Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings June 2022

Our Blues Notes and email blast this month are going to be very brief. So if you’re looking online, and asking yourself, where’s the content, don’t hold your breath. All our efforts have gone into the relaunch of the print edition of Blues Notes, which will be ready for you in late June. Pick up a copy at the Waterfront Blues Festival, the member meeting at The Garages, or one of these great locations.

Artichoke Music, 2007 SE Powell Blvd Portland OR 97202, open Wed-Sat 12-5pm

Catfish Lou’s / Legends Billiard Room, 6540 SW Fallbrook Pl, Beaverton OR 97008, open Monday-Friday 5pm-midnight, Saturday and Sunday 11am till late

CI Bar and Grill, 18786 SW Boones Ferry Rd, Tualatin OR, 97062, open 7 days 7am-12.30am

Mekong Bistro, 8200 NE Siskiyou st, Portland OR 97220, open 7 days 6-11pm

Montavilla Station, 417 SE 80th ave Portland 97215, open 7 days noon-2am

Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside st Portland OR 97214, open 10am-10pm every day except Sunday, 11am-9pm

Parkers Hideout, 5821 SE Johnson Creek Blvd, Portland OR 97206, open 7 days 2-10pm

Slims, 8635 N Lombard St Portland OR 97203, open 7 days 7am -2.30am

Tigardville Station, 12370 SW Main st Tigard 97223, open 7 days 11am-130am

3 Tracks Music, 7419 N Burlington Ave, Portland OR 97203, open Tues-Thurs 2-530pm, Fri Sat 12-530pm

Do you have a business where we can leave copies of our free magazine? Please get in touch with the President.

Congratulations to our Journey to Memphis finalists – the TJ Wong Trio, James Ortega Y Los Demon Drivers, The Fabulous Bad Cats and the Pat Stillwell Band. Thanks everyone that helped make the heats at Mekong Bistro such a great event. The contenders will compete for the chance to represent Cascade Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN 2023. The finals are at the Waterfront Blues Festival on Monday July 4th from 1130am.

Stop by the Cider Summit where we will have a Cascade Blues Association fundraising and merchandise booth, June 10 and 11, Fields Neighborhood Park PDX.

Join us at the member meeting on June 1st at the Garages from 6pm. Featuring the Chris Stone and Robbie Laws duo, followed by the Pat Stillwell band. This is the easiest place to sign up for volunteering at the Waterfront Blues Festival. Why volunteer? No you won’t get free entry, but a little birdie told me some of our volunteers will be getting backstage access, so sign up now.

See you for the print edition!


Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings May 2022

by Anni Piper

We are grateful to everyone for attending the celebration of life for our late president emeritus, Greg Johnson, and acknowledging his contribution to our community in such a meaningful way. Best wishes to Greg’s wife, Cherie Johnson, who will be relocating to the East Coast. We will miss her beautiful smile lighting up our town.

There are two spots remaining for any acts that wish to enter our Journey to Memphis contest 2022. Heats are May 26 at Mekong Bistro from 6 p.m. and finals are July 4 at the Waterfront Blues Festival, starting at 11:30 a.m. It’s basically a 50/50 shot at performing at the Waterfront Blues Festival, so get those entries in quick. We will also be sponsoring a youth act for the 2023 IBC. Details on how to enter can be found at cascadebluesassociation.org

Speaking of taking a Journey to Memphis, this year’s delayed International Blues Challenge is happening in a matter of days. Keep your eye on social media for updates from our entrants, Sugar Roots (Chad Rupp, Timmer Blakely, JT Thomas, Chandler Bowerman and Pat McDougall) as they go for gold in the band category.

Volunteers are still needed for the Cider Summit June 10-11, and also the Waterfront Blues Festival on the July 4 weekend. Please contact Mike Todd, our membership director cbamembership.secretary@gmail.com

Blues Notes returns in a print form in time for the Waterfront Blues Festival – get your copies at the event and at select venues around PDX. Next month’s online updates will be brief as we hustle to get the print edition ready for you. Blues Notes will be published every two months. Look out for the July / August edition soon.

Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings April 2022

by Anni Piper

Blues lovers in Portland and nationwide are mourning the passing of Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson, president emeritus of the Cascade Blues Association. His leadership was an inspiration to us all.

Greg devoted more than 20 years of service to the CBA as president, photographer and historian. His generosity knew no limits when it came to the music and community that he loved. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we extend our deepest sympathy to Greg’s wife, Cherie Johnson, and the Johnson family. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

We encourage you to continue to support the GoFundMe campaign for Greg’s family. Here.

Mark your calendars for the Journey to Memphis Competition 2022. Entries open April 11, and remember to get in early as we are only taking the first eight acts to register. The heats are May 26 from 6 p.m. at Mekong Bistro, and the finals are at the Waterfront Blues Festival on July 4. The winning solo / duo and band acts will represent us at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis 2023.

Best of luck to the Cascade Blues Association Journey to Memphis winners from last year, the band Sugar Roots. This year’s International Blues Challenge has been postponed until May. While unfortunate in some ways, it does allow for one more fundraiser to help these gentlemen out. Join us at The Garages on April 3.

We need volunteers for some upcoming events – the Cider Summit June 10-11 and the Waterfront Blues Festival on the Fourth of July weekend. Both of these events are crucial for fundraising and new member recruitment. If you can give just two hours of your time we would be so grateful! To find out more, please email our membership secretary, Mike Todd, at cbamembership.secretary@gmail.com

Our next monthly member meeting is at The Garages, Lake Oswego, at 6 p.m. April 6. The featured acts are Josh Makosky and Tall Static. Hope to see you there.

Greg 'Slim Lively' Johnson RIP March 15th 1959 - March 24th 2022. Rambling with the Angels

Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson R.I.P.

March 15, 1959-March 24, 2022


By Shelley Garrett


Portland’s music community is mourning the loss of one of its hardest working and most beloved family members.

Greg Johnson, 63, fought the good fight against cancer and a stroke for a long year with the strong support of his wife, Cherie, and the uplifting help of the blues community at large. One can only imagine how difficult it was for him to lose the power of speech with all his great memories locked up. But Greg’s was a life fully lived.

