Archive for the ‘farewell’ Category

R.I.P. Bill Doss

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Let me add my voice to the chorus — a brilliant, beautiful chorus, of course — of folks who are devastated today to learn of the death of Olivia Tremor Control‘s Bill Doss. OTC (and the Elephant 6 collective in general) was one of my favorite bands in my formative years, and Doss had a knack for melody and harmony that far exceeded most of his peers in pop music. To lose him at such a young age — he was in his early 40s — is just heartbreaking.

Here’s Doss (singing lead) and his band performing just a couple of weeks ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Tonight is Erin Cole-Baker’s last show in Bend before she moves to New Zealand

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Pretty much all you need to know is in the subject line. Longtime Frequency fave Erin Cole-Baker is moving to New Zealand (where she grew up) on Monday, so her set at tonight’s Maiden Bend Music Fest at the Tower Theatre is the last time she’ll play here for quite a while.

Bummer for Bend, but best of luck to both Erin and her husband Bruce.

Lest you wonder what the big deal is, Cole-Baker’s pretty folk-pop songs have powered three of the best locally made albums of the past six years, in my opinion. Here’s what I wrote about the middle one, “Talon and Spur,” in 2009:

The world can be sweet and sad and confusing and rad, sometimes all at the same time. Local folk-pop machine Erin Cole-Baker leaves none of it out, pouring her heart into simple, catchy tunes that feel like tiny peeks into the mind of someone who breathes in all of life’s quirks, both good and bad.

That sums it up pretty well. Easy, irresistible melodies just seem to pour out of Cole-Baker, and she’ll be missed.

Here’s the video for the wonderful title track from her most recent album, “Big Sky”:

Maiden Bend is tonight; it starts in five hours. More details are here.

Say goodbye (for now) to Misty River

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Sometimes it seems like we (I?) get all hyped up about the rock, pop and hip-hop shows that come through Bend, and in doing so lose sight of the bands that sweep into town to play and sing beautiful songs beautifully, which is a skill we should never lose sight of.

Sure, Ice Cube can blow up the Midtown Ballroom with bass and Death Cab for Cutie can send squealing guitars into Central Oregon’s night sky and Ray LaMontagne can gather God’s creatures and heal the sick with his beard. That’s great. But a lot of folks who’ve been around Bend for a while will tell you that Misty River — four ladies from scattered towns around the Northwest who’ve been playing and touring for 14 years — make some of the prettiest, most powerful music around.

Misty River’s days of creating compelling, harmony-happy acoustic Americana appear to be numbered, however. Tomorrow night at The Old Stone (they dropped the “Church” from their name a while back), the quartet — Carol Harley, Dana Abel, Laura Quigley and Chris Kokesh — is playing a show to say farewell to their Central Oregon fans, at least for now. Here’s an explanation straight from the band (some of which you may also see in my story in tomorrow’s GO! Magazine). Emphasis is mine:

As for the impetus for the band’s break from performing, Abel says that after fourteen years of making Misty River a priority, it is time for band members to focus on other aspects of their lives. Harley (Vancouver, WA), a seven-year survivor of leukemia, is concentrating on improving her health. Kokesh (Portland, OR), who in 2010 released her first solo CD October Valentine, is working on a career as a singer-songwriter. Quigley (Maupin, OR), who married last year and moved to a stock ranch in Central Oregon, is expecting her first child. Abel (Eugene, OR), a mother of two, wants to spend more time with her family and pursue the environmental work she left behind eleven years ago.

“We still love to perform together, but also recognize the need to move on,” says Abel. “When Misty River formed in 1997, we took a canoe trip together that inspired me to write a song about the rewards, challenges and surprises one might face on a river trip–for me, it was an analogy of our band’s journey into the performing world. It has been a great ride, but for now, the demands of touring together don’t fit in with our lives. We are glad, however, to have a chance to say farewell for now to our Central Oregon fans and thank them for being so supportive over the years.”

If you’ve never heard Misty River, here’s their cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” from their 2007 album “Stories.” In the hands of these four women, it’s more polished but every bit as mournful as the original, and it sounds like an old traditional tune — a testament not only to the players, but to the songwriters, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.

Misty River, “Black Muddy River”

If you’re interested, click here to read the feature article I did on Misty River in 2007, which is based on an interview with Harley, who grew up in Bend in the 1950s and ’60s.

Misty River plays The Old Stone (157 N.W. Franklin Ave., Bend) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door or $17 plus fees in advance, available at Ranch Records (541-389-6116) in Bend and

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.