August 20th

August 20th ,  2016

 

I can’t believe it! Here at has only been a day or to, and I’m updating this blog!

There are a couple good reasons for this.

One, it’s already around 100 degrees outside. It’s 2PM.

Go figure.

Reason two is a little different. I just finished listening to the new Mick Kolassa release, “Taylor Made Blues”

He is a very talented poet with a keen ear for music that flows with his poetry. I also have to give his sense of humor and outstanding acoustic guitar licks a real big thumbs up.

His first song is a tune called “Baby Faced Louise”.

It almost makes me wish I had a woman named Louise so I could give her a copy.

Any woman that’s named Louise would be extremely flattered. This is why I believe that he is a poet.

He puts beautiful phrases into flowing music that bring a warmth to your heart.

The Musicians he has on this release are a who’s who of southeastern artists that feature many Blues Foundation award winners like Victor Wainwrite and Jeff Jenson.

While I have previously written about Jeff Jenson’s unique style on guitar, I have only rarely heard anyone quite as adept at phrasing dramatic lead guitar riffs in a song.

Ya gotta love it.

Mick’s sound is a little like that outstanding bar-band in your community that every one thinks is the very best, wins all the awards but no-one outside of your area has ever heard of ’em. We have incredible blues people here in our city, they just don’t get the recognition they deserve. Mick is definitely riding in that school bus

Hence, not getting enough recognition to become really famous.

Personally. I don’t think he will make the likes of the Tonight Show even though he truly deserves the shot.

Why? No real recognition in the big picture.

Just another outstanding poet and songwriter that most people don’t know about.

A tragedy.

While I stay nice and cool near my very loud and hurricane type windy air conditioner, I know that the dishes are screaming at me and the laundry settles in the basket wearily. It is just too damn warm in the rest of the house to get anything done.

I kinda think I remember saying something very similar last Winter. Only about the cold. I’m beginning to sense a pattern here.

Oh, well. It all will get done.

I am also supposed to smoke/cook about 12 pounds of salmon this weekend.

I chose the words smoke/cook because I get tired of people answering “How do you keep it lit?”.

These are the kinda jokes we now get in this new Marijuana themed culture here in Portland

I know that all in all, it is a comparatively easy task. I even volunteered! I just didn’t know that it will be over 100 degrees when I will have to get ‘er done.

Hope all of you reading this are rested, comfortable and cool.

Good life too all.

ta

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8-18-2016

August 18th

 

It’s been a month since I last wrote for this blog and feel that it is time to get off my ass and get something written.

Being that nothing of note has happened, I will start off with a review of recent offerings of cool blues music.

Let’s start with the latest from “Kat Riggins Blues Revival”

Her self-titled release has real Wow factors.

The songs are powerful and very “Blues Diva” sounding with great guitar, strong bass & drums for a backbone, incredible songwriting and, of course, vocals that demand your attention.

The first song, Now I See (Ooh Wee) starts this release with a bang, while the next tune, a ballad called Good Girl Blues is one of those slower tunes with a story. This release has a little of lots of things.

Wail Away is a ballad that plays straight to the heart of classic Diva sounds.

Ten tunes, no disasters.

The whole release is mastered with the clean guitar licks out front. The only sounds that really compete with the guitar are the powerful vocals.

A very good release and an outstanding first effort. Solid 4 of 5.

Atta girl Kat Riggins.

I listen to these releases while I write about them to reflect how I feel when I listen to them.

I also like to crank ‘em up while I do those pesky domestic things that always need doin’.

Living alone means that if it’s not done, I need only look at myself.

This is both good and bad. The good is that I know who made that mess. The bad is if it wicks me off, I got nobody to blame but myself.

Being a slob does have its drawbacks and all of them are domestic.

One of the great things about Portland is the Cascade Blues Association.

This is our local blues music hub. If you like blues and want to find out who’s playing where, these are the people that know. It is an incredible resource that I use regularly.

Wednesday night (8-3) I went to their regular meeting, met up with a couple good friends there, chatted and listened to some very good blues music.

A very nice time, no drama, just cool people who share an affection of blues music.

It has gotten very warm here. Hot even. We will hit 100 degrees this week-end.

Time to crank up the 20 year old air conditioner and hope it still works.

I do miss cool, damp and windy conditions at these times.

Maybe I will miss these 90+ degree days this winter.

Probably not, but just maybe.

All set to get my firewood in for the year in early September.

I have a friend that has 23 acres in Veneta Oregon. They planted about half in Christmas trees several years ago and did not cut them. Now, he has a glorious fir tree forest that he thins, bucks up, splits, stacks and covers in blue-tarp. He ends up with about 8 or 9 cords of wood each year.

