June 2022
General Membership Meeting

WEDNESDAY June 1st, 6PM -7:30PM

Join us at the Garages, Lake Oswego on June 1 for the next Cascade Blues Association member meeting beginning at 6pm. First up musical guests this month are The Chris Stone and Robbie Laws duo. As if that wasn’t enough smoldering saxophone and smoking guitar, the band this month is Pat Stillwell. Bring your friends and your dancing shoes. Members free, $5 donation non-members. See you there!

Key Events - Save the Date! 2022 May

Key Events – Save the Date! 2022 May


5/1 – Booker T. Jones Alberta Rose Theater

5/5 – St Paul & The Broken Bones, Crystal Ballroom

5/10—Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Roseland Theater

5/21 – David Bromberg Aladdin Theater

5/24 – Dave Mason Aladdin Theater

5/26 – Journey to Memphis competition Mekong Bistro


6/4 – Bobby Rush Jack London Revue

6/14 – Fantastic Negrito Aladdin Theater

6/24-25 – Gorge Blues and Brews Festival

7/1-4 – Waterfront Blues Festival
7/15-17 – Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival
8/7 – Little Feat with Hot Tuna Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
8/12 – Rick Estrin Jack London Revue
8/26-27 Peninsula Rhythm and Blues Festival
10/14 – Carvin Jones Lincoln Performance Hall


Thanks to Mike and Debra Penk for keeping us updated! Are we missing something? Let us know HERE


Richard Wilkins - Life's For Livin'

Richard Wilkins

Life’s For Livin’
Self release

Review by Anni Piper

Originally from sunny California, Richard Wilkins has made Portland his home and obviously rode the rails into the blues scene here in a big way. Wilkins is a vocalist, bassist, saxophonist and composer. That’s quite a mouthful if you try to say it out loud! According to the liner notes, Wilkins has two big passions in life: blues music and trains. Chugga chugga choo choo, indeed.

The packaging, performances and production are all great. Wilkins lays it down on bass, while Kevin Selfe rips it up on guitar. “Richmond” is a standout as one of the handful of originals on the album. It’s a country-flavored ballad with some lovely pedal steel from Don Brainard. “Hydramatic Woman” features a frenzied barrelhouse piano solo from Steve Kerin, and some super snappy snare work from Jimi Bott in this old school rock ’n’ roller.

This album’s very danceable, and I’m sure it’s also perfect for shunting, or whatever it is that locomotives do. Catch the Richard Wilkins band in our Journey to Memphis competition next month. This release is available on BandCamp and all the streaming platforms.

Total time: 43 minutes

Howlin for My Darling / Help Me / Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby / Here I Come Mama / Honest I Do / Life’s for Livin’ / You Don’t Have to Go / Night Train / Richmond / Hydramatic Woman / I Don’t Drink No More / Running On Faith

Keeping the Blues Alive by Kirk Andersen

Keeping the Blues Alive

by Kirk Andersen

So many cities around the United States have been touched by the history of music and the musicians and businessmen and women who propelled it.  Unfortunately, either due to politics, commercial pressures/buyouts or the natural desire to find new music that is yours, these white-hot fires run their course and they flame out to embers.  Without the oxygen of people continually dedicated to preserving the music and adapting, these fires soon die down to mere memories.

Our story starts off with Otis Redding and the branches of the blues known as rhythm & blues and soul. Otis had started his career at STAX Recording Studio in South Memphis with Otis’ recording of “These Arms of Mine” in 1962.  Two years later Jim STewart & Estelle AXton (STAX took its name from the first two letters of each of the founders’ names) released Otis’ first album, “Pain in My Heart.”  The fire was kindled and began to take hold as listeners from around the world found a connection to the music and the artist.

During the same period a Mercer University (Macon, Ga.) graduate named Phil Walden had been booking bands for fraternity parties when he discovered and started booking Otis. Their relationship grew as did each of their careers. Beginning in 1959, Phil started managing Otis’ career.  As Otis’ career grew, Phil’s flame also grew as he branched out and started to manage Al Green, Sam & Dav,e and Percy Sledge. This led to Phil’s relationship with Atlantic Records co-head Jerry Wexler.

In 1967, Phil, together with Otis Redding, decided to pool their resources to buy a building and make a recording studio in Macon, Ga.  The idea was that Otis wouldn’t have to travel from Macon to Memphis to record.  They formed RedWal Music (again this was the first three letters of each partner’s last name, REDding and WALden).

