Winter Blues fest brings national acts to Oak Grove
Live-music lovers usually have to wait for the summer-festival season to kick up their heels and dance to nationally acclaimed acts.
One woman has solved that problem by offering the annual Winter Blues Music Festival to bring talent known throughout the world on March 11 to Oak Grove's Elks Lodge Ballroom, 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd. LeeAnn Gibbons had the idea over a conversation at the kitchen table to counteract the dreary days of winter with music. Her dream is now in its sixth year, and the festival that benefits local charities has become the Portland arera's most popular blues music event outside of summer.
This year the Winter Blues Music Festival will highlight some of the biggest stars on the West Coast.
"Award-winning Lloyd Jones is the total package when it comes to the blues and roots music," Gibbons said of Jones, who has recorded six critically acclaimed albums. "He is not only a much sought-after entertainer throughout the United States, he is also known in his hometown of Portland as one of the founding members of blues in the area as it is known today."
Washington-based Cee Cee James has been known to bring an audience to its knees with her performances.
"A gifted songwriter, she brings the Mission of S.O.U.L. to the Winter Blues Festival stage," Gibbons said.
Rae Gordon & The Backseat Drivers will perform at the Elks Lodge having freshly returned from their participation in Memphis' International Blues Challenge, a competition for bands from around the world. Gordon, an Oregon City resident, is a three-time winner of the Cascade Blues Association's best female vocalist award.
Other acts will include:
n Guitarist and singer/songwriter CD Woodbury, an eight-time winner of Washington Blues Society awards whose recordings continue to rise on the charts.
n California-based Jim Gustin and Truth Jones, a high-energy soulful, blues act that is a "mix of the smoky raspy vocals from Big Jim Gustin paired with the strong and lovely voice of Jeri Goldenhar."
n Fronted by a harmonica player sometimes called the "Godfather" of the Northwest blues scene, Bill Rhoades & The Party Kings finishes the night with a special All Star jam.
The Youth Music Project, an organization based in West Linn that gives low-income kids throughout the metro area the opportunity to practice music, will benefit from this year's Winter Blues Festival. The Winter Blues Festival has helped many charities throughout the years including C.H.A.P. (Children's Healing Arts Project), the Oregon Food Bank and United By Music North America.
In addition, contributions to the Oregon Food Bank are being accepted, so fesitival organizers are encourgaing attendees to bring cans of food.
Highlighting music on two stages, the Elks Ballroom offers a large dance floor, a full service bar and food menu. Options for getting there include on-site parking across the street from the MAX Orange line and bus stops. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., music starts at 3 p.m. with raffle and silent auction items.
For $20 early-bird tickets ($13 for children 10 to 18), go to winterbluesfest.net, where there is more information about the festival.