Archive for February, 2011

[Video] Finn Miles at Green Plow Coffee Roasters

Monday, February 28th, 2011

My man Adam Sears (who works in circulation at The Bulletin) hit Green Plow Coffee Roaters in Redmond on Friday night to check out the husband-wife folk band Finn Miles from Des Moines, Iowa, who played at least one pretty song featuring the guitar and trumpet (!), which Adam captured on video. Check it:

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Local fave folk singer The White Buffalo returns to Bend this weekend for a two-night stand at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom. I spoke with the Buffalo — aka Jake Smith — about his early, frustrating days as a musician in San Francisco.

“Nothing was really happening for me,” (Smith said). “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to get gigs. I didn’t know how to even think about making a CD.

“I would write songs and … I wanted to play music, but I was not very confident as a performer and I played like once a year,” he continued. “I’d call people on the phone, and they wouldn’t ever call me back.”

Undaunted, Smith took a more primitive approach to booking shows.

“I started playing songs into the phone, and then I would get calls back and I would start getting gigs,” he said. “I would try to rock like 30 seconds of something, and then I’d say, ‘This is The White Buffalo. Call me back.’ And I’d leave my phone number.”

“That actually worked every time I did it,” Smith said. “That was my press kit.”

You should click here to read all about a guy who plays to sell-out crowds pretty much every time he comes to town.

(Video of Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives at the Tower Theatre by YouTube user tdworak.)

For my Feedback column this week, I wrote about last week’s outstanding show at the Tower Theatre by country traditionalist Marty Stuart and his band. Spoiler alert: I thought it was the first great local show of 2011.

Honestly, my jaw was on the floor throughout most of the night. From the minute the quartet walked on stage — Stuart in a black suit (embroidered with flowers) and a turquoise scarf, his band mates in glittery, head-to-toe turquoise suits and all-white boots — this was a show so tight, so smooth, so perfect, it was like watching a video of a band that had been rehearsed and re-shot and edited until all mistakes were eliminated. Except this was live, right in front of my eyes.

Not a note out of place. Not a hair out of place. Devastatingly gorgeous harmonies swooping through the air. White-hot guitar playing as far as the eye could see. Big smiles, charming winks, witty banter. And a selection of wonderful songs, perfectly paced.

I hope you’ll go read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Moira Smiley & VOCO wrap up the Sisters Folk Festival’s Winter Concert Series, the popular 80s Video Dance Attack returns to the Domino Room, a big rap show on Sunday night will serve as local MC Jay Tablet’s CD-release party, local musicians get together in Sisters to raise money for Jim Bull, and a couple of University of Oregon a cappella groups visit Bend High School. Plus, ska/reggae dudes The Supervillains play The Summit and California power-poppers Bright Faces are at JC’s Bar & Grill.

Plenty to do out there, folks! What are you gonna go see?

Peter Buck of R.E.M. is coming to Silver Moon

Friday, February 25th, 2011

That subject line is what we call “click bait” folks!

Per the Silver Moon Brewing website:

Besides the involvement of the guitarist for one of the world’s biggest rock bands, it should be noted that The Baseball Project, The Minus 5 and Steve Wynn are all terrific artists in their own right.

Kudos to Gabe Johnson, booking dude at Silver Moon (and his own company, Parallel 44 Presents), on a “home run!” (Gah. That was terrible. Sorry.)

Sorta local: Loch Lomond, Water & Bodies have new albums out today

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

For years, Frequency has been following the careers of Portland-based bands Loch Lomond and Water & Bodies, thanks mostly to their Bend connections. Loch Lomond is fronted by Bend native Ritchie Young, and fellow Bendite Dave Depper plays alongside him. Similarly, Water & Bodies’ Beau Kuther comes from our humble burg. (His brother Kelsey recently left the band.) You can read our past coverage of both bands by clicking their names: Loch Lomond | Water & Bodies.

Today, both add a new album to their discography. Let’s take them in alphabetical order:

Loch Lomond
“Little Me Will Start A Storm” (Tender Loving Empire)

Loch Lomond’s “Little Me Will Start A Storm” begins with two of Ritchie Young’s finest songs yet: the plucky “Blue Lead Fences” and the first single “Elephants & Little Girls,” with its gentle melody and choral swells. (Download “Elephants” here.) The rest of the album features all of Loch Lomond’s trademark traits, most notably Young’s dramatic, porcelain voice, which floats above the band’s lissome blend of folk, pop and chamber music as if powered by pure helium. Loch Lomond stretches and swirls a bit on the gorgeous “Earth Has Moved Again,” experiments with kitchen-sink sounds in the clanky “Water in Astoria,” and takes a simple tack for “Egg Song” until about halfway through, when the tune opens up into a sweeping choral number fit for a concert hall. As with the band’s previous work, Young’s songs on “Storm” are oddly interesting and unpredictable things, and the band itself is a perfectly capable bunch of pickers. But the star of Loch Lomond’s show is, as always, a collection of stirring voices that sets this band apart from its peers.

