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Plaisance Ranch: Da Blues is back after five-year absence

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Portland's Ben Rice and his trio will perform at the Summer Blues Revue in Williams Valley on May 14, back after a five-year absence. Courtesy photo
David Pinsky, left, and Phil Newton will be the opening act at the Summer Blues Revue. The two have been performing as an acoustic duo as of late. Courtesy photo
Lisa Mann and her band from Portland will be featured at the Summer Blues Revue at Plaisance Ranch in Williams Valley. May 14 She's known for her sultry vocals and solid bass guitar playing. Courtesy photo

After a five-year absence, the Summer Blues Revue is back and will be held Saturday, May 14, in a new venue at Plaisance Ranch, 16955 Water Gap Road in Williams.

The concert is sponsored by Rogue Blues Society and will feature David Pinsky & Phil Newton, the Ben Rice Trio, and the Lisa Mann Band.

The gate opens at 4 p.m. with the show running from 5 to 9 p.m.

Tickets are $30 at the gate, $25 pre-sale, with discounted tickets available for Blues Society members. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at www.rogueblues.org.

“Plaisance Ranch is a great venue,” said Linda Huffman, Rogue Blues Society president. “The large performance area is covered, protected from excess sun or rain, and has good acoustics.”

A working ranch since 1858, Plaisance Ranch is run by third-generation wine grape growers Joe and Suzi Ginet. It’s located in the heart of the Williams Valley in the shadow of Greyback Mountain.

Food will be available from a caterer, along with award-winning wines and other beverages.

“We’re excited to bring back a live venue and hold the event closer to mid-way between Medford and Grants Pass,” Huffman said.

Pinsky and Newton will be the opening act. They are well-known in the Rogue Valley and are part of the founding board of the original Ashland Blues Society.

“They’ve been a major part of the Southern Oregon blues scene for more than 30 years,” Huffman said, “and are joining forces as an acoustic duo for the show.”

Longtime friends, the two began playing local venues together recently.

“David’s propulsive guitar and Phil’s harmonica chops provide a steady groove, reminiscent of the 1960s Chicago-style duets,” she said.

Rice, second on the program, is from Portland. He has been winning awards for his vocals and guitar playing the last seven years.

“On his second consecutive trip to the International Blues Challenge (in Memphis), he made the finals in the solo/duo category and was awarded the St. Blues Guitarist award for best guitarist,” Huffman said.

“His original music blends soul, delta blues, rockabilly, jazz and funk into a roots stew,” she said.

Mann will close the show with a set of mostly originals, along with some covers. Originally from West Virginia, she now resides in Portland.

“Her vocals straddle the line between the honey sweet warmth of the South and the force-of-nature sound she has cultivated from performing everything from hard rock to rhythm and blues,” Huffman said.

Mann is known for her considerable prowess on bass guitar.

“Her bass grooves deliver the solidness of a Muscle Shoals Swamper or a Funk Brother,” Huffman said.

While Mann leads her own powerhouse band, she also has performed with many Northwest artists, such as Lloyd Jones, Kevin Selfe, Karen Lovely, and Sonny “Smokin’” Hess.

“She also has appeared with national greats such as Sugaray Rayford, Johnny Rawls, and Annika Chambers,” Huffman added. “And she currently is the lead vocalist for Portland’s metal band, Splintered Throne.”

Plaisance Ranch is about 45 minutes from Medford. Go west on Highway 238, through and beyond Jacksonville, about 23 miles. Turn left at Water Gap Road and drive about 4.5 miles to the ranch, located on the left.