Saturday, January 8, 2011

Looking Back at Pacific NW Blues Events of 2010

By Robert Horn  

This last year has been a fun one for Pacific NW blues fans. In Oregon and Washington I caught some of my favorites, and a friend from Idaho has told me that there is more going on there than I realize (could be, since that State gave us musicians like John Nemeth).
Oregon's Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland is the 2nd largest blues festival in the country. I always spend a week down there in early July because of that. The 4 stages with 120 bands (half of which are national acts) are overwhelming: a regular "eargie" full of "eargasms" all day and night for 5 days and nights. And, this year's festival was rockin'. Places like Duff's Garage in Portland are a must for blues tourists in the area any time of year. Drop in on a jam and don't be too surprised if some guy like Keb' Mo' comes in unannounced to be part of the jam.
Washington has a lot of great events as well. Blues Society people are well aware of Winthrop, Sunbanks, and the Mt. Baker Blues Festivals. The Washington Blues Society's Bluesletter has a great calendar showing a couple hundred blues shows each month and it is great to catch as many of them as you can (oh, and this blog has a good calendar too!).
Some clubs came and went during 2010, and I won't be surprised if there are surprises (yes that sounds contradictory and redundant at the same time) that happen with clubs this year. Speaking of the Department of Redundancy Department, the Highway 99 Blues Club got the Best of Blues Award for Best Blues Club. I go there often, but also caught some great shows at The Upstage, The Oxford Saloon, Engels Pub, and Forcasters Pub.
There are some new bands that have formed and some passings that came with great sadness. Many of us were able to attend a couple of events in honor of the late Charles White who was one of a kind. 

2011 should be another great year for the music in the region. So, just let me know if you need a tour guide for NW blues events! [contact Robert via Facebook HERE].
Like a number of blues fans I brought my camera to the events and the pictures are great memories from the past year: from Lucky Peterson, Cedric Burnside, Henry Cooper, Chris Thomas King, Janiva Magness, Terry Evens, and Nick Vigarino; to Bobby Patterson showing off by playing a guitar behind the back of his head without missing a note… And now, a whole new blues year and new memories lie ahead!

1 comment:

  1. What a time it was, and what a time it will be this coming year.