What’s on Tap for October’s General Membership Meeting

Wednesday, February 7 – 7:00 pm
Catfish Lou’s, 2460 NW 24th, Portland
Members always Free, Non-Members $5.00 (Please show your membership card at the door)
Opening Acoustic Set – David Brothers
Second Electric Set – Timothy James & The Portland Blues Revival

As the year gets in full swing, we’re going to keep things our tradition of bringing the best in blues to our members each and every month. In February we’re pleased to bring a couple acts that display just how strong our blues scene has been through the progression of younger musicians carrying on the genre.

Opening the night for our acoustic set will be guitarist David Brothers. Playing his own material, he mixes the influences of artists like John Coltrane, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Django Reinhart, and John Fahey. Certainly a diverse blend of musical approaches, but David has the talent to bring them all together. He began his musical careet in Johnson City, Tennessee and he has taken his playing to the reaches of the Appalachian Mountains, Texas, New York and finally the Pacific Northwest.

As a young artist, David Brothers was the recipient of the Cascade Blues Association Christopher Mesie Scholarship. He has performed with local guitar heroes like Terry Robb and Robbie Laws and was one of the finalists in the 2010 Journey To Memphis competition. His music besides those early influences can bring out samples of bebop, Latin jazz, gypsy swing, Americana and of course, the blues. This is highly evident with his 2009 recording Corn Flakes And Gin.

The second set of the night will feature our International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase representatives Timothy James & The Portland Blues Revival. Fresh from their trip from Memphis, this group of artists are all under the age of twenty and have been making quite the name for themselves with appearances at festivals and on television.

The band led by fifteen-year-old songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Timothy James also includes guitarist Noah Rozzel, drummer Quinn Everhart, bassist Ryan Stadlet, and keyboardist McKay Everhart — and they play their own original music along with well-known blues-rock classics. Make no mistake, this band though they’re young packs a mighty punch and are all experienced and talented musicians. This is the future of the local blues scene and they’re heading into the direction of recognition far outside of the Portland Metro area.

Remember, Catfish Lou’s fills up quickly for the CBA meetings. Get there early to find a table and don’t forget to pick up your free drawing ticket for your chance to win prizes. We will also have the usual multi-CD package with chances available for $1.00 each ticket to win it all. We’ll see you there for another fantastic night of blues.

What’s on Tap for October’s General Membership Meeting

Catfish Lou’s, 2460 NW 24th Ave, Portland
Wednesday, January 3 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-Members $5.00
(Members please show your current cards at the door)
Opening Acoustic Set – Lee Blake
Second Electric Set – Ty Curtis

If you want to experience a tasty bit of great blues music to start out the new year, there will be no better opportunity than you’ll find at Catfish Lou’s on the first Wednesday for the Cascade Blues Association’s monthly general meeting. Two acts will be presented that have held long-time status amongst the very best of the region and you can catch them both in the same place for what is surely to be a dynamic night of music.

Opening the evening will be Mississippi Lee Blake. This expressive vocalist and sensational guitarist has been performing around the Portland area since the late 1980s, working as a solo musician and with groups such as The Rockin’ Razorbacks, The Snake Charmers, and The Lee Blake Band. For the meeting, Blake will be appearing as a solo artist, working his steel bodied resonator and slide guitars. A bluesman at heart, he can also deliver offerings of R&B, roots, and retro-style rock, both covers and original music, with a specialty of bringing people to the dance floor even with his acoustic playing. It has been a little more than five years since Blake last performed at a CBA meeting — way too long for us to host one of Portland’s true blues legends.

Over the past few years, the Ty Curtis Band has built a following not only around his home-state of Oregon, but for the past couple years in his second, adopted home in Austin, Texas. While visiting over the past month, Curtis asked to perform at the CBA monthly meeting and we’re more than happy to oblige. Along with the explosive rhythm section of drummer Jerry Jacques and bassist Tony Valdez, Curtis and his incendiary guitar work and over the top vocals bring a ton of excitement every time they take a stage. Accolades follow this young bluesman who has been a local mainstay for more than a decade; a second place showing at the 2009 International Blues Challenge and seven CBA Muddy Awards including a 2017 recognition for regional blues act of the year. Aside from his guitar prowess and singing, Curtis is a gifted songwriter who can turn up the heat on blistering rocking blues or tear at your heartstrings with emotional ballads.
This is a not to miss meeting, so you know that you’re going to want to show up early to find a seat and good view of the stage. Pick up your free drawing ticket as you enter the venue for your chance to win prizes, or purchase a ticket or even a few of our $1.00 a chance raffle to win a multi-CD package. January and 2018 is going to start the blues year off right at the CBA meeting.

What’s on Tap for October’s General Membership Meeting

Catfish Lou’s, 2460 NW 24th Ave, Portland
Wednesday, December 6 –  7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-Members $5.00
(Members please show your current cards at the door)
Opening Acoustic Set – Justus Reece
Second Electric Set – Blues Battalion

After a short return to The Melody Ballroom last month to celebrate the Muddy Awards, we’re heading back to Catfish Lou’s for the December General Membership Meeting for another incredible night of fantastic blues and great friends.

Remember, the December meeting is when we hold our annual Board of Directors officer election. Make sure that you have your membership card on hand to receive a ballot. We will be voting for next year’s president, vice president, secretary, membership secretary and treasurer.

Opening the December General Membership Meeting will be Justus Reece. Originally scheduled to play this past August, when we had to find a new location for our gatherings Catfish Lou’s was unable to provide a setting for an under-aged musician. Since then Justus has turned 21 and can now play at all venues in the state, so we’re happy to reschedule him for this meeting.

Justus has been consistently studying guitar while also being aware that he can never know everything, and that the guitar is a lifelong pursuit. He is currently studying with Terry Robb with whom he has appeared at venues such as The Venetian in Hillsboro for his IBC fundraiser and the Old Liberty Theater in Camas. And aside from the IBC appearance on Beale Street, Justus has performed at events including the Blues4MS concerts, Cathedral Jazz Festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival.

The music that Justus performs includes a wide range of styles, not only blues but jazz, folk, funk, jam band, and more. You can expect to see him offer a variety of American music such as ragtime, Piedmont blues, American primitive, Delta blues and other roots music. His inspirations are many, but include among them the diversity of such as Herbie Hancock, Frank Zappa, Blind Blake, Yes, Mississippi John Hurt, Charlie Hunter, and Funkadelic among them. Certainly a young musician with an open mind and on a quest to learn something new from every direction.

For the band portion of the night, Blues Battalion returns for another lively performance for our members. The band has been together for about 4 years, with original members guitarist Fred Riedel and his daughter Kristi Riedel on vocals, still fronting the band. The band is completed by guitarist Michael Conner, Mike Kelley on bass and Leo Hartshorn on drums.

Each of the members have extensive backgrounds in music. Michael Conner is an educator by profession and also is the founder of MYConner Sound. He played with numerous bands around Eugene and Corvalis and has also released his own recording in 2002 titled Connected. Kristi Riedel  has been involved in music since she was young and works for Young Audiences. Mike Kelley, aside from being the band’s bassist, has also been a guitarist for many years and can often be found playing alongside Joe DeFoney. Leo Hartshorn has drummed for over 50 yeaers and was co-founder and co-director of Drumming for Peace, an organization that teaches publicly for peace through drumming, rhythm, storytelling and music. Band leader Fred Riedel recently retired as a music teacher and has been playing music since he was twelve. In the early 70s he played with a touring group called Questor and also led a band called Fred’s Garage before forming Blues Battalion. He is a prolific songwriter, with several of his compositions appearing on the Blues Battalion CD released a couple years back.

Always a popular act when they have performed for the CBA, this will be no exception. Expect to have a fun time with Blues Battalion.

Remember, Catfish Lou’s can fill up quickly for the meetings, so arrive early to find a good spot and to grab dinner. We will do our regular drawings so don’t forget to pick up your ticket at the door and purchase some winner-take-all raffle tickets too. The funds all go to support the CBA.

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Tedeschi Trucks BandNow in its eighth year, the Grammy award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band has earned its reputation as one of the premier live acts touring today. The 12-piece ensemble, led by the husband-and-wife team of guitarist Derek Trucks and guitarist-singer Susan Tedeschi, is a true collective — a rarity in rock-and-roll where every musician is featured nightly while serving the band’s unified vision, pushing the boundaries of group dynamics and improvisation to inspiring new heights. Praised by reviewers for their “joy-filled blast of blues, soul and rock” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and “stellar musicianship” (Denver Post), TTB is a touring juggernaut, on the road over 200 days a year and never playing the same set list twice.
Its latest release is Live From the Fox Oakland, a CD and film recorded in a single night at a show that fans and band members all regard as one of their finest performances to date. Live From the Fox Oakland, number one with a bullet on Billboard’s Blues and number six on the Rock Albums chart, follows four critically-hailed and commercially successful TTB albums, including their Grammy-winning inaugural studio effort Revelator
The Tedeschi Trucks Band will be bringing their signature pulse-pounding show to Portland for one night at the Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, on Friday, November 3 at 7:30. Tickets are available at the Portland’5 Box Office, TicketsWest outlets or by phone 800.273.1530, ranging from $39.50 – $69.50. Hard Working Americans open the show.

