Monday, June 29, 2009
Waterfront Blues Festival (July 2-5)
But I'm not underwhelmed by this one. I'll try to write later this week more specifically about a few of the artists I want to recommend checking out, but let's start by saying this is my favorite music event of the summer . . . and it's for a great cause. The festival is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Oregon Food Bank. For $10 and a couple of cans of food each day, you can revel in three stages of great music - not all of it exclusively blues (a little folk, zydeco, roots rock, and soul are liberally sprinkled throughout), but all of it quality and in a beautiful setting on the river with about the most friendly, mellow vibe you can have with thousands of folks in Waterfront Park.
Do not take this event for granted . . . come down, bring some canned food, and catch some outstanding world class acts, and lesser knowns that will knock your socks off.
And there's afternoon and evening riverboat music cruises and after-hours shows to add some venue variety and make sure the music doesn't stop until the wee hours.
Kudos to the Food Bank, the sponsors, Peter Dammann, and the cadre of volunteers that make this one of the smoothest running and fun events you'll attend.
See y'all there!
Oregon Zoo Concert Series
This one has already gotten underway, but lots more to go . . . . There are basically two concert series - Wednesday Zoo Tunes and Zoo Beat Premium. The Zoo Tunes series includes a variety of shows that can be considered "world music" . . . and are free with certain levels of zoo membership or cost $10.50. Though a good price, the problem I have with Wednesday is the crowds. Parking is crazy (though I taking MAX and not driving) and the audience is huge. There's some interesting shows, but know what to expect. The premium shows will be less crowded (even on a sellout), but present two issues for me - first is that I'm underwhelmed by the schedule. I'll probably get to the Los Lobos/Ladysmith Black Mombazo show on July 17th, but that's probably it. Tears for Fears is a possibility, though it's already sold out. The other issue that I've heard from a lot of folks is that much of the crowd doesn't come to hear the music, but to visit with their friends and have no regard for folks who want to listen. Personally, I think it's pretty rude, but my solution is to go stand down front - makes for a much better experience.
McMennamin's Edgefield Concert Series
This series just got a little more interesting with the addition of shows by The Flaming Lips (Aug 20) and The Pretenders (Aug 25). Mostly playing it safe (come on - Steve Miller, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Chris Isaak, the Gypsy Kings, Sugarland?), the other highlight shows for me are The Decemberists/Blind Pilot shows (July 18/19), and Bonnie Raitt/Taj Mahal (Sept 3) . . . . Okay some of you might wonder why these dont't fall in my playing it safe category . . . I'm partial to two of our most talented and entertaining locals, and because I have tremendous respect for Bonnie and Taj, and have felt both continue to grow as artists who do things their way - a lot of musical integrity here . . . and they are going to do some playing together. That will be a treat.
Five concerts will be held outdoors at the SakeOne Brewery in Forest Grove. Reasonably priced ($8-10), these Saturday evening shows include a solid set of NW artists including Stephanie Schneiderman, The Dimes and The Minus Five. And sake.
Northwest String Summit (July 17-19)
An annual festival out at Hornings Hideout in North Plains, this year includes the Bad Livers (featuring Danny Barnes), the Yonder Mountain String Band (as usual), Del McCoury, Darol Anger & Mike Marshall and a whole slew of folks playing on the stage or jamming
in the campground. Tickets range from $100 - 150 for the weekend.
Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival (July 23-26)
Another bluegrass event being held out at the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson, WA. National headliners include Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and the Infamous String Dusters. Regional acts like Misty Momas, Lauren Sheehan and the Foghorn String Band join the festivities. A weekend pass is $45 and camping is $10 per night.
The Bite of Oregon (Aug 7-9)
Will have more on this once they publish their music schedule. Nothing announced yet. In years past The Bite has had some great national acts (Dr John, Patty Smith, and Todd Snider were all there two years ago), but last year cut that way back. Don't know what to expect for 2009.
