Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - May 2019Greg Johnson, CBA President.

I want to start off this month with an observation. The turn-out for Jim Mesi’s Celebration of Life at The Elks in early April was phenomenal. A true and fitting expression of respect and love for one our city’s most treasured bluesmen. The numbers I heard ranged from anywhere such as 800 to 1000 people. From the stage it appeared like a solid mass of people from both ends of the room.  I saw so many musicians in attendance among so many fans and family . . . actually, when it comes to something like this we are all family. All of those musicians would’ve liked to have been on that stage showing their admiration for Jim Mesi, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much room on that stage. I myself was truly honored to have been asked to be an emcee alongside KGON’s Steve Pringle for the event. And seeing so much love for Jim will be a memory I will hold close for a long, long time.

May starts a new era for the Cascade Blues Association. We have a new home at The East Portland Eagles Lodge and we have a new look for the BluesNotes. A lot of the things that we have looked toward for quite some time are actually coming to reality. And we’re not going to stop there as we are also looking at reviving our important programs with the Christopher Mesi Scholarship and Musicians Relief Fund at the top of our minds. We will also be underwriting a performance or two at the Waterfront Blues Festival again this year, (the acts yet to be determined). But we know that the festival is an important part of our blues community and we need to be help support them in their new growing years.

The resource guide that you will find in the BluesNotes is a direction towards opening doors to help more support musicians, venues and events. It is a place where you can find information on contacting these individuals. It is a free service for our members in the industry and we hope that it is a positive direction for both ourselves and the community we serve. Also remember, the BluesNotes offers the best prices in town for advertising, again with discounts for members.

We do not plan on stopping here. Moving to The East Portland Eagles Lodge provides something else to the businesses in the neighborhood. It brings back the blues to the Inner Sourtheast portion of Portland. With the CBA having to leave The Melody Ballroom and the closures of clubs like the original Duff’s Garage, Vie de Boheme, Gators and others, the music will return and we are looking to establish relationships with the other businesses in the area who see our involvement as productive for both parties.

Do you have ideas for how the CBA can help our musicians, venues and members even more? Let us know. We are here for our blues community and want to know just how much we can offer.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - April 2019An icon of the Northwest music scene is gone, and it is hard for me to believe. For as long as I can remember Jim Mesi has been there. It’s much like with BB King — the thought was that they would be around forever. You knew that there were health issues, but you never actually thought that they wouldn’t survive those. Until it happened.

The Portland blues community didn’t start with the guys in Brown Sugar, but they certainly made it seem that way. It wasn’t Jim’s first band either. I remember sitting down with him many years back for a BluesNotes feature article. He told me his stories about Moxie and the trip to Los Angeles with the thought of becoming stars and a recording contract. About traveling to Europe with his band to play for the troops often in actual combat zones. There was Brown Sugar, the Paul deLay Band, his hiatus from Portland living in Seattle, and his return forming the long-running Jim Mesi Band that continued up until the time of his passing.Jim Mesi An icon of the Northwest music scene.

There are not many clubs in Portland, past or present, that it seems that I hadn’t seen Jim play at one time or another. He had a way with a guitar that was unrivaled. I don’t think that I ever heard him do the same solo more than once. Not many guitarists that I can say that about, the only other people off the top of my head with that type of creativity would be Chris Cain, and maybe Bugs Henderson. Mighty fine company there, Chris, Bugs, and Jim. Like many of my musician friends from around the country he never called me Greg. A lot of them call me Slim from my photography persona (just too many people named Greg Johnson, so I use Slim Lively). But with Jim it was always Mr. Johnson, no matter what the setting, private or on stage. And he gave me one of the my most proud accomplishments as a photographer by using a photo of mine to grace the cover of his I’m Ready CD.

