Greg 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.