Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind

by Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

It seems that this full year has been reminiscing about how much work it would normally take to keep up each month with Cascade Blues Association activities and meetings. For instance, it is now November and the Muddy Awards should’ve consumed a great deal of time starting in August in preparing for and doing actual nominations and balloting for the various award categories. But like so many events in our current world, it too had to be canceled to avoid a gathering of a large crowd. So here we are, no asking for musicians to perform at the ceremonies, no creation of the presentation slide show, no counting of ballots, no having awards made up, no reservation of a venue. It is a lot of work, but still it’s a huge disappointment, because we do look forward to holding one of the year’s most anticipated events within our blues community. We know that this pandemic should be temporary and we will look forward to having this and so many more events take place again eventually. 

We are happy to start up a relationship with Artichoke Music to be able to present a monthly performance from a local act streamed online. It may not be the same as our usual monthly meetings where we could all get together with friends and enjoy the music in person. But we will be able to bring live music with our two nonprofit organizations working together. A full hour each month on the first Wednesday at our normal time. With the limited space in their performance room, we cannot open to the public as they’re limited to only 14 people who can be in attendance. This means that we will give this space to the performers’ family members first. But this will not go on forever and once restrictions allow, we will hold meetings where we can bring back everyone again. Have faith, it’ll happen. 

We have been able to enjoy live performances in a handful of locations, mostly held outdoors. The weather is about to change with the colder months ahead and some have taken precautions to be able to continue, so we need to support those who’re trying to keep the music scene. If you’re comfortable with indoor settings — and many are doing so with reduced capacity allowances and distancing set-ups — please make note to abide by the venue’s guidelines and continue to purchase food and drinks and tip the bands. It is their lifeline of survival. If you’re not willing to go out, continue tuning into the online live broadcasts from the many musicians out there. And again, tip those you tune into as without being able to come to you in person, this may be the only income they have. 

The Cascade Blues Association will be there when everything comes back, but we are also looking to a new year. And that means we need to assure that we have a board in place to keep our future activities moving forward. All of our officer positions are up to be voted on and they’re necessary to be fully filled so the others are not overwhelmed by having to do more than what is already on their plates. We have several people who plan on re-running, but that should not prevent others from putting their names onto the ballot. The most important role that we know needs filling is the treasurer. Obviously we need a person who can keep up with our finances and bills, and somebody who is proficient in accounting and filling out taxes. When everything is open, it is difficult to keep up, so please consider helping out. If not as an officer, at-large members are a godsend, too. So much work to do, everybody is important. 

2020 has been an extremely hard year for everybody. The future has got to be better. The blues are not going anywhere. In fact, the difficulties and hardships should make for great theme fodder for new music. We will all celebrate when the world opens to everybody with no restrictions and the music will be there to keep us all company again in person. Do what we can to support those in the music industry today and help ensure that it rises again when it can. Stay safe, everybody. 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind – October 2020

Greg Johnson, CBA President 

We may as well face it. 2020 is pretty much finished when it comes to the Cascade Blues Association being able to hold any meetings or events. As Portland continues to be held in phase one of the Covid shutdowns, we simply are unable to hold gatherings in an atmosphere where we can bring in the numbers of attendees that we’re used to and to make it financially feasible to do so.  

Events like the Muddy Awards and our annual Holiday Party normally bring in well over 100 people; the Muddys usually are close to sell-out events since we moved to the Alberta Rose Theatre, which in itself is still closed to holding attended events. Venues like The Moose Lodge, where we hold the Holiday Party, or The Eagles, where we have held our meetings, are under different restrictions because they are not considered full-time restaurants and gatherings must remain much smaller under the guidelines. 

Without being able to meet or hold events it also means that our funds have dried up other than memberships retained. Events like the Muddys and the Holiday Party are very expensive to put on and it would be very negligible for us to try to have them without the income coming in at this time, even if we were able. We would definitely try to at least hold the Holiday Party if we were able, as the venue expense is not a part of the location being donated to us. All we can at this point is to hope that 2021 sees a turnaround and we’re able to start up our normal activities once again. 

That doesn’t mean that the CBA wasn’t active during the shutdown period. We collaborated with the Portland Parks & Recreation to provide live music for the Kids Lunch Program. Though this was limited to only the kids and families picking up the lunches, it did mean paid performances for the musicians. We had about 10 of these and planned on doing evening events where the public would’ve been invited, but the city shut down the events for the parks. We had no control over this decision and had several acts lined up for these shows. The funds had been raised through an online campaign supplied by donations. These donations were distributed to the acts who were scheduled, but  unable to play. 