The news of his death came to me like it did to so many others. A message sent to me on my phone. A sudden expression of shock at the news. It was the same feeling I had when I was informed of the deaths of Paul deLay and Janice Scroggins. With deLay it came by a phone call early in the morning. It was a text with Janice just like with Jim. All three caught me off-guard. I guess it is the way things are nowadays, with social media being damn near instantaneous. I guess that may be the reason why when I put out word to a group of people about the tribute to Jim in the BluesNotes I wanted to put together, not everybody responded. When I did this for Paul it had to be spread out over two issues, one local artists and one national. So many people wanted to share their thoughts. But there was no such thing at the time as Facebook. People can now make their memories and thoughts conveyed at the spur of the moment it comes to them. I also realize that many may not have responded because they aren’t able to talk about the loss of a close friend and peer just yet. I can accept that.

I hope that the memories of those included in the paper can share a little bit extra about Jim and who he was. Not just as a musician, but as a friend and somebody they felt was as close as family. I wish that we had more space in the BluesNotes. I would’ve put the word out to everyone to share their stories and thoughts, but I reached out to a small handful knowing the limitations we have. I hope that everybody who knew Jim or maybe just his music will have the chance to attend one of the two Celebrations of Life scheduled in April. Gather with those who share your admiration and love for Jim Mesi. Tell one another your own special stories. Everybody who knew him will have something to say. We lost one of the best. Goodbye Jim, may you forever create new licks that will enchant everyone in the hereafter. And I’m sure you’ll still be dressed in the finest matching outfits, shiny Italian shoes, and playing those LED-lit guitars. You’ll always be playing within my mind whenever I think of you and it will always make me smile and hear your sharp laugh. Or was it just the grizzled “HA!!” that brought us all along with your humor. Going to miss you Mr. Mesi.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - March 2019Three months into 2019 and the Cascade Blues Association is making strong moves toward our future and it’s all coming quickly. We had envisioned a lot of these changes for some time, but they are all set to become reality in a short amount of time.

As everybody knows, we have been seeking a permanent home for the monthly meetings. We enjoyed our run at Catfish Lou’s, but were looking for larger space and an all ages welcome location. We thought that The Mission Theater was going to be the spot we wanted and had made the switch under the impression that it would go on for at least a year. But they decided to change their movie format to first-run features starting in May, so we were once again looking for a home. Thank you Terry Currier for setting us up with The Mission and speaking with McMenamins for other potential rooms that were great spots, but not exactly what we were after. We asked around and talked to a handful of other venues, but it was starting to look a little bleak.

One of the spaces we had discussed was The Eagles Lodge at 50th & Hawthorne. We liked the location, the size, stage & dance floor, parking accommodations and the fact that they have a history of holding successful music events. Board members Merry Larsen, Jamey Winchester and myself made a visit to the room to check things out and knew it was exactly what we were looking for. Jamey took a lead on discussions with The Eagles and terms were agreed upon giving us a permanent home for the next ten years. Best of all, it will be open to all ages and is centrally located in the city making it easy for all.

Having secured the room as our new home, we also came in agreement to hold our Journey To Memphis competition in the room. This year’s event will take place on Friday, May 10 & Saturday, May 11.

We are excited to announce that after moving our BluesNotes production this past summer to our editor Michael Wong at Cedar House Media in Beaverton, our vision for the new look paper is going forward starting in May. We will have a slightly larger paper and it will be in full color! And we are looking to create a much friendlier periodical for our musicians and venues, offering a resource page that will include contact information for those looking to hire acts or where to find their websites. This service will be offered to those acts that are CBA members free.

We are pushing ahead on kick-starting some of our old programs that haven’t had much attention the past few years, more due to board size and burn-out from each of us trying to do too much. We are looking for volunteers to join some of these committees to get them up and running again. Included will be such important programs as our Christopher Mesi Scholarship and our Musicians Relief Fund – we are already looking at putting together a fundraiser show for the MRF so keep posted on upcoming information.

As you may have noticed in our recent issues of the paper we have been including articles about the local blues dance groups. This is a new collaboration that the CBA and these groups have been moving forward on to not only bridge our like loves for the music, but to potentially bring new members for all of us and opening doors to welcome all ages of blues supporters. There are several groups that we want to recognize for their efforts of keeping blues music vital in our area, including people like PortlandBlues.com, Portland Blues & Jazz, Portland Blues Experience, Camp Blues and others. We’re all here for the same thing and it will only make us all stronger to work with one another.

