Taj Mahal In Eugene

Legendary blues and roots musician Taj Mahal has announced a series of livestream performances this March, broadcast from The UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA. The series will include a full electric set starring The Phantom Blues Band and special guest Jon Cleary (Saturday, March 13; followed by the Roots Rising Showcase featuring some of Taj’s favorite emerging artists including Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Amythyst Kiah, Annie Mack, Leyla McCalla, Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo, Ranky Tanky, Allison Russell and Jontavious Willis (Saturday, March 20); and all-star multi-generational finale duo collaboration with Fantastic Negrito (Saturday, March 27).

Tickets for these streamed performances are available at boxofficemandolin.com ranging from $25.00 to $80.00. All shows start at 6:00 pm.

Chris Smither - 3 Nights of Streaming Shows

Chris Smither –
3 Nights of Streaming Shows

Acoustic guitar master Chris Smither fell in love with the sound of folk and blues music after hearing a recording by the legendary Lightnin’ Hopkins at an early age. He decided to make music his life’s career in his twenties in the mid-60s and has since released 18 highly acclaimed albums. A storytelling songwriter who music has been recorded by the likes of Bonnie Raitt (“Love Me Like A Man”), and has recorded and toured alongside people like BB King, Dave Alvin, Dr John, Nanci Griffith and more.

A true road-dog, Smither is normally constantly on the road performing, but as with every other musician he finds himself seeking other ways to showcase his talents. In March, he will be streaming three nights of music, including two performances and one master class. All three will be streamed live from The Parlor in Northampton, MA.

March 13 LEAVE THE LIGHT ON night – Chris will perform songs from the record in its entirety playing favorites like “Seems So Real,” “Origin of Species,” “Leave the Light On,” and other songs.

March 20 MASTER CLASS –  Chris will break down how he plays his song(s) and also provide some commentary on how the songs came about all in conversation with special guest Chris’s good friend songwriter/musician Peter Mulvey.

March 27 NIGHT of the BLUES – Chris will play a solid hour of his own and traditional blues.

Each event has a 48-hour replay window so folks in the Pacific Northwest, Australia, UK and EU you can watch at a time that works best for you and also anyone can re-watch the performances again (and again and again) in that window.

Alberta Rose Theatre is proud to partner with Chris Smither to bring you access to these special livestream performances.  Tickets are $20 and on sale now at albertarosetheatre.com.  A portion of each ticket sold benefits the Alberta Rose.

St Patrick’s Day with Patrick Lamb

St Patrick’s Day with Patrick Lamb

Three-time Muddy Award winner, including twice for horn player of the year, and Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee, saxophonist Patrick Lamb will perform a special St Patrick Day show at The Garages Satellite Pub. Lamb has performed around the world with various jazz, rock and blues musicians including the likes of Gino Vanelli, Diane Schuur, Bobby Caldwell and Jeff Lorber Fusion.

At The Garages Satellite Pub, 4810 SW Western Avenue, Beaverton, Wednesday, March 17, 6:00 pm, $17.50

A.J. Croce Presents a Pair of Live Stream Shows

A.J. Croce Presents a Pair of Live Stream Shows

Over his ten studio albums, it’s clear that A.J. Croce holds an abiding love for all types of musical genres: blues, soul, pop, jazz and rock. A virtuosic piano player, Croce, the song of the late singer/songer writer Jim Croce, has toured with BB King and Ray Charles before reaching the age of 21, and over his career has performed with a wide range of musicians, from Willie Nelson to The Neville Brothers, Bela Flek to Ry Cooder.

A.J. Will be bringing two live streaming events in March, one in celebration of his latest release, By Request, and the second a retrospective of his thirty year career

Thursday, March 18, 5:30 pm. By Request, album release show featuring the studio band

Thursday, March 25, 5:30. Career Retrospective Show.

Tickets for these online performances are available through Eventbrite.com or through the Aladdintheater.com website for $15.00 – $25.00.

