Tim Shaughnessy - April 3 1955 - June 12 2021

Tim Shaughnessy: April 3 1955-June 12 2021

By Dave Kahl

On Sunday, July 11th, one of the most poignant, touching tributes took place at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Woodburn; a celebration of the the life of Tim Shaughnessy: bass player, businessman, husband, father, and a friend to nearly everybody who met him. If you’re one of the few who didn’t know him by name, you probably knew him for his work with the Rose City Kings and Too Loose Zydeco Cajun Band. You might have even known him, indirectly, if you ever witnessed or participated in any event related to the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus (the annual Mardi Gras Ball, parades, parties, crawfish boils) or the Stumptown Soul Holiday Spectacular. If you did know Tim, then you knew that he was remarkably intelligent, organized, hardworking, passionate, and generous with his gifts.

Tim was one of the rare few who knew the importance of shared effort and how selfless acts could lead to much greater things. His knowledge and commitment to the benefits and business of CBD led to helping, literally, thousands of people, including some who might be considered erstwhile competitors. For Tim, the mission was the message. As was repeatedly mentioned by friends, he resisted the limelight, though, once on stage, he could be a ham; the important thing was that he was part of the band. Tim had a special way of playing the focus with humility and grace.

Tim’s impact was – is – so profound that it’s difficult not to make this personal, so now is as good a time as any to cross that line. My own relationship with Tim spanned several areas of mutual interest, though CBD and music held the strongest sway. When he asked me if I might cover bass duties for a Too Loose gig, I easily said yes because, well, it was Tim. My first experience with the band was at the Shaughnessy house, with Tim working on a project in the dining room, behind me, giving me pointers on each song as it was called. When I was asked to help send him off, I inadvertently found myself sitting in that same spot, impulsively turning to him, though now he was lying in bed, while we “rehearsed”, one more time. I had promised Tim that, whatever and whenever he might ask, I would maintain the position of being his placeholder; this time, I hoped for the miracle that would make it so. After all, Tim was the Unicorn, whose meaning includes the opening of infinite possibilities, the ability to see them and the wisdom to take advantage of them.

For 13 months, Tim fought against incredible odds, following an industrial accident, causing traumatic brain injury (TBI) and requiring a life flight that he was not expected to survive. The love and support he received from friends and family was proportionally Karmic and his return home was, to put it mildly, serendipitous. When, at last, the writing was on the wall, five days were given to his farewell party that included a veritable who’s who of musical talent, a testament to the man and his profound, positive impact on the world around him.

In her last post after the memorial. Tim’s widow, Julia, related how several friends told her about a dragonfly that circled the gathering, strongly present when guest speakers shared stories of Tim. A friend sent a text about the significance of the dragonfly:

In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes cut, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life…”

Since we’ve already gone into more personal territory, it seems fitting that the words of others – musicians and band mates – will serve to drive home the point – that Tim Shaughnessy, a remarkably special person, has now us left a huge hole in our collective heart.

 

“I first met Tim when I was on the road with Rose City Kings in 2006. Right off the bat, he struck me as a really positive fella that was really easy to get along with. Soon thereafter, my relationship with Tim and Julia expanded as we started playing in the Too Loose Cajun and Zydeco band together. He was always someone who was interested in bringing people together, and he was always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas to pursue. For Jane-Clair and I, one of the most special collaborations with Tim was the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, which has become like a family to so many of us up here in the Northwest. I consider myself to be grateful to be one of his friends. Tim, Julia, and the rest of that family are some of the best people that I have met since I moved up here.” – Steve Kerin

“Every gathering with Tim felt like the deliriously happy final scene from the film It’s A Wonderful Life.

