I've seen ZZ Ward—full name: Zsuzsanna Eva Ward—compared to Adele, but I'm more impressed that she got her start not far from Portland, playing blues with her father in Roseburg, Oregon. On Ward's 2012 debut, Til the Casket Drops, the songstress mixes the blues of Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton with the hiphop influence of Nas and Jay-Z. And it seems to work, although her voice is what really stands out—slinky and soulful. She writes good songs, too. Ward now occupies an interesting space in which she's found some success, but hasn't yet busted through like Adele. Despite that, I get the feeling she's in this for the long haul. MARK LORE
128 NE Russell, Portland, OR 97212
Hours: Ballroom open for events only, Cafe open: Tues-Sat 5 pm-"late"