Friday, September 8, 2017

James Low Return Blowout! ... tonight at the Laurelthirst

Tonight I recommend you head over to the Laurelthirst for the return to Portland of James Low.

After 4 years in Malaysia, James is back at the 'Thirst with a band featuring Tim Huggins, Ned Folkerth, Lewi Longmire, Paul Brainard, and Ralph Huntley. 

Big fun and a big welcome home! Hope to see you there!

Also ...
This coming Monday evening has three great choices with Jason Isbell at the Keller, Robbie Fulks at the White Eagle, and Dustbowl Revival at the Lake Theater! 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

You're invited! I'm hosting another "house concert" - Davis Rogan - on Thursday, July 13

Hey music friends ...
It's finally time to host another one! Again it will be at a cozy little restaurant in Sellwood -Simon's Office (8128 SE 13th Ave).​Why should you come out to see New Orleans pianist, singer, songwriter, and one of the Big Easy's most entertaining and amusing raconteurs, Davis Rogan? Yeah, this guy ...

You might recognize him if you were a fan of HBO's Treme. Or possibly know the story behind the creation of one of the lead characters, Davis McAlery. Producer David Simon was drawn to Davis' experience and stories about New Orleans, employing this fifth-generation New Orleanian as a consultant, actor, scriptwriter, piano coach, songwriter, and the muse for the character Davis. By the series' end, Rogan had written or placed more music in the show than any other musician.

Davis draws his musical inspiration from Professor Longhair and Fats Domino. What New Orleans rhythm and blues piano player doesn't? But what separates Davis is his lyrics. The wit, irony and self-deprecation echo Randy Newman, but the wry observations about life, humanity and New Orleans are uniquely his. Davis is a very astute and funny commentator of the culture, music, and complicated history of his native city.

After spending four years in Portland as a undergrad at Reed College, Davis also has a very special connection to, and fondness for our city ... and found some folks clapped on the one and the three (Treme fans - you should get the reference).

Davis came to prominence in the New Orleans music scene in the 90s with his eight-piece funk, brass and hip hop group All That, for which he was band leader, vocalist, principal songwriter, arranger and producer of three albums. With a smaller rhythm and blues band, the original material of 2005's The Once and Future DJ led to his work on Treme.

2011's The Real Davis was a rumination on the meta existence of writing songs for a character who bears one's name. In 2014, with the show wrapped, Davis wrote Ex Machina. While rooted in New Orleans R&B, this album hearkens back to the funk and rap sounds of his earlier work.
Hope you can make it out to Simon's Office on the 13th for a really fun evening. The show starts at 8 pm, and we're asking for a $15 - 20 suggested donation at the door - all of which will go to Davis.

Food and drink will be available from Jason and his great team at the restaurant, so feel free to arrive early. Please let me know if you plan to attend - via email or phone - I'll keep a list - our capacity is around 45 folks, so let me know soon.

Thanks and hope to see you on July 13!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Portland summer music 2017, vol 2 ... hot tickets, cool shows!

So the other day I added my list of free outdoor music, but there are also lots of great ticketed outdoor (and indoor) music shows that bring top acts to the region all summer. Here are a few of this summer's highlights for me.

Besides the just finished Waterfront Blues Festival, there are a host of great festival to check out in and around the area, including:
Northwest String Summit (July 13-16)
Wildwood Music Festival (July 21-23)
Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival (July 21-23)
Pickathon (August 3-6 and selling out fast!)
West Coast Country Music Festival (August 12)
MusicFestNW/Project Pabst (August 26-27)
Sisters Folk Festival (September 8-10)

Though not confined to one weekend, the Britt Festival runs all summer at the Britt Pavilion in Jackson, Oregon. Check out the schedule and consider a trip to southern Oregon.

Ticketed outdoor venue shows include:

Oregon Zoo Concerts - a strong lineup this year includes show with Natalie Merchant, Brandi Carlile,  Blind Pilot, Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home tour, Pat Benatar, Conor Oberst and M Ward, and more. The one I'm most looking forward to is the July 16 show with Rhiannon Giddens and Aimee Mann. That one's not sold out yet, but other already are. We do love our outdoor venues in the summer!

Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn -  already underway and with a crowd-pleasing lineup that includes Willie Nelson, Blondie and Garbage, Michael Franti, Steve Miller and Peter Frampton, Pink Martini, Diana Krall, Trombone Shorty and St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Fleet Foxes ... and a lot more. Some shows are already sold out!

Plus, how about the oh-so-Portland shows like the Caravan Campfires - Songs n' S'mores! series on Wednesday evenings in July and August.

Tualatin Hills Parks and Rec presents their annual Groovin' On The Grass on Saturday, August 19 - this year with Nu Shooz, Quarterflash, and Curtis Salgado!

And you can always take a trip to Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island for the Thursday night concerts ... they charge by the carload, so pile in and head to Sauvie Island!

But Jim, what about indoor shows? Well, glad you asked!

My three favorite indoor venues - the Aladdin Theater, Alberta Rose Theatre, and Revolution Hall - don't go dark for the summer and have some excellent choices, including:

At the Aladdin:
July 9 - The Duke Robillard Band
July 20 - Delbert McClinton ... with a long overdue return to Portland
August 9 - The Alarm
August 10 - John Moreland
August 11 - The Wheepies (acoustic)
August 23 - Coco Montoya
September 10 - Judy Collins

At the Alberta Rose:
July 7 - Rodney Crowell (yes!)
July 12, 19, 26 - Chamber Music NW Summer Festival
July 14 - "Roll Columbia" - Smithsonian Folkways Woody Guthrie Album Release Concert
July 22 - Patrice Pike and Brian Cutean
July 25 - Paul Thorn Band
August 10/11 - The Nowhere Band presents Sgt. Pepper (50th anniversary)
September 6 - Amy Helm

At Revolution Hall:
July 12 - Cowboy Junkies
July 22 - The Psychedelic Furs and Robyn Hitchcock
Aug 4 - The Wailers
Aug 14  - Steve Earle & the Dukes
Plus a very cool "Rooftop Series" that includes Chris Pureka, The Billy Shears Orchestra (more Sgt. Pepper), Kyle Morton, Shook Twins, Casey Neill, and more.

