Portland’s Mexican Gunfight was formed in 2006 by four old friends and musical brothers in arms who had worked together in various combinations since around 1985. While definitely a rock band, the band’s stylistic influences abound: blues grit, country lyricism, the soulfulness of gospel, a rare jam thrown in … occasionally even tinges of Latin and jazz.
Mexican Gunfight is:
Vocals, Bass / Dave Coey
Guitar, Vocals / Alan Toribio
Piano, Hammond Organ / Mike Walker
Drums, Vocals / Ned Failing
Described as a “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player” by Downbeat Magazine is Mary Flower. She’s won awards, is internationally known, and played to a room full of people hanging on every note Sunday evening at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. With the help of Spud Siegel on mandolin, she played the title track from her most recent album.
Anastasia Gilliam and Zay Harrison joined forces in 2011 to become Butterfly Breakdown. They are very versatile with a vast repertoire of original songs and cover tunes ranging from R&B, Pop, Rock and Blues. In 2015, they were joined by keyboardist Fern Young, though she was on vacation this night, taking the duo back to their roots. As they played the Garage Door at McMenamin’sGrand Lodge, the sets consisted of 50% original material, with covers by the likes of Amos Lee, Marvin Gaye, Tracy Chapman, Louie Armstrong, Led Zeplin, Stevie Wonder and others.
In addition to a great variety of entertaining music, you should catch Butterfly Breakdown live someday for the equally entertaining story-telling between songs. I’ve capture an example for you. Enjoy!
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.
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!