Also with the shutdown on the pandemic, we have seen the loss of many people. Not all were victims of the pandemic, but their loss doesn’t hurt any less. One of those we had to say goodbye to was our good friend Jay Lawhon. Jay ran the sound company JBL Sound that we have used for many years at our meetings and events. He was a main part of many festivals and shows that you have attended, supplying that perfect sound for events like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Bronze Blues & Brews, the Gorge Blues & Brews and so many more. Without Jay and his team, our CBA Anniversary shows, the picnics, Journey to Memphis competition, Holiday Party and many of the Muddy Awards would never have come across at all. Jay was somebody I always relied on; if anything was not going right, my production mode persona would come close to panic. But Jay was always there to make things work right and help calm my nerves. It’s tough to try to replace somebody like that. You simply can’t. There are hardly enough words to say how much we will miss Jay Lawhon. 

It is also with a deep heartache that I have to announce that Merry Larsen has decided to step down from her position of Treasurer. As with many of us, trying to juggle personal life while volunteering for what could  be seen as a full-time position is not an easy task, and after a time it can become a burden. Merry has given the CBA many years in not only the Treasurer position, but on the board as an at-large member — not once, but twice during the many years we have operated. Merry may be stepping down from her full-time position, but she plans on helping the CBA as a volunteer for any events or programs she may be able to fill in. So, it’s not goodbye as we will definitely see her helping the CBA and working backstage at the Waterfront Blues Festival. We lovingly wish her nothing but happiness and success. Thank you, Merry, for all you have accomplished as part of the CBA.  

With that, we wish that whoever may wish to help with the CBA Board of Directors to give it some thought and let any of our officers know of your interest. We have not had any meetings for some time in person due to the shutdown and many of us are not open to meeting indoors just yet. But we will be getting back together soon and need qualified individuals wanting to give their time and help. Please note that if you are interested in a position such as the Treasurer role, you should have knowledge of financial accounting and tax preparation. 

A huge thanks go out to all of our current Board Members. Times have been hard and running the business online is not always the easiest, either. They have continued to keep up and to have open minds to how we might be able to help our music community and keep our organization alive and vital. Bear with us, things will turn around eventually and we will be there for our members, musicians and venues once again. Thanks go out to every one of you for your continued support. 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind – September 2020

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

As we continue to push our way through these times of pandemic, some things seem so far away in the past or further into the future. Such is the feeling I have regarding the status of live music. Every one of us wants Covid to just go away as soon as possible; but facts are that it will probably be around longer than we wish. There are some forms of live music that are taking place. It is your decision whether you want to possibly be exposed to somebody carrying the virus. 

I have made it to a few live happenings. It is just second nature for some of us to yearn for that gladness inside of ourselves to see and listen to our friends perform. But I have limited myself. I do not attend anything in indoor venues, let alone eat in most restaurants that do not have outdoor, separated seating. For the most part, I have limited these to very few outings, and three have been to watch from somewhere such as a friend’s driveway while doing live simulcast over the internet. The attendance at such may have been ten people at the most in any situation. I have ventured to Kathken Vineyards a couple times. They have been quite careful, setting up their picnic tables with great distances between, while having you fill out tracing papers in the event anybody reports contracting the symptoms of the virus. The stage is elevated away from the audience, as are some of the other venues offering live music (Tavern on Kruse also has such a set-up for the band). 

Regardless, it is up to each and every one of you to decide if you will go to see live performances. Nobody will judge you if you decide to stay at home. There are plenty of live feeds happening daily and you can always help out by throwing a little monetary sum to the artists’ paypal, venmo or other accounts. 

I repeat myself from last month as well, when it comes to expressing appreciation for all of the musicians, limited volunteers and our board committee staff who have been holding the shows for the kids lunches with Portland Parks & Recreation. Though we cannot let people know where they’ve been taking place to avoid crowd sizes that would bring the event at the time to be closed, we are quite pleased with the response we’ve had from our members and friends to help foot the cost. At this time we’ve had sets from people like John Bunzow & Denny Bixby, Ken Brewer, Lauren Sheehan, Mojo Holler, Julie Amici & Dean Mueller, Alan Hager, Mary Flower, JME Jazz Trio, LaRhonda Steele, Sonny Hess, Joanne Broh, Kathryn Grimm, and Robbie Laws. Ten events in all for Phase One of the regulations that we must abide by for the pandemic; we’re hoping that Phase Two will allow us to do more in the near future. Huge thanks to Marie Walters, Brad Bleidt and Shelley Garrett  for their hard work at making these take place. 

