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Featuring: Sonny Hess, Lady Kat, Lisa Mann, Kathryn Grimm, Lara Price, Angel James

It is as simple as this: What we know as rock ’n’ roll did not exist before Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She came before Elvis and Johnny Cash. She preceded Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

During a time when the idea of a guitar-playing woman was nonexistent, not only did Rosetta Tharpe erase this line by mastering the symbol of musical masculinity, but her blend of gospel and secular music was seen as earth-shattering.

After a move to New York, she began playing with some of the biggest bands in the country, including Duke Ellington’s. By the time she was 23, she had a recording contract, and recorded Decca Record’s first gospel songs in 1938, including the hit song “Rock Me.”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

This all-star cast of blues women includes Portland guitarist Sonny Hesse, the powerhouse vocals of Lady Kat, Blues Award winning bassist Lisa Mann, guitarist/vocalist Kathryn Grimm, Austin TX vocalist Lara Price, and vocalist Angel James.

“Sail on Sister” Cruise, Portland Spirit, 3-5 pm, Saturday, July 6