Article from The Oregonian
Feature: New Players In Portland
There are those of us in these post-Waterfront Blues Festival days who savor the lingering flavor of yet another successful run.
Where but Portland – with its reputation for tolerance, fertile ideas, and the hippy ideals of good karma, positivity and playful weirdness — can you so successfully combine the ingredients of American roots music with a humongous community rally to fight hunger?
The fest is a bellwether. Partly because of our egalitarian lawn party there are some new faces in town, lured by the peerless livability and spirit the fest suggests, and everything else that keeps Portland on that fuzzy edge of modern hipness.
Though not necessarily well-known by Michael Jackson or Madonna standards, these are musicians of some repute who now call Portland home. Each has his or own reasons for resettling within, in bluesman Robert Cray’s words, “God’s own time zone.”
For the itinerant Original Snakeboy, the decision was easy.
“It feels like home when you get here.”
A Southern gentleman and Delta-style guitarist (who dodges the origins of his nickname), he arrived on the scene last year and quickly wove himself into the music community fabric. Though he visited Portland 25 years ago, and got wind of local bluesman Lloyd Jones and Paul deLay, he headed elsewhere as peripatetic musicians do.
He landed in Austin, Texas, where he was befriended by a then-unknown guitar slinger named Stevie Ray Vaughan. Snakeboy fell in with some of the city’s hottest electric bands, but as the scene morphed into high-tech industries and real estate scams, he bolted.
“I’m not a big city guy,” says the award-winning guitarist and recording artist in an easy Southern drawl. “Portland is a surprising city for as big as it is. There’s diversity, an attitude that’s reflected in the city’s neighborhoods, like Hawthorne Boulevard. It’s real appealing. The city has a character all its own. It’s way more European than any other North American city. There’s a kinship of community, a sort of shared humanity. It’s always inspirational.”