The other project that the CBA involved themselves with this month was the Walk A Mile In Our Shoes, with views, stories and music celebrating the music from our Black community in Portland. We were proud to help sponsor this event and to be able to create an ad under the creation of Marie Walters and myself. 

We do not know what is ahead for us. We don’t know if there will be any membership meetings in the near future or if we’ll be able to hold the Muddy Awards. We are at the beck and call of the pandemic. I do wish to thank those who have offered locations or ideas. The main focus is we want a convenient space that is centralized for everybody and in a space that is safe. 

Hang tight everybody. This too shall pass sometime in the future and the CBA will return to our regular routine that you all expect. In the meantime, please be safe and support our musicians, venues and sponsors any way that you can. 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings on My Mind August 2020

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

It has been a strange long year with seemingly no end in sight at this point as to when we’ll be able to visit our favorite venues to enjoy live blues, or music of any kind for that matter. That is of course if these venues have been able to survive the lengthy shut-down period. Even as things slowly begin to open, not all of us are willing or brave enough to chance the possibility of exposure unknowingly. 

Where has the time gone? One minute it’s mid-March with stay at home orders being put in effect, the next thing you know four months have whizzed by usWe’ve all been craving to go out to hear live music, but for a few exceptions most of what we have had to rely on has been on the internet, with live online performances streamed over Facebook, YouTube and other outlets. Hardly a replacement from the sensation of witnessing it in person. 

The timing for the Journey to Memphis, Gorge Blues & Brews, Cider Fest, Waterfront Blues Festival, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival have come and gone. Other events that our members may travel to such as Chicago Blues Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Blues Music Awards, Winthrop, Sisters, Sunbanks, Blues Bender were all cancelled long in advance. It’s not easy to be a live music fan in this time and age. 

This certainly hurts the CBA in a number of ways. With no meetings or large events that we participate in, it means next to no income other than memberships sold. As we all know this hit us first with the printing of the BluesNotes. It is hard to exist as a business when you’re putting out more money each month than what is coming in. Yes, there are still expenses we must take on; our storage unit for example. Fortunately, we gave up our office space a couple years ago. Our current position with the BluesNotes has cut back on editor and printing fees, and without being able to hold our monthly meetings we are not paying for sound currently. But we are hoping that this pandemic comes to an end regardless of expenses that will need to resume. We miss our members and the music. Our mission is based on supporting it and we’re trying to maintain that vision however we can. 

One of those positions we took on was to assist Portland Parks & Recreation. They had to cancel all musical events for the public throughout the summer, focusing more on feeding children who rely on school meals. To help with this and to provide a little entertainment and some income for musicians, we partnered to provide music for the children and their families during a number of their lunch distributions. Funds were provided partially by what we had planned on helping the Waterfront Blues Festival in presenting an act; and also through a GoFundMe program. CBA Member musicians submitted applications to be considered, and all that did should be able to perform. Individual slots were drawn at random during a live feed streamed on Facebook. And it doesn’t end there. Depending on funds raised, we may be able to work with the City with some evening performances for the public. But it all depends on what can be raised and the reopening phase that can be reached during the season. 

An issue that we may be facing once we’re able to return to our normal activities is the location of our monthly meetings. At this time, the possibility is there that The East Eagles Lodge may not be reopening. Seems like we’ve been through a lot of relocations over the past few years, and we will get through this as well if need be. If we do have to relocate, we want to continue in a spot that is centrally located and open to minors. Available nearby parking, food available and the room donated as part of a not-for-profit organization recognition. Please keep your eyes open and let us know if you know of anything that might suit us. 

But let’s focus on getting through this with our health and sanity first. Music will return and we’ll be back again. Just be safe out there everyone. Wear your masks and keep your social distancing. This won’t last forever, but if we continue to take the proper precautions, it’ll come quicker than not. 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind July 2020

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

Typically, we make a point not to bring politics into the organization’s stances, but this past month has brought about a divisiveness that we must address. The crimes committed by police in the name of law and order in Minneapolis and cities throughout our country recently and over the years reflect on us all. The Cascade Blues Association stands behind the Black Lives Matter movement and finds these violent actions reprehensible. We also understand that these occurrences are not just random actions as they happen far too often for our communities to feel comfortable with what we’re witnessing. And that includes within our own city and neighborhoods. We have seen these same shameful events happen here at times. It is not exclusive to one portion of our nation, it happens everywhere.  

