Blues in the Gorge

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Blues in the Gorge

with Mary Flower, Pat Donohue, Eleanor Ellis, Scott Ainslie, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

Co-Sponsored by the Cascade Blues Association

Waiting List Form

September 30 – October 4, 2015

The rest of this site is under construction as we receive all our details for the event.  Thank you for your patience.

We listened to your evaluations and have made some changes to this year’s event.  We added a day of camp and another instructor to the faculty line-up.  Thank you for your valuable feedback!  Here are just a few points about why YOU should come to Blues in the Gorge:

  • Watch, listen and learn up close from a few of the best musicians around while and meeting fellow blues music enthusiasts for four days/three nights.
  • Enjoy exploring Menucha’s historic buildings and grounds (including the Prohibition-era speakeasy – now our espresso bar), our excellent homemade meals and our amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge.
  • Plenty of instructor attention for everyone. Space is limited to 54 participants to ensure highest quality instruction!

What to BringCreevey Meeting

Capo, extra strings, audio and/or visual recorders, picks, bottleneck, folding music stand optional, guitar tuner, sense of humor!

Overnight: Guests will stay in the Creevey Complex (Semi-private Lodging, bathrooms in your room) or, for a reduced rate, Ballard Hall (Community Lodging = bunk style lower bunks only, some rooms have bathroom down the hall).  Workshops will be held in both buildings, all-camp gatherings will be held in Creevey Commons.

Menucha provides towels, pillows, blankets, sheets, bar soap and earplugs.  To see a suggested list for overnight items click here.

More Specific Information 

Click any link below for specific details about this year’s Blues in the Gorge weekend.

Class Descriptions

Weekend Schedule (Under construction)

2015 Faculty Bios


MARY FLOWER, Artistic Director and Instructor

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, guitarist and lap slide player Mary Flower is renowned for her uniquely personal vision of roots music that blends ragtime, acoustic blues and folk – technically dazzling yet grounded in the down-to-earth simplicity of early 20th century American music.

With nine albums to her name, this Yellow Dog Records recording artist has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike for her instrumental skill – a mastery of the Piedmont blues style that takes most players a lifetime to hone – for which Flower is most celebrated.

Her performances around the world include Merlefest, Prairie Home Companion and the Winnipeg Folk Festival to name a few. A seasoned teacher, Mary has been on staff at many guitar workshops including Fur Peace Ranch, Centrum Blues Festival, Swannanoa and the Augusta Heritage Center.

2008 and 2012 Blues Music Award Nominee
2000 and 2002 Finalist at National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship
2011 and 2014  Muddy Awards Recipient from Cascade Blues Assn.
“A world class fingerstyle guitarist and lap slide player.”
– Downbeat Magazine
“There are few musicians in the genre bringing as much creative spark and low-key mojo to this century-old music…”
– Acoustic Guitar Magazine
“Marries acoustic blues with touches of ragtime, folk, and jazz… the interplay is always interesting, often provocative, and sometimes breathtaking.”- Living Blues

Video of Mary Flowers playing “Dreaming of Your Demise”

PatDonohuePAT DONOHUE, Instructor

Grammy-winner Patrick Donohue,  a National Fingerpicking Guitar Champion from St. Paul, Minnesota, Donohue’s devotion to acoustic guitar has made him an American standard, as he echoes the tones of Robert Johnson, Charlie Parker, Merle Travis or Muddy Waters. A versatile guitarist’s guitarist, Pat enjoys entertaining fans with intricate fingerpicking, easy wit, and nimble interpretations of old blues, swing, R&B and original tunes.

A songwriter as well as player, Donohue’s songs have been covered by Kenny Rogers, Suzy Bogguss, Chet Atkins and others.

“Pat Donohue is one of the greatest finger pickers in the world today.” – Chet Atkins
“If it were it easy, every fingerstyle guitarist would play as well as Pat Donohue. A Midwesterner with the rhythm of a drummer and the soul of a New Orleans saxophonist, Donohue has the fingers of the world’s finest guitarists.” Dirty Linen

Video of Pat Donohue playing “Spike Driver’s Blues”

Eleanore Ellis

Eleanor Ellis has developed a distinctive and
personal approach to the music, and has played
at festivals and clubs throughout the United States,
in Canada and in Europe. According to one
reviewer, “More than copying one artist or
another, Ellis distills the elements of the originals
and transmits them, intact, in her own expressive
way.” She credits her musical reach to such greats
as Memphis Minnie, Skip James and other early
recording artists, as well as to the influence of the
blues players she has personally known.

Scott_Ainslie_GibsonL-50From 1986 until 2001, Scott served as a Visiting Artist in artist-in-residency programs throughout North Carolina and Virginia. Based at community colleges and serving local communities, he developed a strong educational component to his performances, seeking out the history and background of the music in order to make it moving and interesting to audiences of varying ages and backgrounds.

Offering workshops, short residencies and teaching concerts continues to be a strong interest as Scott introduces audiences to the rich cultural background and the roots of contemporary and traditional American music.

Performing on guitars, a one-stringed diddley bow (of African derivation) and recently, the gourd banjo and Southern old-time fiddling, Scott brings nearly four decades of experience with traditional music and musicians to his audiences.

Jerron PaxtonHis name is Jerron  (say Jer-Ron, giving it two distinct Rs) Paxton, but apparently you can call him “Blind Boy” if you want to.

Jerron Paxton is truly the living embodiment of the true blues in the 21St Century, but he plays it all in the true songster tradition: ragtime, hokum, old-time, French reels, Appalachian mountain music and blues and more – and whatever he plays sounds great .

The young bard was born in 1989, but his vast talent rivals the greatest in the genre. He is the whole package. He’s witty, fast rhyming, poetic, fun, exciting, wonderfully skilled as a musician and a fine singer, he is the continuation of a proud tradition, literally and figuratively. It’s hard to tell at times when Jerron Paxton, a consummate entertainer,  is putting on an act, when he takes his act to real life and when life starts and the act ends.

Blues in the Gorge Facebook Page:

Cost varies according to type of lodging chosen

Community Lodging -
Share with 3-4 roommates in bunk style rooms (lower bunks only) Some rooms have your bathroom in the room, two have the bathroom in the hall.
Program fee $395+
Meals $174+
Housing 197= $766
4 nights +
12 meals
Semi- private Lodging -
Share with 2 roommates or a spouse/partner (non-bunk rooms, bathroom in room)
Program fee $395+
Meals $174+
Housing 197= $866
4 nights +
12 meals
Commuter Program fee $395+
Meals $126+
Facility use fee $125
($25/day for 5 days) = $646
4 lunches +
4 dinners
Option to bring a
non-participating spouse;
Stay in semi-private housing
Add Meals $174+
Housing (SP) $297 = $471
4 nights +
12 meals
Cancellation Policy: If 90+ days out, canceling a registration results in a full refund minus a $50 handling fee. If 46-90 days out, 65% refund. If 30-45 days out, 50% refund. If fewer than 30 days out, there is no refund available.

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