(Or How a Whole Community Sent an Oregon Band to Memphis)
Personal Thank You from Rae
Dear Friends…We are all still in the afterglow of Memphis. We were excited to make it to the semi-finals and blessed to be able to hang with and see some of our NW music family perform. Magic and memories were made because of YOU and your faith in us. I am forever grateful to Gaddis, Ed, Joe and Scott, who were troopers from start to finish and it was an honor to be able to do all original music written by Gaddis and me to an audience like no other. You friends and family got us flown, fed and a roof on our head. I have always heard that saying “I’m there for you in spirit” but never really truly understood or fully embraced the real meaning until now. When we were on stage performing and competing in this chance of a lifetime….YOU were there too…in spirit. On stage and in our hearts. Thank You! XO, Rae
THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS
(special thanks for the photographers in Portland and Memphis)
September 2013 – Rae Gordon Band Given the Opportunity of a Lifetime
The Rae Gordon Band was nominated by the Rainy Day Blues Society of Eugene, Oregon to go and compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The IBC is an annual event that brings bands from all over the world for one glorious song filled week to play, to learn, to network , to overeat BBQ and most of all , to shine for their hometowns to go and perform and compete with over 255 other acts on the infamous Beale Street.
October 2013 - Putting the “T” in Fundraising
Acts start their IBC adventure at home with their fans, friends and families way before the exciting competition. That is just the beginning of their journey and where it becomes very clear early on that their passions are much bigger than their pocketbooks. Rae and the guys knew that they wanted to represent Oregon in Memphis. But, wanting to go and being able to go was an even further distance than the plane ride to the other side of the country!
This incredible chance to perform for an international crowd every year is contingent on raising the funds to not only get the band to the competition, but housed. The task is daunting and possibly heartbreaking to the bands.
How do you come up with the money to get everybody there? Would anybody be interested in helping? Would there be enough?
One night while driving home from a gig, Rae’s mind was racing with bad fundraising ideas….do a kissing booth, sell all her belongings, make blue lemonade!…when a commercial came on the radio about selling T-Shirts for special projects.
Photographer Kathy Rose’s son Jacob designed the logo and Rae designed the back of the shirt using www.booster.com.
This one-of-a-kind t-shirt said exactly what would happen if it was successful… “I sent…the Rae Gordon Band to Memphis”. She hoped that a few would be sold, to help pay maybe one or two flights for the band. Most of all, she wondered if people would not only buy the shirt, but want to wear them……and wear them they did!
After 30 days and an incredible outpouring of love and support, even from people who had never seen the band, 191 t-shirts were sold and the whole band got to Memphis!
Other fundraising fell in place with a last minute gig at Duff’s Garage with special guest Ben Rice (the Cascade Blues Association representative for the IBCs), who wholeheartedly agreed to a fun photo shoot between the two Portland Metro bands that would be competing against each other in Memphis. Thank you Tony Kutter for being a last minute photographer.
A Halloween party and costume contest at the 505 Tavern in Oregon City, and with the Rainy Day Blues Society in Eugene at Cozmic Pizza.
Thank you so much to the t-shirt buyers who helped get us there!
