Memorable summer nights

Take time to relax during a concert

We Three, a sibling folk-pop group from McMinville, performed at Michael Allen Harrison's 10 Grands concert this year. They will take the stage on July 27.

Lisa Mann and Her Really Good Band, an award-winning Blues group, will take the stage at Crown Park on Aug. 3.

Led by the fiddler Kelly Thibodeaux of Baton Rouge, La., Etouffee combines different sounds to create what is known as "Swamp Rock." Camas Parks and Recreation is sponsoring the free event, which will be held every Thursday through Aug. 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Norman Sylvester)

With the long, cold winter just a distant memory, outdoor concerts will soon return to Crown Park.

Camas Parks and Recreation is gearing up to host its annual concert series, which kicks off tonight with The Norman Sylvester Band, a well-known blues group.

This year’s lineup includes a little bit of everything, from blues to folk, pop to rock.

Sylvester has roots in the Portland area, having lived there since 1957. He has played more than 4,000 gigs, including all but three shows at the now 30-year-old Portland Blues Festival.

Sylvester has performed at Tech Center Park, Esther Short Park and the Cascade Tavern in the past, but says this is his first time in Camas.

“When I had the opportunity, I jumped at it,” says Sylvester, who took time out of his concert prep and busy schedule to talk with the Post-Record. “Outdoor concerts are all about the family. Music helps foster and create community and unity.”

Sylvester and his band have appeared at the Portland Rose Festival, Blues Festival and Mount Hood Jazz Festival, have performed with the Oregon Symphony and have opened for the likes of B.B. King, Peter Frampton, James Cotton, Mavis Staples, Tower of Power and many other music legends, according to his website.

Sylvester’s songs range from those designed for dance floor celebrations, to the deeper themes of interpersonal relationships, love and loss.

“This is my retirement job and I’m living my dream,” he says. “It’s a blessing to be able to put on shows in the community.”

Lisa Mann and Her Really Good Band, an award-winning blues group, will take the stage at Crown Park on Aug. 3.

“I love playing at outdoor venues and having someone fall down because they are 4 years old, not because they’ve had a few too many beers,” Mann jokes. “It’s wonderful to see people enjoying the music and each other outdoors.”

Mann began releasing singles under her own name in 2006 and has garnered several awards in the past 11 years, including three Muddy Waters Awards from the Cascade Blues Association for Contemporary Blues Act of the Year, Bass Player of the Year and Northwest Recording of the Year.

She also has won Blues Blast’s Sean Costello Rising Star Award, and the 2015 and 2016 Blues Music Award for her bass guitar skills.

Her latest release, “Hard Times, Bad Decisions,” recently garnered Oregon Music Hall of Fame’s Record of the Year.

“I really like to mix it up,” Mann says. “We don’t want to put the audience to sleep, so my music has more of an upbeat R & B feel to it.”

Mann’s influences run the gamut, from Etta James and Koko Taylor to Bonnie Raitt and Little Milton. She writes the majority of her recorded material, and her songs recall personal experiences in love, life and the music business, according to her website.

Mann has shared the stage with Northwest performers such as the late Paul Delay, Lloyd Jones, Kevin Selfe, Duffy Bishop, Karen Lovely, Ellen Whyte, the Insomniacs, and Sonny “Smokin'” Hess.

“I just really love seeing people having a good time, out on the dance floor, enjoying the music together,” she says.

All of the summer concerts run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Crown Park. Camas Parks & Recreation will host a table on-site with information about summer special events, youth programs and pool activities.

Partners with Camas Parks & Rec, a nonprofit group, also will be there to share volunteer opportunities with interested community members.

Getta Gyro, a Camas business, will sell their traditional gyros and greek salads at the concerts. Picnic dinners also are allowed, but alcohol and dogs are prohibited.

“The first concert of the season is a great event to kick off the Camas Days Weekend,” says Krista Bashaw, Camas’ special events coordinator. “The weather should be lovely for this concert, so I hope (everyone) can join us.”

Summer concerts continue through Thursday, Aug. 10, and also include We Three, a sibling folk-pop group from McMinnville who are new to the music scene, and Etouffee — a band led by fiddler Kelly Thibodeaux of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that combines different sounds to create what is known as “Swamp Rock.”

For the full line-up, visit www.cityofcamas.us/parks.