Category Archives: Notable Performances

Show reports

Sonny Hess and Lisa Mann at Grand Lodge

Sonny “Smokin'” Hess has been playing guitar since the age of 8 and it wasn’t long after she started gigging. These days, she plays mostly as a trio with a drummer and bass. Lisa Mann is an award-winning bass guitarist originally from West Virginia who comes armed with several vocal styles.

I’ve been to several of their shows over the years and even though they have been gigging together for almost 20 years, this week was my first chance to see them share a stage. I was not disappointed. They got their Blues on, and shelled it out like crazy. If you missed it, don’t fret. (Pun intended.) They currently own the 4th Wednesday slot at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove.

Groovy Wallpaper at Grand Lodge

A subset of the Will West band is Groovy Wallpaper. This duo describes themselves as “the deep juggernaut of thunder that is Don Henson (Typewriter, glockenspeil, xylophone, djembe, various iphone apps) and the looping mastery of Skip vonKuske (cello, guitar, mandolin, iphone, and loopstation)”. During their show last night at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge, they played everything from Bach to Hendrix, plus some engaging, original groove-pieces. If you’re looking for a show that lacks predictability (not even *they* know what’s going to happen!) then get out and see these guys. They are on the McMenamin’s train, with frequent stops at Edgefield Winery.

Rebecca McDade at Primrose and Tumbleweeds

From her bio, we learn this about Rebecca McDade: This twenty-one year old Scottish singer-songwriter has been making music on both sides of the Atlantic for as long as anyone who knows her can remember. Her childhood was spent jumping back and forward between Scotland, Ireland, and Oregon, and with music always as a constant, this young musician has been able to craft songs which reflect all the corners of the globe where she has called home.

She was kind enough to swing by Primrose and Tumbleweeds over the weekend with her guitar. I enjoyed as she took the time to talk about the origins of the songs she played, including those she didn’t write. In addition to be a gifted songwriter and talented musician, she has a wonderful sense of humor. I managed to capture a little of that, along with some music, in this video (shot in a very dark room!). Enjoy!

Freak Mountain Ramblers @ Grand Lodge on 2016-07-08

Freak-Mountain-Ramblers-@-Grand-Lodge-on-2016-07-08-FI

As part of the McMenamin’s Great Northwest Music Tour the Freak Mountain Ramblers returned to Grand Lodge for another stellar show. They have been with the tour from the beginning (at least 10 years) and are invited back every year. They showed us why Friday night as they parading their wide assortment of music ranging from classic pop & rock, modern pop and Rock, and (their specialties) country and swing (which they often combine). This has got to be the most versatile band in the Northwest. These guys know how to fill a dance floor and there are a lot more shows coming up on this tour so I hope you can make one. In the mean time, have a look at some photos from Friday night.

Jon Koonce quartet @ Grand Lodge on 2016-07-07

Jon Koonce at Grand Lodge 2016-07-07-FI

I’ve seen Oregon music hall-of-fame’r Jon Koonce play solo and with bands, but this was the most up-beat I’ve heard him. You see, he was scheduled to play with his quartet outdoors. Not expecting rain, what they had in their back pocket was a slough of rock-n-roll songs. Instead of trying to change it up, they went with their plan, at the garage door venue in the basement of McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. While the music was plenty loud, it was well mixed and I stayed for the whole show.

Jon always delivers a good show, even to a very small crowd (you could count the sets of ears on one hand). The Thursday night music is new this year at Grand Lodge, and it’s not well socialized. Jon and the boys played hard. The dueling guitar solos were outstanding!