What’s on Tap for October’s General Membership Meeting

Catfish Lou’s, 2460 NW 24th Avenue, Portland
Wednesday, October 4, 7:00 pm
Members Always Free – Non-Members $5.00 (Members please show your current cards at the door)
Opening Acoustic Set – Julie Amici
Second Electric Set – Thunder Brothers

October is here and we’ve been having a fun time at Catfish Lou’s for our monthly meetings despite the high temperatures that have been occurring in Portland the past couple months. The room has been packed with members and friends, with a full service bar and good food. We cannot thank the venue for opening their doors to us and for the assistance of Ed Neumann and Marty Henninger for lending their equipment to make the transition at the end of the night to the jam flow easy. Also, bit props to James “Coach” Hurley for stepping in at the last minute to supply us with needed microphones and stands last month and for watching over the PA.

The CBA is dedicated to bringing exciting local artists to perform at monthly meetings and this month we’re proud to bring two very popular acts that are previous Muddy Award nominees/winners and likely to receive notice again in this year’s awards.

Opening the night will be Julie Amici, our Journey to Memphis solo/duo act winners for this year who will be traveling to Memphis to represent us in the International Blues Challenge. Vocalist Julie Yanko and bass player Dean Mueller have received a pair of Muddy nominations the past two years, best new act in 2015 and traditional blues act in 2016. The band derives its name from the combination of Julie first name and Amici, the original name of Dean’s father. Much like the name is a melding of the two, the music is much the same, combining Julie’s country roots and childhood dreams of singing jazz, with Dean’s deeply rooted blues foundation. This past spring the duo released their first recording, Yellow Roses.

Julie’s strong yet sweet voice is reminiscent of the 50’s when female singers ruled the world of music, a time when jazz and blues co-mingled at the height of popular culture. Her repertoire combines the jazz of Billie Holiday with the soul of Nina Simone and the sophisticated country of Patsy Cline. Dean’s bass playing is rooted in the blues chops he earned playing with some of the finest blues legends in America and touring with the award winning international act, The Insomniacs.

The pairing of a vocalist and upright acoustic bass is a magical combination that leaves nowhere to hide. It is a setting reserved for the most qualified artists, a mingling that Julie Yanko and Dean Mueller bring together with unexpected delight, and that will be in showcased fully at the meeting.

The second set of the night will present the Thunder Brothers, recipients of the 2016 best new act at the Muddy Awards. This all-star grouping was first formed to participate in the 2016 Journey to Memphis and has developed into one of the most powerful and sought-after acts on the local scene today. The musicians had played with each other off and on over the years, but when they brought their talents together it was like magic. Everything struck perfectly.

The band features the twin guitars of Michael Quinby and Doug Rowell, who both provide lead vocals and songwriting skills. Both have been members of numerous bands over the years in some of the area’s best acts and first starting working together in the Karen Lovely Band a couple years back, where they also joined bassist Timmer Blakely, another long-time veteran of the Portland band scene. Rounding out the quartet is one of the finest drummers in the region, Edwin Coleman III. Any doubts about this band, all you need to do is to take a look at each of their lengthy resumes. Or better yet, just listen to them on stage together. They recently released a stellar four-track eponymous-titled EP, which is a wonderful showcase of the group’s sound.

Please join us at Catfish Lou’s for the monthly meeting. You just may be winner with our free ticket drawing or take a chance to win the multi-CD package for the month for only $1.00 a chance. But just by attending, you’re already a winner as you will be amongst friends listening to some of the best blues in town. We hope to see you this month, and every month!

