Singer Sarah Jane Nelson, guitarist Hawkeye Herman and harmonica player Big Irv Lubliner kick off the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's outdoor Green Shows Tuesday, May 31, on the OSF bricks.

Singer Sarah Jane Nelson, guitarist Hawkeye Herman and harmonica player Big Irv Lubliner kick off the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's outdoor Green Shows Tuesday, May 31, on the OSF bricks.

Look for local musicians such as Duo Flamenco, featuring percussionist Terry Longshore and guitarist Grant Ruiz (Friday, June 3), along with blues singer Karen Lovely and her band (Tuesday, June 7) and cowboy- and folk-music outfit Hamfist (Wednesday, June 15).

Green Shows take place in the courtyard every night of the week but Monday. The free shows begin at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 31 through Aug. 7, and at 6:45 p.m., Aug. 9 through Oct. 9, and last about 35 minutes.

Nelson and friends will get back to her Louisiana roots at Tuesday's show. The trio also will introduce its new CD, "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues."

Nelson was born in Little Rock, Ark., and raised in Monroe, La. She moved to New York City when she was 17 to become an actor, and it was there she met Herman.

"Hawkeye wrote the music for Octavio Solis' 'El Paso Blue,' and my husband and I were playing Al and Sylvie in the play," says Nelson. "Musically, there was an instant connection between us."

Nelson and her husband, Rene Millan, came to Ashland in 2005 to perform in another Solis play, "Gibraltar."

"I contacted Hawkeye to see how close Ashland was to his home," laughs Nelson. "We've been jamming blues on his back porch in Talent since. That's also where I met Irv."

Nelson has performed musical theater, jazz and rock during her career as a singer and actor.

"Blues is kind of the origin of all that stuff anyway," she says. "It's real music with an uplifting element. The CD is full of songs about strong women, and I think the stories are empowering."

Nelson, Herman and Lubliner perform together for the simple pleasure of creating good music in a casual way.

"It's simply for the love of blues," says Nelson. "It's a natural style of singing for me."

"Wild Women Don't Get the Blues" is a culmination of the trio's jams on Herman's back porch, and it was recorded in the old-school way, says Nelson.

"We recorded it at Freeman Sound in Ashland," she says. "There's not a lot of heavy production on the album. Everyone just played. I wanted to capture the feeling of our back-porch jams."