With that big smile, anyone could tell his was, indeed, a wonderful life.” – Karen Lovely

“Without question or argument, uniquely the best of the best.” – Mark Bowden

“Tim Shaughnessy is one of those people that no one has ever said a bad word about. A real good egg, as they say.” – Lisa Mann

“He helped me fix up my first house, he taught me the right way to hang sheetrock and recycle good old straight-grain wood. Taught me how to stay positive against impossible odds. How to use Craigslist. He helped build Mississippi Studios. Helped me through a divorce. Played bass in my band. Tim is a perfect man, model husband and father. If we could all be just 1% more like Tim, the world would be a better place… I miss him, and it pains me that he’s gone.” – Jim Brunberg

“I can’t remember ever seeing Tim when he wasn’t on top of the world- no matter what he was doing. He was the embodiment of positive joy. My lasting image though, is of him on stage feet apart as if he was standing on a rolling ship with his bass in hand and a shit eating grin on his face as he did what he loved best- playing music. His absence jars me daily, but I feel his presence all around us.” – Robert “Lefty” Head

Tim was one of the first people I met in Portland through my Bay Area friend Jim Brunberg. At the time I was a pretty brash and forceful person. Tim showed through his example that “gentle” was a more powerful and sustainable way to do things. I will be forever indebted to him for that. Tim literally changed my life. Now it’s my turn to live that example as he did.” – Dan Berkery 

Johnny Moore

Johnny Moore

By John Taylor from quotes and notes from Ed Neumann, Joe McCarthy & Scott White

Portland has a little less swing in its step these days.

Johnny MooreDrummer Johnny Moore, whose sticks have struck up some of the best rhythms the city has heard in the past half-century or so is gone.

Moore, who grew up in Astoria and moved to Portland in 1979, died in June after a decade-long battle with cancer. He’d spent the past 10 years playing with the Jim Mesi band, but his legacy started long before then.

“The first time I played with Johnny Moore was 1972 at the White Eagle Saloon, with the Tom McFarland Blues Band,” recalled bassist Scott White, who went on to perform with Moore in more than 20 blues bands over the next 50 years – including Voodoo Garden, Lee Blake, Delta Haze and the Ed Neumann Trio. “Johnny Moore was a strong, funky, dynamic drummer that could swing,” White said in a written statement.

“Johnny’s feel on the drums made everything swing and the dancers loved it,” added Ed Neumann, who met Moore in 1999 when the drummer was holding down a day job in the shipyards.

Back then, Neumann said, his old friend Pat Pattee – “The Preacher” on KISN’s Radio Night Watch Show – would show up at Neumann’s shows and yell “Play some f***ing blues!”

Neumann finally told Pattee that he was interested in starting an R&B night.

“He brought me Johnny Moore, Al Hickie and Kenny Wild,” Neumann said.

The combination clicked.

“By the second week, we were standing room only every Tuesday night,” Neumann said.

Moore, whose father was a beloved doctor in Astoria, served in the U.S. Navy and moved to Eugene in the 1970s, according to his old friend Joe McCarthy. Moore played with several bands there, including the Schwebke Brothers Band, led by bassist Doc Schwebke.

After moving to Portland, Moore hooked up with the Sheldon Brothers Band, playing numerous gigs – including at the MGM in Reno, Nev.

He also did his share of hard labor, putting in many years as a welder and refitting steel ships on Swan Island. He did much of that work from a scaffold, suspended high above the ships’ decks.

Later, he put his welding skills to work blacksmithing and creating metal and porcelain artwork.

Half of Oregon, it seems, knew, worked with or least enjoyed listening to Johnny Moore.

“What a survivor,” Neumann said. “Ten years later and he was playing better than ever with the Jim Mesi Band.

“What a groove. I miss him so much.”

“Rest in peace, my friend,” White said.

Johnny passed in June.

Carlton Jackson 1961 – 2021

Carlton Jackson 1961 – 2021

By Dave Kahl

Carlton Jackson 1961 – 2021The shock waves that rippled through the Portland music community with the passing of Carlton Jackson, nearly a month ago (as of this writing), have yet to ebb. In fact, the impact has been felt across so many genres and aspects of musical performance and presentation that it’s hard to find any other loss nearing its equal. The closest this writer can conjure would place Carlton in the company of people like Janice Scroggins, Linda Hornbuckle, and Paul deLay. Like them, there wasn’t any endeavor he touched that didn’t profoundly touch countless others on countless levels. My own experiences with him, spanning decades, bands, venues, one-offs, and just hanging, tempt me to offer a more personal view of a master, whose interests and abilities would qualify him as a Renaissance Man. Suffice it to say that the best tribute comes from citing several other sources, including the man, himself.

