IBC 2022 Postponed by Anni Piper

IBC 2022 Postponed

by Anni Piper

In breaking news, the Blues Foundation has just announced the 2022 IBC will be postponed due to COVID. We have few details at this point. What a disappointment for our 2022 IBC representatives Sugar Roots, and our other local contender Rae Gordon, with less than three weeks to go until the event. The CBA will keep you informed on this developing story.

CBA 2021 Year in Review by Shelley Garrett This was an unprecedented year for the Cascade Blues Association.

CBA 2021 Year in Review

by Shelley Garrett

This was an unprecedented year for the Cascade Blues Association.

Greg Johnson, who had been CBA president since 2002, was diagnosed with cancer in March.  He was able to stay on in a limited capacity, until he suffered a stroke in May. His decades of service are not likely to be matched anytime soon. We give him our thanks.  If you are able to help with the GoFundMe, click here.

For me, I’m really glad I’m retired … the CBA became almost a full-time job! I was the 2021 elected vice president, interim treasurer for nine months, acting president for 11 months, the lead for the Waterfront Blues Festival flier, the Journey to Memphis Competition and the Mini Muddy Awards.  I was also part of the leadership team (along with Terry Currier and Joey Scruggs) for the “Blues for Slim Lively” October benefit for Greg at the Crystal Ballroom, managed the Blues Notes, designed and sent the email blast, was the website liaison, took care of the online store and ran the board meetings.

Some of our accomplishments this year include paying acts to play at our monthly membership meetings (started in August) increased member giveaways for CDs and  concert tickets, renewed support for the Good in the Hood online festival, continued partnership with the Cider Festival (virtual this year) increased co-sponsorships and website ad revenue, instituted a “futures” article to assist members in purchasing concert and event tickets before they sell out (big thanks to Mike and Debra Penk for helping with this!), continued liaison with the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival blues night and continued the successful partnership with Artichoke Music, which provided performers with high-quality video on YouTube. We built a partnership with the Lovejoy Rooftop at the Botanist supporting Elevate Unity and put on several successful shows there, again providing paying gigs for local musicians.

Randy Murphy took over as CD review coordinator, new writers Kirk Anderson and Dale Payne and new CD reviewer Anni Piper were added to the Blues Notes contributors, Marie Walters wrote feature articles and provided a much-needed graphic punch to our Facebook Group, Blues Notes, e-blast and events.

For the future … the long-discussed planning committees held their first meetings to identify projects — thank you to Brad Bleidt for leading this. And we rewrote the CBA mission statement — thanks to Randy Murphy for his research and guidance.

For the first time in decades, the membership elected a new president, Anni Piper, and new vice president, Nolan Johnson. Please support them as they learn their new roles!

The entire board thanks our paying members for hanging in there as we navigated our new normal!

Notice of Officer Election and Update to Bylaws

Notice of Officer Election
and Update to Bylaws

Officers of the Board of Directors of the Cascade Blues Association will be elected by vote of the general membership.  Officers shall be elected by individual ballot and bylaw amendments will be ratified in aggregate between December 2nd and December 16th as provided in the current bylaws. Voting forms will be sent via email to all current members* no later than December 2nd and submitted votes will be collected until December 16th.

*Emails will be sent to the email addresses associated with all members in good standing as of November 28th to allow time for processing new memberships and renewals before preparing voting forms.

*CANDIDATES* (Presented in alphabetical order by position) Please review individual candidate bios and discussions on the CBA Facebook Group



Anni Piper

James Thornton



Robert Umali Evans

Nolan Johnson



Marie Walters (Incumbent)



Mike Day (Incumbent)



Mike Todd (Incumbent)



(Presented in alphabetical order by position)



Anni Piper

Officer elections for the Cascade Blues Association are Dec. 2-16. I want your vote for Anni Piper as president in 2022. I’ve been a touring blues musician since my mid-20s, performing throughout Australia, Canada and 43 states in the USA. I’m an Australian Blues Music Award winner, former Blues Leaf Records artist (Janiva Magness, Albert Castiglia), IBC semifinalist and Road Dawg Touring act. I have a bachelor of arts in contemporary music from Southern Cross University and spent seven years as a high school classroom music educator. Throughout my career I have been a member of seven different blues societies. I joined the CBA immediately upon moving to Portland four years ago. I have been an at-large board member of the CBA for about six months, and a contributing writer for BluesNotes. My previous experience with nonprofits includes three years as a charity ambassador for Cristina’s House of Hope (Australia).