General Membership Meeting Slated for Wednesday, December 5

Catfish Lou’s, 2460 NW 24th Ave, Portland
Wednesday, September 6 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free ~ Non-members $5.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Mick Schafer & Friends
Second Electric Set – Rose City Kings

Last month was our first membership meeting at Catfish Lou’s, and the room was packed. Despite temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. I truly feel that the heat kept some of the members that would normally attend away, so if the weather is cooler this month plan on arriving early because tables and room near the stage will probably fill up quickly.

Please note that with this new format our meetings will need to end about fifteen minutes earlier than they have in the past. This is to accommodate the jam that has been scheduled there prior to our arrival, and the necessary time for stage change-over. We’re the new kids at the venue so we plan on making everybody happy. Big thanks to Robbie Laws and the guys for fitting us into their night, and also to Marty Henninger and Ed Neumann who have graciously decided to make things easier for the change time have offered to bring their drums and keyboards for us to use. Marty did this last month and worked out terrifically!

Opening the night will be local guitarist and songwriter Mick Schafer who may be best recognized as one of the co-founders and leaders of the band Tree Top Tribe. He discovered his love for music when he was young. Mick noted that he “really heard my singing voice for the first time in the 8th grade choir at Our Lady of the Valley Church. A couple kids in the pew ahead of me turned around, surprised as I was….. something emotional and resonant.” He continued his path, explaining that “later, when I quit school and traveled around Europe performing, I got used to playing in front of audiences. Much later and after fronting for Blackberry Jam and, currently Tree Top Tribe, I am playing solo shows as well.”

Though our opening sets are usually totally acoustic, we have strayed on occasion. Mick told us that he’d put together a small group of friends to help out on the night and boy howdy did he ever. Starting off with guitarist Jason “JT” Thomas who just performed for us as a solo act last month, we all know that JT has worked with both Franco Paletta and Lisa Mann the past few years showcasing his guitar prowess. From the Thunder Brothers bassist Timmer Blakely will hold down the pace and drive of the band. Timmer has been a frequent performer with several projects that Mick has thrown together recently. And filling out the group will be guitarist (yes three guitar players!) Ken Scandlyn. Usually Ken would be found touring the country as a member of Shemekia Copeland’s band, but during a current break in his schedule he will joining Mick and the guys for what is certain to be a powerfully entertaining opening set for our meeting.

For the second set of the night, don’t expect anything to slow down as one of the strongest and most popular acts in Portland will be taking over the stage, the Rose City Kings. When the band first formed back in 2002 they quickly established their spot amongst the elite blues acts in Portland, garnering multiple awards and accolades not only from the Cascade Blues Association’s Muddy Awards, but high recognition from well-renowned press outlets like Real Blues magazine.the Rose City Kings

After taking a hiatus from music, band leader Dan Berkerey decided to bring the group back together about a year ago and they have been hitting the best stages and West Coast festivals since. Dan is an exceptional songwriter and guitarist, but with the new incarnation of the band he brought together some of the city’s best musicians, Louisiana-bred pianist Steve Kerin, the electric David Lipkind who has worked his harmonica magic with many bands in Portland, original Rose City King bassist Tim Shaughnessy, vocalist and percussionist Katy Oberg, and drummer Gary Keeney who first hooked up with Dan when the band performed under the name Kolvane. The group released their most recent album, A Love So Strong, about a year ago which has been called a homage to music, love and life.

When it comes to performing, Dan explained about the band and their quest: “My focus is ensuring that we keep what makes Rose City Kings special – whether you’re playing a Rose City Kings album or coming to a live performance, it’s a great and memorable experience.” And you’re sure to get that same perspective at our September meeting.

It’s a great night each and every month. And now that we’re holding court at Catfish Lou’s you have the opportunity to sample their food selections from their Southern themed menu. Plus we’ll still be having our free ticket drawing and winner-take-all multiple CD raffle. So don’t miss out on any of our meetings, especially this month because it is going to be a big time fun night!

General Membership Meeting Slated for Wednesday, December 5


Wednesday, August 2 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free  – Non-members $5.00
Opening Set – Jason “JT” Thomas
Second Electric Set – Idle Poets

It is amazing just how much music is happening this summer. With the outrageous weather we have been experiencing it seems to be everywhere. From outdoor stages, backyard house parties, favorite venues, and festivals both big and small, the blues is going on everywhere. But it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you also know that the Cascade Blues Association is going to be bringing you great music every month at their general membership meeting. And August is no exception.

