Thunder Brothers

By Laurie Morrisey

The Thunder Brothers are one of the final four bands competing in the Journey to Memphis competition during the 2016 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. This is a group that has played with others locally and in other configurations, but joined together to compete this year. The finals will be held on Monday, July 4 on the Front Porch Stage, beginning at 11:30am.

“High energy, expertly executed, funky blues! We all have a blast playing this music…emotion–very simple…music is emotion…no fake stuff…all passion…and pure Thunder,” that’s how the Thunder Brothers describe their music. But you have to check them out yourselves to fully appreciate their sound that will have your toes tapping and your head bobbing.

Band Members

thunder brothers Photo by Ross William HamiltonThe Thunder Brothers include: Michael Quinby on guitar; Doug Rowell on guitar; Edwin Coleman III on drums; and Timmer Blakely on bass. All of the band members take their turn at vocals.

Michael Quinby—I have always wanted to be a musician. My father is a professional musician and a music teacher, so I come by it “honestly.” I’m a self-taught musician—in spite of my father’s best efforts. He really allowed me to learn my own way.

I played my very first professional gig at the age of 14 (seventy million years ago) at the Vintage Inn in Ashland, OR. I have been working to support myself as a musician ever since that debut.

I’ve played with Doug and Timmer several times over the last two years in support of Karen Lovely. Edwin subbed one time, three years ago, for the Roseland Hunters.

Doug Rowell—I have been performing professionally over 40 years. I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a guitarist. As a boy I had classical piano lessons. These laid a foundation for my “self-taught” guitar method. My training came from the bars and roadhouses I began playing at when I was 18 years old. I have been blessed to have made a living in the entertainment industry in many capacities.

I have performed in several different bands with Timmer over the past five years and with Michael in different settings for a couple of years. Edwin is the newest member, joining us a couple of months ago.

Edwin Coleman III—Growing up I wanted to be a professional boxer, football player or musician. Looks like music won. I studied piano and cello for many years but am self-taught on drums. During the day I work for PGE and also as a freelance cartoonist.

Before The Thunder Brothers, I played A few gigs with Quinby, but this is my first time with badass Timmer and badass Doug.

Tiamer Blakely—I’ve been playing professionally for nearly 38 years. I took piano lessons at the age of 5, band in high school and college, and years of learning anything anyone would teach me. Ironically, teaching has taught me a lot. Continuously explaining the theories and concepts through the teaching process inadvertently causes you to really see and understand how everything works together in music.

When I began performing at 12, I knew then that music would be my life.  I also teach bass, guitar, music theory, and overall musicianship at the Rhythm House in Vancouver and my private studio in Hillsboro. And I work freelance with a number of local, regional, and national bands.

Doug and I first worked together professionally a few years back with Franco and the Stingers. Then again last year with Karen Lovely. I met Michael playing with Karen as well. Michael introduced me to Edwin and The Thunder Brothers is my first project with Edwin.


Michael explains that the musical influences in his life were his father, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Nick Daniels III.

Doug cited his #1 influence as The Beatles. “As a child, their music was the inspiration for me to play music. The English Invasion exposed me to American blues. Led Zeppelin, Cream, early Fleetwood Mac all made an impact on me. The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix cannot be described in words. My introduction to the blues was through this window of artists covering the now legendary blues masters. I remember hearing Albert King and thinking he stole all of his stuff from Eric Clapton. Then I noticed the recording date,” he said, laughing.

Edwin says his professional jazz musician parents (Dad is a bass player, my mom sings) were his big influences. “I grew up listening to Dad’s blues, jazz and Afro Cuban records. He played with top Afro-Cuban bands, and my favorites being John Lee Hooker, Satchmo, Count Basie, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, and James Brown.”

Timmer says The Beatles were the main starting point for him. “My list of influences includes the usual suspects like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, SRV, Robben Ford, etc. I think that my biggest influences were all of Portland’s great bassists like the late Phil Haxton, Dave Kahl, Andy Strange, John Mazzocco, Jim Solberg, etc. I spent night after night listening to those guys. I’m sure that I stole most of my riffs from them.”


The Thunder Brothers will be releasing their debut EP at the 2016 Waterfront Blues Festival. They intend to add material to the EP for a full length CD to be released by the end of the summer.

Upcoming Shows

For more information on upcoming shows visit The Thunder Brothers on their Facebook page.

This year’s Waterfront Blues Festival will again welcome the United by Music North America Band. They will perform July 4 at 2:15p on The Front Porch Stage, July 1-4 from 11-1 at Hotel Rose, and on the July 3 “Sail on Sister” DME Blues Cruise.