When I first started recording and touring, my husband at the time said “Anni, I know this is your hobby and your passion, but you have to run this as a business.” This was sage advice. The CBA must investigate alternative methods of funding if it is to continue to survive and thrive. I plan to secure continued funding for the CBA by hiring a professional writer of government arts grants. There are many of these grants available to 501(c) nonprofit groups. In the long run it will be well worth the investment of spending a little to gain a lot. Through this I hope to create new paid performance opportunities not only for our local blues artists, but also for touring acts. Recommencing physical distribution of BluesNotes is also a priority. Portland promotes herself as a progressive city, and I believe an ongoing focus should be diversity in the acts the CBA chooses to showcase.


James Thornton

James Thornton is a jazz and blues musician and dancer who has planned, developed, and executed music and dance events that bring musicians and dancers together. He is enthusiastic about bringing communities together as president of the CBA. James was the live music coordinator for Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society from 2019 to 2020. He has 30 years of performance experience for music festivals, dance events and event planning activities. James has a deep passion for diversity and inclusiveness in the Portland music scene.





Robert Umali Evans

Robert Umali Evans has been in the Portland blues community for a long while, showing up to many a blues concert and dance over the years as a patron, volunteer and instructor, and organizing events himself as the owner of Portland Dance Studio. He is excited to steward CBA as vice president with energy and enthusiasm! Robert also sits on the board of the Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society, serving as a bridge between the two blues-focused nonprofits. He prioritizes diversity and inclusion.


Nolan Johnson

The Cascade Blues Association is in the middle of a profound transition, all too apparent to those watching the organization. I’ve been a quiet CBA member for a while, but now I hear the call to help. Though I recently joined the board of directors in an at-large capacity, to serve as vice president of the Cascade Blues Association would be an honor and a pleasure.


Passion. I’m musical, but don’t call me a musician. I think of myself as a student, which brings its own style of passion for the music! While my personal pursuit of music-making adds to my appreciation for the expertise and dedication of the musicians, I’m here to support the artistry (and business) of the entire blues community.


Skills. I bring with me a background in technology, media (traditional and social/electronics), journalism, executive leadership, marketing, promotion, project/event management, organizing/leading teams and networking. My skill set is best suited to helping the operations of the organization.


Nonprofit experience. Prior to joining the CBA board, I served as an executive officer at Rose City Yacht Club and as media relations committee chair commissioning the USS Portland, here at the Port of Portland, in 2018. I have also served on the board at large for the local chapter of the Navy League.


Platform. CBA faces a number of transitions simultaneously: diversity – in ethnicity, age and gender; promotion of the blues as an art form in the community; outreach to educational institutions and programs to support the blues; nurturing a thriving network of venues supporting a wide variety of local talent; increased support for performers, both local and touring; and a mandate to build a solid and thriving leadership structure with new people and perspectives. As vice president, I look forward to being of service, amplifying the blues within the association, with members, with the performers, in the media.





Marie Walters (Incumbent)

In her role as general secretary of the Cascade Blues Association for the past two years, Marie has found a way to combine her lifelong enthusiasm and love of live music with her administrative and organizational proficiency. Having spent decades collaborating in committees and boards, from nonprofits to governmental agencies to the corporate boardroom, Marie contributes to the stability and effectiveness of the CBA. She finds great satisfaction in being able to give back to the community, and her intention is to contribute to an efficient, dynamic organization that will not only sustain, but allow the blues music community in Portland to flourish, diversify and grow.


