Live Music

Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur is best known world-wide for her 1974 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere; but despite her considerable pop music success, her 52-year career could best be described a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the folk revival of the early '60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the '60s.

In the 42 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide and has recorded 40 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums), before settling comfortably into her favorite idiom, the Blues, in recent years. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on-average an album per year, several of which have been nominated for Grammy and other awards.

Her critically acclaimed 2001 Stony Plain Records release, Richland Woman Blues, was nominated for a Grammy and by the Blues Foundation as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year, as was the follow up to that album, Sweet Lovin’ Ol’ Soul. Her timely 2008 album, Yes We Can!, featured songs from some of the most socially conscious songwriters of the past half century: Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Allen Toussaint, Garth Brooks and others, and featured her “Women’s Voices for Peace Choir,” which included: Bonnie Raitt, Joan, Baez, Jane Fonda, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Holly Near and others.

For her 2009 release, Maria revisited her original Jug Band roots, teaming up with John Sebastian, David Grisman and Dan Hicks. Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy garnered Maria her 6th Grammy nomination, and was also nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year by The Blues Foundation.

In 2011, detouring from her ongoing exploration of acoustic Vintage Blues, Maria released Steady Love, returning to her much-beloved New Orleans (the place she calls her “musical and spiritual home”) to record a contemporary electric Blues album that reflects the kind of music she loves to perform live - what she calls “Bluesiana Music” - her own brand of New Orleans-flavored Blues, R&B and “Swamp Funk.” Steady Love reached #1 on the Living Blues Chart, and garnered her another nomination for Best Traditional Female Blues Artist from the Blues Foundation.

In 2012, for her 40th album, Maria produced ….First Came Memphis Minnie, a loving tribute to the pioneering Blues woman who inspired and influenced so many female Blues artists who followed in her footsteps, many of whom joined Maria on this special project: Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Ruthie Foster, Koko Taylor and Rory Block accompanied by the amazing guitar work of Del Rey, David Bromberg, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Rogers, Bob Margolin, Steve James and Steve Freund. Maria considers Memphis Minnie to be a trailblazing musical pioneer for all women, but also a personal Blues hero. “From that first moment I heard her soulful music on an old scratchy 78 to this,” says Maria, “Memphis Minnie, and the example she set for me, has remained a profound influence on my life and my music.”

In 2013, taking a brief hiatus from her yearly recording schedule, Maria focused on 3 special collaborations, performing worldwide with her old Jug Band mates, in a series of 50th Anniversary Kweskin Jug Band Reunion concerts, teaming up with the Campbell Brothers, world-renowned Sacred Steel Gospel artists, for a very special presentation entitled, “Spirit & The Blues”, touring as Special Guest Artist with Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings. as well as continuing  to perform with her own Red Hot Bluesiana Band. 

2014 marked 40 years since her big hit “Midnight at the Oasis” was riding at the top of the pop charts and she has released 40 albums in that time!!! To celebrate this milestone, Maria created a multi-media retrospective - WAY PAST MIDNIGHT, chronicling her 52 year journey “to the Oasis and Beyond”. This special presentation features all her hits, & her most-requested-over-the-years "fan faves", as well as the best of her most recent work. She shares stories of her personal encounters, friendships, and collaborations with many of the greatest names in Music, along with photos & videos from her early days in the 60's folk revival with The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, through her years of "pop stardom", & on to her continuing exploration of American Roots Music, Blues, Bluesiana, Jazz & Gospel. In 2014 and 2015 Maria toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada with her Way Past Midnight show.

LaRhonda Steele

LaRhonda Steele began her musical journey in Jones, Oklahoma at age 13 singing her first solo in church one Sunday morning. Her journey continued to Portland, Oregon and beyond culminating into an powerful legacy of musical experiences for which she is Awed and Grateful.

Over the years she has enjoyed working with local, national and international artists: Curtis Salgado, Norman Sylvester, Linda Hornbuckle, Janice Scroggins, Paul Delay, Obo Addy and Thara Memory. She has had the pleasure of recoding with Thara Memory, Obo Addy, Janice Scroggins, Norman Sylvester and Ken DaRouchie.

