This article originally appeared in the Cascade Blues Association’s Blues Notes by Karen Y. Spencer & Laurie Morrisey:
Collectively, the band members of Rose City Kings have some 200 years of professional musical experience. Rose City Kings was founded in Portland Oregon in 2002. Then band leader, Dan Berkery formed KOLVANE in 2007. After an extended hiatus, he reconstructed Rose City Kings in 2014.
“This is an exciting collection of some of the top musicians in Portland, each capable of handling the spotlight on their own, but collectively bring a moving and passionate show that will leave you wanting more,” according to Cascade Blues Association President Greg Johnson.
The current configuration of the band is: Dan Berkery, lead vocals/guitar; Steve Kerin, keyboard/vocals (he is a three-time muddy award winner for best keyboards—2011, 2012 and 2014); Tim Shaughnessy, bass; Gary Keeney, drums; Katy Oberg, percussion/vocals; and David Lipkind, harmonica.
For the most part, all the band members always want to be musicians when they grew up, except for Tim. “I wanted to be a teacher, however I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
The majority of the band members work in the music industry. Dan works full time as a recording artist/writer/producer. Steve works full time as a keyboardist. When he’s not performing live, he’s arranging productions or teaching music. When Gary is not keeping the beat, he works in the music industry at the locally owned CD Baby, the independent musician’s best friend. Music and singing are Katy’s passions. David can be found performing on almost any night of the week. He moonlights (or is that sunlights?) during the day as a home builder and renovator. Tim is an entrepreneur who owns an LED lighting company and an essential oil extraction company.
Most of Rose City Kings’ training has come from experiences in bands. However, Steve Kerin has a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). David is self-taught on the harmonica, but grew up taking piano and guitar lessons, and watching his grandfather, uncle, and cousin play harmonica.
Rose City Kings are influenced by Chicago Blues: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Earl Hooker, and Magic Sam. Their music is describes as fun, infectious grooves, original Blues and Americana, sometimes with a nod towards the past and sometimes with a nod towards the future.
Rose City Kings’ lineup has evolved over the years. However, the goal of the band has always been consistent — to provide the best all-out performance possible. Former band members include drummer Roger Espinor and bass player Ron Camacho who are now with Sister Mercy, which represented the CBA in the 2016 International Blues Challenge. Also Joe Powers who is a well-known Tango harmonica player.
The Rose City Kings will launch their new CD next month. They have three previous CD’s:Holler Out For More, June 2005; Up On It, June 2004, and Delta Hop, May 2003. Under the name Kolvane, they released Kill These Blues, May 2008 and They Called Me Evil, October, 2007.
CASHBOX MAGAZINE: Cool Baby # 1 Single Roadhouse Blues & Boogie for December 2008 & January 2009 and in Top 5 for 5 months; Cool Baby peaked at #19 on Beach Music Chart with 7 weeks in its Top 40
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT TOP 50: Kill These Blues Top 30 Roots Rock (8/2008); They Called Me Evil debuted at #18 (11/2007) in Roots Rock; & Holler Out for More #30 in Roots Blues (8/2005), www.rootsmusicreport.com
REAL BLUES MAGAZINE AWARDS: Top West Coast Blues/Rock CD Up On It, Best Pacific NW Blues Band, Best West Coast Blues/Rock Band (September, 2005); Top 100 CDs Holler Out forMore (November 2006)
RADIOWAVE MONITOR CONTEMPORARY BLUES CHART TOP 30: Biscuits & Gravy reaching # 5 (March & April 2006)
MUDDY AWARDS WINNER: Winner 2004 Best Contemporary & 2003 Best New Act; Finalist Best Contemporary 2007 & 2008
JOURNEY TO MEMPHIS COMPETITION WINNERS: Qualified the band to compete in the 2005 International Blues Challenge
To find out more about Rose City Kings and their upcoming shows, visit www.rosecitykings.com. Rose City Kings has announced the launch party for its upcoming CD on June 24th. Check their website for more details.