Some of the tasks and roles that Marie has taken on include introducing a communications strategy, location coordinator for board meetings, administration of CBA voicemail, emails and Facebook, 2020 Portland Parks & Rec Partnership (PVP) Committee and GoFundMe Campaign, graphics for website, Facebook and newsletters, BluesNotes contributor, event ticketing. She’s been a key instigator in co-chairing planning and diversity committees, and lead for the Best Self-Produced CD. Marie’s developing partnerships with POC-led organizations to expand the reach and exposure of the CBA into more diverse communities, and is booking performers for Blues Nights and membership meetings, with plans to expand.





Mike Day (Incumbent)

I’m Mike Day and am currently the interim CBA treasurer. I have a master of public administration degree and currently work in public health IT management. For several years, I was the secretary/treasurer for a volunteer, nonprofit association based in California. I’ve been learning the CBA financial reporting structure and am starting work on developing a budget that will support the various initiatives being developed by the board. I look forward to being able to continue this work.





Mike Todd (Incumbent)

My name is Mike Todd and I’m the current membership director for the CBA. I’m organized, detail oriented, and have served on the board as membership secretary (now director) for the past two terms (2020-21). I was previously an at-large board member and vice president back in the 1990s. I’ve volunteered with various organizations in the Portland metro area for 30 years – working with homeless citizens, terminally ill children, low-income homeowners, and at-risk and incarcerated youths. I believe that volunteerism is the heart and soul of every community. I want to do my part to help keep music and the arts alive in my community because it’s those types of self-expression that generally reveal the collective heart and soul of our humanity.



Best Self-Produced CD Entry Deadline Oct 6th

Best Self-Produced CD
Entry Deadline Oct 6th

As part of the mission of the Blues Foundation to celebrate blues recording and to ensure the future of this uniquely American art form, it established an award for the Best Self-Produced CD, given out at the International Blues Challenge to recognize excellence in independent Blues recordings.


  1. Musicians who are CBA members in good standing as of Oct 6, 2021 are eligible (if you’re not currently on the list, get on it now!)
  2. CDs released between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2021 are eligible
  3. Compilations are not eligible
  4. May be recorded and performed by an act other than is entered in the current year’s International Blues Challenge
  5. CD may not include a board member or officer of the CBA
  6. A performer who has previously been nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition
  7. A CD on a record label that has been previously nominated for a Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Blues Award) shall not be eligible for this competition
  8. Musicians can submit TWO (2) COPIES of their qualifying self-produced CD to the CBA for consideration
  9. CDs can either be sent by mail (and received, not just postmarked) to: CBA-BSPCD PO Box 6566 Portland OR 97228-6566 or delivered to Marie Walters, Committee Chair, at the General Membership Meeting at the Spare Room on Wednesday October 6th, or anytime prior ‪(503) 278-4379‬ (to connect/arrange)
  10. CDs must be in the hands of the CBA Committee by October 6th (not postmarked by then)
  11. The CBA will announce the nominated CD on or before October 19th and will collect TWO (2) ADDITIONAL COPIES from the winner.
  12. The CBA will submit FOUR (4) copies of the selected CD to the Blues Foundation by the deadline
Criteria considered (in order of importance):
(1) Blues Content
(2) Musical Performance
(3) Audio Quality and Production Value of the Recording
(4) Professionalism and Visual Appearance of Cover Art and Design
(5) Credits and Liner Note Information.

Judging will take place in three rounds. Judges will remain anonymous in order to protect them from outside influences and represent a cross-section of professionals from the blues radio and print industry. The final results will be announced at the finals of the 37th International Blues Challenge on Saturday, January 22, 2022 held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN.️

CBA Board Important Message

Welcome New CBA Board Members

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.

2021 Best Self-Produced CD Competition

2021 Best Self-Produced CD Competition


UPDATE: The Blues Foundation has cancelled the 2021 International Blues Challenge and all the events, including the Best Self Produced CD competition, due to the pandemic crisis. They look forward to holding the event in 2022.


Since 2005, The Blues Foundation has annually held a competition to recognize excellence in independent blues recordings. The Best Self-Produced CD competition is open to affiliated blues societies from around the world to submit one entry each, preferably selected by a regional competition. 