There's probably more out there, so let me know what I've missed. I will wrap up my summer music look-ahead with some significant upcoming shows that will be indoors, but are part of our Portland summer music experience.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
There's so much I can say about Emmylou Harris, but I won't . . . suffice it to say that she's been one of my music heroes for a very long time . . . not just for the amazing talent she is, but how she is responsible for turning me on to so many other artists - either through her song selections, collaborations, or her bands.
One of those band members who's talent I am in absolute in awe of is Buddy Miller (the buddy of tonight). He's an extraordinary guitar player, songwriter, producer, and probably just about the best male country singer most country music fans never heard of (take that all you hat acts!).
And Patty Griffin writes like nobody's business and sings even better (I think she's one of the most underrated vocalists in music). For me, the combination of the depth of her lyrics and the power of her voice makes her an irresistible musical force.
And I don't mean to ignore Shawn Colvin (I've always liked her work), just that the other three hold so much power for me. I can only hope the combination of all four makes for a sublime evening of music. Hope to see ya there!
Oh yeah . . . music starts at 7 pm, doors open at 5:30 . . . tickets are $39.50 in advance or $43 at the door.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So if your reading this on Thursday . . . sorry, but I'm skipping right to tomorrow . . . .
Fine saxman Devin Phillips @ Jimmy Mak's (8 pm, $10)
Quintessential surf guitar of Dick Dale @ Dante's (9 pm, $20)
Sublime vocals of The Stolen Sweets @ Tony Starlight's (8 & 10 pm, $12)
The fine country-flavored, lyrically sharp Paula Sinclair & the Contenders @ the Rock Creek Tavern (9 pm, free)
The harmonica-fueled and swampified sound of The Troublemakers @ the Trails End Saloon (9 pm, cover?)
Eclectic trio of Miss Michael Jodell, Matt Brown, and Alan Hunter @ The Press Club (8:30 pm, free)
Rock and roll to the Atonements @ KJ's Bar & Grill (9 pm, free)
. . . and celebrate Fete De La Musique, a French musical holiday at Berbati's with Tete (he's from France) and French-American from PDX Eric John Kaiser (10 pm, $10) . . . tres bon!
Intimate house concert with the dexterous Mary Flower (7:30 pm, $15) . . . call or email
More retro jazz vocals from the Midnight Serenaders @ Duffs Garage (9:30 pm, $??)
Great choices and lots more coming . . . . will post separately on the Three Girls & Their Buddy coming Tuesday at Oaks Park. It's going to be a busy week!
BTW, if you're a Levon Helm fan . . . . go here and listen to the entire new CD, Electric Dirt. It's being released next week and sounds great . . . in fine voice, with killer band.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Our Portland and regional parks are filled with free music all summer. We are the envy of a lot of other places for this. Really. I was going to painstakingly assemble a set of links to every summer series . . . but procrastination has it's rewards. The local blog Around the Sun already did it this week! The amount of work it saved me is truly amazing. I can probably take an entire day and go to the beach now.
So here's the link to the post. Save it . . . you will refer to it whenever you want to find free music in a park (and a couple of other locations). I haven't put it all on a calendar, but I'm guessing there's virtually no day that goes by without some band/artist playing somewhere.
But just in case you want it here, this is the text of the post from Around the Sun . . .
July and August are packed with free outdoor concerts. If you have any to add, please write a comment.
Portland Neighborhood Concerts: Assorted days in July and August.
Washington Park Summer Festival: Assorted days in August.
Tryon Creek State Park: Sunday afternoons in July and August.
Noon Tunes in Pioneer Courthouse Square: Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August.
Music on Main Street Sponsored by Portland Center for the Performing Arts: Wednesday evenings in July and August. Concerts take place on SW Main Street between SW Broadway and SW Park in downtown Portland.
Pickin’ on Sundays at Doug Fir: Every Sunday in July and August from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the patio.
Crown Park in Camas: Wednesday evenings in July and August.
Happy Valley City Park: Thursday evenings in July and August.
Lake Oswego Parks: Assorted days in July and August.
Liberty Plaza in Oregon City: July 10 and August 14.
Stella Olsen Park in Sherwood: Wednesday evenings in July.
