We've been nominated for 12 Muddy Awards!

We’ve been nominated for 12 Muddy Awards!

cbalogoThank you Cascade Blues Association members for the Muddy Award nominations for myself, the Tornadoes and the Big Band! In all we were nominated for Contemporary Blues Act, Traditional Blues Act, Electric Guitar, Bass (Allen Markel), Drums (Don Shultz), Horns (Joe McCarthy, Brad Lee Ulrich, Chris Mercer), Keys (Steve Kerin), NW Recording of the Year (Buy My Soul Back), Performance of the Year (CD Release Party at the Bossanova Ballroom), and Lifetime Achievement Award (Jimi Bott). We are so very honored to be thought of among the immense talent here in Portland and the Pacific NW, and are grateful for all the support of our friends and fans who come out to see us play and buy our music.  You can vote by being a member of the Cascade Blues Association, and the awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 2 at 6:30PM at the Melody, Ballroom. Congrats to all the nominees, and thanks again!

Listen to Kevin's March 23rd interview on Portland's Playlist!

Listen to Kevin’s March 23rd interview on Portland’s Playlist!

Check out this great interview of Kevin on the Portland Radio Project’s show, Portland’s Playlist hosted by Luke Neill and Teri Briggs.    They talk about and play some of Kevin’s influences, and he tells the stories behind a lot of his songs off his newest release “Buy My Soul Back”.  Also Kevin performs live a couple songs, including a brand new one entitled, “Have You Gone Crazy”

Blues Blast Magazine CD Review of "Buy My Soul Back", Oct 29, 2015

Blues Blast Magazine CD Review of “Buy My Soul Back”, Oct 29, 2015

CoverKevin Selfe – Buy My Soul Back

Vizztone VT-KEV-01

13 songs – 59 minutes

Multi-talented Kevin Selfe and his band, the Tornadoes, have been wowing audiences from their adopted home base of Portland, Ore., for the better part of a decade, but should make waves nationally with Buy My Soul Back, a thoroughly modern album that delves into themes that regularly run through the blues.

Originally from Roanoke, Va., Selfe discovered the blues late in life, when he was a student in meteorology at North Carolina State University. His roommate, a bass player, introduced him to the works of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, and, by the time he graduated with honors, changed his path in life from TV weatherman to dyed-in-the-wool bluesman.

He was barely out of college when he joined the Fat Daddy Band, a regionally popular group based out of Roanoke, which was an International Blues Challenge finalist in 2002, during his six-year membership. A two-year partnership with 2008 IBC finalist Little Rodger Crowder followed before Selfe went on his own and formed the Tornadoes. In addition to touring on their own, the band worked behind a pair of Chicago greats, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater and Cary Bell, accompanying the latter on the last gig before his untimely death.

Equally gifted as a guitarist and harmonica player as well as a songwriter, Selfe relocated to the West Coast in 2007 and has released three previous CDs under his own name, Self-Contained (2006), the nationally charting Playing The Game (2009) and Long Walk Home (2013), which peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Blues Chart.

He’s assembled an all-star lineup for this disc, his first on the Vizztone imprint. Joining him here are regular bass player Allen Markel (formerly of the Insomniacs), perennial Blues Music Award nominated drummer Jimi Bott, Mannish Boys’ harp player and bassist Mitch Kashmar and Willie J. Campbell, Ana Popovic and Tommy Castro organist James Pace and Fabulous Thunderbirds pianist Gene Taylor as well as guest vocals from Sugaray Rayford and backing vocals from 2015 BMA winner Lisa Mann. Also contributing are Kevin’s regular timekeeper, Don Shultz and a horn section consisting of Joe McCarthy (trumpet), Chris Mercer (tenor sax), Brad Ulrich and Peter Moss (baritone sax) and pianist Steve Kerin.

Virtually all bluesmen take a vow of poverty when they pick up an instrument, and the theme runs strongly through this collection of 12 originals and one cover. A New Orleans-style horn line kicks off “Picking Empty Pockets” to start the disc. It’s an autobiographical tune about smiling on the outside while living in the back of a beat-up van. Moss’ stellar baritone work sets the tone with Selfe delivering a searing six-string solo to conclude. Kashmar’s harp introduces “Fixed It Til It’s Broke” and remains stellar throughout as Kevin puts his picking skills on display. The song’s a stern warning to someone who wants to affect a change in the singer’s life when no alterations are needed.

The title cut, “Buy My Soul Back,” is a straight-ahead modern blues about having regrets years after selling one’s soul to the devil for musical success. It swings from the jump with another rock-solid performance from the horn section and tasty extended six-string solo. “Digging My Own Grave” sings about doing backbreaking work in the field to put food on the table. It’s delivered with a feel and simple arrangement that would fit in any Hill Country juke.

The pace changes dramatically for the contemporary “All Partied Out,” a slow blues regret about waiting up in the morning alone, hurting and wondering how the singer had wound up in this condition, but knowing it was from pushing himself in the wrong direction for so long. “Keep Pushing Or Die Trying” provides a much brighter outlook, delivered with a slight country feel and driving piano line from Taylor, as does “Bluesman Without The Blues,” featuring Rayford on vocals. It’s a funky number about dressing, eating and living too well to be making the music Selfe loves.

An interesting, countrified cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” based on Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” follows before five more originals bring the disc to a close. “Don’t Tear Me Down” is subdued jump blues plea to communicate better with his woman while “Double Dipping” is a New Orleans-flavored funk about a loose woman. “Viriginia Farm” sings praise for the simple life Selfe left behind while the instrumental “Pig Pickin’” comes across with a solid Chicago flavor. The poverty theme returns full circle to conclude the set with “Staring At The Bottom,” another solid blues with imagery of being so far down, the singer’s going to have to dig to the other side of the world to get out of the hole he’s in.