The Cascade Blues Association has taken part in this event since its inception and submitted the overall winner chosen in 2011 — Joe McMurrian’s Get Inside This House. Last year’s entry, Rich Layton & Tough Town’s Salvation Road was one of the top five finalists. 

The CBA is now accepting submissions for this year’s competition. All are welcome to enter with the exception of artists who have been nominated for or received a Blues Music Award, or recordings on labels that have been nominated or received a Blues Music Award. No compilation discs, and only artists from Oregon, Washington or Idaho will be accepted. Only CDs released between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020 are eligible.  

Entries will be judged on Blues Content, Musical Performance, Audio Quality and Production Value of the Recording, Professionalism and Visual Appearance of Cover Art and Design, and Credits and Liner Note Information by a local committee. The winning local disc selected will be submitted to The Blues Foundation for the international competition, with the winners announced during the finals at the 2021 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. 

Mail your entries to: BSPCD c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, Oregon 97228. All entries must be received by Wednesday, October 7, postmarked no later than October 6. Depending on the status of the pandemic situation, if we are able to hold general membership meetings, entries may be dropped off in person at those through October7. 

virtual tip jars

Here is a list of local Blues & Roots Musicians**

Please help if you are able to!

Ben Ricepaypal.me/BenRiceMusic

Big Monti paypal.me/BigMontiNashville, Venmo @Monti-Big

Brian Foxworth, Venmo @Foxworth-Brian, Zelle @BrianFoxworth, Cash app @BrianFoxworth

Chad Rupp, paypal.me/chadrupp (Divine Fire Pepper)

Dave KahlLdkahl2000@yahoo.com

Dave Melyan, paypal.me/DaveMelyan

Dave Robertspaypal.me/DaveOnDrums

David K. Matthewspaypal.me/2davidmatthews1

Duffy Bishop/Chris Carlsonpaypal.me/guitarchris

Edwin Coleman IIIcoleman3.edwin@gmail.com

Hank Shrevepaypal.me/HenryShreve

Jason Thomaspaypal.me/JasonJTThomas

John Bunzowpaypal.me/johnbunzowmusic, Venmo @John-Bunzow

Julie Amici https://julieamici.com/happy-hour/

Kivett Bednar, Venmo @kivettbednar

Lisa Mannpaypal.me/lisamarkel1

Lloyd Jonespaypal.me/LloydHaveMercyJones

Louis Painpaypal.me/KingLouiePain

Mary Flower, paypal.me/maryflowermusic

Melody Guy, Venmo @Melody-Guy2

Rae Gordon, Venmo @bluesrae, paypal blues_rae@msn.com

Steve Kerinpaypal.me/MrPianoSteve, Venmo Steve Kerin

Tave Fasce Drake, Venmo @TaveFasceDrake, Paypal, PayPal.Me/tavefasce

Terry Robb www.paypal.me/terryrobbguitar
Venmo: @terryrobbguitar

Ty Curtis, paypal.me ty@tycurtis.net, Venmo at @Tyler-Curtis-31



**contact us at cbabluesstaff@gmail.com to be added

CBA Board Important Message

Important Message
from the Cascade Blues Association

If you’re reading this and you’re a member of the Cascade Blues Association the website now contains your monthly issue of the BluesNotes online. Due to the coronavirus situation and its serious impact on all our lives, we have had to make some difficult and unforeseen decisions. All of the content that is usually printed is now available here on the website by clicking on each heading above for now. The pandemic has led to the state-wide stay at home order, shutting down venues and businesses and preventing gatherings. These circumstances have created a tremendous hardship for local musicians and venues with the loss of performance dates and subsequent loss of income. Please bear with us as we navigate our new reality.