Greg is survived by Cherie, his mother, Pat, and many dear friends who will miss him terribly.

A dedicated music lover and devoted husband, Greg spent decades in service to the local and national blues community and encouraged countless musicians.

His legacy won’t soon be forgotten.

Some of Greg’s local and national accomplishments:

  • Board of Directors Cascade Blues Association 1998-2001
  • Cascade Blues Association President 2002-2021 (president emeritus 2022)
  • Muddy Awards Committee chair 1998-2020
  • Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation 2016.
  • Blues Music Awards (Memphis, Tenn.) stage manager for seven years
  • International Blues Challenge Orpheum Theater Stage Manager
  • Club 152 (at the IB) stage manager for 13 years
  • Muddy Award, George Paige “Back What You Believe In” (4)
  • Muddy Award “Lifetime Achievement”
  • Waterfront Blues Festival emcee
  • Blues historian and photographer
  • Blues Notes main contributor
  • Cascade Blues Association official photographer
  • Journey to Memphis co-founder and chair
  • I served on the board with Greg for the past several years and was struck by how calm he was, often under extreme vitriol. He listened to all opinions with respect. Greg’s love of the music and the people who make it guided him.  He was so proud of the local musicians who had made it out of our beloved little town! Greg valued their accomplishments and seemed truly humbled by the friendships he made through the CBA.

So many of the tributes posted on Facebook in the first few days mention his mentorship, guidance and support. Many of those comments, along with quotes from close friends, are at the end of this article. Visit the CBA website for updates at https://cascadebluesassociation.org/

Look for a comprehensive article in the Blues Notes print edition that will be handed out at the 2022 Waterfront Blues Festival.

For those wishing to commemorate Greg with stories, photos etc., please add them to the “RIP Comments Section”.

His wife Cherie announced that here will be a Celebration of Life for Greg — details and venue will be announced soon.

Quotes and Facebook Tributes

Cherie Facebook Announcement

I don’t know how to say this in an easy or any less painful way so I’m just going to say it. My beloved husband Greg Slim Lively Johnson passed away last night. I am so sad I & the world will be without him. Portland was so lucky to have him. 25 plus years on CBA board, & being CBA President, years of dedication in Memphis, historian, photographer & writer. Multiple award recipient and A Keeping The Blues alive award recipient in Memphis. Always full of commitment, passion & integrity. The legacy Greg created will be carried on.

Gregory Vincent “Slim Lively” Johnson

March 15th, 1959 -March 24th, 2022

You are life itself without boundaries.

Greg has suffered physically for a year with health complications cancer and massive stroke. The door has been opened & Greg passed through & now is not limited to his physical body or in any more pain or trauma. Greg was with his wife when he passed away.

Terry Currier

I can’t tell you what a loss this is to our community. Greg Johnson was a dedicated soul to the Blues community, which included the artists, the fans and others who donated their time because they loved this community. He was a music person, much like me, and that drove him to jump in years ago and help out. And his love for music was not limited to the blues. We shared music and artist likes over the years. He had also worked for a recorded music distributor here in Portland called Lieberman.

Greg would do whatever was needed to keep the Cascade Blues Association going as an organization. He championed the artists in the Northwest and especially in our state. He was always going ” Have you seen this artist yet?” or “You have to see this artist.” He was a dedicated individual because of the music and the people.

It’s been tough seeing what happened to him this past year. Something was taken away from him and from our community. there will always be evidence of what Greg made happen but now there is no Greg. It will be important to him that we all work together to keep this blues community and Cascade Blues Association alive.

This is a time we should all reflect on how Greg touched us and the community. I will miss him, not just for all he did, but because he was a great person and a great friend to me.

Chad Rupp

Twelve years ago, I started my first jam session at Hart Road Pizza. It was there that I met my friend Greg Slim Lively Johnson. At the time he was in a relationship with my friend Sue Eastman, living out in Beaverton, close to the gig. I met Sue at Hart Road while I was bartending and often served her and she and I surprised each other with a shared love for the Portland blues scene and all the players that we both knew so well. By that time, I had worked at Bojangles, and The Candlelight Room and we would go on for hours talking about those places and the great music that we had heard. Stories about those legendary venues and the personalities that worked them would fill the air for hours when we would hang out together at the bar. When I told her that I was starting a blues jam at Hart Road, she told me that she would bring her guy out to listen and before we knew it, there was Greg at every session, taking pics of us performing, getting us excited about finding more gigs, regaling us with stories of all of the people that he knew in blues and the history of the scene locally and nationally. He put me in personal contact with people that he felt I should be meeting and being involved with and a lot came of that. Greg would often hip me to music that he thought I would sound good doing and we would laugh about me playing “Cool Guitars” or “Trick Bag”. My bandmates and I didn’t know that we were standing with a such a giant friend of the blues. Over the years we found out. I learned about him passing today from an elder statesman in our community, Norman Sylvester. I can’t tell you how sad I am to have lost the best friend our blues scene has ever had. The man was of service, and I will miss him very much. Rest in peace, my friend. You deserve peace after all you’ve been through. Love and relief to your family and everyone who knew you.

Chad also shared this FB post from Greg from October 11,2012

As the night draws to a close at the Hart Road jam, it has been an incredible nearly two years. They do not realize what they are letting go. This jam has given them an identity that spread far beyond a neighborhood sports bar and pizza restaurant. Chad Rupp hosted one of the finest, best run blues jams in the region that attracted many of the best players not only on the West Side but from the West Coast. They will land elsewhere while Hart Road will once again fall into obscurity. Thanks for the fun times and farewell.

Mark Shark

A heartbreaking loss for all who knew Greg Slim Lively Johnson.

Kind, giving, selfless, capable…A leader with vision and humility.

We are all better for knowing him ~

May his cherished wife, family and friends find comfort in the

gift of his memory and gratitude for all that was shared.

Rest in love Greg

Robin Gibson

RIP, Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson. You will be sorely missed throughout the blues world.

