PayPal online renewals through April 6th.

Winners will be announced on Facebook in the Cascade Blues Association Group by end of day Wednesday April 8th.

CD’s will be mailed to the address we have on file for you.  If you win the show tickets, I will let you know how to redeem them.  Please be prepared to follow current Covid guidelines.


Good luck!  Shelley

Cascade Blues Association / Artichoke Music  Present Livestream with adam Scramsted

PRESENT Livestream with Jody Carroll


CBA Membership Meeting Livestream with Jody CarrollFor our monthly blues performance, the Cascade Blues Association and Artichoke Music present Jody Carroll, a blues and roots performer and songwriter who effortlessly creates bold interpretations of old blues and American folk music, his own songs, stories and improvisational musical journeys. He is a finger style/slide guitar master and amazingly soulful singer, blending flavors of old blues, folk, mountain music, jazz and rock into a true, power-packed gumbo.

His music can be hypnotic and mind-bending with its original styles of acoustic roots guitar as a solo artist or leading the boundary-breaking band Woodbrain. Having performed across the country, in Europe and Japan, Jody has opened for and shared stages with the likes of Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards, Jack Owen, Johnny Winter, RL Burnside, Shemekia Copeland, Sonny Landreth, John Mayall, Robert Cray, Charlie Musselwhite, Roy Book Binder and many others.

Twice Jody’s recordings were selected by the Cascade Blues Association to be entered into The Blues Foundation’s Best Self-Produced CD competition. The first, Rain of Days, made it to the final five in 2007. The second entry, Get Inside This House, won the overall competition in 2011. Judges were mesmerized by Jody’s authentic new approach that carried the acoustic blues into an exciting new territory, foregoing many stereotypical paths of the genre.

​Five years ago, Jody began living the life of a true troubadour, moving into a motorhome. He wanted to get to know America better and living it in order to write about it correctly. For a couple of years he landed in the Carolinas and lived the solitary life in his motorhome in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He began to woodshed and write new songs. A collection of his material from the last couple of years came together during the past year’s lockdown, which he recently released as the outstanding double-disc, World of Man.

Aside from music, Jody has also earned a master’s degree in fine arts and has taught painting and drawing at the university level. He has also lectured and presented concerts and private functions on American music. Subjects have included the works of Robert Johnson in a 101-year celebration and a two-part tribute to the ethnomusicologist Harry Smith and the impact of his highly admired collection, Anthology of American Folk Music.

Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m., live feed on Artichoke Music’s live Facebook feed.,

This will be posted to YouTube the day after the show.

Ramblings on My Mind August 2021

Ramblings On My Mind

by Shelley Garrett, Vice-President Cascade Blues Association


As many of you know, the reason I’m writing this article is that CBA President Greg Johnson has been diagnosed with cancer.  While not much is known yet about treatment options or potential surgery, it’s a given that both Greg & Cherie, the CBA board and the blues community at large is devastated.

Many people are working to identify the help and support they need. Tracy Pain has started a Go Fund Me, Debby Espinor and Angie deRouchie have organized a meal train… and Terry Currier, Joey Scruggs and myself are beginning very preliminary plans for a benefit in the Fall.

We wish Greg all the best in this fight and we will be happy when he returns to full strength.  But rest assured, the CBA Board is strong and we will continue the work of the organization so Greg can put all of his strength into fighting this!

Normally at this time of the year, we would be in full swing planning the Journey to Memphis competition.  The Board has decided to move this important event to later in the year with the hopes that venues will be open.  We have discussed a contingency plan for a live stream event if needed…more to come!

We are also applying to partner with Portland Parks again this year to provide music for their programs from our member musicians.  We are also hoping to hold the Muddy Awards too, but it’s just too soon to make that decision.

The Board is so thankful for all of the support from our members.  I personally have noticed that more people are asking how they can GIVE to the blues community as CBA members, and fewer looking at a CBA membership as “what do I GET.” I guess this year has taught all of us a lot.

We have a couple of members only drawings this month, see the related article for how you can win.

Be well, Shelley