Posts Tagged ‘Eric Tollefson’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 27th, 2012

For the past couple of days, I’ve been listening exclusively to local singer-songwriter Eric Tollefson’s new album, “The Polar Ends,” in my car. Adding up the short drives and long cross-town trips, I’ve probably made it all the way through the record four or five times.

Mind you, I finished writing this week’s cover story about Tollefson on Tuesday, so these most recent listens have been free and easy, unburdened by the need to listen with a critical and analytical ear. In other words, I’ve just been listening for fun, not as prep for the story.

My conclusion: This thing has a bunch of great songs on it. And boy does it sound good.

On Thursday, Tollefson will play his official album-release show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. A couple weeks ago, he and I chatted about all kinds of stuff — writing songs, making the record, pressure, nerves, his upcoming relocation to Seattle to try to make it in a bigger pond. Here’s an excerpt:

How the big pond treats him remains to be seen. Not that it matters much.

“If the wheels fall off and people don’t respond to anything I do, I’m still going to write songs every day,” Tollefson said. “There’s just nothing in my life that makes me happier.”

What matters, truly, is Tollefson’s attitude, his approach to music, and how he feels about his work.

“Be a student of music and the industry. Represent yourself the right way and work hard,” he said. “If you’re going to approach something big, you’ve got to do something bigger than you.

“If this record was just me, I don’t think it would come off the same,” he continued. “I wanted it to sound bigger than something I was capable of. And I think, at least, I achieved that.”

Eric’s a solid dude who made a solid album, and I think you should read the whole article.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: local singer-songwriter Jackie Barrett’s new album, plus The California Guitar Trio and Montreal Guitar Trio, Keola Beamer, Mann, Betty and the Boy, Polecat, A.M. Interstate, Sara Jackson-Holman, a Last Band Standing update and more.

Exclusive stream: Eric Tollefson, “Leo”

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Back in 2009, Eric Tollefson burst onto the local music scene with “The Sum of Parts,” an album that showcased the then-25-year-old’s impressively smooth synthesis of acoustic pop and bluesy rock delivered straight from his heart to your ears. (Here’s the article I wrote back then.)

Three years and a ton of gigs later — including slots opening for G. Love, Robert Randolph and Jackie Greene — Tollefson is back with a new album, “The Polar Ends,” a meticulously crafted collection of songs that boast beautiful production, indelible melodies and a bunch of big-time players.

Tollefson will play his local album-release show on May 3 at McMenamins Old St. Francis School, and “The Polar Ends” will be officially released on April 24. But thanks to the man himself, Frequency has an exclusive premiere of my favorite track on the album, a sturdy pop number called “Leo.” Give it a spin below, and then check back here (or in GO! Magazine) on April 27 for more on Tollefson and “The Polar Ends.”

(Photo courtesy Joseph Eastburn Photography)

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The popular and prolific singer-songwriter Ben Harper returns to Bend tonight for the first time in more than five years. And lucky us, he’s currently touring behind the best album of his long career, “Give Till It’s Gone,” which was released in May.

Here’s Harper doing one of the intensely raw and personal songs from the album.

Here’s part of what I wrote:

“Give” is the man’s best work yet, kicking off with the melancholy tone of “Don’t Give Up on Me,” the slow-burn defiance of “I Will Not Be Broken” and the playful, Wilco-esque chug of “Rock N’ Roll Is Free.” Later, Harper tries to find hope in a doomed relationship as “Pray That Our Love Sees the Dawn” lopes along an understated groove.

Occasionally, the somber fog lifts. “Clearly Severely” and “Do It For You, Do It For Us” are, quite simply, scorching rockers that sound like catharsis happening inside your headphones. And the album’s high point is also it’s centerpiece: two sprawling, psychedelic songs (co-written by Ringo Starr) called “Spilling Faith” and “Get There From Here” that flow together and stand out as an oasis of hope in a murky sea of anger and regret.

But it’s that “lens of anger and regret,” the L.A. Times pointed out in its review of “Give” back in May, that “provides Harper a musical focus he’s never had.” And it’s that focus that sets Harper’s newest work apart from his too-often unremarkable back catalog.