The roots of the music we celebrate as an organization, the blues, originated in the black community. The music was a form of expression that often dealt with oppression, segregation, cruelty and unjust laws, solely because of the shade of one’s skin. We cannot appreciate the music without the knowledge of its origins. 

The black community has endured this demeaning hardship for more than 400 years in America. It is time for a change, and in order for that to happen everyone must take responsibility to see that change occur. Hatred and racism need to be eradicated. Enough is enough. We all need to stand together 

 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind 

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President 

As our world continues to be on hold due to the pandemic, we watch over and over again as our dreams of nice summer weather with gatherings to enjoy music and friends disappear before our eyes. Here in Portland and throughout our region, summers are usually one long weekend after another with multiple choices to experience the music we love. Northwest festivals such as the Gorge Blues & Brews, Waterfront, Cathedral Park, Winthrop, Mount Baker, Sisters and others are all highly anticipated and prepared for months in advance. Street fairs, markets and house parties are usually in abundance. But one by one we watch as the cancellations are announced and accumulate. It’s hard. But the possibility of losing friends and musicians because of the contagious nature of this virus would be so much more so.  

We may end up losing some of the businesses we cherish. Without means to support themselves with income from their product, such as performances and food sales, and landlords who need their rent payments to make ends meet on their end as well, we will sadly see some gone forever. It hurts us all. 

The Cascade Blues Association sees most of our membership renewals during the summer months, most notably at festivals. That is also when we do most of our merchandise sales. And we normally have a number of advertisers come through to promote their events. The loss of income takes its toll, and we have already had to suspend printing the Blues Notes during this period due to expenses. We still have our monthly obligations to meet with bills, and the Board of Directors have not even been able to meet in person due to the stay-at-home orders and the limitations expected for social distancing. Our communications have been strictly by email and social media for the most part. The business end of the Cascade Blues Association has to continue even while things are shut down. It does make things tough, so hopefully the world will turn itself right side up again so everything can be addressed and we can return to promoting the music we all love and care deeply about.  

This time shall pass. It has to. This lost summer will eventually be a memory. But it will also make us hold the things that we may take for granted a little more closely. Music brought us all together and hopefully it will help us get through this hard period, too. 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind - May 2020Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

In this time of pandemic, like everybody else, I found myself confined to either home, or in my case also spending long hours at work, listening to a lot of music. Whether live online broadcasts from various musicians, including being able to see some old friends that I haven’t gotten a chance to catch up with in a number of years, or just simply listening to a lot of personally-owned recordings or sampling new music and artists, the time was available and I took the opportunity to give my ears some long-overdue treats.

This month we’re probably facing more of the same, with cancellations of so many events and stay at home orders. So I am going to try to give more time to new music reviews and the monthly list will probably extend past the regular ten we’ve been posting. And I also want to make a point of putting out a varied amount of blues approaches and styles, because it is not just the same old I IV V sounds, or Chicago, Texas, Delta, Hill Country, Blues-Rock or whatever.

As I said, watching online performances is a great way to catch the musicians we’ve been missing so much in live settings for the past few weeks. I got to see several people online who it has been way to long since crossing paths, like Richard Ray Farrell, Greg Nagy, Dave Muskett, Son Jack, Don Haupt and Dave Keller for instance. If you’re not familiar with them take a moment and check them out. Or if you see other names you’re not familiar with, look into them, too. You may be surprised. Of course, do not even hesitate to watch broadcasts from our local acts. And if you can afford to, as we know many of us are pretty much living on a shoestring, please give a little to their pay outlets, because as you know, no gigs, no income for a lot of musicians.

To help out with these efforts, since venues are closed, Shelley Garrett is collecting the broadcasts and posting them in place of our regular venue calendar. And she will post your pay outlets too.

If venues are open to take out food, help them out, too. Every little bit will help. And if you see new music that sounds interesting to you, go to Music Millennium’s website and see if they’re carrying what you’re after. Order it online and pick it up at their curbside service. Just because we’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean we can’t support these musicians and businesses.

We do have a small handful of events that we’ve included, including the Sunbanks Blues Festival. At the time of this writing, the events we included have not been cancelled. We recommend that you check with the venues to verify whether they will actually be happening. If we find out beforehand, we will post the cancellations on our Facebook page, and update our online calendar.

