2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

2020 Journey to Memphis Postponed

This is a message that we were truly hoping that we wouldn’t have to announce, but for the first time in over twenty years, the Cascade Blues Association will be cancelling our Journey to Memphis competition for 2020. As the summer rolls forward and Covid-19 shows no signs of letting up to allow us to utilize a venue to full capacity that we’d need to present a proper event, we feel that preparation time for both the participating acts and the Cascade Blues Association, along with our prime opportunity to raise funds to assist with our winners to travel to Memphis is quickly eluding us.  

The Blues Foundation have cancelled the 2021 International Blues Challenge. We look forward to being able to resume the Journey to Memphis next year in hopes of sending representatives to the International Blues Challenge in 2022.  

2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

2020 Journey To Memphis PostponedThe Cascade Blues Association’s signature event, the Journey To Memphis competition to select acts to represent the organization and region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, has been postponed due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This wasn’t something we had envisioned, but the situation is out of our control. Restaurants and bars have been closed under State order, as well as gatherings to avoid potential exposure to the virus.

Our competition was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16 at The East Eagles Lodge. We do not foresee businesses being reopened by this time. Our finals were also scheduled for July 4 at the Waterfront Blues Festival, but that event has also been cancelled.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, we had to cancel our general membership meetings in both April and May. The original deadline date for applications was for our April meeting, but with the State closure order dropping off the applications on this date could not be kept. We extended the deadline for a week, but did not receive as many applications as we have in the past. We feel that many who did not submit decided that the current status was uncertain and being able to prepare as a band could not be accomplished.

Therefore, the CBA has decided to postpone the competition until the health risk has passed and gatherings are once again allowed to take place. We do not have a date set as of yet, but hopefully toward the end of summer or early fall. Venues and dates to be determined. Depending on the time frame, we will make the decision to cancel the event if too late in the year.

Applications will continue to be accepted and to make it more convenient we will keep the deadline open for a few weeks following the reopening of businesses up to the first membership meeting after that time, no earlier than June at this point. Any act that has already submitted their application prior to the original deadline who wishes to withdraw may do so and their application fee will be returned. If the event does end up being cancelled, all application fees will be returned.

Thank you for understanding.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues Association.
  • Only acts located within the Oregon and Washington region are allowed to enter the Journey To Memphis.
  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.
  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years, regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis (acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times starting from 2017).
  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.
  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band members with whom it won previous rounds. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances not under the control of the act, such as health issues.
  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.
2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year at The East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne St, scheduled for Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.  The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Times will also be determined by the number of entrants. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

The deadline for applications to participate in the competition to be accepted is Wednesday, April 7. No late applications will be accepted. If mailing in your application, it must be postmarked no later than April 6 so we know that it was in fact submitted before the deadline. You may also turn in your application to any CBA board member by April 7.

All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the Oregon and Washington region are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 receive grandfather status and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members with whom it won previous rounds. In other words, if you won with a certain bass player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances not under the control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies like the Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year at The East Portland Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne St, scheduled for Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.  (The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Times will also be determined by the number of entrants.) Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted from now until Wednesday, April 1 at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, or Washington are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 will be grandfathered and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass

player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in

your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances when not                           under control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

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!

2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

2020 Journey To MemphisThe Journey To Memphis is the Cascade Blues Association’s regional competition to select the acts that will represent our organization and region in 2021’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Up to 250 acts from around the world converge on Beale Street to perform before the music industry searching for new talent, with the chance to win recognition and prizes that include major festival performances and more. But the only way an act may participate is to win a regional competition held by one of The Blues Foundation’s affiliated societies, like our Cascade Blues Association.

The Journey To Memphis competition consists of two rounds. The opening round will be held this year in early-to-mid-May at a venue to be determined.  The event may take place over more than one night depending on the number of acts wishing to compete. Acts are scored by a trio of judges selected for their backgrounds and knowledge of the blues. The highest scoring acts from each night of competition (up to four acts) will advance to the finals held at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4th.

Applications to participate in the competition will be accepted from now until Wednesday, April 1 at the Cascade Blues Association membership meeting. No late applications will be accepted. All acts that meet our criteria as described below will be eligible to compete. The performance schedule for the competition is drawn at random.

Here’s the application information:

  • Entry fee is $25.00
  • Each act must have at least one person in the band who is a member of the Cascade Blues

Association.

  • Only acts located within the region of Oregon, or Washington are allowed to enter the

Journey To Memphis.