UBMNA_CBA_United By Music_Jordi de JongeThe UBMNA Band is part of the international performance-based United by Music North America program offering the opportunity for exceptional musicians with intellectual challenges and developmental delays, such as autism, to be selected as UBMNA Artists and coached by UBMNA Mentors to expand their musical talent and learn how to perform as a professional band.

As producing director and co-founder Amanda Gresham explains; “through the equalizing power of music and mentorship provided by the UBMNA program, the artists transcend their challenges, feel worthy, identify as successful, achieve goals, make friends, and know they are valuable and as a result lives are enhanced and transformed daily.” President and co-founder Barbara Hammerman adds that “in North America, the core of our model is collaboration with other similarly-missioned groups to develop opportunities in performance.”

Please contact co-founders Barbara Hammerman and Amanda Gresham at 253.225.7655 or visit their website at for their complete story and information on how you or someone you know can become part of the United by Music North America family. You may also view their entire roster of UBMNA artists, mentors, and details on open mic auditions and upcoming performances.UBMNA United By Music LOGO 1-13-14 CS4

The artists of UBMNA invite you to visit with them, along with their presenting sponsor, in the The Delta Music Experience Louisiana Pavilion and learn more about the band and the program.

FLYING-HEARTCALL FOR BLUES ARTIST SUBMISSIONS: Portland independent label Flying Heart Records is planning a second volume of the “Taste of the Blue Rose” sampler of Portland-area blues artists.  The first CD, “A Taste of the Blue Rose,” featured Mel Solomon, O.C. Thomas, Bob Shoemaker, Johnnie Ward, along with several others, and was very well received. We are looking for ORIGINAL material from established or unknown Portland-area blues artists.  If you are interested in having your song (or two songs) on the next Blue Rose sampler, please send a CD or cassette to Jan Celt, Flying Heart Records, 4015 NE 12th Ave., Portland OR 97212.  Or email Jan at and put “BLUE ROSE” in the subject line. All entries will be considered; a few will be chosen.

Barry Blackwell with friend Cliff Larson - photo courtesy of Cliff Larson

Barry Blackwell with friend Cliff Larson

It is with extremely heavy hearts and regret that we have to announce that Cascade Blues Association Board Member Barry Blackwell passed away on June 4. As a long-time volunteer and a devoted board member, Barry was always the first to step forward to help out. Willing to work long and hard hours doing event set-ups, merchandise tables, watching the stage access gates at the Waterfront Blues Festival, or any task that needed to be handled, Barry was always there. Diagnosed with aggressive bladder cancer in December, he continued to attempt to attend meetings when he could despite his discomfort. Barry Blackwell was a good friend to Portland’s blues and music community, and he always had a smile for everybody. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the Cascade Blues Association, but his memory will live forever within us all.

Lisa Mann’s birthday

Lisa Mann - photo by Miri StibevkaLast month’s Blues Music awards in Memphis on May 5, found local musician Lisa Mann once again taking home the big prize for Instrumentalist – Bass for the second consecutive year. Twenty-four awards overall were handed out between musical sets by many of the nominees. This year’s biggest winner had to have been piano man Victor Wainwright and his band The Wild Roots, taking home both the Band of the Year honors and the top prize of the night, the BB King Entertainer of the Year. Buddy Guy, Cedric Burnside, Walter Trout, and the late Otis Clay who also received two awards each and the night.

The night before celebrated the inductees this year into the Blues Hall of Fame. Along with awards given to individuals for literature, recordings, and production, the Hall honored the entry of musicians Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Elvin Bishop, John Mayall, Jimmy Johnson and the Memphis Jug Band.

All of this year’s Blues Music Award recipients are listed below:

Acoustic Album: The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard – Duke Robillard
Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
B.B. King Entertainer: Victor Wainwright
Band: Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots
Best New Artist Album: The Mississippi Blues Child – Mr. Sipp
Contemporary Blues Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Shemekia Copeland
Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Joe Louis Walker
Historical: Soul & Swagger: Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo (Bear Family Records)
Instrumentalist-Bass : Lisa Mann
Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
Instrumentalist-Guitar: Sonny Landreth
Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Kim Wilson
Instrumentalist-Horn: Terry Hanck
Koko Taylor Traditional Female Artist Award: Ruthie Foster
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Allen Toussaint
Rock Blues Album: Battle Scars – Walter Trout
Song: “Gonna Live Again” written and performed by Walter Trout
Soul Blues Album: This Time for Real – Billy Price & Otis Clay
Soul Blues Female Artist: Bettye LaVette
Soul Blues Male Artist: Otis Clay
Traditional Blues Album: Descendants of Hill Country – Cedric Burnside Project
Traditional Blues Male Artist: John Primer