Tonight: Mark Ransom & The Mostest album release (with a song to sample)

Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 2:35 pm by Ben Salmon

For the second night in a row, McMenamins Old St. Francis School (700 N.W. Bond St., Bend) is hosting an album-release show by a popular local band. Tonight, it’s folk-jam collective Mark Ransom & The Mostest celebrating their new record, “Zara Dreams,” a handsome and pristine sounding document of what makes Ransom so popular not only in Bend, but the other mountain/ski towns he tours through a couple times each year.

The show will get going around 7 p.m. and it’s free. Expect all kinds of local musicians to show up and sit in on the sets.

In the meantime, here’s part of the story I wrote on the band and the album last week:

The Mostest. Photo by Tara Reynvaan.

The sonic origins of Mark Ransom & The Mostest’s new album are nestled at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level in Crested Butte, Colo.

That’s where Ransom and his longtime creative partner Pat Pearsall tested out a buddy’s new home theater system with a documentary on the making of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album.

They watched Simon travel to South Africa, record jam sessions with African musicians and then come back home and write songs over those rhythms.

And they were inspired.

The fruits of that inspiration bloom on the third Mostest album, “Zara Dreams,” a beautifully packaged set of Ransom’s breezy, rootsy folk-pop played by a skilled band that’s been tightening up together for years.

Tightening up, yes, but the key sounds on “Zara Dreams” are the loping grooves the band uncovered by recording in a way that, I think, is sort of the reverse of the typical process. They built a base for the songs by recording hand percussion, acoustic guitar, bass and keys, and then added the drum kit later, giving the whole thing a slightly looser, less rigid, more polyrhythmic feel.

Anyway, here’s a way to hear it for yourself. “The Gift” is the second song on the album, and it’s full of little local references that, if you live around here, will probably put a grin on your face. And that’ll make Mark Ransom happy, I guarantee it.

Mark Ransom & The Mostest, “The Gift”

Mark Ransom & The Mostest album release; 7 tonight; free; McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 N.W. Bond St., Bend; www.mcmenamins.com.

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