Alex Maryol - In the Meantime

Alex Maryol

In the Meantime
Self Release

Review by John Taylor

Take enough roads and you’ll probably end up cursing a wrong turn or two, hitting some dead ends and doing some backtracking.

Ask Alex Maryol. He’s been there.

And the Santa Fe-based Maryol lets us ride shotgun as his eighth album, In the Meantime, revisits Mississippi, Chicago and Texas, mixing smooth guitars and raucous rhythms into a sound that’s all his own. The music is authentic and the lyrics don’t hold back.

Apparently, we can thank a little studio meltdown for that.

According to Maryol’s website, he and his engineer, Tim Stroh (who’s worked with the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Robbie Robertson) got into it on the first day of recording at Stroh’s new studio, Mad House Recorders in Leadville, Colorado.

Fortunately, they smoothed things over quickly. But the blowup seemed to free everyone up to stop being polite and bring their raw feelings to the table. It was good timing for Maryol, who’s just turning 40 and says that after years of soul-searching, he’s ready for some genuine, warts-and-all creativity. He calls In the Meantime “both a rebirth and a return.”

“It is a new era for me,” he says. “I feel like I am free to be myself, and express a deeper level of sincerity. It feels like the time to get back to a raw, from-the-gut approach to my music.”

The result of all this honesty and creativity? An album that’s being hailed as Maryol’s best yet – a breakthrough, maybe.

The 11-song work has echoes of the unvarnished, gutsy blues he cut his teeth on as a teenager in Santa Fe, and which defined much of his earlier music.

Dating back to the 1990s, Maryol has opened for names like Etta James, G. Love and Special Sauce, Bo Diddley Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Leon Russell, Corey Harris, Blues Traveler and Otis Taylor. And it sounds like he’s learned a lot from his experiences.

In the Meantime ranges from rockers like “Telluride” to “Hey Now Baby,” which Stevie Ray Vaughn himself would envy. Some sleek guitar work snakes its way through true-blue numbers like the title cut as well as “All Night,” “Rain Been Coming Down” and the reprise of “Love Is What We are Made for.”

The diverse sounds mark Maryol as a bluesman who’s come into his own. He’s equally adept at wading into soggy Delta blues or muscling out some classic Chicago-style riffs.

Throughout In the Meantime, though, he’s true to his own story. Each song reflects his personal take on modern blues and the roads he’s taken to get here. He’s picked up a few nicks and a scar or two along the way. But he’s earned some swagger.

With this one, he’s also earned some bona fide blues credentials that should put him on the map.

Total Time: 48:50

Love Is What We are Made for / All Night / Rain Been Coming Down / Made in Santa Fe / In the Meantime / Love Is What We are Made for – Reprise / Worry / Telluride / Hey Now Baby / Feeling Good / Where the River Flows

Blue ACiD feat. John Blake – EP

Blue ACiD feat. John Blake 

Black and Tan Records

Review by John Taylor

Five years ago, a couple of Dutchmen — who’d sung, played, produced and promoted the blues for more than a quarter of a century each — holed up with a guy they describe as “a mysterious singer hailing from the Deep East of Holland.”

From that shadowy gathering of Jan Mittendorp, Mischa den Haring and the singer, John Blake, an EP has arisen. And with the release of “Blue ACiD feat. John Blake,” it’s as if the spirits of the Mississippi Delta have returned with a message for blues lovers of today.

That message? American roots music is still very much alive, evolving and thriving as it absorbs new influences and technologies.

“Like moonshine,” a release from Blue ACiD says, “this music was slow brewed in seclusion during all-night-and-day marathons attended only by the two members and the ghosts of the past, who were eager to have their voices echo into the modern world.”

The modern world had better be listening, too. This four-song collection is a playlist of blues as authentic as anything released this side of the graves of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf.

Two tracks – “Georgia” and “Gallows Tree” — could just as well have been among the songs Alan Lomax recorded when he toured the Mississippi Delta in the 1950s, documenting traditional work songs.

