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Earl Thomas set to 'raise the roof'


by: COURTESY OF CARBONE/RAISE THE ROOF - Earl Thomas has made it a priority to raise money for a Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tenn.Music is deeply intertwined in the DNA of San Francisco blues ‘n’ soul singer Earl Thomas.

“My grandfather was the official square-dance fiddle player for the governor of the state of Tennessee in the ‘40s, and my dad is a guitar-harmonica-playing bluesman,” he says. “My mother was a phenomenal gospel singer.”

However, Thomas differs slightly from his parents in that he’s made singing a full-time job.

“I grew up surrounded by all kinds of music — blues, soul, rhythm ‘n’ blues, country, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, and I come from a musical family where everybody either sings or plays guitar or piano or harmonica.”

Being regularly bathed by melodious sounds inspired Thomas, who has won some of the blues world’s highest honors, including Best Male Vocal, Best Contemporary Blues Artist, Best Album and Best Songwriter, from the 2011 Blues Choice Awards.

Meanwhile, his latest release, “Introducing The Blues Ambassadors,” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Blues Chart and reached No. 1 on the Sirius XM’s radio show “B.B. King’s Bluesville.” His music has been heard in such films as “In the Mix” and “Forty Shades of Blue.”

The nattily dressed performer has written songs for Etta James, Solomon Burke, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Shemekia Copeland and other artists.

by: COURTESY OF RAISE THE ROOF - Portland musician Duffy Bishop travels the world for shows with husband/guitarist Chris CarlsonHis band, The Blues Ambassadors, will anchor the “Raise the Roof Benefit Concert” at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, in the Alberta Rose Theatre.

Other performers include China Forbes of Pink Martini and Liv Warfield, who sings with Prince.

The show benefits The Blues Foundation’s efforts to build a Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Thomas says. In addition to Thomas, the following performers will grace the Alberta stage Sunday night:

Duffy Bishop — This Grammy-nominated Cascade Blues Association Hall of Famer hails from Portland and has recorded several CDs. With her collaborator, guitarist and husband Chris Carlson, Duffy has played on three continents and also has starred in cabaret shows.

China Forbes — Lead singer of Pink Martini, Forbes has fronted the sophisticated group’s multilingual pop, jazz and classically inspired show for years, as well as her own band.

The StrangeTones — This Portland group combines original blues, rockabilly, surf and vintage r ‘n’ b and is one of America’s best rock ‘n’ roll outfits, period.

Karen Lovely — Another multi-award-winning Northwestern performer, Karen Lovely is among the strongest female blues vocalists on the circuit today.

Philipp Fankhauser — This Swiss guitarist-singer has recorded a dozen albums and has earned much critical praise for his fretwork and vocals.

Liv Warfield — A native of Illinois, Warfield calls Portland home and is a member of Prince’s band, new Power Generation. She’s also performed with B.B. King, The Roots, Dave Matthews Band, Al Green and Jeffrey Osborne.

Dave Fleschner and Alan Hager — Fleschner, a keyboardist, and Hager, a guitarist, have jammed as sidemen for Curtis Salgado, Duffy Bishop, Karen Lovely and Chris Mayther, and play blues, ragtime, old time-standards, soul and original tunes.

Bart Ferguson — Ferguson is a full-bodied singer-songwriter, lending his pipes to folk, blues, pop, soul and rock in a festival-friendly style.

Tony Furtado and Stephanie Schneiderman — This duo features Furtado, who’s played ukulele, banjo and slide guitar and has created his own Americana indie folk rock for years, with Schneiderman, a singer, pianist and guitarist who’s created trip hop and acoustic music and is one of the most eclectic artists in town.

Lisa Mills — This gritty Alabama singer-guitarist would please fans of Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge.