Rose City Blues



Portland Blues, represented

This year we are placing the focus on the incredible Blues talent that resides in the Rose City, along with a few guests from the international community.

Photo by Terri Briggs

Photo by Terri Briggs

Norman Sylvester Band

Norman “The Boogie Cat” Sylvester was born in Bonita Louisiana September 16, 1945. He and his family boarded a Union Pacific Train for work in the Northwest in the Fall of 1957 when he was 12 years old, but his family’s Southern Traditions have never left him. The Boogie Cat is totally dedicated to soul healing force of Music.

Norman is a “family and community first” musician. He has mentored many young talents in our area, Patrick Lamb, Gretchen Mitchell, Jolie Clausen, Joseph Konty, Alden Harris and Gunnar Roads to name a few. He teaches through grants and Ethos “A History of American Music” in our local schools. Sylvester and his band also use their power of music to perform for many benefits, charities and individuals in need.

Norman Sylvester “The Boogie Cat” was Inducted into the Oregon Music Hall Of Fame on October 8, 2011 at the Newmark Theater in Portland Oregon. This honor has given the Boogie Cat a new surge of energy.

Norman is one of the most engaging showmen around the Northwest. Influenced from his Southern Baptist early years and the Gospel Quartet his father, Mack Sylvester, toured with (they were as sharp with their fashion as they were in their harmonies), these examples show in Sylvester’s own performance. There is the work for the paycheck and the work for your passion. Norman’s music is most definitely his passion! The Boogie Cat has paid his dues and now he is living his dreams.

Photo by Lux Pistoia

Photo by Lux Pistoia

LaRhonda Steele

presents Essential Women in Blues Tribute

LaRhonda is the 2017 and 2016 Muddy Award winner for Best Female Vocalist presented by the Cascade Blues Association.

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 Porretta Italy and beyond culminating into an powerful legacy of musical experiences. Over the years she has enjoyed working with local, national and international artists including Curtis Salgado, Norman Sylvester, Janice Marie Scroggins and Gino Vannelli.

Performing in Porretta Italy at the 30th annual Porretta Soul Festival that honors American Soul Music, the Lincoln Center with Obo Addy in 2005 and her yearly appearances at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festivals are just a few of the highlights of her career.

LaRhonda currently enjoys Directing the Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, working with B3 organist “King Louis” Pain. Their CD “Rock me Baby” received 4 out of 5 stars in Downbeat Magazine and is currently 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. Her CD “My Soul’s Song” features some of her gospel favorites..

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”


Mary Flower

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Mary Flower is that rare breed of American roots artist. Her devotion to the art form is both lovingly and historically accurate, yet her creativity lends it vitality and energy that it might continue, evolve and flourish in an age of increasingly digitized and compressed music.

“With her warm contralto and dazzling skills as an instrumentalist and arranger, Mary Flower has cemented her status as one of the most dynamic performers on the acoustic blues circuit.  Mary is deep in the pocket of the country blues and there are few musicians in the genre bringing as much creative spark and low-key mojo to this century-old music.”
—Acoustic Guitar Magazine


The Zapata Brothers

Dante Zapata has been playing and performing  since childhood. He was born and raised in McMinnville, OR, the heart of pinot noir country. Dante now resides in the ever growing city of Portland, OR. He is first and foremost a Blues and Soul musician, but he's also known for playing anything from folk to gospel to reggae. When Dante is not performing, he regularly enjoys dancing, drumming, and creating.

"I grew up playing and listening to music with my family. The love of music and the arts run in my family. Only a few are performers but mostly all are creators in one way or another. "

Dante has been performing in Oregon's wine culture for nearly a decade.

"I wandered into a local wine bar when I was first wanting to perform. I told them I played nice soul music and I played the server a song. They hired me to play, that was my first wine gig. From there I was meeting all kinds of people in the wine industry and playing in more wine bars and wineries than I could keep track of. I feel very lucky and thankful to be a part of this culture."

Being a talented dancer, this gifted, young musician has also gained a powerful reputation in the Blues Dance community's across the country.  

"For the past few years I've had more opportunities in music than I ever thought possible for myself. I've officially become an international musician. I've done shows in France and Switzerland, I've done shows in Seattle, California, Colorado, Tennessee, and New York. I love music and performing, It’s what I was born to do."

Dan Nash

Dan’s music harks back to the roots of early rent party/juke playing. Dan’s performances encompass the whole acoustic blues genre from the rough-edge bottleneck blues of the Mississippi Delta to the intricate finger-picking styles of Texas and the Carolinas. He focuses on rare and standard blues classics by bluesmen such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Dan has performed extensively in the USA, both with contemporary blues players and as a solo act. He gravitated towards the deep South in early 2007 whilst making a documentary on the history of blues and has since spent 16 weeks playing around the Mississippi Delta and surrounding areas. During his travels, he met and interviewed blues legends David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, Henry Gray and Hubert Sumlin as well as members of both Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters’ family.

Recently, Dan has developed a strong following among blues dancers seeking to re-create the juke-joint style experience of the 1920s-1950s. He plays regularly for blues dancers in London.

Photo by A. Kaidanov

Photo by A. Kaidanov

tevis hodge jr.

Tevis Hodge Jr.

Born in Virginia, his mixed race and mixed culture background exposed him to the blues and the folk music of his Mother. Since the young age of 12, Tevis has been inspired to bring the old traditions to life for a true blues experience as he channels his heritage. While accenting his own original flare and interpretations, Tevis executes an authentic performance whether it be a cover or an original. As an artist, he is more than a re-vision-er of yesterday, he is a fresh contributor to today.

After moving to Portland Oregon in 2003 where he still resides, he has experienced a meaningful career opening for acts such as Robert Cray, and performing onstage with Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary,) Baby Gramps, Mary Flower, Norman Sylvester, Bill Rhoads, Ural Thomas and Suburban Slim to name a few. Tevis placed as a solo semi-finalist in the 2014 International Blues Challenge, and he has had great reception at festivals and venues alike.

Rose City Blues DJs


Kenneth Shipp

Kenneth has been spinning tunes for well over a decade, creating breakdance mixes from his dad's vinyl collection to DJing hip hop / break competitions in college. After falling in love with blues in 2014, he’s spent the past few years learning and diving into the wide variety of blues styles and history. Kenneth aims to get you grooving and moving every time you step out onto the dance floor. He loves playing with your faves while also showcasing the soul/blues legends from his hometown of Nashville and his new home of St. Louis.


BenJamin Long

After an eight-year hiatus, Ben once again hails from Portland, Oregon. It’s also where he first began DJing: Tuesday Blues in 2006. He’s DJed all over the country since starting out those twelve years ago, from local venues to national events. Wherever he goes, he is best known for playing those raw, melty Blues tracks late into the night.


Rachel Stirling

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 have some ass and make you want to shake it. For more info check out


7:15pm Doors Open

7:30pm - Fundamentals in Depth in the Main Room

9:00-10:00pm Live Music: Tevis Hodge Jr.

10:15pm Performances

10:30-11:30pm Live Music: Norman Sylvester Band

11:30pm Social Competition Ends

11:45pm-12:45am Live Music: Norman Sylvester Band

1:00-2:00am DJ Ben Long

2:00-3:00am Live Music: Zapata Brothers feat. Tyrone Hendrix

3:00-4:15am DJ Ben Long

4:15am Sleepytime, see you on the dance floor tomorrow, all day and all night!


7:15pm Doors Open

7:30-8:30pm Practica

8:00-8:50pm Beginner Lesson

8:00pm Show Us Your Blues Competition Check-in

8:15pm Competition Meeting

8:30-9:00pm Show Us Your Blues Competition Prelims

9:00-10:00pm Live Music: LaRhonda Steele presents Essential Women in Blues Tribute

10:00-10:30pm Show Us Your Blues Competition Finals

10:30-11:30pm Live Music: LaRhonda Steele presents Essential Women in Blues Tribute

11:30pm Performances

11:45pm-12:30am Live Music: LaRhonda Steele presents Essential Women in Blues Tribute

12:30-2:00am DJ Kenneth Shipp

2:00-3:00am Live Music: Dan Nash

3:00-4:15am DJ Kenneth Shipp

4:15am We aren’t done yet, see you in the ‘morrow to dance ‘till we drop!


7:15pm Doors Open

8:00-8:50pm Beginner Lesson

8:00pm Solo Riffin' Competition Check-in

8:15pm Competition Meeting

8:30-9:00pm Solo Riffin' Competition Prelims

Main Social Dancing and Music Lovers

9:00-10:00pm Curtis Salgado & Alan Hagar

10:00-10:30pm Solo Riffin' Competition Finals

10:30-11:30pm Mary Flower and Friends

11:30pm Performances

11:45pm-12:30am Mary Flower and Friends

12:30-4am DJ Rachel Stirling

4:00am Thank you and goodnight!