Tualatin Hills Park District: Assorted days in June, July and August.
Concerts at Tualatin Commons: Friday evenings in July and August.
Vancouver Parks: Assorted days in July and August.
West Linn: Thursday evenings in July and August.
Bridgeport Village: Thursday evenings in July, August and September.
Concerts in Ardenwald Park, Milwaukie: Thursday evenings in August.===============
So grab a blanket, a low chair, a picnic dinner, and get out to some live outdoor music this summer!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Looks like a weekend of CD release shows . . . . Tonight's include Michael Dean Damron and Thee Loyal Bastards celebrating his new release (appropriately this weekend) Father's Day. With music compellingly intense, dark, and uplifting in varying doses, Dante's will be rocking with the support of Kleveland and Blackout Radio . . . . 8 pm, $7
And over at the Laurelthirst it's Woodbrain, the new release (and new name of) the Joe McMurrian Quartet. Gritty progressive blues from Joe and the band . . . . 9:30 pm, $5
And there's a stellar pairing over at the Press Club with Tahoe Jackson and James Low. Playing alternating sets at the PC earlier this spring, the two found a musical synergy that surprised both of them. They've been working up some things together that will knock you out . . . . 8:30, free (and all ages)
And the B-52's will have a sold out crowd at the Zoo crowd doing the rock lobster (maybe the elephants too) . . . . 7 pm . . . I'll have more on the full schedule of zoo concerts and other summer music choices in another post.
CD releases continue at Dante's with The Young Fresh Fellows celebrating their latest, I Think This Is. Maybe not so young anymore, the fellows still rock. Come out and hear Scott McCaughey and this veteran NW bunch show you something fresh . . . 9:30 pm, $10
And Viva Voce will celebrate their well received new CD, Rose City, over at the Wonder Ballroom . . . 9 pm, $12
Casey Neill and Ezra Holbrook will join Little Sue in various single to trio combinations for happy hour at the Laurelthirst . . . 6 pm, free . . . Stick around for some fine bluegrass from Chickweed at 9:30.
The Pete Krebs Jazz Trio will be at the Press Club . . . 8:30 pm, free
The fine celtic band, Circled By Hounds, will be at Biddy McGraw's . . . 9:30 pm, free
The worldbeat, afro-pop sounds of Zap Mama can be heard tonight at the Doug Fir . . . 9 pm, $28
I'll be heading over to Mississippi Studios tonight for Geoff Muldaur. With a career that began on the streets and in the clubs of Cambridge and Greenwich Village, he's created some amazing country blues, swing, and roots music anywhere. He's also a producer, written music for film and TV . . . and tells a damn good story now and again that can give you an incredible dose of music history. Geoff is a favorite of mine and I recommend you join me for his evening at MS. And as an added treat, Jim Brunberg will open . . . . 8 pm, $20
See ya at a show!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This should be a great show and for a really effective organization. Please come out and support music education!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Joe McMurrian @ the Laurelthirst happy hour . . . 6 pm, free
Circled By Hounds @ Mississippi Pizza . . . . 6 pm, free
Stephanie Schneiderman continues the McMenamin's Great NW Tour @ the Grand Lodge . . . 7 pm, free
Thad Beckman Trio @ O'Connor's . . . 8 pm, $5
Portland Cello Project CD Release show at the Aladdin with Thao Nguyen and Justin Powers . . . 8 pm, $13
Bobby Torres Ensemble @ Jimmy Maks . . . 8 pm, $10
Reina Collins @ Biddy McGraws . . . 9 PM, free
Alice Di Micele @ the Laurelthirst, 9:30 pm, $10
Gotta run . . . .
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I'm a broken record, but Thursday is a fine locals night every week . . . 6 pm happy hours will get your evening off to a great start with Lewi Longmire at Laurelthirst, Pete Krebs & the Portland Playboys at Duff's Garage, or Colin Lake & Wellbottom out at Edgefield. Heading out later? Lauren Sheehan is doing her last Thursday until after the summer at the Muddy Rudder (8:30, free). Voodoo BBQ is at the White Eagle (8:30, $4). The Caleb Klauder Country Band is at the Spare Room (9 PM - 4830 NE 42nd). And Rollie Tussing is at Biddy McGraws (9 pm). Lots of great music for small cover or a few bucks in the tip jar.