Opening the evening in August for us will be a familiar face, Jason “JT” Thomas is a professional guitarist who has worked with Franco Paletta & The Stingers and Dull Boy Jack in the past, and currently performs with Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Fenix and the country/rockabilly outfit Sons of Bitches. Aside from a fiery guitarist, JT is a songwriter, a teacher and has delivered Blues in the Schools presentations for the Cascade Blues Association. For the Journey to Memphis, he will be competing as a solo performer.

“JT’ is a classic ‘Jack of all trades’ guitarist who hustles the spectrum of rock, blues and country music. ‘I grew up a rocker, did time in jazz college, but drifted over into the blues and Americana. I teach cool kids and usually play with 3 to 5 bands at a time, as much as possible. I get to carry an electric guitar to work everyday, instead of a briefcase… boo ya’!”who although he will be turning 21 this month has been making a name for himself performing music for more than half his life. And that includes traveling to Memphis to represent the Cascade Blues Association in 2016 as our first youth showcase performer at the International Blues Challenge.

(Justus Reese was previously scheduled however, due to us needing to move our event to Catfish Lou’s Jason “JT” Thomas has graciously taken the acoustic spot. When Justus turns 21 later this year we will be able to reschedule him.)

The second set will be a new act to the CBA meeting stage, Idle Poets.

Idle Poets is a different kind of band.

Founder and lead singer Craig Marquardo grew up in the 80’s, enamored with the multi-layered sounds of artists embracing music of all genres. It wasn’t until his adult years that he discovered jazz, then diving headlong into the dizzying art form. When putting together this band he made sure to find players comfortable in all of the many genres they will find themselves playing.

Idle Poets takes jazz, blues, pop, soul, rock, and world music and embraces each one individually, and still making them blend together seamlessly. Even their original songs are so diverse they have a tango included in their repertoire. Covers include an array of artists from Sting to Harry Connick Jr., Jimi Hendrix to Jamie Cullum, and Peter Gabriel to Rihanna – playing likely the songs you don’t already know.

Recent performances include the Gorge Blues & Brews Festival and shows at Billy Blues, The Dublin Pub, The 1905 and The Firkin Tavern.

The band includes  a diverse array of talented artists. Vocalist Craig Marquardo whose background includes working and touring with the likes of Sting, Peter Gabriel and Bono. Keyboardist Jeffrey Kauffman is the elder of the group who studied with folks like Jacques Loussier, Joe Henderson, Roy Harris, Billy Taylor, and likely Moses. Lance Vallis on guitar has a masters degree in music in jazz studies from Portland State and has performed on international cruises around the world. Richard Armida handles bass duties and is a true R&B stage veteran having worked with The Temptations, The O-Jays, The Spinners, The Grass Roots, and Johnny Mathis. And drummer Tom Andes rounds out the Poets trained in symphonic and jazz styles, but has played everything from blues to metal.

Idle Poets is a musical experience with few peers, something best experienced live. You have your chance to capture their feel at the August CBA meeting. Don’t miss out.

We hope to see you at The Melody Ballroom for the meeting, where you not only will be hearing some of the best blues the area has to offer, but you’ll get to meet up with good friends and have the chance to win prizes just by being in attendance. Tell all your friends and bring them along.

What’s on Tap for November’s General Membership Meeting

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder Street, Portland
Wednesday, July 12 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $5.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Howard Wade
Second Electric Set – Gary Burford Trio

Following the Waterfront Blues Festival is quite the task in July, so please note that the monthly membership meeting is being moved to one week later. Still the same location and time, but after a five-day festival some people may need to take a little break, especially our board members who have been working that time in our merchandise booth and other positions throughout the event.

But as always, when we do return, we will be showcasing some amazing blues talent found in our region and this month we will have two acts who have not performed for the Cascade Blues Association for a while. And it’s about time we did have them back.

Opening the evening will be Howard Wade, who describes his music as “tell[ing] the story of America. It is not the story we were told in school. It’s tales of scoundrels, lovers and folk heroes; of coal mining towns in Appalachia and brothels in New Orleans. It comes from the store front churches of Harlem and the dusty plains of Oklahoma told by the descendants of slaves and poor immigrants. It carries the hope, despair, love, hate, triumphs and tragedies of us all. It’s our job as musicians to honor the story and carry it forward.”

Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Howard Wade brings finger style virtuosity to American folk music. Calling upon nearly half a century of musical experience, Wade keeps the legacy of Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Jorma Kaukonen alive while breathing new life into this great tradition. Howard has been performing since childhood from the days of Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary. He trained in classical music on the cello, jazz on the bass guitar and studied composition. He first heard the music of Jorma Kaukonen, Reverend Gary Davis, JellyRoll Morton, and other traditional blues artists while still in high school beginning a lifelong love of acoustic blues and Americana. He performed for four decades as a sideman in the San Francisco and Portland areas before embarking on a solo career. Howard currently records and performs in the Portland area as both a solo musician and with the group Memphis Shorty.

The Gary Burford Trio will be taking stage for the second set of the night. Gary has a long association with the NW blues community, its musicians and the CBA. He was a member of the Boyd Small Big Blues Band, The Terraplanes, The Bob Beck Band, and has worked with Terry Robb, Paul delay, Lloyd Jones, Curtis Salgado, Dave Fleschner, Randy Flook, and Jake Blair, as well as releasing two recordings under his own name. He has been recognized multiple times in the Salem area being named as Best Musician and Best Band by the city’s newspaper, The Statesman, and has also received a past nomination for a Muddy Award as Best Regional Act. Aside from being a performer, Gary is also a promoter and booking agent for many events and venues around Salem.

After a hiatus due to health Gary has returned to performing and has been working throughout the Willamette Valley playing regularly at venues such as the Taproot, Venti’s Café,  and The Halfpenny in Salem, at Plew’s Brews, and The Starday in Portland as a solo artist and with friends. He will be performing at the meeting with two of his longtime friends drummer Dennis Ayres and bassist Bob Beck as The Gary Burford Trio. He is looking forward to performing once again for the CBA and so are we.

So remember, the meeting is one week later than normal (we will be back to the first Wednesday of the month in August). Pick up your drawing ticket at the door for a chance to win prizes, purchase one or more winner-take-all multi-CD raffle tickets if you’d like, join friends and get ready for another great night of blues music with the CBA.

What’s on Tap for November’s General Membership Meeting

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder Street, Portland
Wednesday, June 7 – 7:00 pm
Members Always Free – Non-members $5.00
Opening Acoustic Set – Mojo Holler
Second Electric Set – Rae Gordon Band

The summer months are directly upon us and for Portland that means there’s a lot going on, especially when it comes to music. And as I have stated before, the true method to get into the spirit of the music in Portland is through the blues and there’s no better place to kick each month off than the Cascade Blues Association’s monthly general membership meeting. If you’re not familiar with our meetings, there’s really not much in the way of business going on, but a whole lot of fun and of course great music. This month we’re going to feature a couple acts that everybody should know. Outstanding performers and good friends of the CBA.

Starting off the evening will be Mojo Holler, the new collaboration Missi & Mister Baker as they add a bassist to their outfit.. This trio weaves threads from mountain ranges to the Mississippi Delta into a tapestry of indie folk rock.  Mister Baker channels innate genius through lap steel, slide, and dobro.  Missi is a genuine Appalachian ‘Mountain Mama’ whose vocals bring burning intensity to each song.  The pair were lauded by South by Southwest founder Louis Black, who called them the ‘godchildren of Mississippi Fred McDowell.”  Bass guitarist Eric Shirazi lends an infectious, funky groove to mix that takes the group to a higher plane.

The band formed in 2012 as the duo, “Missi & Mister Baker.”  The pair released their debut album, “Where Black Ravens Flew,” in late 2014, and were tapped to showcase at South By Southwest in 2016 and the accolades have been tremendous since.

South By Southwest founder, Louis Black, said of the pair: “Why Missi had to move to Portland from Austin in order for The Bakers to channel their inner Mississippi Fred McDowell, I do not know.  But she did, and they did.”  The album combines complex rock guitar and country blues stylings with rich vocals that hearken Joplin and Fleetwood Mac.

Jackpot Recording producer and Tape Op Magazine publisher Larry Crane says the pair’s Americana-styled original songs were some of his favorites.  “Missi’s fabulous voice, along with Mister Baker’s deft fretwork, brings the whole show home.”

And the late Lisa Lepine, a Portland legend in music promotion, said of their mission:  “They weave their dark, modern spirituals from shared roots in magic, ‘mericana, and metaphysics.  Mister Baker, like Robert Johnson before him, may have made a deal with the devil — channelling an innate genius through lap steel, slide and dobro.  Missi’s earthy voice brings burning intensity to each song.  Picture them sitting knee-to-knee on a Southern Delta, watching the dark moon rise and singing from their eternal souls.”

