Courtesy of Brown Calculus

It seems appropriate that just as Portland’s many trees start blooming, so does the city's music scene. With every week that passes, more and more show series return. In the midst of all that energy, Portland-based artists continue to make big moves. This week we talk about the return of Rontoms’ Sunday Sessions, Wynne’s new basketball anthem for University of Oregon, an excellent collaboration for Portland hip-hop, and an impressive lineup for the 2022 Waterfront Blues Festival, which ends its COVID-induced hiatus this summer.

One can’t miss upcoming show.

Sunday Sessions: Brown Calculus, YAWA

Finally, super hip Southeast bar Rontoms is gearing up for the return of its excellent live music series, Sunday Sessions. The Sunday evening show is always free, and—depending on the season—has been known to take place in either its cozy living-room-like space indoors, or outside on the patio. On Sunday, March 27, the series returns for its first show since going on hiatus due to COVID, and it’s kicking off with a bang. Interstellar soul duo Brown Calculus—AKA singer-songwriter Vaughn Kimmons and keyboardist/beatmaker Andre Burgos—are the headlining act, while improvising singer-songwriter YAWA (also known as Amenta Abioto) makes for an even more appealing, must-see bill.
(Sun March 27, 8 pm, Rontoms, 600 E Burnside, FREE)

Two great new releases from locally relevant artists.

“Red Water,” Jaywop, Donte Thomas, Sxlxmxn, Mick Jenkins

On March 4, Tacoma-to-California hip-hop artist Jaywop dropped an outstanding single titled “Red Water'' and it's definitely worth more than a couple listens. The track features a smooth hook from Portland emcee Donte Thomas (of the Produce Organics label), and jazzy, piano-forward production from Portland-based beatmaker Sxlxmxn that lets all the emcees’ vocals shine. Clocking at a delightful three minutes and 40 seconds, the song is a pretty huge look for two of Portland’s most respected hip-hop figures—their talents are seamlessly showcased alongside the fiercely delivered lyrics of Chicago-based rapper Mick Jenkins.

“Throw the O (University of Oregon Women’s Basketball Anthem),” Wynne feat. University of Oregon Marching Band

Just a couple weeks ago, Portland-based rap sensation Wynne—who’s also a University of Oregon grad—dropped “Throw the O,” AKA the anthem for UO’s Women’s Basketball Team. The song came out just as the lady ducks were in the last stretch of their season and features none other than the University of Oregon Marching Band. As a UO grad myself (go ducks), it’s nice to have yet another pump-up anthem for game days, and this one is certainly of a higher caliber than Supwitchugirl’s silly but overall classic “I Love My Ducks,” and parody track “Return of the Quack.” Indeed, Wynne’s “Throw the O” could be considered an instant cult classic, allowed to live right there on the Ducks game-day soundtrack alongside necessities like the second-half sing-along tradition of “Shout!” by Otis Day and the Knights.

Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

The 2022 Waterfront Blues Festival

The Waterfront Blues Festival just announced their lineup, with limited “Early Bird” tickets going on sale today, March 10! While the fest is no longer free or offering admission for cans of food like in the good ol' days, it’s cool to see the festival stepping up their lineup by adding eclectic newer acts alongside stalwart veterans. Performers include Grammy-winning artist Taj Mahal, gothic blues singer Adia Victoria, New Orleans act Galactic (featuring Anjelika Jelly Joseph, formerly of Tank and the Bangas), R&B musician Son Little, powerhouse singing (and husband-and-wife) duo The War and Treaty, Nigerian musician Femi Kuti, The Phantom Blues Band, and many more. See the full lineup here.