Cherie Johnson, I am so sorry, I simply can’t find the words to express it. Know that I will help in any way I’m able. Greg was special to me, always giving respect to my limited efforts to be a good blues musician, taking several of the photos I ended up using for profile shots. He had a great eye.

Much love to you and comfort in your mourning. If there’s any way I can pay it back, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Tevis Hodge

“I owe a lot to Greg but it’s not just me. The community at large owes a lot to Greg. He supported and loved more musicians than possibly anyone else I’ve ever known. He absolutely loved music and it showed. I personally know first-hand how much he loved to support young musicians as well. Musicians who are just getting their feet wet, and for me, his support was immeasurable and inspiring. Thank you, Greg! R.IP. Greg Johnson, you will be missed.”

Kivett Bednar

“He discovered so many young talents and supported their burgeoning careers. He was always looking after the tradition and the art, but the people in his community came first.”

Marty Henninger

I was gob-smacked and honored when Greg Johnson got the Cascade Blues Association to nominate my first CD “Are You In, Kid?” by Hifi Mojo, for Best Home-Produced Album in the IBC competition in 2011! But then, he was always doing nice things to support the blues artists in Portland! I’ll always remember his heart, his love of blues music and his generosity towards so many of us. His was a life well-lived and we will miss him dearly.

Jonn Del Toro Richardson

Till we meet again brother, Greg Slim Lively Johnson . I’ll miss seeing your smiling face and your embrace. So grateful you’re love passed our way, and proud to call you a brother. I know you’ll be moving bigger things there than you ever thought possible on this plain.

Keep on moving.

Kevin Selfe

So many thoughts, feelings, emotions when I found out about my dear friend Greg Slim Lively Johnson’s passing. First, my heartfelt condolences and love to his wife Cherie Johnson and all his family. We are all here for you.

Greg was a wonderful man with a passion for the blues and a gift for bringing the community together. He spent countless, unheralded hours building up the blues community, not only here, but around the country. From writing articles for the Blues Notes, reviewing new releases, checking out new bands and venues, being a stage manager at IBC venues, putting on benefit shows…. the list goes on and on. Most importantly he was a good man. A man who cared about people and their stories.

I met Greg the first week I moved to Portland back in January 2007. It was at the CBA meeting, and we became quick friends. We exchanged IBC stories, discovered we had many mutual friends, and talked about our favorite blues artists in the scene. He asked me to play a meeting and was just blown away how welcoming he was to me. From that day on, we became great friends. He would stop by my shows regularly and was just so supportive of me. And he wasn’t out and about just to be seen. He just genuinely loved the music.

Every time I’d see him, he’d give me a big bear hug and we’d just sit and chat about anything and everything. He truly was family. He’d always make sure to ask to introduce my set at the Waterfront Blues Festival. I was always so honored about that. There are so many things I could say and so many memories I have…just overwhelmed a bit at the moment.

Greg, I know I would not be the musician I am today without you and your support. I love you and am going to miss you so much my friend. I’ll be playing the blues for you.

Bob Ancheta

Greg gave this blues community something that cannot be measured, he was always ready to take care of business and was loved by so many. Cherie was his wife and caretaker and never gave up. Bless all of you as we mourn our great friend Greg.

Dave Kahl

When harmonica master, Paul deLay, passed away, I thought I was done with playing, that there really wasn’t anything more to say or do. I certainly acknowledged that I would probably continue to work but finding anything meaningful enough to let me actually enjoy it, while I was doing it, just didn’t seem realistic. However, Greg Slim Lively Johnson thought otherwise and he pushed back on the notion, pressing on the fact, as he saw it, that there were still opportunities, especially with this talented lady from Australia, Fiona Boyes, who he swore sounded like the reincarnation of Memphis Minnie. I mean he would not take no for an answer, so I relented and found out just how right he was.

One act of intent, by someone who cared enough to press a purposeful point — that you don’t determine when or if you hit your peak; there are other factors — opened a world where musical relevance didn’t just unfold; it has repeatedly imposed itself upon my life. It seems somewhat poetic that Greg would transition at this time, just as I prepare to wrap up the deepest, most diverse musical project I have ever known, with someone else who wouldn’t let me say no, who also holds Greg in highest regard, and who Greg insisted was another good fit for me, Ty Curtis. I only wish that you had stuck it out long enough that I could see your face when you heard it for the first time.

I miss you already, my friend.

Kim Field

A beautiful tribute to a man who gave so much of himself to support the music communities close to his heart…I have no doubt wherever Greg travelled he gave of himself, whatever was needed, because that was the kind of man he was. Love and healing Cherie, the Johnson Family and his many friends and fans around the world…Rest in love Greg. Blues on Beale Street Memoirs of the International Blues Challenge by Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson

Dean Mueller

It’s been heartwarming and heartbreaking to read all the fine tributes to Greg Johnson today. It’s been an honor and privilege to know you Greg and call you a friend for so many years. Thank you for your love and contribution to the music community and for the positive impact you have had on our lives. Rest easy brother, your struggle is over, and we are going to miss you dearly. Blessings, love, peace, and strength to dear Cherie and everyone he leaves behind.

Anni Piper/CBA Board

Today we mourn the passing of Greg ‘Slim Lively’ Johnson, President Emeritus of the Cascade Blues Association. His leadership was an inspiration to us all. Greg devoted more than twenty years of service to the CBA as President, photographer, writer, and historian. His generosity knew no limits when it came to the music and community that he loved. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we extend our deepest sympathy to Greg’s wife Cherie Johnson and the Johnson family. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Today we mourn the passing of Greg ‘Slim Lively’ Johnson, President Emeritus of the Cascade Blues Association. His leadership was an inspiration to us all. Greg devoted more than twenty years of service to the CBA as President, photographer, writer and historian. His generosity knew no limits when it came to the music and community that he loved. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we extend our deepest sympathy to Greg’s wife Cherie Johnson and the Johnson family. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

George Stevenson

There would be no major ongoing CBA community nor blues music scene here if it was not for Greg Slim Lively Johnson‘s leadership, creativity, commitment & ability to humbly bring people together. Thank You Always Greg!