I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing.

Next up: After years gigging around Bend, local musical couple The Quons have their first album ready for release and they’ll celebrate it with a big CD-release show Saturday at PoetHouse Art. Click here to read my feature story on these fine folks.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Brothers Young and Hurtbird play an early show at Parrilla Grill, Maverick’s Country Bar hosts the twangy Lee Brice, and eclectic singer-songwriter Nathan Leigh hits The Sound Garden. Plus The Mostest and the Shireen Amini Band at Parrilla, a heavy bill (Stillfear, Tentareign, Sons of Dirt) at Players, Eric Tollefson plays a free show in Redmond and Blackstrap takes their bluegrass to Elk Lake Resort.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Eugene’s sunny pop/rock/reggae band Rootdown returns to Bend this weekend to celebrate the release of its new album “Tidal Wave.” I spoke with frontman Paul Wright about Rootdown’s upbeat music and upbeat message.

“Our banner is one of hope and positive momentum,” Wright said. “We want to be about encouraging people and about bringing hope, and sometimes living in Oregon — at least on our side over here — it can be pretty depressing six or seven months out of the year.

“When it’s sunny here, man, we take notice,” he continued. “We kinda bring that same feeling that I get when it’s springtime and summer starts to hit here. I think we bring that with our show and our music.”

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

Feedback this week focuses on the sudden springtime surge of locally made albums we’re experiencing, and I look ahead at what other local recordings are underway and might be released by the end of the year. Wondering what’s up with Moon Mountain Ramblers, Eric Tollefson, Mosley Wotta, Erin Cole-Baker, Tuck and Roll and a bunch more? Click here to find out.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section, we’ve got the wildly eclectic Vagabond Opera, a showcase of local songwriters Tollefson, Sara Jackson-Holman and Kylan Johnson at McMenamins, the return of the Portland Cello Project, the shred-tastic guitar skills of Jennifer Batten, and some ’90s-influenced indie rock from Slow Trucks, plus a Last Band Standing update.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Political folk-punk legend Billy Bragg descends upon the Tower Theatre on Tuesday night. My colleague David Jasper wrote a terrific article about his conversation with the man, which bounced from the power of Facebook to America’s upcoming midterm elections, and from Bragg’s program to put guitars in the hands of inmates to the catharsis of writing songs about things that piss you off. I’m not even going to try to excerpt the thing; trust me, you should go read the whole story by clicking here.

Elsewhere in the music section: Feedback focuses on the strong slate of shows coming up over the next few months, including newly announced dates by acts like Dick Dale, Brother Ali and Lucero. And this week, we have Yard Dogs Road Show, DJ Professor Stone, Jukebot!, Eric Tollefson and Boxcar String Band, plus a slew of locals playing Halloween parties. And if all that leaves you wanting, there’s always The Bulletin’s complete music listing.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Aphrodesia, an Afrobeat (and so much more) band based in the Bay Area, will kick off the 20th season of Munch & Music Thursday. I spoke with bassist and bandleader Ezra Gale about the rising profile of Afrobeat in America.

“I think (Afrobeat) is definitely more in the mainstream consciousness than it was when we started doing this,” Gale said via telephone Monday. “Where I live in Brooklyn, there’s now at least three or four young Afrobeat bands who are playing (in the style of genre godfather Fela Kuti), and I remember when Aphrodesia first started, as far as we knew, it was us and (New York’s) Antibalas. It really was this new thing. Nobody knew who Kuti was, and we were playing this music that felt obscure.

“It’s important to keep it in perspective, because there are things that are pushing it into the mainstream (such as the Kuti-focused “Fela!” Broadway musical), but at the same time, when you talk about most people in this country, most still have never heard of it, really,” he said. “So us Afrobeat musicians kind of live in a bubble. To us, it may seem sort of played out and passé, but in fact, it’s still new to probably 98 percent of people.”

Accompanying the Aphrodesia story are a few words from Munch & Music founder Cameron Clark on what two decades of the popular, free concert series means to him. I hope you’ll click here and read it all.