The name of his blog, Drummer-at-Large, was also prominently emblazoned on his business card. It is also an archive, on quick investigation, of the depth and dimension of his interests and involvement. A member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Carlton’s four decades of work speaks for itself; here’s a tiny sampling: Tom Grant, Dan Balmer, Lloyd Jones, Terry Robb, D.K. Stewart, Duffy Bishop, Robert Rude, David Ornette Cherry, Curtis Salgado, and, of course, his signature project, the Carlton Jackson-Dave Mills Big Band. The list of musical interests is even harder to distill, running the gamut, from internationally known artists Miles Davis and James Brown, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Eddie Harris, Frank Zappa, the Crusaders, and more, to locals, past and present, like Obo Addy, Janice Scroggins, Nancy King, Michael Bard, Gordon Lee, and on and on. Carlton’s passion for all things music was deep, disciplined, and voracious.

As host of the weekly radio show, “The Message”, on KMHD, Carlton explored themes of consciousness that had a distinctly African-American centric feel. Mention movies to him and the subject would open up to any number of specific films and some surprising genres: Sam Peckinpah, Spike Lee, John Woo, Blaxploitation, Stargate SG-1, and Family Guy cartoon series, among them. A consummate educator, he was an annually featured instructor at Mel Brown’s Drum Camp, as well as in public schools and universities. In fact, Carlton’s instinctive bent toward teaching was self-evident whenever he was on stage – if you paid attention – and his emphasis, if anything, was on the basics but he could guide with the flick of the wrist or the shortest phrase, opening doors of exploration and discovery, even for seasoned players. Academic interests certainly included educating younger players and audiences because, as he noted, age was causing attrition; for Carlton, this was a legacy issue. This activism extended to economic realities for musicians, as well as for other artists. An early proponent of designating venues as paying fair wages, a collaborative effort grew out of the American Federation of Musicians Local 99, the campaign known as Fair Trade Music.

In recent years, Carlton was integral to several bands, compilations, and developing venues, but it was his deep commitment to Lloyd Jones, in particular, that should be noted. Even in the wake of the pandemic, the push to support Jones’s latest recording, “Tennessee Run”, was strongly marked by one word that defined Mr. Jackson – preparation. Sadly, we will not be able to hear what was to come. The irony of how ill-prepared any of us were for the loss of this veritable icon of artistry, this master and friend, is not lost upon me, nor others, whose praise is abundantly evident.

NOTE: A celebration of Carlton and his life will be held on Sunday, August 22, 2021, HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO COVID CONCERNS. Remembrances can be accessed through the archives of the Oregon Jazz Society, OPB, Oregon Music News, and Cruise Ship Drummer. Certainly, Facebook is full of countless more personal tributes, as well.

Gary Burford  Passes On

Gary Burford  Passes OnGary Burford, perhaps one of the best-loved members of the Salem and Oregon music community, passed away this past month after a long-term battle with cancer. He had worked with a number of the Northwest finest bands, including the Boyd Small Big Blues Band, The Terraplanes, the Bob Beck Band, as well as a leader of his own groups. He could often be found working with well-known artists such as Curtis Salgado, Terry Robb, Paul deLay, Lloyd Jones, Randy Flook, Dave Fleschner, and Jake Blair. The Salem-based newspaper The Statesman recognized Gary multiple times as the area’s Best Musician and Best Band, and the Cascade Blues Association had also nominated him for a Muddy Award as Best Regional Act.

Aside from being a performer, Gary could be found teaching guitar at Guitar Castle and working at Ranch Records. He was also a promoter and booking agent, bringing acts to Salem from throughout the Northwest and nationally for over 30 years.

Knowing that his life’s end was near, Gary began raising funds himself for his end of life needs. An all-star concert was held this past February that helped celebrate his life and achievements to help pay for his burial and other expenses.