Mary Volm

A great friend, a kind spirit, and the foundation of our music community. I am heartbroken.

Dan Dalton

He will be missed

Impossible to replace Greg

Tracy Turner-Pain

Heaven just gained an Angel. Rest in everlasting peace Greg Slim Lively Johnson. We will never forget you.

At The Garages Satellite Pub

He is without a doubt an inspiration to all that had the opportunity to know him. His impressive knowledge of music, his gift to the music community, and his teamwork as the Cascade Blues Association President sure were magnificent. He will genuinely be missed. If ever there was a man that should be an angel this is the man!

Mary Hope Cummings

I want to say something profound and loving to describe the heartbreak, find the right comforting words & the loss, but there is only sorrow. The rich music life, the community, the organization building, the commitment, the passion, the hard work, the vision! And watching him finally blossom & be so happy (finally! BIG smiles) when he met you, was impossible to miss. I have HUGE gratitude for all the joy I have experienced… we have ALL experienced through his dedicated work building this blues community and connecting us to the national scene. But I just cannot give voice to all that I (we) feel. Surely, it can never match what you are feelin. I wish you an ocean of love and courage, dear one. I want to thank you PROFOUNDLY on behalf of every person who has struggled through a medical catastrophe & had a special someone to care about them and FOR them. NO ONE has done that better than you have, Cherie! My heart is joining yours today, and for a long time to come. Blessings, dear one. Many, many courageous baby steps ahead, but you are showered in blessings & courage. Here, have my heart. Maybe a huge communal heart will help bear the pain a bit less heavily. AAHHH! John Prine was with him, too! PERFECT.

Tiger Wiese Jones

Sam and I are heart-broken, he gave it his best and he packed so much into his life doing the things that he loved best. I’m so grateful that you were able to meet and fall in love and marry. You were gifts to each other and what you shared you have within you for the rest of your life. He’s always with you, never not at your side. It was an honor to know him and to have had the privilege to spend time with him. My fave was in Memphis during the IBC and then once at the Waterfront, it was late, the bands were closed and the guys were taking things down and someone was playing funk. I danced and Greg tried to get a shot, but it was dark – we all laughed. I respected and admired Greg for all the volunteer work he did, how good he was at giving, just like you Cherie – two peas in a pod. Beautiful inside and out. My heart is with you. I’m here if you ever want to just talk or have someone to walk with it. Much love and hugs. I lit a candle a few days ago and then dreamed of him that night. He looked healthy and whole. He loved you with his entire being. I’m so very sorry.

Mike Moothart

Wow, a huge loss for our community. I can’t even count the amount of shows over the years where Greg was there either with his camera or the MC of the show. He was the MC at my cancer benefits.. I’ve known Greg Slim Lively Johnson for many years and. It’s hard to imagine any future shows without him. Cherie, I hope you are doing ok. Just remember how many people love you and Greg. The last year has been full of ups and downs and unknowns, but one thing is for sure we witnessed a beautiful love story. Greg will be missed but he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace my friend and soul brother.

Jason JT Thomas

My deepest condolences to Cherie Johnson and the whole family. Greg Johnson was an intregal part of our blues scene for as long as I have been in Portland. It was when we went to Memphis that I got to fully see Greg in his element. He knew everyone, and was clearly respected by the larger national blues community. I’ll miss his voice announcing in Memphis, and at the WBF stage. Rest in peace my man.

Clay Fuller

Cherie, you, and Greg have been in my daily thoughts for some time now. I was so hoping that St. Vincent’s and their doctors would cure Greg.

His dedication to promotion of the blues music and artists in Portland and country wide is responsible for the vibrant scene we have today. Greg did all the little things behind the scenes that are necessary to continually motivate the artists to hang there. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Thank you as I know Greg has been a very happy man ever since he met you.

Teri Briggs

Today has been a day of immense sadness because another friend and pillar in the music community, Greg Slim Lively Johnson, has passed away. With his beloved, Cherie Johnson, by his side, Greg fought cancer, stroke, and seizures but the toll was more than his body could continue to take and he is now gracing the stars, curating the best playlists to make them dance. The mark he left on the entire Blues community, the Cascade Blues Association, and IBC in Memphis will be felt forever.

Greg and Cherie shared a love that was beautiful to behold and I had the honor of capturing it behind the lens on their one year wedding anniversary. I will always treasure that memory and those pictures. Cherie, we hold you in our hearts and hope that it gives you some small measure of comfort. I am so sorry that Greg is no longer with you on this earthly plane but know he will be watching over you and wrapping you in his arms.

May you rest in comfort and peace, dear Greg, we will miss you.

Ed Pierce

Cherie, I am so saddened to hear of Greg’s passing. He always struck me as a person who selflessly tried to promote others. Our musical community was so fortunate to have him so consistently and tirelessly advocate for all of us. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Sean Carney

One of my dearest friends Greg Johnson passed away today and my heart goes out to his wife Cherie Johnson who remained by his side and kept us all updated on Greg. Many a late night with Slim in Memphis along with a special group of people in my life during a special time of my life. Greg opened the door for my band and I to perform in Portland at The Waterfront Blues Festival and several other PNW venues. Greg loved his friends and would do anything to help accommodate trips, tours, or anything else we could dream up. Greg Slim Lively Johnson, I love you buddy.