It is all so exciting and our path is moving in nothing but a positive direction. We hope that these new changes will excite you as well. If you want to get involved, let us know, we can always use extra hand in promoting and supporting the blues. Thank you in advance.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - February 2019

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

It really is something of an issue of pride when you see a young performer that has been a part of the Cascade Blues Association’s family since he was an early teenager become recognized amongst the best players in the world. It seems that Ben Rice has always been there as a part of the CBA and at times it is hard to believe he is still only 31 years old.

For the past two decades we have watched his evolution. Taking part in CBA youth jams led by former Blues in the Schools (BITS) director Fast Jimmy Hale. Sharing the stage in BITS fundraisers alongside Kenny Neal. His first trip to the International Blues Challenge with The Youth of Blues years before there was such a thing as the Youth Showcase – yes Ben won the right outright to be part of the competition at age 18. Graduating from the University of Oregon, touring with Bay Area harmonica man Phil Berkowitz and more recently with local BMA nominee Karen Lovely and winner Lisa Mann. More IBC trips making the finals representing the CBA with The iLLamtics and again for Eugene’s Rainy Day Blues Society he made the finals as a duet with Lucy Hammond, winning the St Blues best guitar award. He was planning on doing the same for the CBA again this year, where we were all holding hopes of his bringing home a prize once again, but fate stepped into play.

Ben Rice found himself nominated for three Blues Music Awards. The Best Emerging Artist nomination may not have been too unexpected. But those for Acoustic Artist of the Year, and Acoustic Album of the Year simply laid the foundation that this young man that we’ve watched grow and improve almost daily over the years is now one of the elite musicians of the blues world. When you look at those he is up against in these two latter categories it says a lot of the impact he has achieved: Rory Block, Guy Davis, Joe Louis Walker, Eric Bibb, Hadden Sayers, Harrison Kennedy – these people have been the leading forces of acoustic blues and more for many years. A huge congratulations to Ben Rice and good luck with the awards and the future. Unfortunately, with these nominations Ben is no longer eligible to compete in the International Blues Challenge. But despite that step-back, this is a forward motion as BMA nominations will bring more focus upon him and should bring with it more gigs across the country and internationally at venues and festivals.

But Ben is not our only local musician up for the BMAs. Jimi Bott is right there again in a position that he seemingly always represents in the Instrumental drums category as well as being a part of The Proven Ones all-star band. And Curtis Salgado is no stranger at the awards either, taking home the biggest of prizes in the past. But it’s great to see Alan Hager receive the nod alongside Curtis this year for the Album of the Year for their Rough Cut release. Alan has long been one of our most cherished guitarists, a man who can hold his own against anybody on the planet with either an electric or acoustic guitar. Their album was one that I was certain would receive a nomination from the first time I listened to it at the beginning of the year. It was just that exceptional. The cream always floats to the top and this disc was the beginning of the young year’s cream.

Best of luck one and all of our blues nominees this year!! Well deserved honors one and all!!

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - January 2019Greg Johnson, CBA President

2019 is here and things are already looking exciting. We’ll be at a new venue for our monthly meetings, at least for the first four months as McMenamins has welcomed us to relocate to the Mission Theater. A larger room that will allow us to have minors attend, with a large stage. Thanks to Terry Currier for working this out for us.

To showcase the talent of our area, we will be bringing in some heavy-named acts for our time at the venue. Starting off with Ben Rice and Robbie Laws in January, we have Terry Robb, Lloyd Jones, Mary Flower, Lisa Mann and Michael Osborn lined up over the next few meetings. This will not continue in this pattern forever, though, so do not miss these special meetings. Our focus as always will be to bring in newer acts to help introduce them to our members, and to offer some of the regular musicians working in the area that you may not see as often as you’d like.

