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Columbia Theatre Longview Washington Blues Show

Posted in Blues Music, Karen Lovely, Lisa Mann, Lloyd Jones, Longview Washington, Louis Pain, Portland Oregon with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2015 by damngoodtunes

By Bruce J Maier – damngoodtunes founder

 

On February 21st I attended a concert in the city of Longview Washington which lies just west of Interstate 5, about forty miles from Portland Oregon. The show was presented by the historic Columbia Theatre and co-produced by drummer Willis Moss and Gian Paul Morrelli, the Theatre Director.  There was an incredible lineup of talent including three of the top Portland Oregon area Blues and R and B artists, the first being Mr. Lloyd Jones. Jones has become synonymous with the Blues who’s – who of the entire region for many years, and is always writing new material and releasing CDs when he’s not traveling the seas for a Blues Cruise or touring Europe.  Lloyd Jones is an outstanding guitarist and singer but it’s his personality on stage that I’ve always liked the most. Over the past few years I’ve been to about a half-dozen of his performances and have enjoyed each and every one. Once I was in a very small club and yet when Jones grabbed his guitar and stepped up to the mic, it was as though he was playing a stadium with fifteen thousand fans. Makes no difference, Lloyd Jones gives his one hundred ten per cent at any venue. If you get a chance to see him at a festival on a sunny day he makes everybody dance, even the little children and their grandmas. He’s a real “peoples “entertainer! Always two thumbs up way high for Lloyd Jones!Lloyd Jones plays

On Bass and also starring the incredible Lisa Mann, who proved to be everything that the press has been saying about her all over the net. She is a talented musician and a rhythmic Bass player who danced around the stage in a classy evening dress with leopard-pattered high heel shoes while delivering soulful, bluesy vocals on top of her Bass lines, something that not all Bassists are able to do. Though my first time seeing her in person it will not be my last – this young woman has something to show and offer to the world in the line of sublime talent and a charismatic  though gentle command of the stage. The way she interacts with the others shows experience and craftsmanship without a hint of over-indulging ego. In my estimation would be a great candidate on my personal bucket list to perform with or even work in the studio for the respectful attitude with which she displays to the other musicians. I doubt there is a style of music she could not play or a suggestion she would make that would not completely enhance anyone’s musical project. Of course, with several CD’s and numerous awards to her credit, the rest of the world already knows this Lady is on a great course with her music career without me to tell them. I could see her music making a rare cross-over into mainstream Blues-edged Pop as easily as the success came to the now legendary Bonnie Raitt.

Lisa Plays Bass

 

The third superpower of the evening was the very electric and powerful soul-singing, rocking and jumping Karen Lovely! Again I was at a bit of disadvantage and felt badly that I had personally never heard Karen before and, living so close to Portland Oregon I fail to see how I missed her. That said, by the time Lovely came onto the stage to join the crew, there were large shoes to fill and man…she filled them up, grabbed the audience right out of their seats and took control of the theater!  Karen Lovely has been talked about, written about across the country and into Europe, where she is scheduled to tour again in early June 2015. She has recorded multiple CD’s and received many awards for her songs and shows. Karen has this beautiful smile and warmth when you meet her, and I can immediately see how things get to be real fun on stage when she starts this high-jump dance that she does in time with the music which just fuels the already “on-fire “musicians at her side. I love to see real energy like this where it’s not contrived, just a natural pulse reaction to the feeling within, which some artists, and certainly the three here being mentioned are all blessed with.  During the Intermission I got to spend a few minutes with Karen in the green room and I immediately was put at ease, as though I’d just met up again with a long lost friend. She’s just that way and I cannot wait to see her perform again in the near future.