Loch Lomond will play in Bend on March 7 at the Tower Theatre, with Damien Jurado and Viva Voce. More info is here.

Water & Bodies
“Light Year” (EYOS Records)

In a world/town/scene that increasingly values a wallflower quality in its music (think: shoegaze eyes, ironic awkwardness, affected restraint), Water & Bodies buck the trend, bashing out flashy alt-rock songs that demand attention. “Light Year” recalls the indie/emo landscape of the 1990s, when bands like Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids spiced their punk rock with the kind of massive hooks you expect from Weezer songs. The album’s first two tracks — “Celebration Song” and “Free World” — reveal a band unafraid of aural drama, where insistent drums, roiling rock riffs and soaring vocals collide with striking effect. And the roller-coaster synth hook and inspirational message of the third song, “Moments in a Life,” are tailor-made for the climactic scene of a big-budget film. “Light Year” sags a bit in its middle passage (“Echoes” is a little too post-Silverchair MTV Buzz Bin and the title track seems half-baked), but beginning with the chugging, catchy “1980,” Water & Bodies finishes strong, establishing itself as a band that not only demands attention, but also deserves it.

Water & Bodies will play in Bend on March 5 at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom with Tango Alpha Tango and Ex-Cowboys. More info is here.

[Photos] Marty Stuart at the Tower Theatre

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Last week, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives put on the first truly great local show of 2011. See me back that statement up in my Feedback column in Friday’s GO! Magazine. In the meantime, here are several excellent photos of the show from The Bulletin’s Ryan Brennecke.

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[MP3] Tyler Fortier (playing tonight at portello)

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

It’s kind of late notice, I know, but if you’re looking to head out tonight but don’t want to freeze or fight the crowds at WinterFest, consider hitting portello winecafe at 7 p.m. to hear Eugene-based (but Bend-rooted) singer-songwriter Tyler Fortier.

The guy writes really good songs that fall into the dusty, downcast Americana/folk ballpark, and he’s prolific; he’s planning on releasing three albums this year, including the one he’ll celebrate tonight — a lo-fi concept record about the old West with a looooong name. You can hear the whole thing by clicking here, or you can stream or download the track below.

I wrote a bit more about Fortier and the record (including which classic album it reminds me of) in Friday’s GO! Magazine, and you can find that piece — plus all the details for tonight’s show — right here.

Download Tyler Fortier, “Waiting For Evelyn”

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Busy local singer-songwriter Tim Coffey and his partner in cello, Kat Hilst, will play with a whole bunch of folks Thursday to celebrate the release of Coffey’s album “Strings Unbound.” I spoke with the man about how he blossomed from a struggling lyricist and veteran of cover bands into a full-fledged singer-songwriter relatively late in life.

“I always wanted to play my own music, (but) I could never write any lyrics that I didn’t think were stupid,” he said.

Then, one day in the summer of 2009, it hit him while hiking on Broken Top. Words popped into his head. “I didn’t know if they were any good, but they didn’t sound stupid,” Coffey said. “For the first time, they didn’t sound stupid. So I wrote ‘em down and that turned out to be the song ‘Already There.’ And it just started snowballing. All of a sudden I started writing songs.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here.

Also, it’s WinterFest weekend! Which means lots of great live music that you’d dance to if your feet weren’t solid blocks of ice. Click here to read up on tonight’s headliner, The Aggrolites, and Saturday’s headliner, Lyrics Born. The event’s entire music lineup is listed right here. (Note: Don’t miss Derby tonight, just before The Aggrolites. I saw them play in the parking lot of the east-side location of a very famous Portland doughnut shop a few years ago, and they are an excellent pop-rock band. Oh and Moon Mountain Ramblers on Saturday! Make Local Bands Habit!)

Elsewhere in the music section: Patrick Lamb plays The Oxford Hotel’s jazz series, folk singer Johnsmith returns to the HarmonyHouse in Sisters, local proto-blues band Blackflowers Blacksun is at the M&J, Mark Ransom and The Mostest will light up Silver Moon, Long Beach Rehab visits The Summit Saloon and Capture the Flag kicks off its tour with two free shows this weekend. Last but not least, portello winecafe in Northwest Crossing will host Tyler Fortier, a Eugene singer-songwriter who is from Bend originally, and who writes terrific songs. He’s got a new CD coming out — a lo-fi concept record about the old West — and Saturday is the official release show, so go show him some love.

Farewell: JoAnna Lee heads to Texas, but not before playing two last shows this weekend

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Photo courtesy Lance Hardy Photography

JoAnna Lee has been a constant presence on the Bend music scene over the past several years, but on Monday, she’s loading up her car and moving to Austin, Texas to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter.