Otis and Phil had chosen the block of four buildings off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Macon, which will also become the home for our story. The stage was set for Otis and Phil to build out the recording studio and continue bringing hits to the masses with distribution from growing R&B label, Atlantic Records.

But before Otis could record there, Otis was taken from his fans and his business partner.  He and most of his band died on a chartered plane that crashed into Lake Monona several miles from the Madison, Wis., airport on Dec. 10, 1967.

“ (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” was Redding’s only single to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.  The song hit this zenith a month after he passed away. Phil was lost. He lost a friend.  He lost a career.

With the encouragement of Jerry Wexler, Phil shifted gears and joined forces with Atlantic Records’ first managing director, Frank Fenter.  Phil and Frank joined forces with Phil’s brother Alan (also an alum of Mercer University) in 1968-69 to move from an R&B label. They were hellbent on showing they could find rock groups for the new label, Capricorn Records( the name Capricorn came from Phil’s astrological sign).  Maybe the first lesson we can take away from this story is to believe in yourself and never give up.

In the early days of television, the 1940s saw the first serious efforts to produce a nightly newscast that would be broadcast to affiliates across the nation who would in turn broadcast that same nightly broadcast to their local viewers.  This idea took off and with the next 20 years, most Americans who could afford a television tuned in each night to see for themselves what was happening in their nation.  Those who could not afford a television listened to graphic details on the radio allowing their imaginations to paint those pictures.

During the late 1960s, scenes played on the nightly news of how African-Americans in the South were still being treated as less than human. These horrific images played across television screens regularly as festering negative regionalism mounted.  People were appalled.  As rhythm & blues and soul were coming out of Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn., to a mostly African-American audience, little other music with the regional flavor of the South made it into widespread distribution.

At the same time, the baby boomers were coming of age and hungering for new music. They had other regional musical acts which were growing out of the bubble gum from the ‘50s. Outside of Sun Records with country and Elvis Presley and the African-American oriented labels, the music that was brewing out of the heritage of the South was largely ignored.

The first artist that came to Phil’s attention after Otis Redding was Muscle Shoals session man Duane Allman. The same Jerry Wexler introduced Duane and Phil. Duane had tired of playing other people’s music and he left Muscle Shoals to go back to Florida to form a new band that would satiate the sound growing in his soul.  Steeped in the blues, but also with jazz, country and hints of the English blues explosion interpretations, Duane pulled together musicians that were also honing their craft in Florida.   In 1969, the Allman Brothers were the first target of Phil, Frank and Alan for their new rock label.

As the Allman Brothers Band started to mesh and feed an ever-growing fan base with relentless touring and the release of their first two albums, they released the seminal double live album, “At Fillmore East.”   The double album that was specially priced the same as single albums of the day, allowed Phil/Frank/Alan and Duane to see this live album soar to the top of the charts as No. 3 on Billboard’s pop album chart.

Again tragedy struck Phil as Duane Allman, the band’s leader and driving force, passed away later that year in a motorcycle accident in their adopted hometown, Macon.

Willie Perkins, former road manager for the Allman Brother Band, published “No Saints, No Saviors: My Years with the Allman Brothers Band” through Mercer University Press in 2005. In the book, he recounts that first lesson: don’t give up.  He wrote about the funeral of the driving force of the Allman Brothers Band, Duane Allman.  He tells that even though everyone was lost due to the clarity of Duane’s vision and leadership being stripped away, that after the funeral they knew they would carry on FOR Duane.

The rest of the band picked up their instruments for the first time since his passing and played for Duane.  The music, and the magic, was still there.  At a band meeting in the following weeks, everyone felt it and agreed that they must find a way to carry on. All of the business types said that without Duane, the band was done. But the musicians had kept the faith in themselves and picked up and worked hard to reinvent the project.

The following year, the band’s de facto leader, bassist Berry Oakley, passed away from another motorcycle accident and the band and its management had to pick themselves up again and reimagine themselves. In 1973, adding Chuck Leavell on keyboards and bassist Lamar Williams, they released “Brothers and Sisters,” which provided the band’s biggest hit singles, “Ramblin’ Man” and “Jessica.”  The album was recorded over three months at Capricorn Sound Studios in Macon. It was a revamped recording studio but in the same building that Otis Redding and Phil Walden envisioned.