The other two – “Keep It Burning” and “No Time” – bring the kind of heat you’d expect at a house-rocking Chicago blues joint.

With the raw power of Blake’s voice and the measured musicianship of Mittendorp and den Haring, the boys of Blue ACiD are making good on their goal of “preserving the power and originality of American roots music but at the same time not excluding influences from any other musical styles nor any technology that is available today.”

Somewhere deep in the Delta, spirits are kicking back and resting easy.


Total Time: 17:32

Georgia / Keep It Burning / Gallows Tree / No Time


Early Times & The High Rollers

The Corner

Review by Greg Johnson

Blues guitarist Early Times started his career working in Northern California joining up with artists like Johnny Heartsman and EC Scott. He is also known for hosting a show on Sirius XM’s BB King’s Bluesville station. With a handful of recordings since 1990, Times is releasing The Corner, his first disc since 2017’s Hit & Run.

Early Times has a knack for writing descriptive stories filled with eclectic characters, which can easily be seen in his lyrics on the new album; perhaps most vividly in the track “Do What She Do” populated with people like Mary in the Cha Cha Hat. He is not a guitarist that puts too many notes within a song; just enough to give the right edge to deliver his music and he shows this in the instrumental number “Rosie’s Herbs N’ Things” and the jazzy “Say, Man.”  But less notes does not mean that he’s a lesser guitarist. On the contrary, he knows exactly what is necessary to bring the perfect mood and flow for each number. There is a nice string-work interaction by him and guest Popa Chubby on “She’s About To Lose Her Mind.” There is also a nice jump of stylings between the songs, as you have rockin’ tracks like “Charmlemagne,” a Bob Dylan-esque feel to the closer “Return Of The Queen” and a slower acoustic piece “Someone Help Mary.”

Overall, The Corner is a fun trip to make to escape the every day distractions happening in the world. Early Times will take you in with his all original views of life and the people who live within it. Musically this is a terrific disc, packed with great vocals and stories, and produced by the amazing Jay Messina. Recommended!!

Total Time: 36:12

Come On, Let’s Ride / On The Corner / Do What She Do / She’s About To Lose Her Mind / Rosie’s Herbs N’ Things / He’s Got A Jones / Say, Man / Charlemagne / Someone Help Mary / Return Of The Queen

Jimmy Reiter

Pogo Pop

Review by Greg Johnson

A nicely done live performance by German bluesman Jimmy Reiter with a sharp band that sizzles in its presentation. Velvety smooth delivery with fluid guitar playing leading the way through two sets of shows recorded in Osnabruck, Germany and Vienna, Austria. This is the fourth recording and first live disc for a musician who has been named the top contemporary blues artist in the country in 2015, and his band, Reiter on guitar, Nico Dreir on keys, Jasper Mortier on bass and drummer Bjorn Puls, named best in 2018. They are joined on these live dates by sax players Dmitry Suslov and Jurgen Wieching.

Reiter is an exceptional songwriter and his original pieces fit nicely next to songs written by Willie Dixon, Allen Toussaint, Dr John, Luther “Guitar Jr” Johnson, Peter Green and Luther “Snakeboy” Johnson. A highlight has to be the 12-plus-minute “Give It To Me Straight,” where Reiter brings out various guitar riffs and can even draw the audience to a rapturous attention with nearly silent moments. Another standout is the closing tribute to Reiter’s guitar heroes Freddie King and Magic Sam, simply titled “Jimmy’s Boogie,” it is an absolutely infectious instrumental as it builds its pace right up to the end.

The main focus on these performances are without doubt Jimmy Reiter’s guitar playing. Front and center throughout, it is marvelous and straightforward start to finish. He can hold you spellbound at one moment and want to jump and dance the next.