And if that isn’t enough to bring you down to the monthly meeting, the second act of the night will be the CBA’s recent representatives at the International Blues Challenge, bringing home third place, the Rae Gordon Band.

International Blues Challenge - Rae Gordon & The Backseat DriversThe Rae Gordon Band is fronted by Muddy Award Hall of Fame inductee , vocalist Rae Gordon  and is made up of seasoned players who been a fixture in the local blues scene for years.   She wanted a new project that could ride in that sweet spot between a gritty slide groove with an exciting hard driving horn section. Something she likes to call a downtown gritty with uptown city.

The band itself is a combination of amazing musicians, including Kivett Bednar, fast becoming known for his gracious grooves and ability on guitar; bassist Al Hooten laying down the foundation; in-demand horn players Allan Kalik on trumpet and Scott Franklin on saxophone; versatile drummer Ed Pierce; and award-winning keyboardist Pat McDougall. All of these musicians have played with a virtual who’s who of the Pacific Northwest.

They are now working on their debut CD recording Better Than I Was, for release summer 2017 and looking forward to a  summer full of traveling and blues festivals that include the Winthrop Blues Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival and the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas.

Of course, we will be holding the usual free ticket drawings where everybody can win just by attending the meeting. And the $1.00 multi-CD winner take all drawing will also be held and we’ll let in on what is going on in our region during the upcoming month. Not really your normal style of meeting, we’re all here for fun.

See you there!!

What’s on Tap for November’s General Membership Meeting

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder Str., Portland
Wednesday, May 3 – 7:00 pm
Members always Free – Non-members $5.00
Opening Set – The Hellhounds
Second Set – Holfar Blue

May has everything in line to be a special month for the Cascade Blues Association and the blues in Portland. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom later in the month and crossing our fingers for our local artists nominated for the Blues Music Awards happening in Memphis a week earlier. But the right way to kick it all off, as is every month, is to attend the CBA’s General Membership Meetings. Always the perfect place to check out a couple of our local musicians in a cozy setting with dancing and friends. This month we’ll be bringing a couple of acts that have always had great reception when performing for us.

Opening May’s meeting will be The Hellhounds —  “Patio Pete” Gallatin and CBA Membership Secretary Fred Morgan have each been playing the blues for over fifty years and  have been playing and performing together in the Portland area for close to five years. Both found inspiration from traditional blues and folk artists. Pete notes the vintage pre-war styles of Robert Johnson, Charlie Jordon, and Leadbelly among those who affected his playing. Fred points originally toward Josh White and Dave Van Ronk, but truly found his calling following meeting icons like Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Furry Lewis.

Both are adept guitarists with Fred taking on the acoustic six and twelve string, while Pete brings his slide-work as well as his harmonica to The Hellhounds. The duo offer a lively, entertaining walk through the history of the blues playing the hits of the 20’s and 30’s with some more contemporary songs thrown in for good measure.

Holfar BlueFor the second set of the evening will have Holfar Blue who have been delighting audiences in the Portland region for the last six years. They’ve steadily built a loyal following through their live shows and self-produced recordings and each of their performances are unique with their original music blending elements of modern blues, jazz, R&B soul, and rock. Along with their originals they weave in artful covers of classic blues and rock rarities, including songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, The Doors, Little Richard, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison.

Fronted by Michael Houlberg on lead vocals and guitar, he also writes their original material. After playing for many years for various bands in LA and San Diego, and having an eclectic ear for a wide range of music and his songwriting will make you think of other writers who marry diverse styles of music with clever and thoughtful lyrics. With seasoned band mates Dave Farrell on keyboard, Pat Bizon on bass and Brian Parks on drums, the quartet’s lively music and thoughtful lyrics will give you  something to think about that’ll stay with you. The band has a handful of self-released CDs and EPs including “Blue Suede Cadillac” (2012), “You Need Truth” (2013) and their most recent “Heard A Hound Dog Howl” (2017). All are available on Bandcamp.

Holfar Blue is a labor of love. A seasoned group of professionals in other fields, but they share a deep appreciation of music. They enjoy exploring the spaces where blues, jazz, and rock collide.

Don’t miss out on another exciting evening at The Melody Ballroom for the CBA’s monthly meeting. It’s a fun time with chances to win prizes through our ticket drawings, learn about what’s coming up in our area, listen to great blues artists and to hang out with good friends. Hope to see you there.