Performing at the Lincoln Center with Obo Addy in 2005 and her yearly appearances at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festivals are just a couple of the highlights of her career.

LaRhonda currently enjoys working with B3 organist “King Louis” Pain. Their CD “Rock me Baby” received 4 out of 5 stars in Downbeat Magazine and is currentll being played throughout Europe. She also enjoys working with her own band The LaRhonda Steele Band in which her husband Mark is the keyboardist and co-producer of their collaboration “Artistic Differences.” The CD features 12 original songs written and co-written by the duo. “My Soul’s Song” features some of her gospel favorites.

Returning to her Gospel roots, LaRhonda is the choir director for the Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, whose mission is to employ Black Gospel Music to spread the message of Love, Equality and Cooperation to our community and world. She is Music Director for Unity West Linn and performs with several local Blues, R&B and Gospel artists.

Ever thankful for the support she has received from the musical community and her fans, her legacy of the love of music will continue on through and as the Irresistible Soul Music of LaRhonda Steele

Kevin Selfe and The Tornadoes

A native of Roanoke, VA, Kevin Selfe learned to play the blues by watching the masters that lived and traveled through the area. Having combined this influence with his own distinct style, Selfe developed a swampy, primal sound that is reminiscent of humid, summer evenings in the rural South. He relocated to Portland, OR in 2007 where he is now a leading light in the Pacific Northwest’s robust blues revival. Selfe is a two time inductee into the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame for Electric Guitar and Traditional Blues Act, and his band, Kevin Selfe and The Tornadoes, has received prestigious Muddy Awards for Blues Act of the Year eight times. His recordings on world renowned blues labels Delta Groove and Vizztone have landed on the Billboard Blues Chart and have been featured on SiriusXM radio. The band consists of Kevin Selfe – guitar, harmonica, vocals; Allen Markel – bass; Jimi Bott – drums; Peter Moss – sax; Dennis Lusk – keys.


Kevin Selfe and Liz Coffman

Kevin's late night solo sets have long been a favorite among dancers. This year, however, you're getting something even more special as Liz Coffman adds her vocals to the mix.

Want a sample? Check them out.

Ben Rice, with Ed Neumann

Ben Rice has been leaving huge impressions on audiences around the Northwest and winning awards for his vocals and guitar playing for the last seven years. His original music blends Soul, Delta-Blues, Rockabilly, Jazz, and Funk into a Roots Stew. He is inspired and influenced by historical figures like Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Skip James to name a few.As a performer Ben looks to the greats for inspiration, always striving to connect with the audience through his music and stories. He also has an interesting arsenal of guitars playing resophonic guitars and homemade cigar box guitars. More important than the visual appeal Ben has an amazing way of making these guitars sound, often bringing audiences to tears with his slide playing.


Mark Carpenter

Once again hailing from California, Mark is excited to return to Portland to play at RCB for another year. Mark began blues dancing in 2005 and has been playing music for dancers since the beginning. A founding member of Drop Dead Blues in SLO, he eventually became a house DJ and cut his teeth in the blue glow of Room 225. Since then he has shared his collection of music at countless events and venues through the years, including at Mile High Blues, Sydney Blues, Blues Quake, and Rose City Blues. He plays only the most quality songs from his eclectic musical collection and has stolen unapologetically from every great DJ, musician, or music aficionado he’s encountered.

Kristin Buxton

Kristin started DJing for swing dances in 2001 in Portland. Her first blues set was in 2007 at Blues Underground in Seattle. Since then she's been a regular DJ at Do Something Blue, the Juke and the blues room at LindyGroove in Los Angeles and has played blues or blues/lindy sets at &All That Jazz, San Francisco Lindy Exchanges, Sacramento Lindy Exchange and Portland Lindy Exchange through the years . While she still spins lindy sets occasionally, she loves the huge range of blues music available to dance to which lets her pull out new music every time she DJs.