Michael Hawkeye Herman

Greg was a dear & cherished friend. He truly made a huge difference in the lives of so many and to the music we love and share. We are heartbroken by his passing. His memory and good works will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his family and all those who had the great honor and pleasure of knowing him. We will miss him, his smile and laughter, his intelligence, his great good humor, his deep passion and support of the music and the artists who create it, his heartfelt compassion for others, and his dear friendship. RIP Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson

Barney Murnin

The Portland Music scene suffered a great loss, the Cascade Blues Association president Greg Slim Lively Johnson. Greg was good to me. Fond memories of making him smile at shows. I told him I loved playing for him, he knew his music. He knew when I was paying tribute to the greats. He really dug that roots blues music and helped propel it for many years. He loved us and we loved him. Greg gave me very kind words always with encouragement. Let me headline the CBA Christmas party, gave me a couple covers and inside stories in Blues Notes with amazing write-ups and pics. He let me tell my story and really loved our grimy, swamp stompin’ sound. Greg, you were a class act and really kept the blues scene thriving for many years! He looked out for us musicians. We all owe a ton to Greg. Please support his lovely wife Cherie Johnson in this time of need. We are all heavy-hearted with you Cherie. Greg is front row for some of the greats now. May God hold you in his palm until we meet again my friend. picture a 15-year-old kid wrapped up in trouble, just out from the detention center, doing community service to pay off my debt. I was assigned to the Oregon food bank where I ended up working the gate collecting cans for entrance at the Waterfront Blues Fest. I got blown away by searing guitar and raw power of music. The rest is as they say history. Music saved my life more than once. Where I would be without it is a scary thought. Thank you, Greg, for always keeping it in your heart. You gave me a world to live in and I will always appreciate you for that. Rest easy my friend.

Cathy Lemons

Losing some friends these days. Greg Slim Lively Johnson just passed who was president of the Cascade Blues Society out of Portland – 25 years he was at the helm. Greg was also a blues historian & photographer. He loved musicians and blues music. He would come out to see my band when we travelled to Portland. He really was a huge advocate of Ben Rice & Karen Lovely, and so many other blossoming artists. Condolences to Cherie Johnson who was always by his side and has really so supportive.

He will be missed. I do hope people can begin to understand the importance of local blues societies. It’s an important part of a much bigger picture- helping blues artists to thrive, gaining new and younger fans, creating festivals. Yes, there are some societies in name only that do very little, but Greg was a star. An example of how to be a president. He created local awards, ran a hot local IBC, and he was at every BMA and IBC event in Memphis and knew EVERYBODY. We will miss you Greg and honor your life.

Randy Yearout

R.I.P. Greg Slim Lively Johnson. You were a great guy and a huge inspiration to the Blues community here in Portland, the entire NW, and beyond. Tracey Fordice and I will miss you and remember you always. Our sincere condolences to Cherie Johnson and your family

Missi Hasting Baker

John and I are so sad to say goodbye to Greg Slim Lively Johnson today. Greg’s deep commitment to the blues and its musicians has been an inspiration and support. He believed in Mojo Holler when we first got started many years ago, and he understood our love for Mississippi Fred McDowell and that type of roots blues.

Later, he met Cherie Johnson and just blossomed into a true lovebird! Their relationship is inspirational, a true pair of soul mates. We married during the same summer, a second Summer of Love.

RIP, Greg. We will always love you and give thanks for the ways you treasured the blues.

Rich Layton

Although the band was deep into rehearsal last night, I happened to glance up at the clock at 9:10p. This morning brought the news that Greg Johnson left this world at exactly that time. Greg embodied the term “a pillar of the community,” as one whose commitment to the Cascade Blues Association strengthened the organization immeasurably. He lifted us all up with his enthusiasm for blues music, artists and events. He loved his wife Cherie with all his heart and soul. I am grateful for his generous support of my musical endeavors, letting me know that the CBA was a big tent with room for this Gulf Coast harp player. I will treasure his friendship until we meet again.

Lisa Mann

(from 2017)

A thrilling experience to perform 2 sets with such talented ladies and gents at the BMAs! I was worn out by the end of the day… So can you imagine what the CREW was feeling after the show? Big ups to Joe Whitmer, Greg Slim Lively Johnson, Paul Averwater, Jessica Willis, sound and light crew, and everyone else behind the scenes at the event. We musician types saw you busting your humps from rehearsal to soundcheck to show and in the days preceding, and we know you’re the reason this “best BMAs yet” (as many keep saying) went DOWN!

Joey Scruggs

Greg was ‘one of the good guys. Never seen him get mad or tell somebody off – he had more important things to do, like take pics or hang out with Cherie.

He was a one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

Rest In Peace, Greg.

Alan Hager

Cherie Johnson – I do believe that I can speak for the ‘Perfect Gentlemen’: We are each deeply saddened at the loss of Greg, and heavy hearted at the anguish that you, Greg’s mama, and the entire extended clan are feeling now.

Mary Volm

I will truly miss you Greg Slim Lively Johnson– a kind and loving friend and a fierce promoter of music in our community. My heart is with his loving wife Cherie Johnson and his mom Patricia Johnson. Rest In Peace my friend.

Ken deRouchie

Yesterday I lost a best friend. We all did. My dear friend Greg Johnson left this world last night and I’m really going to miss him. We shared so many memories. We went on trips to the coast, rail-riding, wine tasting, a gazillion shows to hear bands, restaurants, birthday parties, dinner parties, Christmas parties, cigar nights…. Greg was my brother from another mother. Thank you so much for your friendship, Greg, it meant the world to me. I am going to miss you deeply. You, my friend, made the world a better place by being in it.

Rae Gordon

Greg discovered so many young talents and supported their burgeoning careers. He was always looking after the tradition and the art, but the people in his community came first. Greg was like a big musical hug when I first started singing in Portland.  His appreciation of the blues scene and his passion for promoting the players in it was like one of those hugs that you feel long after it’s over.  I never felt like an outsider for long even when no one knew my name…because he did and it didn’t matter where you came from or what you knew or didn’t know, it only mattered that you had blues in your soul.  Thank you, Greg, for helping me live my best life by having had a part in it.

Susie Que-Brovquist

I just found out that a close friend, blues lover and really good, hardworking man-; which I had the pleasure of working with on the board of directors for the Cascade Blues Association in Portland, OR, Has passed. Greg Slim Lively Johnson you are loved and missed by many. My love, prayers and support goes out to his wife and soulmate Cherie Johnson. No one could have done more than she did in sickness and in health. Love you Cherie

Geoffrey Reece

He was a booster to so many, He made it possible for me and Justus to have a father son memory that will never be forgotten, thank You Mr. Greg Slim Lively Johnson

Beth Lucci

Love you so much Cherie. So sad to hear of Greg’s passing. So many fond and wonderful memories. So appreciate you being a part of Greg’s life. You are truly a precious gift to our community.

