Dec. 23, 30
Some of Oregon's best musicians are holding court every Thursday at the Blue Monk for its 'Back to Blues and Jazz' series. Alan Jones, one of our city's finest jazz drummers has been beating the skins along with a rotating series of hep cats. On alternating Thursdays, you can catch Curtis Salgado, Oregon's famous blues-soul singer and harmonica player, along with guitarist Alan Hager.
Alan Jones, 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, $5; Curtis Salgado, Alan Hager, 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, $10; Blue Monk, 3341 S.E. Belmont St. Info: 503-595-0575, www.thebluemonk.com .
Speaking of Thursdays
She can play folk, country, blues, ballads and waltzes on her guitar, but it's her voice that will really pique your interest. Lauren Sheehan has a clear, distinct set of pipes, which evidence just enough of a hint of growl to keep her from sounding too smooth. She's a walking folk historian as well as a high-charting roots recording artist, and has jammed with everyone from Phil Cephas to Etta Baker. You can see her for free on Thursdays starting Dec. 30.
Lauren Sheehan and guests, 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, Muddy Rudder, 8105 S.E. Seventh Ave. Free. Info: 503-233-4410, www.muddyrudderpdx.com .
Call him Mr. Breeze
The Jeff Jensen Band has been holding court this past month at the Mock Crest every Tuesday, and if you haven't seen them yet, do yourself a favor and hear one of our town's finer blues bands for free. Jensen is a solid guitarist, phrasing deftly with just enough macho to make the boys happy and just enough lyricism to make the little girls swoon. And vice-versa. It's actually amazing this guy isn't like, totally huge, since he has all the vocal and instrumental ingredients any bluesman worth his salt should possess. Not to mention he actually knows how to dress up on stage.
Jeff Jensen Band, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, Mock Crest Tavern, 3435 N. Lombard St. Free. Info: 503-283-5014, www.mockcrest.com.
Wide awake 'n' dreaming
Founded by guitarists Eric Schultheis and Abe Wirth in 2003 in Portland, Key of Dreams plays music that sounds like an acoustic guitar lover's letter to Santa, asking the red-suited sleigh-master to load up his big bad bag with traditional and new jazz, rock, classical, Flamenco, world beat and funk music. They're the type of act that could play quietly and elegantly as you enjoy a sunset dinner or hold a couple thousand folks' collective attention at a festival.
Key of Dreams 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, Heathman Restaurant and Bar, 1001 S.W. Broadway St. Free. Info: 503-790-7752, www.heathmanrestaurantandbar.com .
No law abridging the right to rock
According to his press release, Kasey Anderson was tired of being labeled alt-country, roots-rock, you know the drill, so he decided to RAWK! The result is his newest record, 'Heart of a Dog,' set to be released in February, but which he is previewing with a show with his band The Honkies. The opening cut 'The Wrong Light' is pure bluesy raunch, sorta Mountain meets John Mayer (the rocker side of Mayer, not the sensitive side). Anderson's definitely got some John Hiatt, Randy Newman and Leon Russell in him and should deliver a killer set. He has a ridiculously talented band behind him - Andrew KcKeag on guitar and vocals, Eric Corson on bass, and Mike Musburger on drums. Bands including The Presidents of the United States of America, The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows, The Posies, and The Supersuckers have all been home to these cats. What's even better is longtime Portland stalwart rocker Lewi Longmire, a fine, at times even innovative songwriter in his own right, as well as solid folk rockers Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs share the bill.
Kasey Anderson and The Honkies, Lewi Longmire, Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $6. Info: 503-288-3895, www.mississippistudios.com .