Sheila Wilcoxson: A Remembrance and Celebration of Life

Sheila Wilcoxson: A Remembrance and Celebration of LifeFriends and fans of the late Sheila Wilcoxson, legendary Portland singer, are invited to join her family and many of Portland’s finest musicians for a remembrance and celebration of her life at the North Portland Fraternal Order of the Eagles on Wednesday, December 4 at 6:00 – 10:00 PM. Sheila joined the heavenly choir on October 1st of this year.

Snacks are planned and there is a no-host bar. Friends will be invited to share memories of Sheila and musicians are encouraged to take part in the last jam for Sheila, happening throughout the evening. No R.S.V.P. is necessary. The event is free of charge.

Sheila Wilcoxson: A Remembrance and Celebration of Life

Fraternal Order of the Eagles North Portland 7611 N Exeter Ave, Portland, OR 97203

Contact: Clark Salisbury clarksalisbury@gmail.com

Sheila Wilcoxson: A Remembrance and Celebration of Life

Goodbye Shelia WilcoxsonBorn in Detroit where she began signing at the age of twelve, Sheila Wilcoxson moved to Portland in 1978. She formed the band Sheila & The Boogiemen which brought her high accolades in the city’s music community. Her next group Back Porch Blues continued that recognition as the group earned multiple awards, including a Crystal Award from the Portland Music Association and several Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association earning her one of their first Hall of Fame inductions. In 1998, she was nominated by The Blues Foundation for Traditional Female Artist of the Year for her Burnside Records release “Backwater Blues.” Her powerful, multi-octave voice made her an unparalleled presence on every stage she stepped upon, with a loving and compassionate personality that stood heads and shoulders amongst the best.

Frankie Redding Jr

Frankie Redding JrFrankie “The Funkmaster” Redding Jr was a life-long resident of Portland and one of the community’s most beloved musicians. He began his professional career while still a student at Jefferson High School, working at Portland’s Original Cotton Club performing both on saxophone and keyboards. Over the years he worked with numerous local musicians and bands, including Billy Larkin, The Royallaires, Wine, Vanila Manila, City Lights, The Arnold Brothers, The Staple Brothers, Richard Day Reynolds, and the Norman Sylvester Band. He also did stints with national artists like Tyrone Davis, Etta James and Terry Evans. Though Frankie may have been soft-spoken, his playing spoke volumes and his ever-present smile endeared us all.

Madeleine Crawford

A celebration of life for Madeleine Crawford will be hosted by her sisters Sophia Gabaldon and Beck Lafollette on Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day) at The Milwaukie Community Center 10666 S. E. 42nd Avenue, Milwaukie, Oregon from 12:30 until 5:00 pm. There will be live music, a pot luck with lots of food, and a keg of beer. You may bring your own bottle as well.  There will also be a bounce house for the little ones. Pleas come and help us celebrate Madeleine’s life with her family and friends.

 

In Loving Memory of Jim Mesi

Jim Mesi passed away in early March. He was an icon of the Portland music scene, having played for more than fifty years at the very top level. Throughout his career in Portland, and for a short while in Seattle, Mesi inspired countless musicians. In tribute the Cascade Blues Association offers but a handful of memories from friends and peers. There will never be another Jim Mesi. The word “legend” is most fitting for this unique man — one of the most talented musicians not only in Portland or the Northwest, but among the very best to be found anywhere.

Lloyd Jones: The passing of legendary guitarist (and lifelong pal) Jim Mesi hit hard! His powerful brilliance and demolishing swagger still ring in my memory. From the shine on his shoes to the sparkle in his tone, there was great pride in every performance.

Jim’s list of fans included BB King, Billy Gibbons, John Hammond, and more. On my wall at home is a photo of Mr. Mesi bringing a smile to Les Paul’s face while sitting in together at a club in New York City. Who can say that!

