Presented by Cascade Blues Association
In late May, the Cascade Blues Association holds their semi-finals round for the Journey to Memphis at the Mekong Bistro. EIght acts compete, playing twenty-minute sets before three judges, for the opportunity to move on to the final round at the Waterfront Blues Festival on Monday, July 4, on the Front Porch Stage beginning at 11:30 am. The winner of the finals will become the Cascade Blues Association’s, and the region’s, representative at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, in late January/early February 2023. Past CBA acts have fared well in Memphis, including Karen Lovely, Ty Curtis, and Rae Gordon, who all made it to the finals.
Schedule for this year’s Journey to Memphis Finals on Monday, July 4 at the Front Porch Stage:
- 11:30 – 11:55 am: The Fabulous Bad Cats
The Fabulous Bad Cats are a five-piece group that was formed in 2002. Currently, they perform with original frontman and bassist Toby Worthington, legendary guitarist Kenny Lee, well-known saxophone player Eric Rabe and drummer Alan Wicks of Kenny Lee and the Sundowners fame. With the latest addition of keyboardist Wiley Wynne, they’ve developed a smooth and polished sound — and there’s no telling where the band is going next.
- 12:10 – 12:35 pm: TJ Wong Trio
TJ Wong is what many would call a phenomenon. At the age of 20, he has two albums under his belt, an endorsement from Brazil’s largest guitar manufacturer and has competed in two Youth International Blues Challenges on behalf of the Cascade Blues Association. Combine all that with the excellent musicianship of Timmer Blakely (Bo Diddly, Ry Cooder) and Chandler Bowerman (The Diamonds, Ben Rice), and you have the TJ Wong Trio.
- 12:50 – 1:15 pm: James Ortega Y Los Demon Drivers
It’s not about bringing the demons in, it’s about driving them out in this high-energy show featuring Christophe Bourdeiseau on bass and Jimi Hardin on drums. James has been strutting his stuff on stages in the Pacific Northwest for decades. He brings his guitar and vocal talent to the forefront in this power trio lineup with a little Latin fusion flavor.
- 1:30 – 1:55 pm: Pat Stilwell Band
The Pat Stilwell Band is a four-piece lineup consisting of Pat on vocals, guitar and electric violin, Michael McGinty on keys, Kevin Kelley on bass and Joe Trump on drums. PSB is a high-energy blues-rock outfit centered around Pat’s skillful original songwriting, soulful vocals, and expressive guitar and electric violin. The music ventures from straight-ahead blues-rock and funk to rootsy Americana and straight-ahead Chicago blues. The band is composed of hands-down some of the finest musicians in the Pacific Northwest.