Modern blues for modern times. Available through Amazon and iTunes, this one’s definitely worth a listen…or two…or three. A powerful statement from a musician who’s clearly on the rise.

CD Release Party Preview - Portland Tribune Oct 15, 2015

CD Release Party Preview – Portland Tribune Oct 15, 2015

portland-tribuneGreat writeup in the Portland Tribune today by Rob Cullivan about the CD Release Party on Friday, October 16.

Oct. 16

Back to the crossroads

It’s a story as old as the blues — some frustrated cat wants musical success and sells out to Satan to get it. However, Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame inductees Kevin Selfe and The Tornadoes have decided to flip the script, releasing a new CD titled “Buy My Soul Back” this week.

The multi-award-winning band’s release is Selfe’s fourth and will be marked by a bash featuring a who’s who of local blues folks, including national Blues Music Award winners Jimi Bott and Lisa Mann, as well as Allen Markel, James Pace, Steve Kerin, Brad Ulrich, Joe McCarthy, Chris Mercer, Don Shultz and Pete Moss.

The new record swings, walks, talks and growls, with standout cuts including the title song, which would sound just fine on a Robert Cray album, as well as the swampy “Diggin My Own Grave.” Selfe also covers the Bruce Springsteen tune “I’m On Fire,” which features a nice harmonica solo by Mitch Kashmar, one of our city’s finest harp players.

“It’s a wide range of blues styles, not pigeonholed into one thing,” Selfe says, noting “Buy My Soul Back” features contributions from members of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Tommy Castro keyboardist James Pace.

“We didn’t just want a traditional blues album, or just West Coast swing, we wanted a variety,” Selfe says. “This record represents what you’ll hear from us live.”

Selfe adds the band plans to tour early next year to promote the record throughout the Southwest as well as the East Coast. You can hear bits and pieces of it at

Kevin Selfe and The Tornadoes, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E. Burnside St. $15 in advance, $18 day of show, $100 VIP.

Info: 503-206-7630, bossanova

"Buy My Soul Back" review by Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association

“Buy My Soul Back” review by Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Association

Buy My Soul Back

Kevin Selfe has followed up his highly successful album Long Walk Home with a recording just as strong if not more so. He showcases his knack for writing clever and catchy songs, sensational and tasty guitar work and his strong vocals to help him deliver the best package of music possible.

Kevin Selfe CD coverBuy My Soul Back finds Selfe on a new label, VizzTone, and he’s stepping right back in pace where he left off. It’s all original material with the exception of a very worthy cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Kevin takes that song and completely makes it his own. Are we sure that Bruce didn’t write this for Kevin? And you just know that these new songs will become classic Kevin Selfe songs that we’ll be calling for at his shows.

You know that a song really works to perfection that as soon as hear the chords the lyrics come immediately to mind. They fit naturally and that is something that Kevin Selfe is an undisputed master at accomplishing. The guitar lines opening the disc on “Picking Empty Pockets” does exactly that. That guitar pattern burns itself into your brain and you instantly start singing the lyrics. That same thing happens over and over again throughout the album. I listen to the chords of numbers like “Digging My Own Grave,” “All Partied Out” and “Keep Pushing Or Die Trying” and the words also just start flowing right out of my own mouth.

And another thing about Kevin, he has a wealth of friends that he can call upon at any time and they’ll step up for him. They aren’t a bunch of slouches either. These guys are amonst the best in the business in the Northwest and anywhere else for that matter. It’s like a cast of who’s who in Portland when you can bring in Lisa Mann, Mitch Kashmar, Peter Moss, Joe McCarthy, Chris Mercer, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin and Don Shultz. Or for that matter having Jimi Bott and Allen Markel as your regular unit. Then throw in nationally recognized artists from outside the Northwest such as Willie J Campbell on bass, Gene Taylor on piano, James Pace on organ and even Sugaray Rayford taking the lead vocals on one song (“Bluesman Without The Blues”).

Kevin’s songwriting strikes it rich not only with his lyrics, but the guitar playing also is above expectation, which says a lot as he is already considered one of the best players in the city. His acoustic work for example on his autobiographical “Virginia Farm” is superb. But then again, so is everything about this amazing release.

Kevin Selfe has delivered another sensational recording. Buy My Soul Back is sure to be amongst the best of list for many people at the end of the year. And it is deserving of such honors!

Total Time: 58:17

Picking Empty Pockets / Fixed It Til It’s Broke / Buy My Soul Back / Digging My Own Grave / All Partied Out / Keep Pushing Or Die Trying / Bluesman Without The Blues / I’m On Fire / Don’t Tear Me Down / Double Dipping / Virginia Farm / Pig Pickin’ / Staring Up At The Bottom

Ex-Roanoker Kevin Selfe receives big blues honor in the Northwest

Ex-Roanoker Kevin Selfe receives big blues honor in the Northwest

Go to full article

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014 11:34 am

For years, blues guitarist/singer Kevin Selfe plied his trade in the Roanoke Valley. Things really took off for him, though, after he moved to Portland, Oregon.

On Wednesday, Selfe’s work was recognized when the Cascade Blues Association, of Portland, inducted him into its Hall of Fame for his work on electric guitar. He and his band, the Tornadoes, took three Muddy Awards that night — for best traditional blues act, best electric guitarist and best drummer.

Tornadoes drummer Jimi Bott received his 12th Muddy for his drumming, which is so many that he is now retired from it and that award is named for him.

The trio itself is also part of the Cascades society’s hall of fame, so I guess it’s safe to say that Selfe has dominated that scene. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, and a real student of the blues.

If you don’t know his music, check out his debut Delta Groove Records CD release, “Long Walk Home,” released last year. Or check out the attached video, complete with horns and organ.