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. And it shows too as they make playing music look as easy as a stroll through the park. In the band are Dave Coey (vocals and bass), Alan Toribio (guitar and vocals), Mike Walker (keys) and Ned Failing (drums and vocals). Here’s the 10-year-old Dave Coey song Cat Burglar.
The Bridge City Blues Band have been playing together for over six years. They have made their reputation playing a high energy mixture of rhythm and blues standards both classic and new, from Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters to Bo Dudley, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Albert Collins, Sonny Boy Williamson and BB King, Taj Mahal and many more. I recently captured a Muddy Waters tune at McMenamins Rock creek Tavern.
To help them work out some new material for an upcoming album, The Parson Red Heads recently completed a mini-tour of several McMenamins venues at the Grand Lodge. Over the course of the past 15 years as a band, The Parson Red Heads have released 4 full length records and countless EPs and mini-albums. On a dark, drizzly and misty Thursday evening, we were treated to a lot of their new music. “Time After Time” is a five-year-old song which (if you listen to Portland Notes Radio) you’ll recognize.
It has been fun to watch Tara Velarde change and grow as a musician these past 5+ years. After graduating with a BA in Music Education from Pacific University at Forest Grove in 2013, Tara wasted no time forming a band and playing out. That band was The Tara Novellas formed with her brother Jamos and sister Cally. As she got more involved in the vibrant Portland music community, the initial band morphed a bit, and then released a 4-track EP.
During this time, Tara sported her signature short haircut, the likeness of which was painted on their bass drum. We joked at the time about how she could never change her hair. A while later, Tara dropped the band name, reinvented herself as a solo, and released a full length CD Get Out and Walk. You can hear her do many of these tracks live today. Last year, she grew out the hair and released two singles Touch You and Willow Baby both of which we’re pleased to be playing on Portland Notes Radio.
In keeping with the theme of change and growth, here’s a video of Tara’s “A Man” at McMenamins Grand Lodge.
As if she didn’t have enough to do, Tara started a new project in the form of a podcast called “Making the Move”. It is all about independent musicians making the move into music full time. The goal is to provide relevant insights for musicians, and a bit of inside-baseball for the rest of us. Find it on Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. The podcast is hosted by Vortex Magazine. Stay up to date at the @makingthemove Instagram page.