A Group of People

The Legacy of Music

In blues, heritage, legacy, life, music, work ethic on February 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Sarah Billings

Editors Note:

“I have watched this young and budding new artist from afar for a couple of years now. In this, I have been very impressed in that she not only possesses a natural gift, she is also committed to working at it. Simply put, Sarah Billings has a work ethic that impresses me.

What also impresses me about her is that she has a heartfelt desire to both understand and honor those legendary musicians that have gone before her.

Sarah is that artist who often times before she playing a later gig on a Friday or Saturday evening, you’ll find her out at another show just so she can support other artists.

To me as both a life long musician as well as fan of music, I find these traits to be refreshing. Not only do I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sarah… I am also a fan, too.

In this, it is an honor for us here at Liquid Cloud Eleven to feature her recent post and interview with blues legend, Norman Sylvester.” – Gunnar Simonsen

_____________________________________

By Sarah Billings

It was just a year ago that I decided it was time for me to take the next step in music. This entry is not about the description of what that “next-step” was or is…but about the undeniable fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my fellow musicians, my community….my people.

Norman Sylvester a blues legend here in Portland. He is known as a guitar man, blues man, mentor, sharp dresser and stand-out performer. When the Boogie Cat puts on a show, everyone is up dancing. The tired excuse of a lack of dance skills is left at the door. Any and all are welcome to just let go and enjoy the music. It’s truly a community of people that Norman has nurtured at his shows. You will never feel alone at an event, because his  most loyal fans will be there, dancing right beside you.

You can imagine my complete surprise and nervousness the first time I was invited up on stage to sing a song with this celebrated blues cat. I went confidently behind the mic that night, however, regardless of my erratic pulse and heart thumping, thanks to the support and encouragement from Renato Caranto and Dennis Carter. Perhaps it was the nostalgic, passion driven melody of “Aint No Sunshine” or a twist of fate or a combination of both, but something clicked.

Since that night….I have had the honor to stand along side this music man and his band at a variety events here in

Portland. In reflecting a few months back at all I have taken away from Boogie, I knew I had to honor him not only as a true showman, and man of blues, but as a selfless mentor and teacher.

Norman is a family man, Norman is a Portland man, giving back to schools, and artists of all backgrounds and experience levels. He has shown what it looks like for a musician to realize that there’s more to music than just yourself. It’s a true love for music that has motivated him from day 1. I am honored to not only perform with and be mentored the Boogie Cat, but know he, along with so many other musicians, calls Portland, OR home.

“There are 2 main channels that most jazz/blues performers in Portland got their start. Norman is 1 of the 2 and continues to mentor young up and coming…” -Reggie Houston (Tenor Sax Player-Neville Brothers, Fats Domino and more)

Please check out Sarah’s website at: www.sarahbillings.com

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