In May, the Mission will probably be switching over to first-run movies full time, so we are looking at other locations if this should occur. We have been talking with McMenamins about other venues and considering other spots also. We’ll have everything figured out by the time this happens, but if you’re a band or artist requesting to perform at a meeting, please hold tightly as I have been waiting to find out what will be happening before going too far into the year.

Another huge change for us will be going into the year with a different look to our board of directors. Four elected officers decided to step down this year after several years of hard and committed work for the organization, so we say thank you and goodbye to Wendy Schumer, Brenda Docken, Fred & JoAnn Morgan. Stepping into the role of Vice President will be Shelley Garrett, while Merry Larsen remains in her role of Treasurer and I will continue as your President. Two positions had nobody run in our election, Secretary and Membership Secretary. At Large member James Kosek ran against me for President, but many wrote him in on the ballot for these other two positions as well, which he would’ve won had he run for one of them. James has chosen to take on the Membership Secretary position, which is a huge undertaking and he deserves a huge thank you doing this. It is a lot of work and greatly appreciated. Kim Allmaras has also joined the board as an At Large member who will focus on assisting Merry with our finances and taxes. Welcome aboard Kim!! And Randy Murphy will also continue in his at large position and also work on the BluesNotes.

We still have the Secretary position open and if you’re interested please plan on attending our next board meeting (third Tuesday after membership meeting every month) and seeing how we operate before declaring. There are multiple At Large positions also open, and we can fill those anytime throughout the year, and currently have a couple people considering taking those on.

This next year we want to look into several important items. Updating our by-laws, setting up investments that’ll keep us financially stable for years to come, looking at new prospects for marketing (possibly even creating a new position for this purpose), and working closer with other music appreciation societies in our area. We’ll look at giving programs like the Christopher Mesi Scholarship, Blues in the Schools and Musician Relief Fund a new jump start, and would like to have people involved with those. We’ll also consider on taking up new events, and finding something that might be able to replace the summer concert in the park/picnic which was dissolved this past year due to extremely low turn-out in the recent past. We had fewer than 100 people attend this year for an event that can cost the organization as much as our annual Muddy Awards at times. It happens during a time when there is so much activity already taking place around the region (including a new blues festival that occurred the same weekend), so we just need to be watchful of not spending large amounts for something people do not attend. We’re open to ideas that you may have for this or any other event that you feel might be worthy to consider.

But we’re looking toward a successful and fun year ahead. Please help us out if you’d like to volunteer or join our board. And as always, thank you for being members of the CBA and helping to support the musicians and venues of our region!!

Ramblings On My Mind

Greg Johnson, CBA President

2019 is here and things are already looking exciting. We’ll be at a new venue for our monthly meetings, at least for the first four months as McMenamins has welcomed us to relocate to the Mission Theater. A larger room that will allow us to have minors attend, with a large stage. Thanks to Terry Currier for working this out for us.

To showcase the talent of our area, we will be bringing in some heavy-named acts for our time at the venue. Starting off with Ben Rice and Robbie Laws in January, we have Terry Robb, Lloyd Jones, Mary Flower, Lisa Mann and Michael Osborn lined up over the next few meetings. This will not continue in this pattern forever, though, so do not miss these special meetings. Our focus as always will be to bring in newer acts to help introduce them to our members, and to offer some of the regular musicians working in the area that you may not see as often as you’d like.

In May, the Mission will probably be switching over to first-run movies full time, so we are looking at other locations if this should occur. We have been talking with McMenamins about other venues and considering other spots also. We’ll have everything figured out by the time this happens, but if you’re a band or artist requesting to perform at a meeting, please hold tightly as I have been waiting to find out what will be happening before going too far into the year.

Another huge change for us will be going into the year with a different look to our board of directors. Four elected officers decided to step down this year after several years of hard and committed work for the organization, so we say thank you and goodbye to Wendy Schumer, Brenda Docken, Fred & JoAnn Morgan. Stepping into the role of Vice President will be Shelley Garrett, while Merry Larsen remains in her role of Treasurer and I will continue as your President. Two positions had nobody run in our election, Secretary and Membership Secretary. At Large member James Kosek ran against me for President, but many wrote him in on the ballot for these other two positions as well, which he would’ve won had he run for one of them. James has chosen to take on the Membership Secretary position, which is a huge undertaking and he deserves a huge thank you doing this. It is a lot of work and greatly appreciated. Kim Allmaras has also joined the board as an At Large member who will focus on assisting Merry with our finances and taxes. Welcome aboard Kim!! And Randy Murphy will also continue in his at large position and also work on the BluesNotes.

