Northwest Women Rhythm & Blues

Main Stage

2:00 PM

The Northwest Women Rhythm & Blues group performs specialty shows produced by Sonny Hess since the early ’80s. These unique shows are comprised of the top female performers in the region and expose newly found talent to the Portland blues scene. Names you might recognize like Lisa Mann, Ellen Whyte, Rae Gordon, and Lady True Blue got their start in the area with Northwest Women Rhythm & Blues — women who have gone on to win multiple awards locally, regionally, and nationally. Each show is different and brings its certain magic that you won’t want to miss!

Catch the Northwest Women Rhythm & Blues performing only on the Sail on Sister Blues Cruise (Saturday, July 7), benefiting the JWF Musician Health & Services Program.

This year’s performers include:

Sonny Hess is known far and wide for her sensual guitar playing, songwriting gifts and soulful vocals — this local blues legend has been firing up shows around the Northwest for over four decades. She was the first woman to be nominated in a male-dominated field for Best Lead Guitar, as well as the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cascade Blues Association.

Lady Kat, or “Lady True Blue” has a low, rich, full-bodied voice that carries the likes of Etta James, with a little of Wynonna’s twang, and the depth of Della Reese. Born and raised in the Northwest she was surrounded by the sounds of blues and country music.

Lisa Mann hails from blues-soaked Portland, where she has been inducted into the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame. She has achieved acclaim as a bassist, vocalist and songwriter worldwide, and has received two Blues Music Awards from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN. 

Erin Wallace can usually be seen fronting Portland band The Sportin’ Lifers, or her independent project, Wallace. She started her musical career busking in the public market in her hometown of Vancouver, BC and continued to hone her sound, studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and through years of recording, touring and performing. Erin combines soulful, powerhouse vocals with a side of humor and fun for a performance you won’t soon forget!

Mr. Kelly Pierce, the group’s drum/percussion man, is like a brother to Sonny as they have played together for over 15 years. He is in sync with her groove and knows how to anticipate her next move. Kelly is an emotional player with dynamics that make him an ace up their sleeve.

Nayibe Rojas and her soulful vocals deliver a diverse palette of danceable grooves creatively fusing R&B, soul, funk, and blues – she’s dynamite and hugely entertaining.

Jul 6
Jul 6