Blues in the Gorge logo

September 28 – October 2, 2018

Co-Sponsored by Cascade Blues Association

Camp is full!

Join the Waiting List!

Looking for Blues Masters Concert tickets for Sunday, September 30th?

You’ll have to come and see if we have any left, we’re almost sold out!


Immerse yourself in a long weekend of classes and jams with four world class players/teachers. During your stay, take up to 12 classes, enjoy exceptional meals, and in your free time explore the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. We limit enrollment in order to keep Blues in the Gorge an intimate and unforgettable experience.

Artistic Director and instructor MARY FLOWER is renowned for her personal vision of roots music that blends ragtime, acoustic blues and folk. She is technically dazzling yet grounded in the simplicity of early 20th century American music; her instrumental skill with the Piedmont blues guitar is at a level of mastery that takes most players a lifetime to hone.

Mary is joined by 2018 Instructors: DUKE ROBILLARD    PAT DONOHUE    MICHAEL JEROME BROWNE

All levels of players are welcome and there will be jumpstart classes available each day for people who are just getting started with the blues.  To get the most out of Blues in the Gorge, participants should know all first position chords (majors, minors and sevenths) and have some finger picking experience.

Visit and “Like” the Blues in the Gorge Facebook Page




Camp is full!


Join the Waiting List!


Community Lodging: 3/room, bathroom in hall or room Program Fee $278 + Meals $190 + Lodging $307 = $775 4 Nights + 12 Meals
Semi-Private Lodging: 2/room, bathroom in room Program Fee $278 + Meals $190 + Lodging $407 = $875 4 Nights + 12 Meals
(SOLD OUT) Private Lodging:  1/room, bathroom in room, bath in hall or room Program Fee $278 + Meals $190 + Lodging $507 = $975 4 Nights + 12 Meals
Commuter: no lodging; lunches & dinners only Program Fee $278 + Meals $136  +  Facility Fee $150 = $564 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Non-participating Spouse/Partner (semi-private housing, all meals)  Meals $190 + Lodging $407 = $597 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.

Payment Plan Option:

You may choose to divide the cost across several months, depending upon how far in advance you are registering. Options will automatically appear in the online registration process. The cost is only $5 per month.

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard

Putting Renewed emphasis on the Blues
Whether it’s a song, a style, an idiom or an image, Duke Robillard will render it with mastery, power, nuance and an unerring grasp of its essence.

Born Michael John Robillard on October 4, 1948, in Woonsocket, R.I., Duke has carved out one of blues’ most illustrious legacies, while also trodding some lofty related territories as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, studio sideman, producer, label operator and educator.

After showing an early affinity for music and guitar, he founded Roomful Of Blues with pianist Al Copley in Westerly, R.I., in 1967. By adding horns, Roomful announced itself emphatically as the prototypical jump blues band, and became a New England legend and a fixture beyond, as did Duke himself.

His unsurpassed mastery of the guitar style of T-Bone Walker (later crystallized memorably in his 2004 release “Blue Mood”) was deservedly heralded, but his breadth was also head-turning – from swing, standards and ballads to rockers, gutbucket Chicago blues and rockabilly.

By the time Duke left Roomful after a dozen years, he was firmly established in the upper echelon of contemporary blues guitarists. Duke went from Roomful to a stint with rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon and then to the first iteration of the Legendary Blues Band, composed primarily of then-recent Muddy Waters sidemen.

Pat Donohue


Pat Donohue

Grammy winning fingerpicker Pat Donohue’s devotion to acoustic guitar has made him an American standard, as he echoes the tones of Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, 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.

For over twenty years Pat was the lead guitar player and songwriter for the “Guy’s All Star Shoe Band” on the NPR favorite A Prairie Home Companion. Pat is now touring the US playing a variety of venues including Performance Halls, Coffeehouse series and in blues, folk and eclectic listening rooms. Pat also conducts guitar workshops and teaches at prestigious guitar camps across the country.

Pat recently released his new recording, “Blue Yonder.” He is accompanied on some cuts by members of the “Prairie All Stars” who were also members of the “Guy’s All Star Shoe Band”. There are also solo tracks on the CD, clever new original songs as well three new instrumental numbers.

Michael Jerome Browne

Michael Jerome Browne

Three-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Traditional Singer, 2015; Solo Artist, 2012 & 2008), Maple Blues Award Winner (with 30 nominations since 1999), Kerrville (Texas) New Folk Finalist, Four-time Juno Award Nominee in both the Roots/Traditional and Blues categories- MJB is a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter, and a living encyclopedia of American Roots music.

Whether he’s gliding a slide across his national guitar, pulling his bow over the fiddle strings to play a lively Cajun waltz, or frailing away on his gourd banjo, Michael’s passion and virtuosity always shine through. In the true tradition of folk music, his performances inspire us to see the interconnections between the many cultures and influences that gave birth to American Roots Music. Gospel, Blues, Old-Time, Country, Soul and Cajun, expect to hear all of this and more from a performer who’s been called a street-smart archivist and an absolute treasure.

Born in South Bend, Indiana, Michael is the son of English professors whose love of music and poetry inspired them to take their nine year old son to the great jazz, blues and folk clubs in their adopted home of Montreal. By the age of fourteen, MJB was already a regular on the vibrant folk and coffee house scene adding banjo, fiddle, and mandolin to his masterful command of all variety of guitars and harmonica.

