[For the entire month of January, Portland Music Month features 100+ musical acts designed to get you into our city's great clubs and venues, and $1 from each ticket goes to support individual music artists and their professional needs. Find out a lot more here, and enjoy the following preview of an upcoming Portland Music Month pick!—eds.]
This Saturday, January 8, Portland Music Month has curated a sonic romp through select pieces of America’s musical history with a showcase of some of Portland's best nostalgia curators coming together in a takeover of Alberta Street Pub. Expect the type of musical interludes that will compel even the most dedicated wallflower to trade in their walking shoes for dance attire.
The day kicks off at noon with a foot-stompin' jamboree led by Mary Flower & the BBQ Boys. Flower is a music educator who performs an array of songs rooted in Mississippi Delta blues, along with nods to other classic Americana styles. As an artist, she's also been highly decorated as “a finalist in 2000 and 2002 at the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, a nominee in 2008, 2012 and 2016 for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award, and many times a Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award winner” according to her website. Joining Flower is the four-piece blues, jazz, and jug band known as the BBQ Boys. These two entities came together in 2013 to play the music they love while creating some new sounds of their own, and the BBQ Boys will certainly provide a joyous amplification of the toe-tapping guitar picking Flowers offers, thereby creating a perfect vibe to get the party started.
Then, as the sun prepares to set, we’ll be greeted by The Libertine Belles, scheduled to hit the Alberta stage around 4 pm. At this point the music will transition into a full Jazz-Age rager as the Belles transport the audience to a nostalgic wonderland of ‘20s-era swing right off the pages of a Fitzgerald novel. These festival veterans have been dazzling Portland audiences since 2011 with their mix of covers and originals, musically manifesting the essence of prohibition-era, forbidden fun. Expect the pub to turn into a true flappers' paradise.
Closing out the night at 8 pm will be the alt-country sounds of Stars of Cascadia. Formed by singer/guitarists Scott Jeffries and Ray Yurkewycz (formally of Spirit Lake), Stars of Cascadia possess the ideal DNA to close out this sentimental musical tour of Americana. They describe their second 2019 release, Fairfield, as an “album [that] explores the birth, division, and reunion of the two Americas, from the settlement of the plains through the Dust Bowl, Baby Boom, social unrest, and spiritual awakening.” They're self-professed fans of Neil Young, Gram Parsons, and Willie Nelson and this influence is noticeable within their poignant lyrical content. The revivalist instrumentation touches on so much of America's musical past while keeping in touch with their own sonic innovations. Stars of Cascadia will also be joined by the Americana-rock five-piece, Bad Assets, to cap things off.
This lineup of artists is shaping up to be more than just a musical history lesson—it's also a welcome look into a section of Portland's musical present that anyone will enjoy and everyone should know. It's a fun, necessary demonstration on why some forms of music never die.
Alberta Street Pub, 1036 NE Alberta; Mary Flower & the BBQ Boys, Noon, $10; The Libertine Belles, 4 pm, $10; Stars of Cascadia (w/ Bad Assets), 8 pm, $10. Tickets available at door.