The ensuing years saw hubris, increasing alcohol and drug use. The 1970s recession, along with the ever-changing appetite of the American music listener, sealed the fate of the Allman Brothers Band and Capricorn Records.  A lack of vision, control and a cohesive plan by many entities that should have been working together meant that seeing and reacting to change never successfully happened.

The Allman Brothers Band did finally recapture its lost success in the late 1990s. Separately, Capricorn Records relaunched in Nashville with Phil and his son. Bands such as Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, Cake, 311 and Kenny Chesney all signed with the reborn Capricorn and worked hard for success. This chapter for Capricorn closed in late 1990s when Phil sold Capricorn to Volcano Records.

This article is a two part article in cooperation with the Cascade Blues Association and the Washington Blues Society. Part 2 in the June Washington Blues Society’s Bluesletter holds my interview with Mercer University’s senior vice president of marketing communications and Chief of Staff Larry Blumley, who was in charge of overseeing the renovation of the Capricorn Recording Studios. Larry was also charged with completing the renovation project into what I saw that winter day in Macon. It moved me to write these two articles, hoping to bring some of that insight back to the Pacific Northwest music scene.

So what does a story about a Recording Studio in central Georgia have to do with the great work that both blues organizations are doing in the Pacific Northwest?  I was going to bury this idea within the words of the articles to plant subliminal seeds in the minds of like-minded readers.

My hope is that like-minded musicians and business people here in the Pacific Northwest who have had the fires of successful music burn so brightly and fall into the same embers as did Macon might see how another town in central Georgia fanned their embers back into flames. Not by themselves, but as a collective. All working together to bring their talents to the table and to work on filling the holes left by people and projects that have passed. These bright flames haven’t left us. They are there as embers, waiting for you and me to put ourselves to the task to continue to work together to rekindle those lost flames.

The list of artists who have grown their flame is numerous in Oregon.  The Helio Sequence who signed with Sub Pop; Brad Wilk and his funk metal drumming with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave; Portugal. The Man; Sleater-Kinney; Cool Nutz and The Kingsmen to name a few.

The music industry people in Oregon are either homegrown or come from the music industry outside of Oregon but now call Oregon home. Music fans from record stores to halls of fame to promoters all currently working to push the stone up the hill.

Lisa Lepine was one we lost in 2016. The Oregon Music News called her, “… mentor, manager, publicist, promotion queen, friend …”  Someone who realized that it takes the musician and the business person together to make success.  Her comment in a 2011 interview stated it so well: “The national scene had imploded.” She went on to talk about how she saw it here. “(The) local scene to be authentic and do their expression in a pure way.” The old guard is gone and the internet has opened up a new way of doing it and people don’t know how.  She was there to help them find their way.

And there was Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson. I never got to meet Greg. In talking with musicians, music industry people and fans of the blues, all I ever heard was his unselfish way of supporting everything about the blues. From the Cascade Blues Association itself to all of the surrounding musical events and fundraisers to the personal effort he put into mentoring musicians and helping fellow CBA board members and association members learn about their passions and learn how to help others. His photographic documentation of so many concerts and events inspired others to take up and share what they could in giving back to the music.

All of us can’t start a recording studio, record label, music club or band. Part 1 of this article shows you what Phil Walden and Capricorn Records and the Capricorn Recording Studio have been through.  The roaring flame and then the seeming dead embers made people think that the studios and all of that history are too far gone.

I challenge each of you to think about what talent you have and to bring it together with other like-minded people who can work with the art and the business. Maybe your burning love of the blues by night gives way to a career in the civic section. Maybe you’re on the board of a preservation foundation and can direct funds to historic buildings with musical heritage. Don’t give up. Find a path to a concerted effort to bring your vision together with others to remember those before you who made Oregon music so fantastic. What would Slim Lively do?

Gorge Blues and Brews 2022

Gorge Blues and Brews 2022


Mark your calendars now for Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, when Gorge Blues & Brews Festival hits the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson. The festival will celebrate 29 years of showcasing musical genius, 35 local craft brew taps, three local wineries, one distillery and mouthwatering food in the spectacular setting of the Columbia River Gorge.

Start your weekend off right on Friday night when all things local are featured from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Walking Man Brewery, Backwoods Brewing, Thunder Island Brewing and eight other local breweries will be pouring their tasty brews. There will be a nice selection of local wine, whiskey tastings and cocktails. Tons of great food including tacos, barbecue, gyros, pizza by the slice and crab cakes will make the festival tasty.  World renowned blues artists will fill two stages all weekend. Admission is $5 for Friday and comes with a souvenir glass.  Saturday tickets are good for Friday AND Saturday, come with a glass and some drink tokens.  Camping is available on site so plan to come early and stay late.