Karen Lovely sings

Rounding out this terrific band of friends this evening were Keyboardist Louis Pain and Willis Moss on drums and vocals. Louis Pain is affectionately known as King Louis as well as Portland’s Best Kept Secret of the Northwest. Well schooled in the vanishing art of the Hammond B-3 and the modern-tech NORD keyboard systems, Louis and his authentic “ Leslie “ speaker system talk, I mean sing to the band in a tone and texture that you really either know, or have to experience for yourself or you’ll be clueless to my reference. The B3 sound has been around since the nineteen-forties, decades before Louis Pains’ time, but thanks heaven he took a path in music that is void of the millions of players, like we (dime-a-dozen lol!) guitar slingers! A person who understands the B3 can make up a wall of sound all on their own with precise control of volume, dynamic key articulation and variance of the rotation in the Leslie. It’s a superb sound and addition to any music but lends itself well to Blues, Jazz and of course Gospel music. Louis is a fine player and my observation is that he, like each of the players in this lineup was equal on all levels.

Louis Pain plays B3

Now, for my dear friend Willis Moss; as I mentioned last week in the promotion for this show, Mr. Moss is one of the rare ones who has walked through the fires of life and came out a new and reinvented soul. Plagued by diabetes and related ill-health for a lifetime, Willis received both a donor pancreas and a kidney and has been doing very well for going on ten years now. He appreciates life and has dedicated himself to promotion of music and the artists who play with passion. Moss surrounds himself with the best of the best as evidenced here in this show with the great Lloyd Jones, Mann, Lovely and Pain. Willis is a very talented drummer who is right there in the pocket, solid but never getting in the way of the music, rather driving it forward just as a great drummer should do. On top of that, he’s one of the best Blues singers in the business, looks good in a hat and is just a damn fine human being who is relentless at promoting regional music events and encouraging everyone around him to live life to the fullest.

Willis-Moss-drums-in-desert

This review would not be complete without a mention of the man at the helm of the Columbia Theatre, Gian Paul Morrelli, without whose help and love for music and the arts none of this would have happened in a place called Longview Washington. I spoke with Mr. Morrelli in his office prior to the show starting and came away convinced that this is a man with great ideas who just wants to bring good music and entertainment to the people with no agendas of his own. In the coming months there will be many more great shows at the Historic Columbia Theatre which Gian will be producing with a full lighting and amazing sound system in place. The building itself is warm, comfortable and a work of architecture and pure Art. A bar is available for your favorite beverages during the intermissions and there is plenty of safe, well-lighted parking adjacent to the theatre.  Watch for the updates and upcoming shows all about the Columbia Theatre right here in DGT!

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THE MEANING OF LIFE

Posted in animation, artists, cartoon, cartoonist, Fabulous Friends, Guitar Nation, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 16, 2013 by damngoodtunes

gn-PANEL-1two…..

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SEE THE FULL SIZE VERSION IN DAMNGOODTUNES.COM TODAY!

ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2011

Posted in Croatian Music, Guitar Player, Indie Music with tags , , , on December 11, 2011 by damngoodtunes

Dario Plevnik
Artist of The Year

When we first heard about Croatian musician and composer Dario Plevnik back in 2009 we were taken by his beautiful melodies as we are still today. But there would come to be much more to the story of Dario that would not appear here in our publication until now.

It would be difficult for most of us to understand, let alone to tell about the part of the world where Dario and his music comes from. Many of us are too young to even remember the Bosnian war and most of us have never seen a war happen in our homeland as Dario Plevnik has seen and even felt the pain of imprisonment with members of his family and of his town.

What shapes us as human beings? What makes us who we are as artists and musicians? What is it about our surroundings and environment that gives us “soul” that others feel when we play an instrument? There are a multitude of answers to these questions but for Dario it was all of this and more. This man has great pride in Croatia and there is nowhere else he’d rather be than there in the home that he built with his own hands and with his beautiful wife, Darija. She, their daughter, his family, friends, his home and his country are what inspires him to play music and to write from his heart about what he feels and what he thinks. To have come from a war-torn country and to see it blossom back into the Eden that it is today is a miracle and an epic of survival. For a writer of music or a teller of tales, there is something compelling about the events of the world and of mankind’s evolution through war and peace and his continuous search for spiritual perfection. Dario Plevnik has managed to blend and forge all of that history of the past and to merge it with the glory of the present – into some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