Interested in the indoor arena show experience? Me neither. But if you're interested, Oregon Live has a list of arena shows.

See ya out and about .... and have a great summer!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival starts today!

The 30th Anniversary Waterfront Blues Festival starts today and it's got a excellent lineup for five days of music at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday and Sunday at the Front Porch Stage with a passel of bands from Louisiana including The Revelers, Pine Leaf Boys, and Chubby Carrier. But there's so much more, including Chris Isaak, Elvin Bishop, and Fantastic Negrito tonight; JD McPherson Saturday; Vieux Farka Toure, Sunny Landreth, and Galactic on Sunday; the Booker T Stax Review, Dustbowl Revival, Corey Henry, and Bokante on Monday; and finishing on the 4th with Curtis Salgado, Canned Heat, Duffy Bishop, and MarchFourth.

Of course, there's lots more. At $15/day it's an amazing bargain for four stages of music going from noon until late. You can also check out the river cruises and after hours shows, too. The weather looks perfect and it's a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank (but you know that!) ... so buy a pass, grab a chair or blanket, and head to Waterfront Park. It doesn't get much better than this!

And you can keep up with what's happening by listening to KBOO for a live feed of the festival, and checking out Oregon Music News for previews, photos, and reviews.

I'm planning to hang out at bit at the Louisiana Pavilion by the Front Porch Stage (my favorite stage), where the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus will be helping out with festival activities. See ya there!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Portland summer music 2017 ... free outdoor music everywhere!

Here it is again ... the 2017 version of my annual post about the many, many summer outdoor music options we have in Portland! It's going to sound a lot like the previous years, as there's a lot of text recycling with refreshed links.

Something I truly love about Portland in the summer is that there's music in the parks, plazas, and other outdoor venues all over town and the surrounding communities. Does summer get any better than this?

PDX Pipeline - I'll revise this link if they once again publish an Ultimate Summer Events guide. For now they have links to different categories of events and they do update every week with things to do.

As I've said before (ad nauseum), when it comes to live music outdoors in summer, we really do have an amazing number of choices, so there's no excuse for not catching some great music throughout the summer.

I'd like to first note some of the free music out and about in the region ... and, as nothing is really free, remember most of it is paid for by the generous sponsorship of local businesses (who you should thank and support), and in many cases your generous contributions at the shows.

I'll do a separate post on the wealth of great summer shows for which you'll actually need to purchase a ticket. But first the free ...

Portland Parks and Recreation's Summer Free for All: Concerts in the Parks:  Over a dozen city parks will have evening concerts throughout the summer. These concerts kickoff on Wednesday, July 5. I've had a ton of fun being one of the organizers of Sellwood Riverfront Park series. This summer we'll have four wonderful Monday shows with Redray Frazier, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Ashleigh Flynn and the Riveters, and Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps! These are community events that are a blast. So, find your local park (or venture further!), grab a picnic dinner (or patronize the food vendor/sponsors), bring a blanket or chairs, and enjoy. Nothing better on a summer's eve! Also note that there is music before each of the scheduled Movies in the Park - another 50 nights to catch music (and a film) for free in a Portland park this summer.

For all of you who are downtown in Portland for your work week (or if you just like slacking downtown), there a some fine musical opportunities, like:

Music on Main is a great Wednesday series that begins July 5 on Main Street between the Schnitz and the Performing Arts Center. As usual, it has a fine lineups of bands this summer.

Pioneer Square has another year of Noon Tunes - every Tuesday at noon - July 11 to August 29.

Then there are street fairs - for instance, Mississippi Street Fair (Saturday, July 8), the Alberta Street Fair (Saturday, August 12), and the Hawthorne Street Fair (Sunday, Aug 27) ... and of course, Last Thursday on Alberta (first one on June 29 - tonight!)

There's the annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival - three days of great music ... free in St John's - July 14-16.

The Doug Fir Lounge hosts free Pickin' On Sundays starting July 9 through August 27 at 3 pm. And I know this is only one example of the restaurants, bars, and backyards that have bands playing outside!

But Portland isn't the only city in the area that has an abundance of free music ... check out these summer concert schedules:

Milwaukie has on Wednesdays in Scott Park, across from the Ledding Library. There will also be evening concerts in Ardenwald Park.

Lake Oswego hosts sixteen concerts spread among Millennium Plaza Park, Foothills Park, and Westlake Park through the summer - Wednesday and Sunday nights.

Marylhurst University in West Linn has it's free Summer on the Green series of music through July and August. This year includes Three Leg Torso, Sister Mercy, and Curtis Salgado!

West Linn also has a Thursday night series at Tanner Creek Park beginning on July 20.

Oregon City also has a Thursday night series at the End of the Oregon Trail starting on July 13.

Hillsboro has music every Tuesday night at the Hillsboro Marketplace starting at 5:30 pm.

Tualatin spreads music around a number of parks on Thursdays.

Vancouver has a Thursday evening and a Wednesday noon series downtown in Esther Short Park and a new Sunday series at the Columbia Tech Center.

I'm sure there's even more free outdoor music out there for you to discover.
Go for it and have a great summer!