Stay safe everybody, you are important to us and we want to see your smiling faces enjoying live music once everything comes back. In the meantime, listen and watch at home as much as you can.

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

by Greg Johnson,
Cascade Blues Association President

Making the decision to cancel our membership meeting for April was truly tough. In the 19 years that I have been president, we have only had to cancel twice before. Both of those dates were weather-related due to snow and/or ice making it dangerous to travel. There may have also been conflicts on dates where we just moved the meeting to make things work out. But never before have we had to deal with something like a pandemic and having the governor make the decision for all events of 250 or more people be cancelled. Though we have not had meetings come close to those numbers in some time, we felt that it was prudent that we also take the precaution to make certain everybody in attendance are safe. Please note that both acts scheduled for the April meetings were contacted in advance for their input whether to play for the April date or not. Both agreed to be rescheduled for a later meeting during the year. We are sorry for this occurrence and hopefully things will turn around so we do not see any further cancellations from not only ourselves, but the local venues and those musicians scheduled to play as well.

This does not by any means say not to attend events. There are plenty of local venues that do not have the room capacity to reach 250. But with that said, be your own decision maker. If you want to avoid crowds of any size, we’re not here to judge you. Nor should anybody else. Just follow the standard precautions to ensure your safety as we want to see you again.

Musicians and venues rely on you to make their living. Having events cancelled means a loss of income. And of course, many artists do not have health care insurance in the event that they do get sick. So, it’s a double-bladed sword for many of us to decide. But it is a choice to make on your own if you venture out or not for the time being.

Do not forget if you’re interested in participating in this year’s Journey to Memphis competition for a chance to travel to Memphis to be included in the International Blues Challenge, you must have your packages delivered to us by April 7. I have had a handful of acts state that they’re planning on joining in, but I am still waiting to see their applications show up. It always places me in a panic mode when so few show up before the deadline; but I also always see a deluge of packets show up at the last minute. Don’t miss out, you too can possibly be the next Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys or Ben Rice or Rae Gordon (just three of our acts from recent years to reach the IBC finals).

The Journey to Memphis is also a terrific way to be introduced to newer acts within our region with which you may not be familiar. There are many bands and solo artists to be discovered. We all have our favorites; that is something noted each year with the Muddy Awards. So many nominations received for the same acts over and over again, year after year. There is nothing wrong with that, as they’ve earned their spot for your attention. But take a chance. Go to a venue you may not know too well. Check out an act you don’t know. You just might discover somebody new that’ll earn that same recognition from you and you can help spread the word about someone everybody else should know about, too.

And if you’re planning on staying home during the current virus situation, here’s a thought. Go to a website like ReverbNation and fill in the search for artists, local, Portland,OR and blues. This will populate a listing of artists within our region and will give song samples and tour dates. Lots of new artists will be found. Though much of this site may be outdated, it still includes a good number of local artists to explore. Take the time to give them a listen. It’s just another avenue for exploring and discovering acts that just might draw your interest into finding more about them and to perhaps head out to their gigs when you’re ready.

Or just use one of your regular media outlets to listen to your favorites while you are social distancing yourself. Listen to the CDs you own from them, and if you don’t own it already, go to their websites and purchase it directly from them. That is certainly the option you should use first to ensure that a little bit of income is headed their way while gigs are being cancelled.

So many acts, so little time it seems. But remember to visit these venues, check out the acts, buy their music. As long as we continue doing this there will never be a shortage of talent for us to enjoy.

So many acts, so little time it seems. But remember to visit these venues, check out the acts, buy their music. As long as we continue doing this there will never be a shortage of talent for us to enjoy.

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind - February 2020The Cascade Blues Association has been involved sending bands to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis for twenty years. We have had a lot of success with acts participating over the years, many pushing forward to the semi-finals since they first began holding them, and seven acts who have moved forward to the finals stage. Johnny Wheels and The Swamp Donkeys were the latest to reach that plateau. Though they may have not finished as one of the top three winners, they were still one of only eight bands to make it to that level out of more than 200 competing. And that truly means that they were in fact winners.

The International Blues Challenge can be life-changing for acts who take advantage of their time and reaching the showcase in Memphis. The names that have moved on are many and include those who sit atop the blues world today: Susan Tedeschi, Tommy Castro, Fiona Boyes, Watermelon Slim, Albert Cummings, Danielle Nicole, Southern Avenue and the late Sean Costello and Michael Burks just to name a handful. And our own Lisa Mann, Karen Lovely, Ty Curtis and Ben Rice who have gone beyond to world-wide recognition.

