Teresa James, John Weeks Band, Mitch Kashmar
I am sitting here staring at a blank screen wondering what will come out of this mind about the last 6 weeks. First, I feel I must address the most current election. I had written a lengthy opinion about it, but felt it was too emotional for this blog. After all, this is all about living in Portland and some cool new blues music being released to the world, not about my fear of a crazy person that thinks this is about himself, not the country.
Enough of this.
So far, I have used about 20% of my firewood. Right on track.
The temp here in Portland hovers between a relatively comfortable 40 and 50 degrees.
Light rain, breezy and grey.
Then, just a few days later, the snow struck.
We don’t get much snow here, so this was a real surprise! Hell, I ever lost power for the first time in 25 years or so!
I admit, reading a good book in front of the fire by flashlight was fun. I found that I can heat things up by putting a pan on top of the wood stove. It is almost as fast as a microwave, just way more dangerous.
I think that I could get used to it if I had something besides soup and chili. While these were fine, they got old kind of fast.
But I digress.
As I sit in my warm house, fire blazing, I am feeling a little sorry for the vast homeless population out there. Right now, it is 25 degrees out with about 2 inches of snow covering everything. I am blessed.
I can only hope that they are all right.
So, enough of this melancholy.
I have also received lots more blues music.
Mostly from prolific promoter Frank Roznak. I can tell ya, if you want your CD in the hands of us blues professionals, this is the guy to get ahold of.
The first release is the newest from Teresa James.
The only time I have seen her live was when she did a duet here with local legend Lloyd Jones.
Lloyd is one of those musicians that you cannot believe hasn’t hit the national spotlight.
Anyway, Teresa’s newest with her band the Rhythm Tramps is exceptional. I love the moving sound of her tight band and vocals. Her shuffle gets me in the back-bone.
I sit, stand, cook, and clean while I listen. I just can’t help but bounce around the house to the rhythms of this incredible release. Favorite bounce? The title track on the album, Bonafide.
The sarcastic fun of “My God Is Better Than Yours” caught me a little off guard.
Made me smile out loud.
The tune ”To Big To Fail” was very ominous. A sultry contemporary take on what worries us all.
I can go on and on about these tunes. They are all cool, fun blues music.
This release is a big thumbs up and would make a great gift for the blues lover in your life.
She is another that I can’t figure why she isn’t featured on late night tv.
She is just so cool and talented. I have listened over and over. I am still not tired of this release.
The next up is the John Weeks Band. Their newest titled “Dark Angel”.
The release starts out with a big electric number featuring the wonderful vocals of Stacy Turpenoff.
The next tune, “The Blues Just Got More Blues” is a fun balled with the unique style that seems representative of the John Weeks Band.
Outstanding song writing, vocals and musicianship.
If I had a still had a show, this release would appear every week for months. There is just that much to love.
Oh well. While my show is over, this band deserves closer attention from those who still have one.
Last but certainly no least comes from my friends over at Delta Groove.
Local transplant Mitch Kashmar has a new release titled West Coast Toast.
If you are a fan of that LA style blues harmonica this is the CD for you.
It reminds me of those excellent releases from William Clarke. Mitch was a good friend of William Clarke “back in the day” and has fun stories about drinking beer with Mr. Clarke in the afternoon.
Mitch, who now lives in Portland, has one of those great voices that fit perfectly with his very complex style of harmonica.
He is an ace.
Featuring Junior Watson on guitar, this is about as greasy as you can get.
I am a big fan of this style of harmonica blues music.
Danceable, fun and very cool.
Drummer Marty Dobson and bassist Bill Stuve force the tunes into a groove that only these SoCal guys seem to produce. Add the piano queues from Fred Kaplan and this big sound gets even bigger
This is the style of blues music I love to play when I am being productive. (firewood, domestics, being busy in general)
A true toe-tapper. The perfect gift for that blues lover in your life.
Mitch has released a great CD with his southern Californian pals.
Blues Palace material. No question.
Well, that’s about all for this year. After 1-1-17, I will try to make this a weekly blog.
Look forward to more thoughts on living in Portland and the new blues music crossing my desk.
Happy holidays and an upbeat new year to all!