Jim Mesi with Ed Neumann, Steve Bradley, Scott White, Johnnie Moore

Jim Mesi was the greatest guy to be in a band with. He only hit home runs. In the early years, Jim Mesi, Al Kuzens, myself and fellow band mate Paul deLay put together a freight train of a band called Brown Sugar. Blazing a trail for blues in the Northwest and building lifelong friendships. When Paul deLay passed, Jim came to me and said “Let’s put the ol’ band back together for Paul’s memorial concert at Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival…but, you have to play drums!” Jimmy marched up on that stage with a little bitty Blues Jr. guitar amp, placed it on two milk crates and blew the top off that festival! We felt like kids again. Paul would have smiled. I sure did.”

Ed Neumann:  Having played with him the last 20 years he has ruined me and I will miss him every night, but I will continue to laugh at his SO very many jokes and quips. I am a very spoiled man.

Terry Currier: Jim Mesi’s contributions to the Oregon music scene was vast. From the late 60’s on he was known as one of the area’s best guitarists in the state. From early bands like Wrinkle and Brown Sugar (a band that would launch careers for other local musical heroes Paul deLay and Lloyd Jones), to his long time musical relationship with Steve Bradley playing a combo of rock and blues, the Paul deLay Band as well as his countless incarnations of the Jim Mesi Band, his guitar playing excelled. I often heard people state when other blues guitarists came to town “Why is Jim Mesi not as big as this artist? He’s definitely as good or better.” He was definitely a master of his instrument and I was definitely lucky to see him play so many times over the years.

Don Worth: I’ve know and respected Jim’s talent, and wardrobe, for almost 50 years. I will miss him and his wicked sense of humor. His passing will be the end of The Loser’s Club. I have years of great memories from those Tuesday “meetings.” RIP Jim.

Chris Carlson: I was gobsmacked the first time I heard Jim Mesi play the guitar. And every time after that. It wasn’t just the amazing bag of tricks that he had, it was the seemingly endless well of ideas. And that soul. And the humor. Man, that guys was funny.

I had the chance to buy a pedal steel from a buddy of mine, but I didn’t know anything about pedal steel. So I called the only steel player in town that I knew – Jim Mesi. I described the instrument to him, he said, “Buy if! I’ll show you how to play it.” I did and Jim taught me the fundamentals. I still owe him dinner for that.

Whether it was seeing him play or hanging out at a bar, Jim always made me laugh.

Moxie

Paul Jones: Saying that Jimmy was Talented is a vast UNDERSTATEMENT. He was truly amazing as a musician and a friend. I was fortunate to have played music with him for 53 years. Never heard him play the same thing twice! He’s in my soul. I will always hear his laughter.

Mark Dufresne: Back in 1979 when I first came to the Pacific Northwest I would go down to Seattle from Bellingham where I was living and occasional meet up with local blues players trying to get my own thing going. I met a great Harp player named Kim Field (who now resides in Portland) who would sometimes make tapes of various musicians for me. One in particular was of Paul deLay that completely blew my mind. Just a live tape in a Portland haunt, probably Sac’s Front Ave. I had never heard quite anyone like Big Paul, (harp-wise, vocal-wise) The band arrangements were stellar. As much as Paul’s brilliance on this cheap tape (which I still have) the guitar playing was killing me. I asked Kim, who is this Monster. He was to the guitar what Paul was to the Harp. Unique, and recognizable every time you hear him. I played this tape to people for years and every time they would ask me about the Guitar master on there. I could only say his name was Jimmy something, an Italian  name I’d say. I caught them at Bumbershoot in Seattle in 82 with the great Dave Stewart now on keyboards. This was a special band. Few have equaled it anywhere. At the time Jimmy’s approach to the fretboard was amazing. A man who was his own thing but yet could play within the sometimes strict parameters of the roots music scene.