No surprise, though: She’s gigging until the very last minute. Lee will perform at 7 tonight at Parrilla Grill (635 N.W. 14th St., Bend) and again at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Bend WinterFest (in the Old Mill District), just hours before she points her wheels toward the Lone Star State.

“I’m packing up my old 1988 Honda that I’ve had forever with whatever I can fit in it,” she said Thursday, “and that’s pretty much my shoes and my guitars.”

Her decision to relocate is a classic story of chasing the dream. She has never been to Austin, but heard great things about its vaunted music scene, did a little online research, and decided that’s where she is supposed to be.

She’s heading south with no place to live and no job lined up, plus some money saved up from her various jobs in Central Oregon.

“I’m going on a feeling,” she said. “Something in my heart said, ‘This is where you need to be.’”

Lee, 25, said she’s been thinking about moving away from Bend for a while. She moved here with her family early in high school, and began playing out not long after that. Over the past five years, her sturdy alto and sultry mix of soul, R&B and acoustic pop has made her one of the more radio-friendly artists in town, as well as an in-demand live performer and a regular vocal presence on songs by the local hip-hop group Cloaked Characters. (Check out the shimmery video for her song “Sunshine” by clicking here.)

Her musical ability stretches back further. Lee learned to play guitar at age 11 when her mom showed her the chords to a few Beatles songs. Her family “has a lot of soul,” she said, and is full of music fans; Stevie Wonder’s music was a constant presence during Lee’s childhood, and his style is an influence on her sound. More recently, she’s found inspiration in neo-soul artists like Alicia Keys, Adele and Joss Stone.

And so, JoAnna Lee has had a comfortable spot in the local music scene for a while. And a comfortable spot is ideal if you’re happy being comfortable.

It’s not so ideal for someone who wants to stretch and grow and strive for something better.

“I feel like a lot of things have grown around me, and yet I’m still in the same place,” she said about her life in Bend. “My friends are having kids and getting married and settling down, and … I just noticed I’m still playing these gigs, which is great. I love Bend and I love that I can walk anywhere and see someone I know, but … I need experiences. and when I’m frozen in this spot where I feel like nothing’s really happening around me, I feel like I have nothing to write about.

“So part of taking this leap of faith is to grow in my music and my songwriting, and to take it somewhere,” she continued. “I really want my music to go as far as I can possibly push it.”

Lee calls music her “true love” and she feels like all the signs in her life — her faith, her relationships, her creative muse — are pointing toward Texas. And she’s not about to turn away from the opportunity.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known that my heart and my passion is with my music. That’s truly what gets my heart moving,” she said. “When you know that you’re supposed to do great things, but yet great things aren’t happening, you know that you need to make a change to make them happen.

“I’m ready to make this happen for me and challenge myself. I want the challenge,” she continued. “I have to do this. This is something that I’m going to be able to look back on and say, ‘Gosh, JoAnna, if you hadn’t done that, you wouldn’t be where you’re at today.’”

Lee’s plan upon arriving in Austin is pretty loose: Get a job that will give her the time and brain-space to focus on music. Visit some venues, press kit in hand. Play open mics. Meet people. Make connections. Eventually, she hopes to find some folks and form a band, and she wants to get back to work on her long-in-the-works album.

If it sounds daunting, well, it is. But Lee doesn’t show it.

“My biggest thing I’m nervous about is my car making it,” she said with a laugh. “And even if my car breaks down, you know what’s gonna happen? I’m gonna hop on the next bus and then get there.

The Aggrolites’ new album, “Complicated Girl” video

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The upcoming album from L.A.-based “dirty reggae” band The Aggrolites is a departure from the mix of soul, rock and reggae that dominated their first four albums. “Rugged Road” — out on vinyl and bytes next week, CD in March — is packed with laid back, dub-influenced instrumentals that simmer and burble like a pot of funky, fragrant Jamaican stew.

Here’s a cut from “Rugged Road” called “Complicated Girl,” plus a reminder that The Aggrolites will headline the Bend WinterFest on Friday night in the Old Mill District. Be sure to pick up Friday’s edition of The Bulletin and find GO! Magzine; it’ll have all the details you need on this band, the album, and WinterFest in general.

I don’t love reggae, but I love this band.

Larry and His Flask playing 2011 Warped Tour

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Photo courtesy Joseph Eastburn Photography

Short but sweet: Central Oregon’s fast-rising favorite sons, the acoustic juggernaut known as Larry and His Flask, will play every date of this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.

The Flask fellas will spend most of their summer as part of the biggest, longest running and most popular pop/punk/emo traveling festival in America, which will kick off June 24 in Dallas, Texas and will wrap up Aug. 14 in Hillsboro. Other artists on the tour include Unwritten Law, Yelawolf, The Ready Set, Reliant K, Lucero, Hellogoodbye, and probably other bands that are huge, but I don’t recognize because I am old.

This is huge exposure for these hard-working local dudes. Congrats, guys.