There are three shows that for different reasons I want to write a bit about and encourage you to attend - the Gulfsongs/PDX 2 Gulf Coast Beyond the Spill film screening and benefit concert next Wednesday at the Alberta Rose Theatre; the Remember Me 2011 Ethos Music/Paul deLay Memorial Scholarship benefit show on Sunday at the Aladdin; and the CD release show of Rich Layton & The Troublemakers on Saturday at the Secret Society Ballroom.
I am directly involved in the Beyond the Spill show as one of the event producers and a member of the Gulfsongs team. This show is on April 20th to mark a year since the beginning of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf, and will premiere an important film made by the Oregonians who traveled last summer to the Gulf Coast to observe and learn about the spill, the coastal wetlands, and the people directly affected ... and to look at an approach to a future less dependent on fossil fuels. To accompany the short documentary, Gulfsongs has put together a dynamite program led by Reggie Houston that will explore the rich history and significance of the music born of New Orleans. He'll be joined by four outstanding pianists - Janice Scroggins, Andrew Oliver, D.K. Stewart, and Steve Kerin to trace the development and deep influence of the music of the Crescent City. I really hope you will consider coming out on Wednesday (It would mean a lot to me). The program starts at 7 pm (doors at 6) ... tickets are $15 and available at the Alberta Rose online box office or at the door. Last year Gulfsongs raised over $8000 that went to helping provide support to affected communities through the food bank in south Louisiana and Bayou Grace Community Services. This year Gulfsongs will continue to support Bayou Grace, but also direct money to wetlands restoration projects.
The 4th Annual Remember Me benefit show raises money for a scholarship fund at Ethos Music in memory of the amazing harmonica virtuoso Paul deLay. This year the featured guest is one of my very favorite musicians, Marcia Ball, who is on the road with an outstanding new CD, Roadside Attractions. I guarantee that this show will be a ton of fun ... because you get not only Marcia and her killer band, but opening will be an all-star group of Northwest piano players (they are keeping very busy this week), who will tear it up separately and together - David Vest, DK Stewart, Janice Scroggins, Mac Potts, and Steve Kerin. Reggie Houston, Lloyd Jones, and a host of Portland notables will be part of their backing band. Wow! Ethos Music is a really effective organization dedicated to teaching music to students who may not otherwise afford lessons. This is another cause that resonates for me, and I hope for you too. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Show starts at 6 pm.
And, finally ... two of my favorite locals - Rich Layton and Ron Rogers - are combining forces for Rich's CD release party. Both have strong new CD's out (Rich & The Troublemakers - Tough Town / Ron - Country & Eastern), both are originally from Texas, and reflect what I like best about music with roots in that state -- you better write a damn good song, and we better be able to dance to it. Ron and his band, The Wailing Wind, bring the dustier central/west side of the state to his music ... Rich, the swampier Gulf side ... but those styles meet and blend somewhere around Austin where both have lived and played. Check out the review of Tough Town, an article about Rich in Blues Notes, and this article about Ron in Oregon Music News. I'm happy to call them my friends and have no problem shamelessly promoting their gig. For those of you who haven't heard them, you're gonna love 'em both. The show begins at 9 pm, and admission is $15, but that includes a CD (your choice of either one). And CBA members get two-for-one admission.