I am lucky to be one of his friends that he will allow to buy firewood from him.

Nothing like cheap, dry fire wood to make a native oregonian warm and happy all winter.

I did not know this before, but if you drag a song onto a word file, it will add over 17000 pages of code, three of four lines per page. I am currently trying to delete them. I am using a deck of cards placed on the “delete” key and rested on my desk. It is slow going but I got time.

Another hot day out there.

Thursdays are my day to go out to dinner to my favorite bar and grill. Cleary’s is the name and I believe that they have one of the best burgers in town. The fries, not so much. I go for the waffle fries as they are crispy and spicy.

Getting hungry, so, I’m off to Cleary’s.

Later!

Blues Palace Blog

Hello…

My name is Tom Addis and this is the Blues Palace blog.

First, the basics.

I was born in Vancouver Washington but moved into my home in Portland before my first 24 hours were completed. I went to a small catholic grade school, two high schools, some collage (I was too smart for that one), quit school and got me a job.

Hired in 1973 into Pacific NW Bell, retired in 2008 from the same corporation, just different name. Unemployed ever since.

That is, except for my volunteerism.

I worked at a local jazz station doing their Friday night blues show from March 1992 through November 2014. That is the day I got relieved of my show because they were “Going in a different direction”.

The show was “The Blues Palace”. Hence the blogs name.

While this blog will include some blues music and reviews of current cd’s, it will also be a running commentary about being a 62 year old retiree in Portland, Oregon. Land of the millennials.

Our city is a great place to live (as you might have heard) as long as you don’t mind busy traffic at odd hours and a population that absolutely refuses to use turn signals in said traffic.

We are very fortunate to live in a “foodie” city.

It doesn’t matter if you like Italian, Asian, Mexican or even gourmet burgers. You can find it here at all hours. Goofy doughnuts, weird beer (Which I do love), odd ice creams, exotic cannibus.

The whole nine yards.

One good review in the local paper, the Oregonian, and these places are packed for the next 3 to 4 weeks.

People everywhere seem to think that Portland is a cold, gray, dreary city.

They are right.

Yeah, the days are cool, windy and cloudy, but I believe that is better than calm, humid and hot.

I guess that comes from a life spent in cool, windy and cloudy.

Go figure.

My good friend Frank Roszak has just sent me six new releases to be enjoyed, thought about, reviewed and then all the things I do with new blues music. Burn it to my hard-drive, make playlists and enjoy them as I did when I had a radio show.

The first to arrive was a pleasant release by Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz titled “In Any Town”.

Their band is called the Lucky Losers and I give a solid four of five stars.

Kid Anderson produces with contributions by Jeff Jensen, Delta Grooves “Frank Goldwasser” and Terry Hanck,

While the music is very good, the vocals by Lemon and Berkowitz really shine thru.

They are that pair that when you hear them, you almost can’t turn your attention anywhere else.

The songwriting is compelling and fun. Not your average twelve bar by any means.

A solid four of five .

Next up, Mike Sponza’s newest “Ergo Sum”.

When I first played this release, it was like listening into a Masters class of Blues Music.

It was so fresh and interesting that I sat in front of my computer until the CD was over.

He uses such luminaries as Ian Siegal and Dana Gillespie to achieve greatness.

Recorded at Abbey Road studio’s, some of the songs have neo-classical titles like Modus In Rebus.

Whatever that means.

Definitely has that euro flair.

Excuse me as I chuckle.. This is the Fourth Of July here in the USA. My neighbors are having an end of the world simulation outside my walls. And all I can think of is that 1776 was the first Brexit.

Lame, I know. You’ll get used to it if you keep reading…

I digress, back to Mike Sponza.

I really like his newest release. I can’t help but think that the backbone of Mauro Tolot on bass and Moreno Buttinar on drums make the whole sound. The melodies seem etherial yet solid. Track two, Carpe Diem, is a great example. I almost lost the backbone because the whole of the song incorporated each piece that it just flowed. Thumbs up to the producers Robb Cass and Abbey Road Studio’s. Did their job… well.

Oh, I forgot to mention Dean Ross on keys, Matej Kuzel on sax, Chris Storr on Trumpet and Rob Cass on Percussion. These guys all made a contribution to a very satisfying whole.

What do you call great music, memorable songwriting, outstanding vocals and very upscale production?

A winner… or profitable. Both will do.

Five outta five.

One AM 7-5 2016.

The war is almost over. Explosive volleys are less frequent random firecrackers, occasional low earth blasts. Things are a lot less fierce.

But remember, Cloverfield. came out of no where.

The sleepless have won.

Tomorrow, we mow the lawn in the AM. Drives them crazy!