The music starts at 2, and finishes with gritty blues by Too Slim & the Taildraggers from Spokane. The music will be non-stop on both stages until we are forced to halt the music at 10 p.m.

Put on your blues shoes and revel in continuous live blues music filling the air.  This year’s line-up is beyond impressive. The music will flow between Riverview Community Bank’s main stage and the Big River Grill stage Saturday featuring Too Slim & the Taildraggers, Coyote Kings w/ Tiphony Dames, Stacy Jones Band, Stevie & the Blue Flames, Michelle D’Amour & the Love Dealers, Seth Myzel Band and Robin Gibson Band. Friday we’ll have Johnny Wheels & the Swamp Donkeys, Mark Hurwitz and Gin Creek, and the local Big River Blues Band.

Admission is open to those 21 years and over only on both Friday and Saturday, no minors will be allowed on the festival grounds.  The cost for admission on Saturday presale is $22 per person and includes a souvenir glass and two drink tokens, $25 at the gate.  Our campers pass is $32 presale, $35 at the gate, and comes with a souvenir glass and four drink tokens. Additional drink tokens are $6 each, and are good for beer, wine, cocktails and whiskey tasting flights. Cash or card will be accepted at the gate. Purchase your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line and we’ll pay the sales tax! Go to www.gorgeblues.com and click on Tickets.  No coolers or dogs on the event site, please.

Make your festival experience all the more memorable by staying at a local hotel or campground. Please visit www.gorgeblues.com/lodging for lodging options.

“It’s really exciting for us to be organizing such a great local event” says Rusty Hoyle, organizer and president of Craft Nation. “We visit Stevenson at least once a week, we really love it here, and we’re stoked to continue the local tradition.”   Volunteers are still needed – go to gorgeblues.com, click the volunteer link and pick your shift.  Volunteer positions include pouring beer or wine or cashiering and gain you free admission, two drink tokens, a souvenir glass and undying gratitude from the organizing committee. Last shift volunteers get special perks with the event staff.

Contact us on our Gorge Blues & Brews Facebook page for questions. For camping information, call Skamania County General Services at 509-427-3980. We look forward to seeing you in the most scenic venue in the Gorge, the Skamania County Fairgrounds, 650 SW Rock Creek Drive in Stevenson, this June 24-25!

Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings May 2022

by Anni Piper

We are grateful to everyone for attending the celebration of life for our late president emeritus, Greg Johnson, and acknowledging his contribution to our community in such a meaningful way. Best wishes to Greg’s wife, Cherie Johnson, who will be relocating to the East Coast. We will miss her beautiful smile lighting up our town.

There are two spots remaining for any acts that wish to enter our Journey to Memphis contest 2022. Heats are May 26 at Mekong Bistro from 6 p.m. and finals are July 4 at the Waterfront Blues Festival, starting at 11:30 a.m. It’s basically a 50/50 shot at performing at the Waterfront Blues Festival, so get those entries in quick. We will also be sponsoring a youth act for the 2023 IBC. Details on how to enter can be found at cascadebluesassociation.org

Speaking of taking a Journey to Memphis, this year’s delayed International Blues Challenge is happening in a matter of days. Keep your eye on social media for updates from our entrants, Sugar Roots (Chad Rupp, Timmer Blakely, JT Thomas, Chandler Bowerman and Pat McDougall) as they go for gold in the band category.

Volunteers are still needed for the Cider Summit June 10-11, and also the Waterfront Blues Festival on the July 4 weekend. Please contact Mike Todd, our membership director cbamembership.secretary@gmail.com

Blues Notes returns in a print form in time for the Waterfront Blues Festival – get your copies at the event and at select venues around PDX. Next month’s online updates will be brief as we hustle to get the print edition ready for you. Blues Notes will be published every two months. Look out for the July / August edition soon.

May 2022 General Membership Meeting

May 2022
General Membership Meeting

Wednesday May 4th, 6pm -7:30pm


The next Cascade Blues Association member meeting will be held At The Garages, Lake Oswego on May 4 at 6pm. The opening act is piano man Steve Kerin, who will be full of inspiration after a trip to the New Orleans Jazz Festival before he entertains us in PDX. Closing the show is the Myrtle Brown band with some blues and soul. Another lineup not to be missed! We hope to see you there.

May the forth be with you.