Blue Lightning
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Blue Lightning

Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Blue Lightning Chills!"

A fabulous amalgam of Zydeco percussion, Klezmer violin, powerful vocals, and a terrific trumpet solo, "Chill” will move you and get you moving! Great ensemble playing of a song that sounds like no other.... Blue Lightning crackles!

-Morry Feldman
Clear Channel Communications, and former music director at rock station WRKZ-FM 93.7 in Pittsburgh, PA

- Morry Feldman, Clear Channel Communications

"Who Knew This Was the Sound of Tualatin?"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I t's easy to dismiss the suburbs for their sameness of appearance. Even champions of suburban life admit that creating whole neighborhoods at once for families of similar incomes makes for something more like an even-textured salsa than a chunky salad.

But every once in a while, if you're lucky, you can find a gem glistening in the sand.

In Tualatin's upscale Victoria Woods neighborhood, which many pro athletes and business leaders call home, an emerging rock band has set up shop. And not just any rock band, either.

In barely more than a year, Blue Lightning has put out its first CD, "Maestro in the Jam."

Its first hit single, "Chill in the Air," is getting some radio airtime.

It has played at Tom McCall Waterfront Park during the Rose Festival.

And the band is booked for a full slate of performances, including the Aladdin Theater, which routinely stages national acts, and the Washington County Fair (2 p.m. Sundayon the Blues and Brews Stage).

"You have to have fun because life goes so fast," says Robert Richter, Blue Lightning's co-founder and publicist. "We just want to get better and better."

Unlike some bands, which are launched in a frenzy of alcohol or caffeine, Blue Lightning has hitched its fortunes to a business plan. It has established a music publishing company for its original works. It pays all the proper fees when it "covers" other musicians' tunes.

It also has its own Web site,, as well as a page on the Myspace Web site,, and a page on the CD Baby Web site,

But the most remarkable thing about the band is its collective style and all the diverse influences the five members bring to the jam. Look in the dictionary for "eclectic" and you might find a picture of Blue Lightning, a collection of forty- and fiftysomethings who hold down a variety of day jobs.

Deborah Katz, who plays lead violin, has years of classical training, plus an appreciation for jazz violinists such as Jean-Luc Ponty and Stephan Grappelli.

Lead vocalist Mary Harvard comes from the singer-songwriter tradition, drawing from the roots of American folk music.

Bassist Tommy Dunne, who also plays mandolin, considers himself a disciple of the "British Invasion" led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones but also plays Irish folk tunes on the side with his brother.

Percussionist Bob Anderson aspired to be the Ringo Starr of garage bands but has since widened his range beyond the drum kit to include congas and other "hand percussion" instruments.

Richter, who started by playing country standards in tough, raucous clubs ("They had the smoking section and the chain-smoking section") is a devotee of Carl Perkins and his bluesy rockabilly style.

And they all fill in ably on vocals.

So mix it all together and what does it sound like?

A discerning listener can hear traces of It's A Beautiful Day, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Slim Harpo, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Holly, Maria Muldaur and klezmer.

"Some people say we don't play in any particular style," Richter says. "But that's not true. We have a style. We just don't know what to call it."

Regardless, the band members work well together, mostly because they genuinely respect one another's accomplishments and perspectives. They are open-minded and appreciate the contributions the others make. For the sake of creation and growth, they're able to set aside egos and accept artistic suggestions.

Maybe that's the most amazing thing to uncover in a suburban neighborhood -- or anywhere else.

Rick Bella: 503-294-5114;; 15495 S.W. Sequoia Parkway, Suite 190, Portland, OR 97224

Online version of article at - The Oregonian, Portland, OR


The band's debut CD "Maestro In the Jam" includes original compositions by the band as well as audience favorites from the band's live show. Samples can be heard at the website and at Sonic Bids.

One of the samples is the band's unique sounding original song "Chill In the Air" that features violin and trumpet and a New Orleans shuffle beat. The song is receiving positive reviews from music critics around the Pacific Northwest and was added to a number of FM radio playlists.

A second song from the CD "Mozambique" has received airplay on the Sirius Satellite Network on the "Bob Dylan Radio Hour."

The band's second CD "Live at the Aladdin Theater" in Portland, Oregon displays the band's energy. Due for release in the March 2007.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Blue Lightning’s melodic rootsy sound is accented with blues and rock influences. What really sets this band apart is its brand of violin-based music and vocal arrangments. Blue Lightning draws an intelligent audience that has an appreciation for a brave and eclectic sound, as well as the band’s ability to infuse creativity into their music. Whether it's their original songs or their renditions of music from other writers, audiences appreciate this unique sound and the passion Blue Lightning brings to every song.

Among the band's influences are Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Steve Goodman and Peter Gabriel.