We still have the Secretary position open and if you’re interested please plan on attending our next board meeting (third Tuesday after membership meeting every month) and seeing how we operate before declaring. There are multiple At Large positions also open, and we can fill those anytime throughout the year, and currently have a couple people considering taking those on.

This next year we want to look into several important items. Updating our by-laws, setting up investments that’ll keep us financially stable for years to come, looking at new prospects for marketing (possibly even creating a new position for this purpose), and working closer with other music appreciation societies in our area. We’ll look at giving programs like the Christopher Mesi Scholarship, Blues in the Schools and Musician Relief Fund a new jump start, and would like to have people involved with those. We’ll also consider on taking up new events, and finding something that might be able to replace the summer concert in the park/picnic which was dissolved this past year due to extremely low turn-out in the recent past. We had fewer than 100 people attend this year for an event that can cost the organization as much as our annual Muddy Awards at times. It happens during a time when there is so much activity already taking place around the region (including a new blues festival that occurred the same weekend), so we just need to be watchful of not spending large amounts for something people do not attend. We’re open to ideas that you may have for this or any other event that you feel might be worthy to consider.

But we’re looking toward a successful and fun year ahead. Please help us out if you’d like to volunteer or join our board. And as always, thank you for being members of the CBA and helping to support the musicians and venues of our region!!

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - December 2018Greg Johnson, CBA President

Every year in December I devote my column to the blues recordings that have stood out to me overall during the last year. One thing it always shows is that my taste is not founded in just one aspect or direction of blues music. It’s all over the map. These ten recordings were highlights for me, but don’t ask me to place them in any certain order because they can all flip flop at any given time. But they are discs that held my attention and their place on my player for significant time and still do.

Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager – Rough Cut – living in Portland we already knew that Curtis and Alan have the magic touch that flows through their traditional styles with ease and perfection. From the first listen of this disc I knew right away that it was destined to be one of the year’s best.

Ben Rice – Wish the World Away – I’ve said it before, Ben Rice frightens me. I mean how can somebody come across sounding better every time out. And I don’t mean every recording, but every time I see him. And I see him a lot. Wish The World Away is an acoustic masterpiece and if he wasn’t already making his name known globally with his performances, the songwriting and playing here should do the trick. Amazing is too mild a description.

Michael Osborn – Hanging On – I have always loved Michael Osborn’s recordings, but this one is something special. Some of the finest guitar playing of his career and the songwriting and collaborations make this album close to perfect. Well it just may be perfect. Brilliant blues by an unsung master.

Paul Oscher – Cool Cat –  Paul Oscher has a phenomenal background as we’re well aware. A multi-instrumentalist, a strong songwriter and superb story-teller, he is the full package whether traditional blues and as seen here a little jazz. Wish he’d release albums more often than he does.

Cedric Burnside – Benton County Relic – Another prime example of how Cedric Burnside is perhaps the finest purveyor of the North Mississippi Hill Country sound. It’s in his blood and this fine recording shows his legacy.

Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed – This was a brave outing by Bettye LaVette, bringing the music of Bob Dylan into a completely soulful and gritty collection filled with sass and sex appeal.

Ry Cooder – The Prodigal Son – after a six year absence from recording, Ry Cooder is back and returning to his natural place as a first-rate historian of traditional roots music while still offering a piece of his own social opinions. Oh, and just in case you’ve forgotten, Ry Cooder is one of the finest guitar players ever . . . ever!! And he throws down some mean mandolin, banjo, bass and keys, too, for good measure.

Marcus King Band – Carolina Confessions – Look out, he’s just 22 and is already the full package as a musician, vocalist and songwriter. A surprise recording where he follows in the footsteps of Derek Trucks and Gary Clark Jr.