This writer has had the privilege of knowing thousands of musicians and artists in my lifetime, and a great number of them have come from this publication. Usually time is premium and there is only so much we can do and so many to serve that we do not have the luxury of flying all over the world and having the pleasure of meeting these artists in person who live in countries outside the USA. With Dario Plevnik I knew form the start there was an amazing journey about to unfold, and that would be that he and his wife would become important friends, more like family to me. We have sent so many e-mails back and forth over the past couple years that we know much about each other. And, thank goodness for the internet and Skype, we have been able to visit face-to-face! I have been on a virtual tour of Dario’s home, the home that he rebuilt a few years ago with the help of his wife and closest friends and family. It is a lovely home with large exposed wooden beams, chandeliers that he made himself and many other masterful touches. His studio at home is his domain – the place where he spends many long hours creating, recording and editing. Dario has become a great producer and engineer besides being an incredible musician and I am sure that many people would pay great sums of money to sit with Dario and have him produce their music. Right now though, Dario’s own compositions are being noticed all over the world and it is only a matter of time before his hard work will pay off in a big way.

We have never had an Artist Of The year before and the criteria was not limited to having a CD ready to go and being retail ready. This person must possess humility and grace and is someone who cares about the planet, it’s people and his family. In other words, we were seeking someone who would be a good neighbor and friend, yet someone who has it in his heart to share his art with anyone who will listen and not just so he can be paid to perform. Someone who is driven to the degree that there is nothing else he would rather do than to make music. This is not a hobbyist, this is a true professional artist. And for Dario Plevnik, the music does not come because there is a deadline to meet. He does not work at a song factory. True inspiration comes to him perhaps divinely and he acts upon that inspiration and creates intricate and memorable melodies.

His latest album is called Croatian Waters and it will be released within a few weeks on the Reve Records label of Las Vegas Nevada. There have been some discussions for Dario to make a world tour, beginning in North America primarily on the college and University levels where people are starving to know more about the music, art and cultures of other lands. He would be happy to do so but has admitted that he loves his family so much and his country so dearly that he would not want to be away for too long, Who could blame him?

Dario’s songs evoke pictures in one’s mind of grassy fields, pure stream waters and gentle lakes, farms, blues skies and a happy and proud Croatia that has healed from it’s wounds and has chosen to live life to the fullest. The ten tracks on the album really took me on a journey I must say, because they were so easy on the ears and free of clutter. Recorded only with a classical guitar and drums, no Bass, keys or over-processing, the music pulls you in and within three seconds you feel that nothing is missing at all. In fact, the melody of each song finds its way to your mind, flowing directly into your heart. A wonderful artist with so much love in every note he plays. A true master, a sweet man and a keeper of the dream, Dario Plevnik is a one of a kind musician and a most deserving Artist of The Year!

Bruce Maier

Gary Moore dead at 58

Posted in Blues Guitar, Gary Moore, Skid Row, Still Got The Blues, Thin Lizzy, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 6, 2011 by damngoodtunes

Guitarist and vocalist Gary Moore has passed in his sleep while on holiday in Spain. Though only fifty-eight years of age, Moore had accomplished much and was known the world over for his soulful playing and innovative approach to Blues and Rock music. Highly underestimated for his singing, Gary Moore had a top hit with ” Still Got The Blues ” which showed the pop community that this man had vocal skills way over the top of the norm set by contemporary Blues rockers. Our deepest sympathy goes to his children, family and friends at this time of sorrow.

Dario Plevnik of Croatia

Posted in Europe, Guitars, Independent Music, Indie Music, Interviews, Journalism, recording, Reviews with tags , , , , on March 30, 2010 by damngoodtunes

Dario Plevnik lives in Croatia and is well known all over Europe for his fine guitar playing and songwriting. Dario has been featured as our Artist Of The Month for March, 2010. If you have not read this article, please get over there and find out why we love Mr Plevnik and his music.

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