Jimmy Wong

Greg Johnson was passionate about keeping the Blues alive and he understood that goal involved keeping our youth engaged. He was so very helpful with all my questions about Timothy’s (James)applications to represent the CBA at the International Blues Challenge. Once we got to Memphis, he was again very helpful with showing us how to get the most out of being at IBC. He will truly be missed.

Valerie Davis

He kept steady and wholeheartedly believed in the promotion and preservation of the music.

Roger and Debby Espinor

Greg was a powerhouse in the blues community but was a close “cigar and scotch loving” friend. Our favorite times were with food and drink where we got to hear his many stories of the musicians he met at the history of the blues.  He was one of a kind and will be so missed.

Jennifer Moriarity Scheller

Truly appreciated his big heart, support, & strength. He will be truly missed.

Jamey Winchester

As he and I were walking down the street after a heated Board of Directors meeting…Greg said, “Everything we do should have one goal”. “Keeping the Blues alive?” I asked. He said, “OK 2 goals.. Keeping The Blues Alive with getting kids involved. And, we have got to re-establish some sort of Musician’s Trust/Relief fund with the Priority going for those who have given their life to the music.” I remember that walk. I can remember the cool evening and the smell of Hawthorne Blvd. And I remember looking up at him as he said, “To those who have given their life to the music…”, and said, “in that case, you should get entire amount!” “Wouldn’t that be nice?” Was his response as we laughed and went our own ways. I remember the walk with my friend. And he gave everything. I can’t ever remember him asking for anything. Not for himself, ever.

Ken Johnson

I always admired Greg’s ability to create a set list that he played at his job, and it wasn’t always the blues. He loved all genres of music he understood the power of music! I’d say rest in peace, but I know you’ll be busy making setlist in heaven.

Josh Makosky

Greg was a kind, passionate and fun soul, so excited and knowledgeable about music history and upcoming talent. His stories of journies and amazing shows were amazing and he was one of the single biggest supporters of Portland musicians I’ve ever known. Everything from his excellent eye for photography to his ability to excite an audience when he introduced people at a show…there will never be another Greg.

Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings – March 2022

by Anni Piper

Congratulations to Robert Umali Evans, the new vice president of the Cascade Blues Association. I have to give him full credit for holding this organization together during a difficult transition time. Much work goes on administratively to keep the CBA running, not to mention planning for future events. Thank you, Robert, for taking this on – you’re the man of the hour.

The board is simply jubilant to welcome our newest at-large board members – Betsy Clayton, Clay Clayton, James Ortega and Ben Rice. It feels like we have a great balance of music creators, music appreciators and dancers involved. We come from diverse backgrounds and it’s so exciting to have everyone willing to share their opinions and skills.

The Garages in Lake Oswego is our new home for the monthly member meetings. I know this is a controversial choice for some, but the board decided that having a venue where all ages could attend was a priority. I’m willing to help with car pooling for those who are coming from North Portland – hit me up! We feature LaRhonda Steele and Sugar Roots in March, and April is Josh Makosky and Tall Static.

Speaking of the member meeting, there was some discussion among the board about holding a second member meeting monthly in North Portland or Vancouver. We could have a band at The Garages and a solo/duo act each month at a northern venue. What do you think? Let the president know!

Do you want to perform at the Waterfront Blues Festival? Then enter the Cascade Blues Association Journey to Memphis competition 2022. Heats will be late May or early June at a venue to be determined. The two top scoring bands and solo/duo acts will battle it out on the Fourth of July weekend at Waterfront Blues Festival to see who represents us at the International Blues Challenge in 2023. More information coming soon.

Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings -January 2022

By Anni Piper

It’s been an eventful month for the CBA, to say the least. The board approved the return of the new and improved “Blues Notes” coming soon to a store or venue near you. We have a bunch of CDs in the mailbox that our team can’t wait to review!

The International Blues Challenge 2022 has been rescheduled for May 6-9. Congratulations to our winning act, Sugar Roots.

The board voted to grant the honorary title of “President Emeritus” to Greg Johnson for his many years of service to the CBA.

A concerted effort was made to organize the first Black History Month event for the CBA. Ultimately the board voted to postpone as we didn’t feel we had the lead time to make it a success. We hope to organize a Juneteenth event for 2022 provided we can get enough volunteers to help us out.

It was exciting to see so many members at the Jan. 25 meeting! Remember, our meetings are open to the public and we welcome your attendance and participation. This month we received resignations from board members Randy Murphy, Bradford Bleidt, Marie Walters and Nolan Johnson. We thank them for their time on the board and their individual contributions. What this means, unfortunately, is that the activities of the CBA will be curtailed somewhat until we can fill our vacant board positions. We would love to see some of our members step up to help out. It does not have to be a time-consuming task, all we ask is that you attend monthly board meetings and occasionally volunteer at our events. Please reach out if you love the blues and can spare a few hours each month.

Ramblings - May 2022

Ramblings – January 2022

By Anni Piper

As a nod to Greg Johnson, the president’s column will continue to be called “Ramblings” – although the Cascade Blues Association may be wandering in a different direction. The new president of the CBA is an individual whose life experience includes being a female immigrant living below the poverty line in the United States. As someone who has suffered the impact of a system that is stacked against people like me, I will go out of my way to ensure diversity in representation from the CBA. Equity is different from equality. It includes fair access to all the opportunities offered by the CBA, whether they be performance-based or educational. Whilst it is critical in these pandemic times for us to support our local venues and festivals, it is just as important to call out those who do not take diversity into consideration.

A special thanks must go to our former board members, Shelley Garrett, Ron Johnson and Jeanette Agilpay. They all made major contributions to the organization, along with volunteer coordinator Richard LaChapelle, who is also leaving this role. I hope to see them having fun at future CBA events, instead of spending the whole evening working hard so everyone else has a good time. Special mention to Shelley, who has taken on so much extra work for the CBA through 2021 and deserves a break from it all.