Johnny Rawls – I’m Still Around – Okay, anybody who follows my top ten every year already knows that Johnny Rawls is a regular. And if you saw him at the Waterfront you know that he is one of the finest soul voices out there and every one of his discs is filled with his smooth and crafty singing and songwriting.

Anthony Geraci – Why Did You Have To Go – One of the most in demand keyboard players in the blues world, Anthony Geraci proves once again that he can put together highly listenable music of his own. And the collection of musicians backing him is like a who’s who of the modern blues scene, from Sugaray Rayford to Kid Ramos to Jimi Bott to Ronnie Earl, and so many more.

If you haven’t heard these discs, I highly recommend every one of them. You can’t go wrong.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - November 2018Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

As we approach the end of the year, there are plenty of important dates to note concerning our blues society. Most are fun happenings, but there are also things that need to happen for our new coming year and the future.

First up of course is the Muddy Awards. So looking forward to this year as we explore a new direction in our presentation. It sounds like it just may be one of the best shows we have done for the awards in a long time, offering multiple performances, not just the opening set and the finale All-Star Jam. Those will still happen, but we’ve added a lot more to keep the excitement going the entire night long. And we’re in a new venue, the Alberta Rose Theatre, which will offer great sound and a large stage.

We have used the online voting for the Muddy Awards for the past three years now, and we must’ve gotten the bugs worked out, because we heard next to no complaints this time. The nominators worked out for us and brought not only a lot of the same people recognized annually, but a lot of first time nominees as well. Of course we still offered the membership a place to write-in their own choices if they so desired. And we will shake up the nominators so it will not be the same group of people every year.

Aside from the Muddy Awards, December brings about the most important time of the year as we will select who will be your upcoming elected officers for 2019. Positions open include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership Secretary. All are welcome to run for these positions and we encourage you to do so. At-Large positions are open year-round and can be requested at any monthly board meeting. Currently we are holding our meetings at McMenamin’s Kennedy School the third Tuesday following the membership meeting. Just get in touch with any board member if interested in attending.

Voting this year will also be moving online, using the same format as the Muddy Awards. At the October meeting a poll of hands was conducted of those present if they felt this was a good idea and the majority of the room were in favor. This will allow us to get a better turn-out from all of our members rather than just those in attendance at the meeting.

Also coming up in December will be our annual Holiday Party. Keep your eyes and ears posted for more information, but we can tell you that three of the acts performing this year will be the Rose City Kings, Billy D & The Hoodoos, the Randy Morrison Band and the Mick Schafer Band who will be celebrating their new CD at the event.

We announced that our monthly membership meetings will head over to McMenamins Mission Theater in January. This should still be taking place, but they’re currently considering switching over to first-run movies this coming spring. If they do, we’ll be moving again, but McMenamins is working with us and offering us other locations where we will still be able to be open to all ages. A huge thanks to Terry Currier for working with McMenamins for us.

I hope that you’re enjoying the new look BluesNotes, too. Remember it is a work in progress and we’d love to hear your feedback. And if you like to write, we sure can use your help with feature articles, Blues in History pieces, CD reviews and other items of interest.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings on My Mind - October 2018Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association President

So much going on within the Cascade Blues Association for the last portion of 2018. Hoping that we’re moving in the right direction to make our members happy.

First of all, we have a new venue for this year’s Muddy Awards. After the Melody Ballroom was sold last year we had to move our monthly meetings to Catfish Lou’s as everyone already knows. But it also meant that we needed to locate a new venue for our signature event, the Muddy Awards. We could’ve remained at the Melody, but it was cost prohibitive for us to do so this year. Fortunately, board member James Kosek contacted the Alberta Rose Theatre and everything has worked out that we will be holding our event in one of the prime venues in Portland. We’re working on a new show format, too, so stay tuned to the BluesNotes for further updates.

