Pretty packed and diverse, as usual. Here’s what’s in there:
Jim Heath and Jimbo Walls of the Reverend Horton Heat. Photo by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin
–One of the finest young bluegrass bands in the world, the Steep Canyon Rangers, play in Sisters Monday night. Unfortunately, they might be fighting the Oregon Ducks’ national championship bid for eyeballs. We compare the two, Rangers vs. Ducks.
–Sunday night’s Northwest hip-hop showcase will feature two of Seattle’s finest, Champagne Champagne and Mad Rad, plus locals Cloaked Characters and JoAnna Lee. Get the skinny here.
–I went and saw the venerable Reverend Horton Heat on Dec. 29 and wasn’t blown away, but came outta there with a lot of respect for what they do and what they’ve done. Read my whole review here.
–The young, faith-focused Prineville band ER has a new CD out and they’re celebrating with a show tonight. Here are the details.
–Elsewhere in the music section, we have Empty Space Orchestra’s January residency at Silver Moon, Anastacia and the JazzBros at McMenamins, and Jon Wayne and The Pain’s funk/reggae/rock at Silver Moon.
As I told you over here, the new album from Bend-based instrumental space-rock combo Empty Space Orchestra is done, and just waiting to be released. That’ll happen some time later in the spring, probably … or so I hear.
But who likes waiting? No one! And thanks to the band, Frequency has one of the album’s tracks for your downloading pleasure. “Intergalactic Battle Cruiser” has been a staple of ESO’s live show and a fan fave for a while now. Grab it here:
Before I show you the excellent cover art for the album, let me remind you that ESO’s weekly residency at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom begins Friday and continues each Friday throughout January. Look for more details (including a lineup of terrific openers) in this week’s GO! Magazine and on Frequency. Now, here’s that cool cover:
The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band rolls into town next week, bringing its popular “Creole Christmas” show to the Tower Theatre. I conducted an interesting interview with band director Ben Jaffe last week. Here’s an excerpt:
Jaffe’s parents, Allan and Sandra, opened the hall in 1961 in an effort to help preserve and perpetuate New Orleans-style jazz, which was waning in popularity thanks to rock ‘n’ roll and more modern forms of jazz. The Jaffes were a young white couple who’d just moved to a segregated New Orleans from the north, but they jumped in with both feet, building their life’s work around music being made by older African-Americans.
“They never set out to create a music venue or to create a part of American history,” Ben Jaffe said. “They set out to be involved in a movement that they felt passionately about, and it led them down this path.”
Fifty years later, the hall is as strong as ever, though it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. Allan Jaffe died in 1987, and Preservation Hall experienced some “dark years,” Ben Jaffe said, due to lack of leadership. Jaffe took on that leadership role in 1993, and he’s been leading the venue’s renaissance in recent years.
“My biggest fear in the world is (the hall) becoming a museum piece,” he said. “That’s not what New Orleans music is to me. New Orleans music is vibrant and it’s alive and it’s a living, breathing tradition.”
You should go read the whole thing here. Be sure to check out the sidebar on Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (playing a holiday show Thursday at the Tower), as well as the schedule of upcoming holiday entertainment options!
I also want to draw your attention to Page 4 of GO! Magazine, where I’ve written little blurbs about a couple of fine bands that work a little twang into their rock ‘n’ roll. First up is Lucero, the Tennessee-based alt-country band that will play the Domino Room Tuesday night. Next is The Parson Red Heads, a buzzy indie-pop band that draws influence from 1970s SoCal country-rock. They’ll be at McMenamins on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the music section: local faves Empty Space Orchestra are going to fill the MadHappy Lounge with ugly sweaters and post-rock tonight, bluesman David Jacobs-Strain returns to the Silver Moon, the Mystic Roots reggae band plays The Summit, folk singer Cosy Sheridan visits the HarmonyHouse, and Casey Neill & the Norway Rats play a free show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
Well, well, well … Thanksgiving isn’t till tomorrow, but I have plenty to be thankful for: my new daughter, my wife, friends, my job. As of yesterday, you can add to that list a certain hotly anticipated new album from a certain local band that spent the past two years building buzz via brain-warping live shows all over town.
Yup, Empty Space Orchestra‘s upcoming album — scheduled for release next year — landed in my inbox on Tuesday, and I’ll be spending at least part of my holiday weekend checking it out. Obviously, you’ll be hearing more of it in the coming months, but for now, here’s a sneak peek at the song “Tennessee Red,” with footage of Shane Thomas and Lindsey Elias recording the track in California.
If you haven’t heard, Empty Space is playing an Ugly Sweater Jam on Friday night at MadHappy Lounge in downtown Bend. Yes, MadHappy Lounge, the former Bendistillery bar. It’s a room that’s way too small for ESO, both in terms of draw and sound. It’s gonna be loud in there.