In Loving Memory of Jim Mesi

Paul deLay Band with BB King

After the demise of that version of the band, I figured Paul’s in trouble “How you gonna replace Mesi? Well, we know Peter Damman came in with new guys and the deLay band did some of their best Music. All of this gave me the opportunity to meet and befriend Jim Mesi for his brief stay in the Emerald City. At the time, I had a manager who was trying to get something going for me but did not want me doing standard club gigs. But anytime Jim had something going on he was always more than gracious to me, allowing me to sit in anytime , anywhere he was performing. I did several outdoor shows and having no real band, Jimmy was kind enough to help me put something together and we played some fun shows. Any type of blues, rockabilly,

R&B or even country sounds he handled with absolute confidence and unbelievable chops. I feel so blessed to do even a small portion of work with him. When Jim moved back to the Rose City he would often invite me down to hang and sit-in. He introduced me to Dave Kahl, Dickie Burns, Steve Bradley and a very dear friend, Mike Moothart. Actually I consider all the members of that Mesi unit as good friends. Of course they would always have me sit-in whether it be Portland or Seattle. I will be forever grateful for this.

Jimmy was a one of a kind  individual. A lot of us would try to do our best Mesi impressions complete with the cigarette and quick turn of the head as only Jimmy could do. What a thrill to have a musician of this caliber encourage and let you take part in some of his excursions. I loved his Surf stuff with Bradley. He played with one of the most fearless attacks on his instrument of anyone I have ever known. To know the Italian Chainsaw was to love him. I shall miss him dearly an as a friend and as musician who had a lasting impact on me and many, many others.

With Love, RIP Jim Mesi,

Brown Sugar

Terry Robb: I had the great honor to know Jim Mesi. He was not just a fantastic guitarist, but a great musician. I was a huge fan from when I first heard him in 1971. Later, we became friends and we had a lot of laughs together. It was always really special to play with him. I can’t say enough about what it meant to receive a compliment from him. No one played like him and no one was like him — a true original. We would always laugh about how independently of each other when we were kids, not knowing each other. We would both go to Gateway Music to stare at the Gibson SG they had in the window. He and the late Buddy Fite were the most inspiring guitarists you could ever hope to see. It is overwhelming how much I will miss him.

Bob Lyon: This is tough . . . what I remember can’t be printed . . .

Duffy Bishop: Jim Mesi was a mesmerizing master of the guitar, with a persona far larger than life. He was a truly unique character, a sharp funny man who could crack you up one second and then wow you with his brilliant playing the next. Mesi had natural spot on timing in his humor and this vast musical ability.

Jim Mesi Band – photo by Jim Dorothy

The anticipation he’d instill, seeing him drive up in of his cool classic cars, hop out dressed to the nines in audacious, colorful garb and footwear, and then pop the trunk of the long car to reveal even more sleek, stylish suits, more fancy pointed Italian shoes, and many cases filled with flashy, personalized, killer guitars. He could have had his own TV show, and we all would have tuned in not to miss it!

I count myself among the very fortunate to have gotten to play music with Jim. None of us whoever met him and heard him play will ever forget him

Nico Wind Cordova: I was a skinny wisp of a kid in 1974 or so when I first met Jim Mesi.  I had the determination of a pit bull to become nothing other than a full-blooded musician at that time.   I used to go to this place called Sac’s Front Avenue; it was one of the hottest venues for the emerging Portland blues scene.  Sac’s hosted and promoted local and regional bands.  It was here where I would be exposed to the artists that would blaze the trail for what we now consider to be the royalty of the Portland music scene.

One of my favorite bands of all time was Brown Sugar; its core members were Paul deLay, Jim Mesi and Lloyd Jones, and I went to see them whenever I could.  My friend, John Henderson, aka Westside Johnny, a harmonica student of Paul’s, prompted me to ask Paul deLay if I could sit in and sing a song with him and his band.  Paul took a quick up-and-down look at me, raised one eyebrow, and pretty much blew me off.  But Jim encouraged Paul to let me do a song.  He was pretty vocal about it, advising, “Everyone started somewhere – even you, Paul.”  The next thing I know, I’m standing up on the stage with all these guys looking at me, my knees shaking so hard I can hardly stand up.  Jim directed me:  “Okay, kid.  This is it!  What are we doing and what key is it in?”  I managed to spit out, “‘Little Red Rooster’, by Big Mama Thornton, in the key of G.”  Jim raised an eyebrow at Paul, and it was on!  After it was done, Jim said, “Let’s give a hand to the little kid with the giant voice.”  I’ve never forgotten Jim’s raising me up like that; later on down the road, he would continue to give me opportunities that helped sculpt me as an artist.

