4 Great Bands

Handpicked From The Pacific Northwest

Mark Riley

Based out of the Pacific Northwest, Mark Riley has won fans and friends across the country with his award winning skill and warm demeanor. While able to hold his own on the stage, Mark is happiest when sharing it with other players. Mark Riley has shared the stage and studio with dozens of artists in the span of his career including: The Mark Riley Trio , Little Bill and the Blue Notes , Merilee Rush Sam Andrew , The Mark Whitman Band , Chris Leighton , Paul Green , Ron Holden , Kathi McDonald , Patti Allen  and Nancy Claire.

Washington Blues Society Awards:

Lifetime Achievement Award, Blue To The Bone, Blues Hall of Fame, Best Blues Slide Guitar: 2014, Best Blues Slide Guitar, Best Acoustic Blues Guitar, Best Electric Blues Guitar: 2013, Best Acoustic Blues Guitar: 2012, Best Blues Slide Guitar: 2011 and many more.

Chris Stevens Band with Jay Mabin

Seattle guitarist and singer Chris Stevens has long been a favorite of Northwest blues fans. Preferring to deliver his electric blues lines with the rich tones of a big Gibson archtop guitar, Chris combines scorching blues feeling with dazzling chops and constantly surprising musical ideas at every show. Fans and fellow musicians have likened his talents to those of B.B. King, T-Bone Walker and Duke Robillard.

Chris Stevens Band keeps a firm footing in the blues while stretching the boundaries with ultra cool spy themes, reverb drenched surf guitar classics and Chris’ own “blues on the edge of jazz” originals, creating an inventive and entertaining style that cuts across genres.

Jay Mabin is a familiar name to Northwest audiences. For 25 years Jay has been a mainstay on the jazz blues scene having performed with Bo Diddley, Bud Shank, Eddie Shaw, Fenton Robinson and Carter Jefferson among many others.
Born in Chicago in 1955, his musical influences began at an early age when he was exposed to a wide variety of jazz and blues both at home and at numerous coffee houses and concert stages in the Northwest. When Jay was 14 years old he had the opportunity to perform with the legendary blues duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. Terry became his mentor and showed him the basics of the blues. Jay also studied with jazz greats Toots Thielemans and Howard Levy whose revolutionary systems of harmonics for the harmonica has given Jay the tools to create one of the truly original voices in jazz harmonica.

Stickshift Annie with Kimball and the Fugitives

Stickshift Annie with Kimball and the Fugitives features the flying fingers of Kimball Conant on lead guitar and vocals, Larry Hill on bass, John Rockwell on drums, Brian Kent on sax and the sultry vocals of Annie Eastwood. The band performs every style from Freddie King shuffles, smoldering grinders and Texas 2-beat blues, to swing, rock & roll, and R&B tunes. Kimball performs on his vintage 1962 Gretsch electric guitar in a distinctive Chet Atkins finger style, and easily shifts to a deep down Johnny Winter style acoustic slide for burning blues. Originally from the Midwest, Annie settled in Seattle more than 35 years ago and has been singing blues and ballads ever since her coffee house days in the late 1970’s.  She has been playing venues around the Northwest since 1996 and has opened for national acts such as Tommy Castro, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Linda Hornbuckle, Lady Bianca, the Dusty 45’s and Sonny Landreth. Annie’s vocals combine the elements of blues and jazz with a unique sensitive tone that she can shape to rock the house. Annie Eastwood’s 2001 debut recording Out of Her Mind was nominated in 2002 for Best Northwest Recording. Stickshift Annie has shared the stage with Kimball Conant and the Fugitives for over a decade and the band’s late 2016 CD Psychogeography was nominated in 2017 for Best Northwest Recording by the Washington Blues Society.

The World Famous FWS Big Band

FWS Big Band playing blues and jump swing classics, featuring the vocalist Maggie Laird.

Maggie Laird grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1980. Her initial professional life was in the theatre, acting in companies in Chicago, North Carolina, and Seattle.

Having played piano since age 4, she was always driven to perform in a band. Her first group was Blackwood/Laird, whose infectious originals hit the ’80’s Seattle scene and were played constantly on KJET Radio.

Laird blends her musical and theatrical skills in original performance works (Please Pardon My Mush, Cleo’s Café, One Day I Woke Up, Life After Paradise, All Work All Play) which have been produced at Seattle Fringe Theater Festivals, On the Boards, the Bathhouse Theatre, ArtsEdge, Vashon Allied Arts New Works series and other Seattle venues.

Her lifelong love of the American songbook finds an outlet with Island Jazz Quintet, and the Portage Fill-Harmonic Big Band. Laird appears in the Pacific Northwest as a solo pianist, and in various combos singing her award-winning originals, jazz standards, and an array of songs from Duke Ellington to Lou Reed. She performed at the Full House Cabaret Series in Philadelphia for two years and there debuted her traveling show of Kurt Weill music, We Must Have Whiskey, Oh You Know Why. June 2015 saw a trip to Nashville to record her first solo EP, One More Manhattan, set for release later this year.

Maggie has taught piano and voice in her home studio on Vashon Island since 1995, and in Seattle since 2011. She has served as Music Director for over a dozen theatrical productions and teaches audition workshops.