'I'm never done'

Curtis Salgado's "Soul Shot" — the artist's Alligator Records debut — turned out pretty much the way the Portland singer thought it would.

"I like the tunes, the singing and the mix," he says. "It's a solid piece of work."

What makes the album solid, says vocalist and harp player Salgado, is it's straight-ahead soul.

"It's not eclectic like some of my other records," he says. "There's no doo-wop, blues, old rock 'n' roll or funk. It's a dance record. The songs' sequence has a flow. It's like going to a party on Saturday night and visiting church on Sunday morning."

This Saturday, July 7, Salgado will bring the party to the fourth annual Beacon Hill Blues Festival, presented by Ashland Blues Society.

Southern Oregon bluesmen Doug Warner and the Night Train Express and the Rogue Valley All-Stars — made up of musicians from David Pinsky's Rhythm Kings and Phil Newton's Shouters — will open the show. The festival also will host a harmonica blow-off with Warner, Pinsky, Newton and ABS president Mark Howard, showing off their licks.

The music begins at 1:30 p.m. at the festival, 188 Beacon Hill Lane, Ashland. Salgado will perform at 6 p.m.

"Soul Shot" was released this year and features four of Salgado's original tunes and seven fastidiously selected songs by Johnny "Guitar" Watson, George Clinton, Otis Redding, Bobby Womack and others.

"It's getting a lot of reviews," Salgado says. "People are saying that it's the best record I've ever made. I can't help but think about some of the other work I've done. It was pretty, darn good."

He lists "Wiggle Outta This" (1999), "Clean Getaway" (2008) and "More Than You Can Chew" (2009) among his favorites.

"I like everything about those albums and this new one," Salgado says. "The best record is always the next one. I'm never done. The next one will include more original material.

"I've got quite a few new songs and a notebook full of ideas," he says.

Salgado's four originals on "Soul Shot" include "Love Comfort Zone," co-written with Nashville, Tenn., songwriters Dave Duncan and Kevin McKendree. Salgado, Marlon McClain and Duncan penned "She Didn't Cut Me Loose." Keyboard player Rusty Hall and Salgado collaborated on "He Played His Harmonica." Salgado and Duncan co-wrote "A Woman or the Blues."

Salgado brings his band — bass player Tracy Arrington, drummer Brian Foxworth, keyboard player David Fleschner and guitarist Vyasa Dodson (formerly of The Insomniacs) — to Beacon Hill Blues Festival.

This year, the Medford and Ashland food projects will join the festival to provide information to potential volunteers, donors and coordinators.

Food vendors will include Roscoe's BBQ and Wasana's Thai Food, and beer and wine will be available from Chateau Roberts' Hidden Jungle Mobile Bar.

Tickets cost $22 and are available at Ashland's Music Coop, www.ashlandblues.org or at the gate.

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