There's a show worth checking out over at Mississippi Studios tonight - the acclaimed (though a bit too far under the radar for the last 25 years . . . though he did play Buddy Holly in La Bamba) Marshall Crenshaw. He's touring in support of his first recording in over six years, Jaggedland, and will be in the comfortable confines of MS . . . WW's Jeff Rosenberg called him the patron saint of power pop . . . . Portland's Matt Sheehy opens. . . 9 pm, $15
Here's a little something of Marshall's you might actually know:
OK . . . more later or tomorrow for the rest of the weekend . . .
BTW, Tom D'Antoni posted some great videos today over on his Portland Music News blog if you're looking for a little distraction.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thad Beckman will be doing a solo show at the Muddy Rudder . . . . . . 8 pm, free
At the Mission Theater it's the annual Dolly Parton Hoot night, a benefit for Siren Nation Women's Music & Arts Festival ... 9 PM, $15
And if you want to head downtown and rock out, Berbati's has Western Aerial, along with Kleveland and Dry County Crooks supporting Western Aerial's CD release show . . . 9:30 pm, $6
. . . and over at Dante's it's the Felice Brothers . . . 9:30 PM, $14
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Otherwise there's some great local music choices . . .
It's once again a first Friday happy hour at the Laurelthirst with James Low and band. The secret word this month is strawberries . . . . . . . 6 pm, free (see ya there)
Hey, why not stay for the whole evening at the 'Thirst . . . James will be followed by Michael Jodell and the Slow Healers. She'll be joined on the bill by Pancake Breakfast and the Will West band . . . 9:30, $5
Lewi Longmire will rock Biddy McGraws . . . 9:30 pm, free
Jon Koonce will do the same at Duff's Garage . . . 9 pm, $??
There'll be some free jazz (as in no cover, not dissonant noodling) at the Camellia Lounge @ Tea Zone with bassist Dave Friesen and pianist Greg Goebel . . . 9 pm and all ages, too.
Tony Starlight's has the fine 40's style jazz vocals and swing of The Midnight Serenaders . . . 8 and 10 pm, $8
. . . and it's the hot Brazilian sounds of SambaDa and the Lions of Batucada at the Someday Lounge . . . 9:30 pm, $10
UPDATE: Late add . . . Lloyd Jones will be solo at the Muddy Rudder tonight too . . . 8 pm, free . . . love when we have great music in the 'hood (for your Sellwood/Westmoreland compadres)
Looks like there's something for everyone . . . get out to some live music!
From their website:
EDGEFIELD'S 98th BIRTHDAY BASH
Live music by Stephanie Schneiderman as part of the GNWMT and many other bands, with history tours, face painting, "The Balloon Guy" and more!
All day; music starts at 3 p.m. | Free | All ages welcome
Bring the whole family out for an estate-wide birthday party at Edgefield. Live music, kids' activities, food and beverage specials and more await you!
CHERVONA · 4 p.m. ‘til 5 p.m.
STOLEN SWEETS · 5:30 p.m. ‘til 6:30 p.m.
STEPHANIE SCHNEIDERMAN · 7 p.m. ‘til 10 p.m.
Red Shed Stage
KEROSENE DREAM · 3 p.m. ‘til 4:30 p.m.
GYPSY CARAVAN · 4:30 p.m. ‘til 5:15 p.m.
PIANO THROWERS · 5:30 p.m. ‘til 6:30 p.m.
FREAK MOUNTAIN RAMBLERS · 7 p.m. ‘til 9 p.m.
PAULA SINCLAIR & KENNY SAWYER · 7 p.m.
Roving About the Property
TRANCENDENTAL BRASS BAND · 4 p.m.
And, in case you don't get there, head over to the White Eagle for Colin Lake and Wellbottom . . . nice to have Colin back in town after an extended trip to New Orleans . . . 8:30 pm, free