September 27 - October 1, 2023

Do you love acoustic blues guitar? So do we. So much so we dedicate 5 days to bringing four of the best acoustic players and teachers here to Menucha for an extended weekend filled with all the blues goodness. And, this year, we're having 5 absolutely fantastic musicians as faculty!

Arriving Wednesday afternoon you'll be welcomed to our slice of Pacific Northwest heaven. Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be filled with classes, getting to know fellow players and take your playing to the next level in classes and jams. On Friday night you'll be treated to a public concert featuring the instructors. Saturday night you can show your skills during the student concert just for Blues participants. Sunday brings parting ways to return home filled with good friends, food and music. Don't miss it!

Come and immerse yourself in five days of instruction with four FIVE of the best acoustic blues musicians.

Faculty for 2023

  • Lea Gilmore
  • Guy Davis
  • Mamie Minch
  • Kristina Olsen
  • Mary Flower, artistic director

 

 

Registration will open January 30, 2023

Register

Guy Davis

Guy Davis is a two-time, back-to-back Grammy nominee for Best Traditional Blues, a musician, Actor, Author, and Songwriter. Guy uses a blend of Roots, Blues, Folk, Rock, Rap, Spoken Word, and World Music to comment on, and address the frustrations of social injustice, touching on historical events, and common life struggles. His background in theater is pronounced through the lyrical storytelling of songs “God’s Gonna Make Things Over” about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, “Welcome to My World”, and “Got Your Letter In My Pocket”. His storytelling is sometimes painful, deep, and real, an earthy contrast to modern-day commercial music, meant to create thought, underlined by gentle tones from his guitar or banjo fingerpicking.

A self-taught “Renaissance Man”, he first heard the banjo at a summer camp run by John Seeger, the brother of the American Folk Musician, Pete Seeger, and soon after, asked his father for one.

His records, while terse and truthful, are softened by songs like “We All Need More Kindness In This World”, denoting lyrical inspiration from Pete Seeger’s “If I Had A Hammer”, then teased with lyrically strutting works nudged by Hip Hop and Honky Tonk, like “Kokomo Kidd”. The contrast between pieces provides a robust, balanced experience, while giving Guy and his audience a healthy outlet for frustration through song and dance.

When asked about his experience as a performer, Guy has replied, “There is no tale so tall that I cannot tell it, nor song so sweet that I cannot sing it.”

Learn more about Guy...

Lea Gilmore

One of the world's most respected inspirational vocalists, social justice and human rights advocates, song leader, and writer… Lea Gilmore has been said to command a "rich and passionate voice in all ways . . . a gift from her soul to our ears and our heart." The jazz, blues, folk and gospel vocalist has lent her voice, literally and figuratively, to advocacy for the under-served around the globe and in her own backyard.

Named by Essence Magazine as one of "25 Women Shaping the World," Lea is a past winner of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive" award (the “Grammies of the Blues”) for her historical work on womens’ contributions to the Blues. Lea is the recipient of the 2016 Golden Formstone Award from Baltimore's Creative Alliance for her efforts with community arts and commitment to social justice. She was also recently hailed by the Jazz Journalists Association as the 2018 Baltimore Jazz Hero for her work in music and social justice.

She has received other recognitions for her dedication to equality and justice, including being named one of the first recipients of the James Baldwin Medal for Civil Rights for her work championing LGBTQ equality. In addition: Lea served four terms on the Maryland Advisory Board for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has worked diligently for reproductive justice for Native American women (indeed, all women), and is a staunch and vocal supporter for justice for all. Lea co-authored and coordinated the publication “Reproductive Justice in Communities of Color” for the National Abortion Federation. She has served as the Deputy Director of the ACLU of Maryland; Policy Director and Director of Community Outreach for Equality Maryland, where she directed the Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA) and Pride in Faith. She directed and managed the African-American Philanthropy Initiative while Program Director for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG)

Lea is known for her bright smile, quick wit, tenacity and infectious sense of humor as well as her exquisite voice. Those qualities are much admired, as is life-long commitment to equality, justice and freedom for all.