Stephen Jackson

Photography by Devon Rowland

From 1998 to 2007 Stephen experienced the swing dance world vicariously through his sister Jojo. When he suddenly realized that he enjoyed Lindy on his own, he gained a hobby. When invited to his first blues house party, he gained a passion. His love of the dance almost immediately spilled over into a love of DJing. Armed with a creative and conversational blues style, Stephen began to scout the musical landscape for new territory to conquer. Since becoming an addict he has both danced and DJed at venues, houses, parks, gas stations, bus stops, and crowded freeways across America.

Laura Koan

Photography by Benoît Guérin

Co-founder, organizer, teacher, evangelist, facilitator, resident DJ of the blues scene in Milan/Italy, Laura found blues dancing 3 years ago and fell in love, after having loved the music for more than 20 years. She's been traveling ever since to train, dance and DJ around Europe and now she's excited to be traveling in the US as well. She's always been a music junkie and she loved being the one in charge of the playlist in her teens at school and house parties. She loves DJing both trad and alt-blues, the challenge of transitioning from one genre to another, from playful, energetic, "let's get this party started" to slow, emotional, intense songs, with the aim to take dancers on a journey.

Paul Mandel

Photography by Ben Hejkal

Paul grew up dancing in Boston but now lives in the sunny San Francisco Bay Area. He started dancing in 2004 and blues dancing in 2006, but didn't gain a full appreciation of blues music until 2009 in TC's Lounge in Austin, TX. Since then, Paul has expanded his music library and understanding of what makes really good dance music and curates the popular Dance Blues playlist on Spotify. As you might remember from last year at Rose City Blues, Paul has also been known to stray into...other...genres later in the night.

Matt Mickle

Photography by Kai Hayashi

Matt is the DJ Coordinator for PB&J, has been social dancing for like ever and dances West Coast, Blues, Tango, and Lindy on occasion. He has been DJing for dancers for a long time and continues to regularly DJ. He has also DJed and helped coordinate at several Blues and Fusion/Alt/w/e/you call them events. Matt has a love for Blues music and a passion for DJing and dancing, but also loves other things... especially scotch.

Brenda Russell

Brenda Russell fell in love with headphones at age three when she learned how to plug them in before turning on the stereo to avoid waking up her parents in the morning. She then learned to clean the needle and record before carefully placing the needle on her favorite song. Times have changed, but her love of music grows on. Brenda has an immense and diverse collection of music and delights in sharing it with dancers. As an instructor she plays music to coordinate with the lessons she teaches, and vice versa lessons to fit the music played, allowing the dancers to be stretched to new heights with their dance skills. Another focus of Brenda's DJing is to play something for everyone, even if it mixes things up a bit.

Andrew Smith

Andrew enjoys DJing a wide variety of musical genres, but favors those with strong ties to the rich culture and history of the blues. He delights in creating moments for dancers to respond viscerally to blues music, allowing themselves to be transported to another era by a song. Andrew has DJed at events around the world, including Portland Blues Experience, Emerald City Blues Festival, and European Blues Invasion, and has won several DJ contests and nominations. Visit for more info.

Emily Smith

Emily started out as a blues DJ in Seattle’s epic house-party scene in 2005. She was one of Burn Blue’s original DJs when the venue started and volunteered as a DJ coach for new aspiring DJs. She has continued to DJ regularly at many of the blues and fusion dance venues in Seattle. She loves the challenge of traveling to DJ for major events, including BlueShout, Fusion exchanges, and various other blues festivals and lindy exchanges, and has had the pleasure of being on staff for multiple events either as DJ coordinator. Emily mothers 2 little princesses and works as an urgent care nurse and nursing student.

Rachel Stirling

Photography by Bobby Bonsey

Rachel fell in love with blues music upon finding the dance over ten years ago. She's got a passion for the wide variety of blues music from Piedmont finger-pickin', gritty swamp, funky boogaloo, to entrancing hill country. Above all though, it's gotta be real and have soul. She finds inspiration from the incredible live music she has access to in Portland and across the US. Just know, you're guaranteed to hear tunes that has some ass and make you want to shake it.