This year we will host events as usual — monthly membership meetings currently at Spare Room, merchandising booths at summertime festivals (if COVID doesn’t interfere), Journey to Memphis competition, Muddy Awards and the Holiday Party. Stay tuned for the relaunch of a Blues Notes paper edition and Blues in the Schools. More than ever, the board needs volunteers, and the CBA needs new members. Please reach out to find out how just a few hours of your time can make a big difference.  Help me help our blues community in 2022.

Board Update - September 2021

Board Update – September 2021

By Shelley Garrett

You may have noticed that this column has slowly been changing into something new.

Many people have told us that they don’t really know what the CBA is doing. With 10 active members currently on the board, there is a lot going on and in the planning stages.  Communicating these projects and initiatives is important for the organization. It may also serve to highlight areas that may interest new volunteers and future board members.

Each month we will introduce you to another person serving on the board. So far this year, we have highlighted Mike Todd, Membership Director, Marie Walters, General Secretary, and this month read about Randy Murphy, our longest-tenured member. Each person brings unique skills and perspectives. If you’ve missed reading about anyone, all the past articles can be found on the website.

We are also happy to welcome a new writer for Blue Notes, Kirk Anderson. Please read his short bio in the features section, and the articles on Allman-Betts and Too Slim that he wrote for their upcoming shows.

The board is committed to following all COVID protocols for any event we are involved in.

The membership meeting/concert this month with Tevis Hodge Jr. will be the last one at Artichoke Music. The CBA thanks Bob Howard for reaching out to us last year — this has been a great partnership! Each act that has performed there has a professional video from their performance posted to YouTube and sent to them the day after their show … funded by you, the CBA membership. In October we move to the Spare Room, with a new start time at 6:30 p.m.

We are getting close to the 2021 Journey to Memphis competition on 9/11 at Artichoke Music. A limited amount of tickets are being sold — see the article by Marie Walters for details.

Upcoming events that the CBA is cosponsoring in September are Allman-Betts 9/9 at the Roseland Theater, then Duffy Bishop Band 9/24, and Too Slim and the Taildraggers/Tevis Hodge Jr. 9/29, both at the Alberta Rose Theatre. Members can read the e-blast for the special code to get $2 off admission, either online or at the door. We have tickets to give away for Duffy and Too Slim, either at the show, or via instructions in the September email blast. In the first of a series, Blues Nights at the Lovejoy Rooftop (at the Botanist), join us on 9/24 for the Beacon St. Titans.

Save the date for the “Mini Muddys” Wednesday 11/3, at the Lovejoy Rooftop at the Botanist.  The committee identified and the board approved 10 categories (including some new ones) that we believe make sense.  The awards will include the months that would have been eligible for the 2020 awards. Members will begin voting in mid-September.

Remember, Sunday, Oct. 17 — Blues for Slim Lively, a benefit for CBA President Greg Johnson at the Crystal. Get tickets here or at Music Millennium.

Plans for the Holiday Party are in full swing, (committee members Robert Evans, Anni Piper and Jeanette Aglipay). We will again be at the Moose Lodge 16411 NE Halsey, with music by Billy D and the Hoodoos, Nikki Jones, Fenix Rising and Los Demon Drivers. This is the only fundraiser we do for ourselves. Please let Jeanette or any board member know if you have anything to donate for the silent auction/raffle.


Other projects in the works (leads noted):

Mission Statement Update — Randy Murphy

Planning and Diversity — Brad Bleidt

Blues in the Schools — Robert Evans

Scholarships — Randy Murphy

Lovejoy Rooftop at the Botanist/Elevate Unity Collaboration — Brad Bleidt and Marie Walters

Membership Growth — Mike Todd

Officer Elections

It’s not too soon to think about running for a CBA office. All elected positions (President, Vice-President, Membership Director, General Secretary, Treasurer) are up for re-election. Job profiles can be found here. Intent to run and a short bio are due to Brad Bleidt at cascadebluesstaff@gmail.com by Sunday 11/14 at 11:59 p.m. We will publish the remainder of the deadlines next month. We still have room for additional at-large board positions. If any of the initiatives above pique your interest, please join us in guiding the future of the CBA.

Stay safe … be well … music is a healer.

Ramblings on My Mind August 2021

Ramblings on My Mind August 2021

by Shelley Garrett CBA VP

News and Upcoming Events

“Blues for Slim Lively, a Benefit for Greg Johnson”

Save the date: Oct. 17 at the Crystal Ballroom. Tickets go on sale Aug. 1 through the Crystal Ballroom website. Angie DeRouchie, who is leading the auction/raffle team says, “We need auction and raffle items!” Use the contact form at pdxbandmerch.com if you have items or services to donate. You can also buy “Team Slim Lively” T-shirts there! Another use of the contact form is to volunteer. The lineup will be announced the first week of August.

Aug. 4 Membership Meeting

The August Membership Meeting with Johnny Burgin and Joel Astley at Artichoke Music (2007 SE Powell) will have limited in-person seating as well as being live streamed. The doors open for CBA members at 6:15 p.m.  If space allows, the public can attend for $5, starting at 6:45 p.m. The bar will be open, but there is no food available, so plan ahead. Music is from 7-8 p.m.

2021 Journey To Memphis

This year’s competition will be on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11th at Artichoke Music.  See more details in the separate announcement.

“Mini Muddy Awards”

Save the date for Wednesday, Nov. 3. We will have an event, but it will look a bit different this year. We’ve suspended some categories and added a few to reflect the shutdown months. Details coming soon.

CBA Holiday Party

(The team is Robert Evans, Jeanette Aglipay, Anni Piper)

Save the date for Sunday, Dec. 12, Moose Lodge, (16411 NE Halsey St.) Auction and raffle items needed for this CBA fundraiser.

The Blues Blast Music Awards voting is open until Aug. 6.

Have you voted yet? (You may only vote once!)