Mamie Minch

Mamie’s honest, deep singing voice and old school guitar walloping become a vessel for her toughness and pathos as she delivers timeless performances that can rile, groove, sooth, and understand. If you’ve been lucky enough to see Mamie perform in New York City or somewhere else in the wide world, then you know: there are some things a person is simply meant to do.

These days, you can catch Mamie in her duo with Dean Sharenow (Kill Henry Sugar, Joan Baez) at their residency at Barbes, Brooklyn’s best small club, or solo at Jalopy, NYC’s mainstay of Americana music.  Mamie began playing guitar as a teenager in her bedroom listening to reissues of class country blues on repeate. Her job at a local record store gave her first dibs on releases from labels like Yazoo and Document. She would hurry home and try her hand at picking out the songs of legends like Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith. She loved the steady thumb and percussive right hand of these blues players, but she also devoured lots of different styles of music, from soul to psychobilly and old time to punk rock.

After graduating from art school in non-traditional printmaking techniques, Mamie came to New York City where she fell in with a crowd of 78 record collectors, some of whom had contributed rare recordings to the same reissue labels she loved.  It was a mind-expanding time for her and she connected with a crowd who were interested in early American music.  Soon, she was playing around the city in small clubs with her first band, Delta Dreambox. She met Meg Reichardt (Les Chauds Lapins, Low Down Payment), another guitarist and singer who could sound like she’d jumped off of an Edison wax cylinder, and they founded the four-piece, all-woman harmony group the Roulette Sisters, who played together for a decade and recorded two full-length albums.

When she’s not making music, Mamie spends her days as a guitar repair luthier at Brooklyn Lutherie, the shop she and her business partner, Chloe Swantner, opened in 2014. It remains one of the few women-owned and -operated shops around.  She also teaches, writes articles about luthiery and guitar playing for She Shreds and Acoustic Guitar magazines, and runs the annual Ukulele Building Camp for Girls in Brooklyn, NY.

Learn more about Mamie...

 

Kristina Olsen

Kristina Olsen, California USA.  A superb multi-instrumentalist as well as an award-winning songwriter with a big bluesy voice, Kristina has audiences around the world coming back for more.  Her mix of powerful songs ranging from sassy bottleneck blues to lilting ballads to swing jazz to raunch and roll (as well as her hilarious storytelling) makes for a diverse and satisfying musical experience, on stage and on disc.  In 2016 she released her 15th recording, Sweet Stillness.  Her songs have been recorded by Eric Bibb, Fairport Convention, Mary Coughlan, Maddy Prior and Mollie O’Brien among others.  She has been a session player for Michelle Shocked, Rikki Lee Jones and Mary Coughlan. With a Bachelor’s of Music from Berklee College of Music in guitar and interdisciplinary studies, she loves teaching at music camps and is passionate about unlocking the mysteries of music with her students. Kristina also has released an enhanced ebook with 20 imbedded songs which is also available as an audio book called “They Paid Us In Tub Time”

Learn more about Kristina...

Mary Flower

Mary Flower’s immense fingerstyle guitar and lap-slide prowess is soulful and meter-perfect, a deft blend of the inventive, the dexterous and the mesmerizing. Her supple honey-and-whiskey voice provides the perfect melodic accompaniment to each song’s story.

An internationally known and award-winning picker, singer/songwriter and teacher, the Midwest native relocated from Denver to the vibrant Portland, Oregon music scene in in 2004. She continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals, teaching seminars and concert stages domestically and abroad, including Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, Prairie Home Companion and the Vancouver Folk Festival, among many.

A finalist in 2000 and 2002 at the National Finger Picking Guitar Championship, a nominee in 2008, 2012 and 2016 for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award, and many times a Cascade Blues Assn. Muddy Award winner, Flower embodies a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic-blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz.

Flower’s 11 recordings, including her four for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records — Bywater Dance, Instrumental Breakdown, Bridges and Misery Loves Company — show a deep command of and love for folk and blues string music. For Flower, it’s never about re-creation. Her dedication to the art form is a vital contribution to America’s music.