Also in the music section this week:

New recorded music just keeps on coming from Bend’s ridiculously productive scene. This week, I wax poetic about the new album from Sara Jackson-Holman (“it’s an aural tractor beam, drawing me in over and over again”), who’ll hold a CD-release show Monday, and The Autonomics (“bruising rock ’n’ roll that draws influence from both modern and classic sounds”), who’ll celebrate their new EP with a show tonight.

Elsewhere, we’ve got all the details on the Breedlove Festival, a concert and barbecue at Maragas Winery, Lisa C. Pollock’s Indie Freedom Tour at Silver Moon Brewing, Eric Tollefson and the Show Us Your Spokes lineup, Curtis Salgado and the Picnic in the Park lineup, folk singers Kasey Anderson and Anastacia, and a scaled-down Pinback returning to the Domino Room. And as always, you can find lots more in The Bulletin’s complete music listing.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Oregon hard-rock legends Floater are back in town this weekend, this time for two shows — electric tonight and acoustic on Saturday — at Mountain’s Edge. Frontman Rob Wynia agreed to an e-mail interview and then answered all my questions in a way that surely set a record for correct grammar usage in a band interview. Here’s a piece of it:

GO!: Portland’s music scene has long had a strong reputation, perhaps never more so than right now. And yet Floater has always sort of existed outside the normal channels of press praise, scene backslapping, etc. Do you ever look at what’s happening there and sort of gloat at the fact that Floater has achieved what it’s achieved without necessarily playing by the traditional rules?

RW: At first (years ago) I felt hurt by the fact that no matter what we did the press seemed to either hate Floater or simply ignore us. But the shows are such a total blast, and the fans are so vocal and supportive that eventually you just say f–k it. The flip side is that on the rare occasions when you are praised in the press you have to sort of ignore that too. You can’t have it both ways. If everybody hated us then we’d play in our garage for each other. But since it seems in general to only be critics, then screw ’em.

You can read the whole thing here.

Also in this week’s music section: indie-folk singer Sean Hayes plays a Bend yoga studio, one-man rock show Tony Smiley returns to town, can’t-miss Michiganders Frontier Ruckus play the Wednesday-night gig at McMenamins Old St. Francis School and local fave Eric Tollefson hits Silver Moon, plus The Luce Cruz tonight at Parrilla Grill, Allan Byer on Saturday at Cork Cellars in Sisters, and the Thumbprint Collective hosts an “Open Lab” Wednesday at Bendistillery Martini Bar. And if you’ve found nothing to suit you so far, you can always find more in our complete music listings.

[Video] Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers go to L.A., Act III: It’s Like Changin’ A Drum Head

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

OK, it’s been a couple weeks since our last video update from Bend-based blues-rock band Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers‘ trip to Los Angeles to play at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go club in Hollywood. (Here are parts one and two.) It took ’em a while to edit this, and by now, the band is back, the gig is ancient history, and so on. But, in the interest of completeness, I’m going to go ahead and post the third and final installment of their video diary, which includes some pre-show shenanigans, still photos from the show (no video cameras allowed inside), and footage of the group doing something every touring band must master: changing a tire. Thanks to Tollefson and the Lovers for putting this and the previous videos together and taking Frequency readers along for the ride:

[Video] Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers go to L.A., Act II: Family Day

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

The Bend-based blues-rock band Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers headed down to Los Angeles to play at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go club in Hollywood, and they’re keeping a video diary of the journey for Frequency. Here’s part two, “Family Day,” which includes some cooking tips from guitarist Tim Schroeder and the whole crew goofing off around the house they’re staying at in Huntington Beach:

[Video] Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers go to L.A., Act I: The Gas Just Disappears

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

The Bend-based blues-rock band Eric Tollefson and the World’s Greatest Lovers are heading down to Los Angeles to play at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go club in Hollywood, and they’re keeping a video diary of the journey for Frequency. Here’s part one, which features Sigur Ros, Flight of the Conchords, some bathroom humor and a lesson on how not to pump gas from keyboard man Keith O’Dell:

Stay tuned to Frequency for future updates from the band!