The major consequence of the coronavirus pandemic for the Cascade Blues Association is the cancellation of our monthly membership meetings. Most of our monthly revenue comes from membership, merchandise, and raffle-ticket sales at our meetings, and our advertising income for shows has dried up as well. Further, with no local gigs scheduled, the calendar we provide is basically nonexistent. Without this income, it’s clear we simply cannot afford to print BluesNotes. The cost behind putting the paper together and mailing it would deplete the budget we have for this year long before we even approach the end of December. So, at least for the next couple months, perhaps for however long this pandemic continues, the BluesNotes will only be available online for our members. Once the situation begins to straighten out, we will have to look at how our finances are holding out before we return to printing the paper.

Our general membership meetings are also on hold until the stay-at-home order is lifted and we can again congregate in groups and bars/restaurants are allowed to operate. As we did in April, we have cancelled the meeting scheduled for May. The acts scheduled to perform in May were contacted and have accepted an offer to perform at September’s meeting. Hopefully all will be back to normal, or at least as close to normal as possible, by then. If more meetings need to be cancelled we will let all know in advance.

Thank you for your understanding. But even more, thank you for being Cascade Blues Association members.CBA Board Important Message





– CBA Board of Directors

2020 International Blues Challenge  

By Marie Walters

2020 International Blues Challenge  

Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys in the IBC Finals – photo by Marie Walters

This rookie’s first Journey To Memphis was a whirlwind of preparation, travel, showcases, jams, performances, and eateries — all topped off with lack of sleep. I was lucky to be traveling with IBC ‘veterans’ so I had plenty of advice on how to navigate my week on Beale Street, starting with “you simply can’t see it all.” And that’s the truth! With over 200 bands and musicians performing in 17 different venues over four days, 10,000 steps a day was easy while crisscrossing Beale Street trying to catch every act I wanted to see. These included the CBA’s own entries: Generation Headstrong in the Youth Showcase, Louis Creed and the Geezer in the Solo/Duo category, and Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys (JW/SD) competing with other bands.

Although I also wanted to see other artists who’d previously played Portland, including Duffy Bishop, Blue Moon Marquee, and JW Jones (in HOROJO Trio), not to mention showcases and jams with local favorites, it wasn’t possible to be everywhere I wanted to be.

All competitors performed twice during the quarterfinals on Wednesday and Thursday. By the second day there was buzz about JW/SD, and bodies were packed right out to the street wanting to check out this powerhouse band! Late that night they announced the Donkeys made it to the semi-finals and we all celebrated well into the wee hours.

2020 International Blues Challenge  

Generation Headstrong, Youth Showcase IBC Memphis – photo by Marie Walters

Friday we learned when and where JW/SD were playing that evening. Meanwhile the Youth Showcase took place early evening across 12 different venues. Generation Headstrong had an early slot and did a great job on stage, building on all they learned in workshops that week. The audience loved their set, especially their covers of Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Walking the Dog”!

Even at the larger venue, Johnny and the Donkeys had the place packed inside and out, receiving standing ovations for their out-of-the-ballpark set. Nobody was really surprised when they announced JW/SD were among the eight bands going to the finals at the Orpheum on Saturday — but everyone sure was thrilled!

JW/SD were the first band to play on the Orpheum stage Saturday. They rocked a slightly shorter set to keep within their time slot. All these bands and solo/duo acts were the best of the IBCs and so much talent crossed that stage, but it was nerve racking to wait through 14 more performances and an All Star Showcase before knowing the result!

Finally Blues Foundation President Barbara Newman took the stage to announce the winners. In the band category, HOROJO Trio (with JW Jones, who also won the Gibson Guitarist Award) from Ottawa took first place, the Jose Ramirez Band from D.C. was second, and the Pitbull of Blues Band out of Florida came third.

In the Solo/Duo category, Hector Anchondo from Omaha won first place, and also the Memphis Cigar Box Award. Felix Slim from Long Island took second place and won the Lee Oskar Harmonica Award.  Our own Rich Layton was short-listed for Best Self-Produced CD, however Sweet Thing Moonshine Society out of Virginia won in that category.  Congratulations to ALL the bands that made it to the finals! If it was difficult for me to narrow down the best beyond the top four or five, I can only imagine how difficult it was for the judges!