We’re proud of everyone who has represented the Cascade Blues Association throughout the years, as well as our sister societies from throughout the Northwest. It may be a competition to bring everyone to Memphis, but it’s more a family of musicians and if you watch behind the scenes, it’s all about those friendships and bonds built to last a lifetime. Congratulations go out to Johnny Wheels and The Swamp Donkeys, but we’re just as proud of Louis Creed & The Geezer and Generation Headstrong because they gave their everything and brought attention to our region. Thank you all.

Back at hand we need to look at helping our local musicians and families, too. There are two fundraisers happening this coming month and we urge everybody to attend or to donate if possible. Fenix Sanders, another past International Blues Challenge participant for us, spent a lengthy period hospitalized after surgery, losing out on income from not being able to work. Larry McCoy, guitarist with Rich Layton and Tough Town, has experienced family crisis when his daughter was hospitalized for an extended time with a life threatening illness. Expenses are great as you can imagine. Please check out the dates for these events where multiple musicians will be helping out and bring some relief their way with your support.

This past month saw the release of the video recorded at the Bluesmania benefit for Steve Pringle. Perhaps one of the most heartfelt events to have taken place in our community of all time, this newly released DVD is something that should be picked up, not only for the amazing performances by so many giving their time recognizing Steve, but to help us remember the good behind us all in times of need. Whether you attended or not, this should be included in your music collection. But there were only 300 copies made, so do not hesitate. We had twenty copies at our last membership meeting, all but one sold out that night. We have obtained twenty more copies that we’ll have available at the March meeting. They’re also available at Music Millennium as long as they can keep them in stock. But once they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t kick yourself and miss out.

In the meantime, get out to the clubs and support our local talent. There are quite a few touring acts also coming through our area this next month and beyond. Keep your eyes on the BluesNotes calendar to make sure that you’re in the know of what’s happening. And if you’ve let your membership lapse, it may just be time to renew, and share with your friends the idea of becoming members. We’d love to see as many of you blues and music fans help us support our scene. Thanks to you all.

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2020

Ramblings On My Mind - February 2020by Greg Johnson,
Cascade Blues Association President

I know it’s February and since I was a month behind last time getting out the top ten list of favorite CDs of 2019, let me do a touch more catching up. We have gone through another election to decide who will be behind the scenes of the Cascade Blues Association for this next year. Well, it’s not really an election when nobody is running against anyone else, but that’s the way things go at times. Thanks to all of those who stepped forward once again to do the necessary chores that keep this organization running. New this year will be Michael Todd taking on the role of membership secretary; definitely a job that takes a lot of work. Welcome aboard Michael, looking forward to working with you.

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge those board members who will not be with us this year. Working on the board takes time, and it doesn’t always work out with the lives we live in our regular day-to-day lives trying to balance between the two.

Katie Allard served this past year as our membership secretary and did a wonderful job in the role. She decided to step down due to time needed away from the CBA, but she will be helping Michael out getting organized and up to speed. Thank you Katie; going to miss you and you’re always welcome back anytime.

Jamey Winchester also needed to step away as his regular life needed more attention. Thank you Jamey for a bevy of achievements that you pushed forward, including the new look BluesNotes, the Blues Directory, pursuing advertising and working out our relationship with The Eagles for our new home. These will be long-lasting accomplishments. Thank you.

Of course, we’re grateful for all of our board members and the work that they do. Show them that they’re appreciated with a pat on the back and a thank you for their hard work.

With that said, we can always use more help on our board and with volunteers. The more people we have, the easier the tasks we take on will be. If you have an interest in fund-raising, grant-writing, membership drives, writing for the BluesNotes, seeking advertising, or simply helping us out at various events such as the Waterfront Blues Festival merchandise booth, let us know. We’re not going to turn you away, as our members and volunteers are our life-blood. If you love the local blues scene and want to give a hand in seeing it succeed through support and promotion, this is the place for you.

If you’re unable to be a part of our board or as a volunteer, you can still help us by telling all your friends about the Cascade Blues Association. Get them to become members. The more members, the more friends we have, and means even more fun celebrating our blues community.

One last word, thank you to all of the people who put together fundraising events for our Journey To Memphis winners helping them make their trips to the International Blues Challenge, with huge shout outs to Rae Gordon and Malena Masterson for multiple showcases. They also could not be done without our volunteers and donations both in cash and items used as auction/raffle items. Thank you everyone!!