The show starts at 10 p.m., and it’s free. And some folks are going to walk away from the show with a link to check out the new album. That’s a pretty sweet Thanksgiving treat.
–Elsewhere in the music section: Details on a CD-release show for former Bendite Jenna Lindbo, a help-us-pay-for-our-album show by Empty Space Orchestra, a free, all-ages show in Redmond by Larry and His Flask, and correct dates for TJ Grant’s mini-tour through Bend (which I messed up last week).
Local space-jazz blastronauts Empty Space Orchestra played the free Summer Sunday show at Les Schwab Amphitheater a few weeks back, and a crew from Rage Films was on hand to document the rock. The results so far have been stunning:
Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three will bring their throwback take on Americana music to the Domino Room next week to help KPOV celebrate its fifth birthday. I chatted with Pokey about how he became such an anachronism.
LaFarge’s work tramples old-time genre boundaries, bouncing around from folk to blues to swing to jazz, but always rooted in American tradition, and always rooted in what he calls the “purity” and “honesty” of acoustic music.
It’s a style that attracted LaFarge in his teens, which is when he figured out just how much he prefers the sound of America’s past over the sound of its present.
“When I realized that rock and pop and all this other kind of stuff sucked, right around the same time, I started listening to the blues … and I started digging my way back from there,” he said. “I started getting into bluegrass, which got me into old-time fiddle music, which in turn got me back into old country-blues and jazz and ragtime and Western swing and all that kind of stuff.”
I hope you’ll read the whole thing here. And click here to study up on Frank Fairfield, who’s also on the bill.
With two genuine country rebels — Merle Haggard and Hank Williams III — in town, I rambled a bit about the genre’s long, proud history of outlaw behavior, and whether it’s been killed and buried for good by the modern music industry.
In the shadow of today’s airbrushed and Auto-Tuned Nashville, it can be easy to forget that country music has a long, proud tradition of outlaw behavior.
Modern country stars are as handled as politicians, every tooth polished and straight, every opinion run through focus groups, (almost) every song crafted by a team of professional tunesmiths.
Beyond that, we also have the Conjugal Visitors kicking off the summer season at Angeline’s Bakery in Sisters, Betty and the Boy at portello winecafe, Stephanie Schneiderman back at McMenamins Old St. Francis School and The Voodoo Fix at Silver Moon. As usual, there are lots of other options in The Bulletin’s complete music listing.
All three acts are very, very good, but I’ll have some extended praise for the opener, Hosannas, in Friday’s GO! Magazine. In the meantime, here’s a track from that band’s new album, “Then & Now & Then,” for free download:
Branden Miskimon practices holding a guitar while Rhythm Culture plays Munch & Music in 2009.
Summer is here! (Almost.) And so are the free, outdoor concert series around Central Oregon. Portland bands The Lights Out and Rosa’s Buds will kick off Les Schwab Amphitheater’s free Summer Sunday Concerts series on Sunday, and we’ve got the rest of that lineup and a roundup of other series right here.
Brandon Summers of The Helio Sequence. Photo by Ben Salmon / The Bulletin.
Portland electro-pop wizards The Helio Sequence came to Bend June 3 to play the PDXchange Program concert series. You can watch several videos of the show here, and here’s an excerpt of my review:
The band’s records are wonderful, warm baths of electro-indie-pop, equal parts organic and synthetic. Brandon Summers’ voice is honeyed, and his melodies float like cotton-candy clouds. And Benjamin Weikel is a machine on the drums, not literally, of course — don’t you hate it when people misuse literally? — but his rhythm seems metronomic, and he looks animatronic as he works.
Helio’s set list stuck mostly to the band’s excellent 2008 album “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” though they sprinkled in the best bits from 2004’s “Love and Distance.” The set was nicely paced, ramping up from a relaxed beginning to a second-half stretch that included some of the band’s very best songs.
Of particular note was “Everyone Knows Everyone,” a buoyant tune about living in a town with a tight-knit music scene, and the title track from “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” with its needle-sharp, high-pitched guitar licks that would sound quite cozy on just about any Modest Mouse song.
Summers and Weikel closed their set with the roiling melancholy of “Lately” (as a perfectly psychedelic light show shone behind them) and “Hallelujah” before calling ESO drummer Lindsey Elias onto the stage for “Harmonica Song.”
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Crunchy Texas country-rock band The Preservation plays Silver Moon, Taarka principals David Tiller and Enion Pelta-Tiller do a special duo show at The Wine Shop, Texas songwriting master Eric Taylor comes to town for a house concert, and The Annex hosts a benefit for a Redmond woman in need of a lung transplant, plus David Jacobs-Strain, Broken Down Guitars, Audiolized and Dust Bunny Monster, and an update on Last Band Standing. If that won’t do, you can always find more options in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.