Our annual roundup of highlights, picks and information.
It's here again!
The 2016 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, the 2nd largest festival of its kind in the country, returns to the banks of the Willamette from Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4 when Andy Stokes sings the national anthem at the end of the final day of music and fireworks (literally) go off lighting the sky over the river.
Once again OMN is happy to be a media sponsor and to be a part of the DME Louisiana Pavilion which is hosting, for the SEVENTH YEAR (whew) the OMN Comfy Booth™. Thank you Amanda Gresham. Please come visit us. We're sharing our booth this year with the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
As usual, Artistic Director Peter Dammann has brought a diverse group of the world's greatest Blues, Soul and Funk musicians. Here is the full music schedule.
Here is the lay of the land:
The biggest change this year is that The Oregon Food Bank has decided to charge a flat $10 per day admission. Donations of food are still encouraged, but since the Food Bank is such a vital resource and there is such a great need for it, there is a new price of admission. That makes it $40 for all four days (there are deals), a bargain and five times the price. It's Portland, so there'll be some grumbling, but it's the musical bargain of the century...and for a great cause.
Another change is that temperatures are not supposed to reach 200 degrees this year, thankfully.
Here are OMN's Editor Tom D'Antoni's Picks. OMN's Scott Cunningham will have his in a separate post.
1. Liv Warfield #What Prince Taught Us / Sunday, July 3, 9pm Brewery Stage
She developed her art in Portland, went out on the road with Prince as a backup singer, recorded an album in Oregon, shepherded by Prince, with her Portland band and Prince's horn section. And then Prince left us. Where does that leave her? This is not a tribute set, but a celebration. She talked with Tom D'Antoni about what she's going to do and how she's dealing with the pain of the loss:
2. Maceo Parker / Saturday, July 2, 7pm Brewery Stage
He was James Brown's saxophone player. He was part of P-Funk. On his own he brings the funkiest of the funkiest. You WILL shake everything you got.
3. Dr. John / Sunday, July 3, 6:45pm, Brewery Stage
Reports from last week's appearance on the East Coast say he hasn't lost a step and brings the funk, the hoodoo and everything else New Orleans. David Dennie, in Virginia, wrote to OMN, " Almost the entire show was hard, deep voodoo funk. When he walked out at the beginning he looked perhaps a bit frail (he is 75), but as soon as he started playing the piano and singing, it was ON, and it was tight, tight, TIGHT! His band was sharp as shit, especially the drummer, who played a brief but ferocious "tribal"-sounding drum solo that left the audience howling. His musical director, a trombone-and-tambourine-
4. David Vest / Saturday, July 2, 4pm, Brewery Stage
Back from the great white north with his arms full of Maple Blues Awards for Best Pianist three out of the last four years. He tells me he is bringing a special gues with him. His new album is Devastatin' Rhythm. Here's "Stop this Madness."
5. Goodfoot All-Stars Tribute to James Brown / Friday, July 1, 9:50pm, Front Porch Stage
One never knows exactly who comprises the GAS at any one time, but it's always fun.
Neil Ferguson, OMN's newest writer and also an editor at Glide Magazine picks his top 5 faves:
1. Jimmie Vaughan & the Tilt-A-Whirl Band Featuring Lou Ann Barton / Saturday, July 2, 9pm, Brewery Stage
There is no question that Jimmie Vaughan – brother to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan – is blues royalty. And this Texan’s chops on guitar – not to mention his talent as a singer – are world class. With Vaughan at the helm you can pretty much guarantee to get a set packed to the gills with searing Texas blues and boogie. Coupled with the smooth vocal prowess of fellow Austinite Lou Ann Barton, the Tilt-A-Whirl Band will surely deliver a scorcher of a set. In true Vaughan fashion, you can bet he will make each and every barnburner of a solo look cool and effortless. Tuff Enuff indeed.
2. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal / Monday, July 4, 6:35pm, Front Porch Stage
In case you haven’t noticed, there are plenty of acts chasing the neo-soul train these days. Unfortunately, most of them are making watered down, generic tunes that cater to the masses (no offense if you’re a fan of Lake Street Dive or Nathaniel Rateliff). Surprisingly, one of the few acts out there that is actually cranking out real soul music with a backbone hails from Nebraska of all places. Back in April the burly keyboardist and his band released their album Running From Love, a collection of songs oozing with funky, soulful grooves. At the center of it all is Hoyer’s rich growl, which can go from pained heartbreak to funkified jubilation, sometimes within the span of a single tune! If you miss Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal this weekend, fear not, they’ll be bringing the party to the Alberta Street Pub on July 5th!
3. Los Straitjackets / Friday, July 1, 6pm, First Tech Blues Stage
What happens when five guys dressed to the nines in suits and Mexican wrestling masks play surf rock? Beautiful things, my friend, beautiful things. For three decades now the “world’s leading practitioners of guitar instrumentals” have been bringing us tight-as-hell surf rock in the vein of acts like the Ventures, The Shadows, Link Wray and Dick Dale. But where the Straitjackets differ from the titans of the genre is in their ability to add Tex-Mex flavor with their masks and quirky, between song Spanglish banter. Whether they’re playing as the backing band for pop crooner Nick Lowe or headlining their own set, Los Straitjackets are quintessentially cool and also unlike any other act out there. Their Friday evening set will offer even the most die-hard blues lover a surf on a wonderfully entertaining and rocking wave.
4. The Soul Rebels / Sunday, July 3, 6, First Tech Blues Stage
If you’ve been so lucky to experience the blissful party that is a New Orleans second line, then you’re probably be familiar with the brass bands that keep said party going. Second line brass bands may be the truest amalgamation of New Orleans music in the way they seamlessly bring together the funk and jazz that was born in the city. If groups like Rebirth Brass Band and Dirty Dozen Brass Band can be credited with bringing the second line sounds to the world, The Soul Rebels deserve credit for keeping the music fresh and young. Besides the fact that this band has collaborated with a who’s who of hip-hop artists, their brassy renditions of well-known songs by contemporary and classic rock and pop acts ignite any show into a full-blown party. If you want to really have your mine blown, you may want to drop by the Marriott Grand Ballroom on Saturday night when The Soul Rebels team up with none other than Maceo Parker for a special after-hours performance.
5. Leo “Bud” Welch / Saturday, 12 – 12:45 – First Tech Blues Stage
2016 has been rough when it comes to the passing on of legendary musicians, and we’re just barely at the halfway point of the year. Luckily, for all of us there are a handful of legends still chugging along in their elder age, and Leo “Bud” Welch is most definitely one of them. The Mississippi bluesman is still playing gigs on the regular at the age of 84, which also means that every single one of those gigs should be savored by you, loyal lover of the blues. On his first album Sabougla Voices, which he released in 2014 while already past 80, Leo “Bud” Welch stayed closed to the tradition of gospel blues with devotional songs, while his follow-up I Don’t Prefer No Blues dealt in more sinful material. At the core of the songs was an artist well-versed in the groove-driven blues of North Mississippi. Welch kicks off the party at the crack of noon on Saturday, so do yourself a favor and get out there early to catch this living testament to the blues.
WBF Artistic Director Peter Dammann on Leo "Bud" Welch