A musician’s musician, when he isn’t performing his own material he is in demand backing up and recording with artists such as: Eric Bibb, Jordan Officer, and Susie Arioli.


Mary Flower

Mary Flower



Mary Flower’s immense finger picking 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, that include 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.



2018 Schedule

Note: Workshops for beginning/entry level players are in italics with music notes beside them.












Duke Robillard

Playing an 8 Bar Blues Form.

In this class we will pick a classic 8 bar blues or two and learn how it works. Some 8 bar blues consist of two 8 bar sections making them 16 measures. The 8 and 16 bar blues form are some of the earliest blues forms and they are related to the 32 measure popular song form of old. We will discuss it’s relationship to the 32 bar song form of popular early blues and vaudeville related blues.

We will learn various chord combinations where the 4 chord uses a dominant chord, a minor chord or a diminished chord to return to the root. We will learn multiple turnarounds and substitutions and how various 8 bar (or 16 bar) blues differ. We’ll learn to play these progressions in a folk style and chords in a swing band style also.

Melody for Instrumental Versions of Blues Classics

In this class we will learn how to play the melody for use in instrumental versions of 8 bar blues classics. We will learn how to fill sympathetic lines around a vocal and learn to solo on this form as it pertains to 2 different songs. Chord fills, double stops, chord fragment melodies will also be added in to the mix so you should have a full understanding of this form at the completion of my class.


Pat Donohue

Building a Blues From The Ground Up (intermediate)
Starting with a simple three chord, twelve bar blues progression we will gradually add passing chords, substitute chords, bass lines, runs and more to create a sophisticated blues with lots of musical devises which can be used in many tunes. We will look at common chord combinations, turnarounds and chord scales in the context of deconstructing and reconstructing the twelve bar blues.

Taking a Blues Guitar Solo (intermediate)
Everyone looks your way and it’s time for you to take your solo. What to do? In this class we will look at the positions, licks, bends and melodies that can be used to create a compelling blues solo in any key. Single note, double stop and even some chord soloing techniques usable for both acoustic and electric blues will be covered, along with the study of many stylistic elements of the great blues guitarists to guide you to play your own blues solos.

Michael Jerome Browne

Open tunings for beginner blues guitarists (1 class)

Open tunings can be a great tool for learning right hand picking techniques because you don’t have to think about your left hand as much. They can open up whole new worlds, and you don’t have to use them for slide. We will work on some Mississippi Hill Country grooves as well as some Mississippi/Chicago shuffles. We will explore the similarities between open G (DGDGBD) and open D (DADF#AD). Groove is the most important thing!

Mississippi Blues (2 classes- intermediate)

We will look into Delta, Hill Country and Central Mississippi styles. In Mississippi the two main tunings are Open G and Standard. In Open G we will focus on: Charlie Patton, R.L. Burnside, John Lee Hooker, Memphis Minnie; in Standard: Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Tommy McClennan, Robert Johnson. We will work on alternating bass as well as single note bass techniques. Get that thumb going!

Bottleneck Slide Guitar (2 classes- intermediate, slide beginners welcome)

We will start by learning how to hold the slide, then getting a good sound on one string. Then we will add a second string, and get the thumb going on the bass. The first class will focus on Open D (AKA Vastopol tuning): Fred McDowell, Blind Willie Johnson, Tampa Red, Elmore James; the second class will focus on Open G (AKA Spanish tuning): Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters. Make it sing!

Open D minor- Skip James to Albert Collins (1 class- intermediate)

Open D minor (AKA Cross-Note tuning- DADFAD) is more widespread than one might think. It combines the open bass strings of Vastopol tuning with the treble fingering of standard tuning, key of E. I find it very useful when I’m in Open D- by changing one string, I can get a very different sound than can be quite ancient (Skip James, Rosa Lee Hill, Henry Townsend, Arthur Crudup), or quite modern (Albert Collins). Find new sounds!

Mary Flower

Start Up: How To Jam (one class, first period, first day)
Class will follow the jam etiquette “bible” and discuss what happens when songs are passed around, solos are called and you perhaps don’t know the song!  Be prepared by knowing all your first position chords (majors, minors and 7ths) and understand the basic 3 chords that make up each key (keys of A, C, D, E and G).

Open Tuning Blues (will be offered twice)

Mary will bring a few tunes to this class to demonstrate the primitive yet brilliant nature of open tuning.  Blind Blake, Bo Carter and Skip James (to name a few) all slacked their strings for their unique sounds.

Class will explore how to listen, improvise, and find melodies and chords in a few tunings.

Lap-Style Slide Guitar (will be offered once)

Bring your dobro-like instruments, action raised for lap style playing, as well as some form of steel bar (not a bottleneck slide). We will look at some basic fundamentals for playing both as a back up player and as a solo player. Class will focus on D tuning and will learn how to get around the neck in a cohesive fashion.

Blues in Six Keys (will be offered twice)

Class will explore patterns, turnarounds, and certain reliable sounds we  expect in certain keys. What blues styles work best in which keys? Why did John Hurt spend so much time in G and C when Lightnin’ Hopkins got his signature sound from the key of E. Class will also take on the dreaded key of F.