Another upcoming  change for the CBA will be an all new look BluesNotes. We will eventually be moving into a full color paper with a new editor, Michael Wong at Cedar House Media. It was a great deal being offered to us that we just had to make the move. Because of this change, we have to say goodbye to our current editor Laurie Morrisey. Laurie did a great job for us for more than the past decade and saw a lot of the changes to the way that the BluesNotes has been presented over that time. We have nothing but love for the work that Laurie provided us over those years, but part of the change we had to make involved changing editors. Thank you Laurie, you will always be a part of the CBA family.

Please note that we are quickly coming up on the new year, which means that it is time to think of our board of director officer positions. We want everybody to consider running for any of the five officer spots (president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and  membership secretary). We can also take on more at-large board members as our by-laws allow up to fifteen positions (including officers) to be on the board. Please let us know if you would like to be considered to run.

And for those who haven’t heard, we will also be moving our monthly meetings from Catfish Lou’s to McMenamins’ Mission Theater in January. We have loved our time at Catfish, but we desperately need larger space and having a venue that can accommodate minors is important to us, too. Thank you Michelle for providing a first class space for us over the past year plus and being the best host that we could ever ask for.

It is also with a heavy heart that we say farewell to Glenn Holmstrom who lost his battle with cancer this last month. Glenn played with so many people for many years. It is hard to imagine our music community without him. Godspeed on your new journey Glenn, you will be adding a new keyboard sound amongst the angels now.

On a personal note, as this is my own personal column, I want to take a minute to say thank you to all of the friends, family and musicians who attended and performed at Cherie and my wedding in August. Due to venue capacity we were limited to the number of guests we could have in attendance and so wish that we could’ve invited more. I want to say thanks to all those who performed throughout the day: (in order of performance) Terry Robb, Hawkeye Herman, Justus Reece, Ben Rice, Ken DeRouchie Band, Ellen Whyte & Sue Orfield, Julie Amici & Dean Mueller, Sister Mercy, Michael Osborn, Franco Paletta, Robin Gibson, and Mark Bittler. So many more musicians (including best man Rich Layton) and members of the blues community were all at hand to help us celebrate. We absolutely love you all.

Ramblings On My Mind - 2020 in Review and What Lies Ahead 

Ramblings On My Mind - Sept. 2018Greg Johnson, CBA President

Seems funny that I am writing in review of this summer when we have an early deadline this month and it’s still only the first weekend of August. But it’s already starting out to be an exciting month with the Cascade Blues Association’s Concert at The Crossings taking place. What I found truly exciting about this event was the fact that all four acts have not had a lot of opportunity to perform for us in the past. Sure, we’ve had AC Porter & The Live Wires, Martin Henry & Freedom Street Band and Kenny Lee & The Sundowners play before, but all had been quite a while since the last time. Plus the Patrick Stilwell Band made their first appearance for the CBA. My point here is that with all the well-known bands in our area, it is important to remember that there are a number more that are just as sensational and deserve to be heard.

Every year we present the Journey To Memphis competition and we’re always surprised by newer acts that sign up to participate. That was also quite the case this year seeing a new band like Johnny Wheels & The Swamp Donkeys move on to the finals. And they weren’t the only new bands to play for the CBA, as we also saw the Arrogant Bastards, Blue Owens Band, and Riven. Some of these acts may have come up from Salem or Eugene, but it still displays the wealth of talent to be found in Oregon.

You don’t have to wait for an event like the Journey to Memphis, the Concert at The Crossings or the CBA Holiday Party, there are plenty of venues hosting these newer bands where they can be checked out every week. Take a chance on somebody that you may not be familiar with and you never know, they may end up being the next rising star in our blues world.

I also want to take a moment to say thank you to Marlena Masterson for organizing the fundraising event for David Kahl. The day-long concert at Mekong Bistro proved to be a high success, with a heavy crowd all day long and so many great musicians stepping forward to help out one of their one. David Kahl has meant so much to our local blues and music in general community, helping musicians to make their livelihood better in various means, it is only right that we turn around and support him in his time of need. It was certainly my pleasure to emcee this extra special day of meaning for our musicians. It meant a lot to me to be involved as well.