  • Any act or member of an act that has been nominated for or received a Blues Music

Awards from The Blues Foundation are ineligible to compete. No exceptions.

  • Any act that has competed in the International Blues Challenge two consecutive years,

regardless whether with the same society or as a solo/duo or band act, must sit out a year

before being allowed to compete again. Acts can only participate three times in Memphis

(acts competing previous to 2017 will be grandfathered and may compete three times

starting from 2017).

  • Along with your $25.00 application fee, send an up-to-date band bio including names of

all members, a 300 dpi photo of the band, full song samples of the band’s music (this

may be used on a radio broadcast to promote the event), and we need to be made aware

of any band member who may be under 21 years of age at the time of the competition so

the venue is aware ahead of time for Oregon or Washington Liquor Commission laws.

  • We require that any act that moves forward in the competition must use the same band

members that they won the rounds with. In other words, if you won with a certain bass

player or drummer at the Waterfront Blues Festival, that bassist and drummer must be in

your band to compete in Memphis. Exceptions will made in rare circumstances beyond                              the control of the act, such as health issues.

  • We do not prevent acts competing with the Cascade Blues Association from doing so

with other societies. All that we ask is that if you win another group’s competition before

ours is held, or if you win ours before theirs, please remove yourself from further

competitions to allow other acts the chance to win the right to go to Memphis.

2021 Journey To Memphis Postponed

Here’s another fundraising opportunity to help send our Journey to Memphis winning acts to the International Journey To Memphis WinnersBlues Challenge in January — another sensational full day of music featuring all three of our representing acts: Johnny Wheels & the Swamp Donkeys, Louis Creed & The Geezer, and Generation Headstrong, plus an incredible line-up of local All Stars musicians will be on hand to help out as well. There will also be a raffle, and if you’d like to donate items for this please contact Marlena Masterson on the event’s Facebook page.

Performance times:

1:00: Generation Headstrong

2:30: Ellen Whyte Trio

3:30: Young Guns Of The Blues

4:30: Rich Layton & Tough Town

5:30: Ben Rice with Jeff “Drummerboy” Hayes

6:30: Sister Mercy

7:30: Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys with Louis Creed & The Geezer

8:30: Rockin’ Johnny Burgin II

At The Garages Satellite Pub, 4810 SW Western Ave, Beaverton. Sunday, November 3, 1:00-9:00 pm. $15.00 at the door. All ages.

2021 Best Self-Produced CD Competition

2020 Best Self-Produced CD CompetitionSince 2005, The Blues Foundation has annually held a competition to recognize excellence in independent blues recordings. The 2020 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.

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 after November 1, 2018 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.

All entries for the CBA must be received no later than the October 2 membership meeting at The East Portland Eagles Lodge. Entries can be mailed to: BSPCD c/o Cascade Blues Association, PO Box 6566, Portland, Oregon 97228 or can be delivered in person at the August, September or October general membership meetings.

Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys

Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys

Every July means the Waterfront Blues Festival, and that means on the fourth the Cascade Blues Association holds its finals for the Journey to Memphis competition. This year found three bands competing for the title and the right to represent the CBA and the region in Memphis next January at the International Blues Challenge: Nikki Jones Band, Fenix Rising, and Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys. With top-notch performances, a little switch in set times to allow everyone the opportunity to fully participate (thanks to all the acts for doing this), and multiple delays for starts, the end result found Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys as the ultimate winners.

A huge thank you to our three celebrity judges for this year’s finals: Tony Coleman, Marina Crouse and Monti Amundson, and also to our team of Marlena Maseterson as time keeper, Cherie Johnson as score keeper, and Shelley Garrett as judges assistant.

Now it’s time to help Johnny Wheels, our solo/duo entry Louis Creed & The Geezer and our youth showcase act Generation Headstrong raise funds to help them get to Memphis. Congratulations all!

Johnny Wheels and The Swamp Donkeys

Johnny Wheels and The Swamp DonkeysThe first of what will most likely be several fundraisers to help send the Cascade Blues Association’s acts to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge will be held at Mekong Bistro on Sunday, August 25. An all-star event to assist our band entry, Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys, will include appearances from Ben Rice, Lisa Mann, Karen Lovely, Rae Gordon, Nikki Jones, Timothy James, Billy D & The Hoodoos, Michael Osborn and more guests TBA, along with Johnny Wheels and the band himself.

Mekong Bistro, 8200 NE Siskyou Street. Sunday, August 25. 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm. $15.00 donation to help send the band to Memphis.