Feb. 17, 19
Arthur 'Fresh Air' Moore is one of our city's most versatile harmonica players, but rather than hog the stage to himself, he regularly opens it up to fellow Mississippi saxophone enthusiasts with his 'Harmonica Party.' If you like munching on the tin sandwich, bring your harps down and Moore will let you know what key his band is playing in so you can take the microphone for a couple verses and show how you blow. A recent jam featured one guy in a porkpie hat breathing serious blues, a chromatic player delighting the crowd with his tango-flavored riffs and a host of players whose skills ranged from amateur to accomplished.
Meanwhile, the 16th Annual Blues Harmonica Summit will feature Moore, Rich 'Texas Harmonica Tornado' Layton, blues radio deejay Steamin' Stan Ruffo, award-winning musician Lynn Ann Hyde, who can more than hold her own with the bluesboys, KBOO radio host Bill Rhoades, who's played with everyone from Robert Cray to Albert Collins, and the 2010 Cascade Blues Association 'Muddy' winner for 'Best Blues Harmonica' Jim Wallace.
Arthur Moore Harmonica Party, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, Beaterville Café, 2201 N. Killingsworth St. Info: 503-735-4652, arthurmoorebluesharp .com; 16th Annual Blues Harmonica Summit, 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, Blue Heart Café, Melody Ballroom, 615 S.E. Alder St. $12. 21 and over. Info: 503-253-1265, 503-232-2759, cascadeblues.org.
Ezra Holbrook, who's played drums for the Decemberists and also jammed with The Minus 5 and Dr. Theopolis, is releasing a solo CD titled 'Save Yourself.' The title track is a pretty, wispy, jangly song that would appeal to fans of folk musicians and introspective singer-songwriter. Holbrook's voice is a pleasant tenor, and he's a philosophical lyricist so he'll definitely appeal to members of the smart set who dig good melodies and intelligent arrangements.
Ezra Holbrook, 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-231-8926.
Ezra Holbrook, Casey Neill, Redray Frazier, Susie Blue, 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10. 21 and older. Info: 503-493-3600, thesecretsocietylounge.com.
Feb. 18, 19
All tangoed up
Fans of John Prine, Wilco and The Avett Brothers should check out Portland's Tango Alpha Tango, featuring Nathan Trueb on lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, and harmonica, his wife, Mirabai Carter-Trueb, on bass, his brother Aaron Trueb on piano, Rhodes, keyboards, and vocals and Walker Beckman on drums, percussion and vocals. From slow country flavored ballads to more uptempo folk rockers, this is a band creating music whose newest eponymously titled CD would fit nicely along any others on your Americana shelf. For either show, the band will give you a free copy for the price of admission.
Tango Alpha Tango, Abernethy Road, 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, Backspace, 115 N.W. Fifth Ave. $7. All ages.
Tango Alpha Tango, Light For Fire, Tiger House, 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $7. 21 and older. Info: 503-231-9663, dougfirlounge.com.
Evan Shlaes, accordion player for Portland's The New Iberians, has said, 'the zydeco police hate us - but that's because they haven't listened to us.' Schlaes' band loves zydeco - high-energy music that originated in Creole country - but they mix it up with blues and Northwest rock 'n' roll, which is heresy in some parts. The band's newest record is titled 'Stumptown Zydeco,' and when you're boogying to such songs as 'Stumptown Roll,' you can almost smell the crawfish, catfish and jambalaya.
The New Iberians, Cajun Love Brigade, 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $10. Info: 503-234-2337, duffsgarage.com.
Smooth singer/songwriter/composer/video artist Holcombe Waller has called Portland home for six years, so it made sense for him to release his fourth album, 'Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest' and play two gigs the same day in his adopted hometown. The album is a creative spinoff of his multimedia theater shows from 2008-2010. At Alberta Rose Theatre in his album release show, he'll perform with special guests Storm Large, China Forbes and Matt Sheehy.
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. Info: 503-231-8943; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. $23. Info: holcombewaller.com