After touring with my own bands for decades, I came back home to re-introduce myself.  Again, there was Mesi and his bandmates, inviting me into the light (along with a lot of other mainstage bands that included Curtis Salgado, Bobby Torres, DK Stewart, Norman Sylvester, and many others).

Jim Mesi with Seth Cordova and Nico Wind Cordova

I met my husband, Seth Cordova, eighteen years ago at the Candlelight Cafe and Bar. Seth had been on tour with Jim Mesi as a second guitar player; it was one of Seth’s greatest opportunities when Jim took him under his wing.

Seth had met Jim through a family friend, Pat Pattee and his wife, Carmen.  Pat was the first KISN Portland radio DJ back in the 50s.  At the time, he was working as a DJ for The Crossing in Vancouver, Washington.  Mesi liked to hang out with Pat because he had one of the largest music record collections in the region, especially blues recordings.  Pat was known for opening his home to aspiring young musicians like Seth to give them an opportunity to listen to the real stuff.  After one of these sessions, Jim told Seth he should come down the Denny’s Music Store, and he’d give Seth some guitar lessons.  Seth didn’t think Jim was serious, so he didn’t show up; a few months later, Seth ran into Jim and Jim said, “Where the X!#&!* were you?  I waited for you!”  Needless to say, Seth showed up the following week, on time and ready to learn that Jim Mesi was a “no BS kinda guy.”

In 1995, Jim informed Seth, “I’m doing another USO tour, so get your stuff together, get a passport, and let’s go!  Seth was working for Bob McDonald at Blaze Jose’s, one of the places where Jim held The Losers’ Club meetings.  Bob was gracious enough to give Seth the time off so he could go on tour with his mentor.

Years later, after the loss of Jim’s son, Christopher, Jim asked Seth to move into his home.   Seth lived with Jim for a year or so while he grieved; part of Jim’s healing included focusing on teaching Seth to play guitar.

When Seth and I started the Free Rein Band, it was The Jim Mesi Band that spring-boarded it.  Jim agreed to join our first gig as Free Rein at the Candlelight, the last week it was open before getting bulldozed.  We played our hearts out, and that would set the bar high for our future as a band.

In 2016, I began work on a project designed to acknowledge and inform Portland music lovers about the legacy Portland’s talents (like Salgado, deLay, Fountaine, Whyte, Ross, Steele and others) had left them through the years.  Nico’s Road Dog Tales ‘n Jam featured a number of these well-known musicians, including Jim Mesi, in an hour-long interview on stage followed by sometimes hours of a jam with each interviewee and our Free Rein Band.  It is only appropriate that I release the Jim Mesi episode of Road Dog Tales as the pilot for our mini-documentary series that honors and preserves the legacy of our treasured icon, friend, and mentor, The Italian Chainsaw – Jim Mesi.

Dave Miller - photo from Pattie MillerLast month we lost Dave Miller, who was known by many around the Portland blues scene. Dave’s business card said “Brewing the Blues since ’62.”  In grade school and high school Dave played Dixieland jazz on trombone with his brother Fred on clarinet and their band teacher on cornet. Dave went to a congressional page high school in Washington DC, and in that town got introduced to the blues. After learning guitar he formed the The Miller Bros. Blues Band with Fred on tenor sax and younger brother Bob on bass while in law school at Stanford. After moving to Portland in 1968, eventually Dave’s son David III became rhythm guitarist. With Mike Oxborrow on bass and Dave Smith on drums a good portion of the time, for some 40 years the Miller Bros. Blues Band entertained in the Portland area under Dave Miller’s inspired and charismatic leadership. Dave was an active supporter of the Cascade Blues Association and KBOO’s blues staff headed by Tom Wendt.

Keep it up, Dave, wherever you may be.

A celebration of life event will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 11, 2016, at the World Forestry Center, Miller Hall, 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221.

Obituary written by Jeff  Dayne