"Flower is a renowned guitar instructor, teaching at music camps and festivals, offering lessons via Skype, and frequently crafting articles and tips as a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar. But she cannot be narrowly defined. Livin’ with the Blues Again showcases her talents as a complete artist, deeply versed in an array of vernacular styles for which she demonstrates an abiding love that underlies her quietly jaw-dropping technique. She may not sing with the soulful grit and urgency of Rory Block, Maria Muldaur, or Bonnie Raitt, but her stylistic range is broader, approaching that of David Bromberg or Ry Cooder. What fun for those who don’t know her music to discover her here."  —Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Learn more about Mary...

Example Schedule

What does the Blues in the Gorge? schedule look like?

Here's what the days looked like in 2022. We'll post the 2023 schedule closer to time.

Wednesday, October 5

 3:00 pm Arrival & Check-in
4:30 pm Welcome & Orientation
6:00 pm Dinner
7:15 pm Meet the instructors, Info about classes
10:00 pm Quiet time (but you can stay up in the designated places to jam!)

Thursday, October 6

8:00 am Breakfast
9:15 am Class 1 Eric Lugosch

Beginner Fingerstyle 1

(Level 1-2)

Mamie Minch

Hill Country Blues 1

(Level 2-3)

10:45 am Class 2 Hubby Jenkins

Bahamian Guitar Player Joseph Spence

(Level 2-3)

Mary Flower

Singing Blues Harmony

(all levels)

12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Class 3 Eric Lugosch

Beginner Fingerstyle 1

(Level 1-2)

Mamie Minch

Intro to Alternating Bass

(Level 1)

3:00 pm Class 4 Hubby Jenkins

Blind Willie Johnson

(Level 2-3)

Mary Flower

Blues and Improv in Open D Tuning

(Level 2-3)

4:30-5:15 pm Slow Jam with Mary & Hubby
4:30-5:15 Fast Jam with Mamie & Eric
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Playing Well Together - presentation by  staff
10:00 pm Quiet time (but you can stay up in the designated places to jam!)

Friday, October 7

8:00 am Breakfast
9:15 am Class 1
Mary Flower
Blues Basics
(Level 1)
Eric Lugosch
Harlem Street Singer 2
(Level 2-3)
10:45 am Class 2
Hubby Jenkins
Fingerpicking the Blues
(Level 1)
Mamie Minch
Hill Country Blues 2
(Level 2-3)
12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Class 3
Mary Flower
Other Keys While in Dropped D Tuning
(Level 2-3)
Mamie Minch
Guitar and Voice Synchronized
(all levels)
3:00 pm Class 4
Eric Lugosch
Beginner Fingerstyle 2
(Level 1-2)
Hubby Jenkins
Bahamian Guitar Player, Joseph Spence, part 2
(Level 2-3)
5:30 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Acoustic Blues Masters Concert at the Corbett Grange Hall
10:00 pm Quiet time (but you can stay up in the designated places to jam!)

Saturday, October 8

8:00 am Breakfast
9:15 am Class 1
Hubby Jenkins
Fingerpicking on the Banjo
(Level 1-2)
Mamie Minch
Hill Country Blues 2
(Level 2-3)
10:45 am Class 2
Eric Lugosch
Fingerstyle Guitar: Next Level 1
(Level 2-3)
Mary Flower
Learn John Cephas' "Blue Day Blues"
(Level 3)
12:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Class 3
Mary Flower
Lap Slide Basics
(All Levels)
Hubby Jenkins
Spirituals and Gospel for Guitar
(Level 2-3)
3:00 pm Class 4
Mamie Minch
Guitars 101
(All Levels)
Eric Lugosch
Fingerstyle Guitar: Next Level 2
(Level 2-3)
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Student Concert
10:00 pm Quiet time (but you can stay up in the designated places to jam!)

Sunday, October 9

8:00 am Breakfast
9:15 am Pack up, early jam or sleep in
10:15 am All-Camp Gospel Jubilee (includes the raffle drawing)
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Depart for home

A Few Memories of Past Blues in the Gorge Camps

2021

Raffle guitar giveaway story 2021 (click to read)

2020 (our online camp)

Watch the 2020 Concert

Instructor concert featured Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Jim Kweskin, Kristina Olsen and Mary Flower

Link to the 2020 video archive page