Total Time: 1:18:43

Waiting For My Luck To Change / What You Need / What’s In It For Me? / Too Many Cooks / I Shouldn’t But I Do / Hard Times (Have Surely Come) / I’ll Take The Easy Way / Give It To Me Straight / Woman Don’t Lie / It’s Easy When You Know How / I’m Givin’ In / Hooked / Who’s Minding The Store / Jimmy’s Boogie

New Music to Note-September 2021

March 2021 New Music Releases

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

Blu ACID – Blu ACID featuring John Blake EP (Self Release)

Cash McCall – Blues Coming Down (Nola Records)

Damon Fowler – Alafia Moon (Landslide)

Dave Thomas – One More Mile (Blonde on Blonde Records)

Duke Robillard – Blues Bash! (Stony Plain)

Early Times & The High Rollers – The Corner (VizzTone)

Jack DeKeyzer – Tribute (Blue Star)

Jimmy Reiter – Live (Pogo Pop)

Joanna Connor – 4801 South Indiana Avenue (KTBA Records)

Joe Lewis Band – Up Next” (Self-Produced)

Jorg Danielson – Guess Who’s Got The Blues (Wolf Records)

Mick Kolassa – If You Can’t Be Good, Be Good At It (Self Release)

Miss Emily – Live At The Isabel (Self Release)

Miss Tess – The Moon Is An Ashtray (Tone Tree Music)

Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – The Reckless One (Gypsy Soul)

Stratcat Willie & The Strays – On The Prowl (Self Release)

The Reverend Shawn Amos – Blue Sky (Put Together Music)

Trevor B. Power – What is Real (Farm 189 Records)

Various Artists – New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2 (Stony Plain Music)

Veronica Lewis – Is You Is My Baby (Moonwink Music)





Karen Lovely & Ben Rice Stream From Artichoke

Karen Lovely & Ben Rice
Perform Together for
March Live Stream From Artichoke

For our monthly blues performance, the Cascade Blues Association along with Artichoke Music present two of the most beloved artists on Portland’s music scene, Karen Lovely and Ben Rice. Both rose to fame representing the Cascade Blues Association at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN and have gone on to tour the world as in-demand performers and have each garnered multiple award recognitions.

Vocalist Karen Lovely traveled to the International Blues Challenge in 2010 after winning the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey to Memphis. She took Beale Street by storm taking second place overall in the competition that brings musicians from around the world. That win brought huge attention that has not lapsed, with four Blues Music Award nominations, three Blues Blast Award nominations, and multiple Muddy Award nominations and wins. Six recordings, including stand-out releases Still The Rain, Ten Miles of Bad Road, and Fish Outta Water, have all received high critical acclaim through outlets like Downbeat, Living Blues, Roots Music Report and Billboard.

Those following the Oregon blues scene have literally watched Ben Rice come up as a musical prodigy since his early teens. As a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and band leader, he has all the skills needed to carry him on a continual path to great heights. Rice also represented the Cascade Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge, the first time in 2008 with his band The Youth of Blues. He has been two more times since, making the band finals representing the Cascade Blues Association and as a solo/duo performer with Lucy Hammond representing the Ashland Blues Society when he also took home the St Blues Cigar Box Award for best guitarist. Rice had won the honor to represent the Cascade Blues Association again in 2019, but his recording Wish the World Away was nominated for three Blues Music Awards, thus making him ineligible to compete furthermore in the event. He has won the Blues Blast Sean Costello Rising Star Award and has a multitude of Muddy Awards from over the years, including induction into the Muddy Award Hall of Fame.

Karen Lovely and Ben Rice have worked together numerous times over the years including touring to locations in Europe and across the country in both band and duo formats. There’s a little magice that happens when these two come together onstage and it’s obvious how much they enjoy working with one another from their ever-present smiles (though you may not see this with masks worn due to Covid, you just know they’re there).

Wednesday, March 3, 7:00 pm, live feed on Artichoke Music’s live Facebook feed.

Karen Lovely – PayPal karen@karenlovely.com  Venmno: @Karen-Lovely

Ben Rice – PayPal.me/BenRiceMusic  Venmo: @Ben-Rice-12