Be sure to vote for your favorite blues artists and music at:


Congratulations to NW musicians Lisa Mann, Harvey Brindell, Curtis Salgado and Lady A, who have been nominated.

Independent Blues Music Awards

Lloyd Jones “I’m thrilled to be nominated for the Independent Blues Music Awards in the categories of Best Modern Roots CD and Best Contemporary Blues Song: “Chicken Bones”!

The voting will continue until August 31 2021. https://www.makingascene.org/independent-blues-awards-2021-vote-now/

I’d be honored for your support for this special recording some of you helped make possible, and the band that brought such joy & funkstivity.”

New home for our Monthly Membership Concert (and meeting)

Starting Oct. 6, we will be at the Spare Room (4830 NE 42nd Ave.) It fits all but one of the criteria we identified while we were searching.

New start time is 6:30 p.m., doors open at 5:45.

The criteria identified by the board as we searched

  • Portland city limits
  • Free to us
  • Decent parking
  • Dance floor
  • Capacity of 100
  • Avoid north Portland due to traffic
  • Licensed for under 21 until 9 p.m. This is the only item not covered at the Spare Room yet. We are working with them to get this approved.

Another new item approved by the board is that we will be paying acts to play our meetings — $100 per member, up to $400 for a band. We are very pleased to add this to our support of local musicians.

Johnny Wheels Show at the Botanist-recap

A huge thank-you to Secretary Marie Walters, who was the event leader and to the volunteers, Brad Bleidt, Ron Johnson, Evelyn Silverman, Anni Piper, Immo and Jeanette Aglipay. And a special thank-you to members like George Stevenson, who bought tickets even though he couldn’t attend.

Calendar Coordinator Change

Another huge thank-you to at-large member Robert Evans, who will be taking over the calendar duties. You should still input your own shows at https://cascadebluesassociation.org/event-calendar/ If you have questions for Robert, or need help, use this email address: cascadebluescalendar@gmail.com

How to get involved

If you are considering running for an elected position for the 2022 service year, now would be a good time to join the board as an at-large member.  All are welcome to apply. We have room for five more!

Do you want to help, but don’t want to commit to a full-on board position?  Committee members are needed for the Christopher Mesi Scholarship, Blues in the Schools and the Musicians Relief Fund.

Blues Notes Contributors

Special thanks to Dave Kahl, who put together moving tributes for Carlton Jackson and Tim Shaughnessy

*Note the Celebration of Life for Carlton Sunday, Aug. 22, IS CANCELLED DUE TO COVID CONCERNS.

Thanks also to Ed Neumann, Joe McCarthy and Scott White for honoring Johnny Moore, and to John Taylor for writing the article from their remembrances. Use the RIP dropdown on the website to read their tributes.

Thank YOU, CBA members. You have been so supportive as we navigate the new reality without Greg’s involvement. The personal messages mean a lot.

Your hardworking CBA board is Marie Walters-General Secretary, Mike Todd-Membership Director, Mike Day-Treasurer.

At-large directors, Randy Murphy, Brad Bleidt, Ron Johnson, Robert Evans, Jeanette Aglipay, Anni Piper.

Thanks, also to our amazing webmaster Buko, and John Taylor, who in addition to reviewing CD’s and proofing Blues Notes entries, this month jumped in to write!

Ramblings on My Mind August 2021

Ramblings on my Mind July 2021

by Shelley Garrett CBA Vice President

July and the rest of the year are going to be BUSY!

CBA members are sponsoring two acts at the 2021 Upriver Waterfront Blues Festival — Johnny Rawls, noon and 6 p.m.  July 4, and the Tony Coleman 3 Kings Tribute, noon and 6 p.m.  July 5.

You can listen to the afternoon shows on KBOO 90.7 FM or kboo.com and watch the evening livestream at waterfrontbluesfest.com.

Since the 2021 version of the Waterfront Blues Festival does not allow for the CBA to have an onsite booth, we got creative. The board brainstormed ideas for content. The next step was to involve Cory Burden at Cedar House Media for ideas and cost estimates.

A conference call with Christina Fuller brought new information … that the Oregonian A&E would not be providing a special section like they have in the past. So, what started out as an eight-page flier to pass out at the gate to keep the CBA in mind (and sign up new and returning members) grew to 20 pages. Big thanks to the advertisers who stepped up to help fund this: Music Millennium, Portland Music Company, Ben Rice, Peninsula Rhythm & Blues Festival, Norman Sylvester Band, Ragtime PDX and Dano’s Dogs. And a huge thank you to Cory for donating the expert layout and editing time for Michael Wong (who is a saint … as we added pages and advertising, there were many changes. THANK YOU!)

Watch for our new YouTube channel coming soon. The first interview with Norman Sylvester is two hours long. (Thank you, Norman, for that time!) A small excerpt of that interview is printed in the festival flier. Great stories, Portland Blues history and Norman’s thoughts about the future of blues in PDX.

Reminder to musicians, the deadline for the CBA Journey to Memphis Competition is July 19. The event is Sept 11, currently planned to be held at Artichoke Music (virtual).

Since the 2021 Waterfront Blues Festival~Upriver couldn’t give them the traditional spot for winning the Journey to Memphis Competition to go to the IBC in 2020, the CBA is sponsoring a show with Johnny Wheels & the Swamp Donkeys on July 21 at the Botanist House. Members, check your newsletter for a code to buy discounted tickets.

A new feature starting this month is a listing of key upcoming events, including those where tickets are on sale now and could sell out closer to the show. Use the PDX Blues event tab on the website. Thanks to member Catherine Jolley for adding to this!

The board is in the early planning stages for a “Mini Muddy” event in November, in-person membership meetings, long-term strategic planning, Blues in the Schools, Christopher Mesi Scholarship, officer elections in November and the December Holiday Party. Let us know if you are interested in helping!

Welcome two new at-large board members, Anni Piper and Jeanette Aglipay. Our member newsletter will have more information on these great additions!

Be sure to read the health update and ways to support CBA President Greg “Slim Lively” Johnson.

Thank you to all our CBA members for helping to keep the Blues Alive!