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Karen Lovely at Alex's

In the absence of her bandmates over the holiday weekend, Karen Lovely pulled together a group of well-known, regional bluesmen for a show at Alex's Plaza Restaurant.

"Every now and then serendipity happens, and I get to work with people like these guys," she says.

On the Northwest All-Stars roster are guitarist Michael Quinby (The Roseland Hunters), keyboardist and harmonica player Hank Shreve (the Hank Shreve Band), bassist John Mazzocco (the Curtis Salgado Band) and drummer Dave Melyan (The Insomniacs).

"I've been lucky to work with them off and on at different benefits, jams and events around Portland," Lovely says.

"I have so much admiration and respect for them all, especially Michael Quinby, who just started a band and has already has won seven Otis Awards, including Best New Act. He's a great guitarist, and I'm excited to join forces."

Lovely and the All-Stars will play contemporary blues, funk and R&B, as well as some holiday songs, at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Alex's, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. The cover is $5. The program will include originals by Lovely, Shreve and Quinby, and blues standards.

"There's something about the alchemy when you mix certain musicians together, and you don't know what you're going to get, but you know it'll be great," Lovely says.

The blues vocalist also is applying this concept to her third studio album, "10 Miles of Bad Road," due out in March. The forthcoming album, co-produced by Portland blues harpist Curtis Salgado and Grammy-winning producer Tony Braunagel, will feature an upbeat mix of contemporary blues originals by Lovely, along with Michael Vannice, Salgado, A.J. Croce, Gary Nicholson, Gary Mallaber and other songwriters.

Lovely's last album, "Still the Rain," was nominated for three Blues Music Awards — Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist, Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Song ("Still the Rain").

"So the standard is pretty high," she says.

After the holidays, Lovely will begin recording in studios in Portland and Los Angeles and preparing for national and international tours in 2014.

Karen Lovely - Photo courtesy of Dragan Tasic