- BARBARA MITCHELL
- Portland Tribune - Features
Valerie Day and John Smith may have made their commercial mark with Nu Shooz's synth-pop chart-topper 'I Can't Wait' back in the '80s, but the duo has reanimated - and reinvigorated - itself in the current millennium.
With the able help of some of the region's finest musicians, the Nu Shooz Orchestra once again is making its mark.
Day's voice has lost none of its calm, collected and oh-so-cool luster, and the reception the band has been getting proves that growing up doesn't mean going out of style.
Some things (like chemistry and great songwriting) truly do get better with age.
8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. SATURDAY, Jan. 5, Jimmy Mak's, 221 N.W. 10th Ave., 503-295-6542, $12
RIVERCITY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
Rhonda Vincent, Del McCoury Band, Marty Stuart
Bluegrass legend Del McCoury, contemporary bluegrass queen Rhonda Vincent and country veteran Marty Stuart headline the second day of the RiverCity Bluegrass Festival.
McCoury, a longtime fixture in the old-time music scene, has kept himself fresh and relevant by combining his vast knowledge of the genre with his sons' (and bandmates') contribution of more contemporary musical styles.
Vincent's clear voice and classic sound have made her a favorite in the bluegrass community, while Stuart - who once was part of Johnny Cash's backing band - is a proven crowd-pleaser.
The RiverCity Bluegrass Festival kicks off with a bang - or at least a good, healthy dose of twang.
Tonight's headliner reunites three of Texas' strongest modern songwriters - Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock - as the Flatlanders, the groundbreaking band they started nearly four decades ago and continue to revisit sporadically.
Fantastic musicianship, a shared love and appreciation of traditional country music and the kind of camaraderie that grows stronger and deeper with age make this a show that should appeal to all age groups, and one you certainly won't want to miss.
Rhonda Vincent, Misty River, The Seldom Scene
Rhonda Vincent makes her second appearance at the RiverCity Bluegrass Festival, and while the chance to hear cuts from her new album, 'A Good Thing Going' (out next Tuesday) is an excellent reason to head to the festival, don't discount the other acts who close out the weekend.
Misty River's lovely harmonies cut through the winter clouds like a ray of sunshine, and the Seldom Scene's Grammy-nominated 'urban approach to bluegrass' makes the band a must-see.
Music begins at 4 p.m. FRIDAY, 10 a.m. SATURDAY and SUNDAY, Jan. 4-6, Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd., 503-224-0368, www.rivercitybluegrass.com, day tickets $35-$55, $80-$120 family (two adults, two children), $12 ages 12 to 18, age 11 and under free; three-day pass $125, $250 family, $30 ages 12 to 18, all ages
Devil Makes Three, Hillstomp
While they're not part of this weekend's bluegrass festival, if you're a fan of old-school American music in any of its incarnations (blues, country, ragtime, folk, rock 'n' roll or even punk) you should check out Devil Makes Three.
The 'fiendish blues' conjured by this acoustic trio has roots in all the above, and its incendiary live shows are the stuff legends are made of.
Local duo Hillstomp is cut from a similar cloth, weaving blues-based music from a patchwork quilt's worth of influences and crafting them from junkyard/thrift-store scores.
8 p.m. FRIDAY, Jan. 4, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-233-1994, $12, all ages