Aaron & Katherine J., Alson T., Amanda L., Anita W., Anne M., Anne B., Annie H., April P., Arnold G., Bear N., Bob P., Brian S., Candance H., Carol G., Carol H., Carol W., Charles C., Charles D., Cher P., Cheryl S., Christine R., Cindy R., Claudia P., Clint C., Connie F., Cynthia A., Darren R., David N., Dean M., Deb C., Debbi C., Debbie B., Debbie R., Deborah B., Deborah C., Diane S., Dianna C., Don W., Douglas M., Elisabeth M., Eloise L., Eric P., Erin P., Gail K., Gerri C., HW S., Ivy F., Jackie M., Jan L., Jean C., Jean H., Jeannine B., Jennifer S., Jessica D., Jody S., John R., Jon N., Joseph B., Joseph C., Joyce D., Julie L., Julie R., Karen G., Karen L., Karla M., Kat R., Kathie T., Keith P., Kelly F., Kim F., Kim W., Larry B., Laura G., Laurel K., LeAnn W., LeeAnn G., Linda C., Linda R., Linda V., LJ T., Lori C., Lori M., Lynette H., Lynn W., Marcy J., Maren A., Margene S., Mark D., Mark L., Melanie P., Michael A., Michael D., Michael P., Michelle O., Pamela T., Pat F., Patricia S., Patti D., Ralph B., Randal M., Renee P., Roberta E., Robin B., Sandy L., Sarah C., Sarah O., Scott F., Scott M., Shara C., Sheldon L., Sheri S., Sherri M., Stan G., Stephen P., Sue A., Susan V., Teresa B., Teresa B., Teresa S., Terri & Jon T., Theresa S., Theresa T., Tracy L., Trudy W., Vicky Y., Wendy S.
November 2014 – Will Play for Food
The flights and the hotel lodging was taken care of, when it started to come clear that everybody might want to eat and wouldn’t be able to survive on adrenaline alone, so the BEALE MEALE campaign was unveiled and the bandmates were able to fill their bellies with barbeque, thanks to the picture of the hungry guitar player barely able to pick his guitar on an empty stomach. People stepped up and fed the band in exchange for a picture done on Beale Street with a sign of their choosing.
January 17, 2014 – Beale and Birthday Bash Send off at Trails End Saloon
The weekend before the band was to fly to Memphis for the competition, they enjoyed a proper send off from friends, family and people who made it all possible. It was also Rae’s birthday and her birthday wish was already coming true…the band was going to Memphis!
I sent the Band to Memphis t-shirts were aplenty and Joan snagged two of them that were donated back by Denise & Keith Price to help with the cause and last minute needs.
January 21, 2014 – NOT Early to Bed, but Early to Rise
The day of the flight arrived! For some of the band, they got to bed early for the 5am trip to the airport and a few had just gotten to bed! Suffice to say, there was some napping time on the plane on it’s first stop to Atlanta, Georgia, where the sound of someone playing a piano snagged Rae’s ears. She got a chance to sit in for a few tunes with a local player and warm up for Memphis.
Once they arrived in Tennessee, they checked into the hotel all starry eyed. There was magic in the air from the streets to the lobby, where musicians hung out to talk, network and even pick a little on their guitars. Friends from near and far got to finally meet in person or reconnect. This annual event truly is a reunion.
January 22-23, 2014 – Band Orientation Commences
The New Daisy Theater on the infamous Beale was packed with wall to wall wailers and wah wah peddlers to learn about what to do and not to do. Musicians from all over the world were packed in like sardines, but nobody seemed to complain much and hugs were freely given out whether they were wanted or not.
Sarah Cavenah (Gaddis’s daughter) from LA’s North Hollywood Salon NoHo went to work crafting a diva out of Rae using her makeup and hair mad skills to turn an Oregon tomboy into a national performer.
The band was delighted to see some of the folks from the northwest there and excited to visit everybody’s sets if they could. The band names were drawn and the Rae Gordon Band got 5:35pm that night at Alfred’s, a great club with a perfect stage…not too tall, not too short, just right.
They competed with all their might under the STAX neon sign for two nights straight and enjoyed playing for the respected judges from the industry and audience members that included a favorite, Candye Kane and her guitar player Laura Chavez.
Then they made it to the Semi Finals!
January 22, 2014 – Semi Finals turns out the Crowd in Droves!
The Rae Gordon Band was pulled for Flynn’s, a nice long club with a very short stage, which is great for getting out in the audience. The bandmembers got to enjoy The Randy Oxford Band from Washington the night before and they kicked it into high gear with an incredible show that leaves no wonder why Randy Oxford is a Blues Cruise favorite.
There was an incredible array of talent that people from all over packed into to see, elbow to elbow, chest to back, it was people thick and blues fanatic rich. The band was “on” that night as everybody made sure to connect with the audience and shine individually, Gaddis even showed that dancing on a monitor can be done in cold temperatures, really showcasing his great guitar work.
Ben Rice from the Portland area put on a good show that night as did the rest of the acts. One band from each club only, could advance to the Finals at the Orpheum Theatre and everybody was delighted when Ben Rice & The Illamatics could show the International crowd what Oregon’s blues has to offer.
January 25, 2014 – Finals for All is Just the Beginning
The beautiful Orpheum Theatre was buzzing with people stuck on their favorites and having their minds changed over and over again as each incredible performance unfolded like a storybook romance, each word, each song leaving an imprint and butterflies in their stomachs.
Northwest favorite Ben Rice fought the good fight, making Oregon proud, leaving his mark on the blues world. The band winner was ultimately Mr. Sipp from Mississippi and 2nd went to The Ghost Town Blues Band from Memphis, Tennessee itself.
The finals is just the beginning as bands go on to perform in major festivals and other life changing opportunities like Ben Rice opening up for BB King. Even semi finalists got interest, including the Rae Gordon Band, going on to play in a national club this year.
Every audience member that night left with a gift from those acts, a new appreciation of blues and musicians left with something even more, a appreciation of themselves and a continued love for the live music audience.
January 26, 2014 – Flying Back and Into the Arms of Audience
The flight back was another early one as most everybody loaded up in a black SUV that made the band look more like FBI….but in this case, it would stand for Fabulous Blues Inspired…. The driver was a lovely woman who laughed at Rae’s terrible jokes while the guys in the back went on and on reliving the last few days, the bands, the lessons, the museum trips and a stop at the House of Elvis.
The flight included more nap time and the best surprise of all, Kimberly Walch, a beloved friend of Rae and the band’s, with flowers for the welcome home.
A Note from the Band
We were blessed to be able to hang with and see some of our northwest music family perform like Ben Rice & The Illamatics, Tevis Hodge Jr, and the Randy Oxford Band along with Duo David Pinsky and Phil Newton. Our region made a great impact on the blues world. Memories were made and an impact felt not only our craft, but their very souls. No wonder Memphis is considered an important role in the development of the blues, because we all came back as better musicians and better people.
We want to thank everybody who helped to support the trip to Memphis, before, during and after, whether financially or a pat on the back to say “Go get ‘em” and everybody in general that supports live music.
There is so many people to thank that we will for sure be adding to this list…. Kim Walsh for being the best RGB fan and friend, Rainy Day Blues Society and Bill Shreve for getting us there, Steve Spoulos, Keith & Denise Price for their support, Paul & Vicki Linnman, Oregon City Lions Club, Greg Johnson for his unwavering love of live blues and submitting to IBC “Blue Lemonade” for best recording from CBA, Lynn Wymore, Dan Harrington, Dano’s Dogs, those beautiful people who traveled with us: Sarah Cavenah, Kayci Cavenah, Lisa Osterhoudt, LeeAnn Gibbons-Pankratz, Michael Pankratz and these fine folks who came to see us in Memphis: Jane Martin Manning, Kathie Tizler, Candye Kane, Laura Chavez, Lori Haynes, Stacy Jeffress, Ben Rice & Roxanne Dickson. Also, Franco & Jeri Paletta, DK Stewart, Timmer Blakely and Paula, Duff’s Garage, Jon & Jennifer Wallace, Joey Scruggs, Cindy Benda, Eric Hallingstad, Trails End Saloon, 505 Tavern, All or Oregon City and Mayor Doug Neeley and Beth, Kat Rose Photograhy PDX, all the t-shirt buyers and wearers! Amanda Gresham, Barbara Hammerman, Stacy Jeffries and Steve Pringle, Rege Shaw and all the other radio folk who play our music!