Posts Tagged ‘Moon Mountain Ramblers’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Acorn Project, from Bellingham, Wash., is coming down to play three consecutive nights at Bend’s McMenamins Old St. Francis School. That seemed like a good-enough reason to chat with saxophonist Sam Lax about the band.

If Acorn Project is a jam band, they’re one with a sense of momentum. Where most jam bands might engage in endless, aimless guitar noodling, this one keeps moving forward, rocking out, ever mindful of keeping a beat.

In other words, Acorn Project’s music is jammy, sure, but also muscular and punchy, a result of its members’ varied interests.

“Everybody has a pretty different taste in what they like, and I think that … kind of led to our eclectic mix,” Lax said. “Our bass player and lead singer/guitarist are both big fans of blues-rock and more of an indie sound. Myself and the keyboard player are really into the jam scene and the live electronica scene. And then we have our drummer who’s big into hip-hop.”

And while the individual Acorns will improvise and take solos, the band tries to focus on strong songwriting rather than just setting sail and seeing where the wind blows.

“If we’re going to write a funk song, we want it to sound like funk,” Lax said. “We’ll open it up and let things flow, but we try to have, like, an end in sight, you know?”

You can check out the whole thing here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section:

Bend-based booking agency In The Pocket Artists is having a family gathering of sorts this weekend, as four bands from its roster play in town over three days. Click here to read up on the company, as well as Rubblebucket, The Staxx Brothers, Jukebot! and Empty Space Orchestra.

It seems like every week, another local artist is releasing a new album. This week, we have two: Sisters singer-songwriter Dennis McGregor will celebrate “Behind The Beat, Below The Note” Saturday at the Harmony House, and Bend Americana combo Moon Mountain Ramblers will show off their new double-disc “Live at the Tower” album with a show tonight at Angeline’s Bakery in Sisters, and Saturday night at Silver Moon Brewing in Bend.

Still not satisfied? How about punk vets GBH at the Domino Room, jazzman Dan Balmer kicking off Black Butte Ranch’s summer concert series, and David Miller, Erin Cole-Baker and the Rough String Band, plus an update on Last Band Standing. As always, there’s much, much more in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.

And don’t forget: some of the best tunes in town this weekend will be at the Bite of Bend. We’re talking March Fourth Marching Band, Rubblebucket, Ascetic Junkies, The Staxx Brothers and more. Here’s our story on that!

The 10 best concerts of the year in Central Oregon

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’ve gone on and on about my favorite recordings of 2009 here and here, but live music is the backbone of any good scene. Here is a look back my 10 favorite shows of the past 12 months in chronological order, with excerpts from reviews already published in The Bulletin or on Frequency.

Moon Mountain Ramblers, Jan. 24, Tower Theatre

MMR

(The Ramblers) were terrific. Their arsenal of stringed instruments rang out crisp and clean. The mix was perfect, with percussionist Dale Largent complementing the pickers nicely. Vocally, the harmonies were shipshape, and I was surprised by guitarist Matthew Hyman’s strong voice. I didn’t realize he’s that good of a singer.

As for the set list, the band flitted back and forth between its favorite styles, from Hyman’s twangy ballads to bassist Dan McClung’s jazzgrass instrumentals to mandolinist Joe Schulte’s more rock-influenced numbers.

One highlight was my co-worker Jenny Harada’s song for her brother, Jason, who died last summer, called “Chasing The Sun.” I’m sure there were dry eyes in the house, but they weren’t mine. Another highlight was a new Schulte song built on a weird, ominous groove and featuring a wicked Largent drum solo, like old-time music meets heavy metal. A genre was born just then, I think: doomgrass.

We also got a raucous cover of the old Stealers Wheel hit “Stuck In The Middle,” a perfectly plaintive version of “Restless,” and what may be the Ramblers’ new signature tune, “Let It All Be Good.” In the latter, when Schulte sang “You’re dancing to our music till your toes start to bleed,” I scanned the wiggly bunch up front to get a glimpse of life imitating art.

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November 20 in GO! Magazine

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Happy Friday-before-Thanksgiving, folks! Do you know what the Friday before Thanksgiving means? It means next week is Thanksgiving, which means good food, days off work, and sports on television. (This is as good a time as any, I suppose, to inform you good people that I’m a college basketball — specifically University of Kentucky basketball — fanatic, and that fanaticism may surface here on the blog from time to time over the next six months.)

Anyway, I love the holidays. I love the parties and the decorations and the merriment and the quality time with loved ones and all the other stuff that comes with the holidays. And I love Christmas music, too. And none of the music detailed below is Christmas music, but that’s coming soon enough.

In the meantime, here’s what’s happening this week on Central Oregon’s live-music scene:

-Veteran local musician and multi-instrumentalist Brad Jones is best-known ’round these parts for his roles in Defekt-N-Jones, The Mostest and, if you’re an old-timer, Floor-Ride. Now, he’s unleashing his solo album “No Strings” on the world with a CD-release show on Saturday night.

-Two opportunities to hit the Tower Theatre, take in some good music, and contribute to a good cause: Tonight is the Homegrown Music Showcase, benefiting the Ronald McDonald House, and Saturday night is 3 Leg Torso, with proceeds going to the Cascade Community School of Music.

-Looking for something to do the night before Thanksgiving? How about GWAR! Because nothing goes with turkey and stuffing like mock murders and fake blood. (I, for one, am thankful that this clip exists.)

-The Ascetic Junkies are a good band from Portland that mixes bluegrass and pop. They’ll be at Silver Moon Brewing on Saturday.

-Roots-rock round-up: Freak Mountain Ramblers, Too Slim & the Taildraggers, Moon Mountain Ramblers.

-Locals round-up: Andy Armer, Necktie Killer, Klever Kill, Problem Stick, Little White Lyins, Leif James & the Struggle, and Amsterdam’s birthday bash.

All those links should lead to stories for subscribers to The Bulletin’s Web site. If they don’t, you’ll either need to subscribe or grab a printed copy of today’s Bulletin.

October 30 in GO! Magazine

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Happy Halloween, kids and grown-up kids!

I’ve got no snappy intro this week, but I do want to know this: What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Let me know in the comments. (I’m quite tempted to shave a corn maze into my hair and go around interrupting peoples’ conversations.)

I’ll tell you what Bend is dressing up as this year: A town with a ton of bands playing at clubs all over the place. Here are five shows I wrote about:

-Person People and The Staxx Brothers tonight at the Domino Room.
-Empty Space Orchestra Saturday at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
-Warm Gadget and Goodbye Dyna Saturday at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom.
-Necktie Killer, Tuck & Roll and Danger Death Ray Saturday at Black Horse Saloon.
-Moon Mountain Ramblers Saturday at the Domino Room.

That’s not all that’s happening. Check out The Bulletin’s events calendar to find a long list of festivities, or better yet, pick up a print copy of GO! Magazine, which contains both the calendar and the “Area 97 Clubs” page, which has even more stuff listed.

Of course, not everything that’s happening this weekend is Halloween-related. Here are a couple options where you won’t feel weird if you don’t dress in costume:

-The popular California ska band Mad Caddies are performing on Sunday at Mountain’s Edge bar, which is the new name of the old Timbers South in Bend. (Click here to read about why the Caddies are playing a place that’s quite a bit smaller than the venues they usually play.)

-On Sunday, Christian hitmakers Todd Agnew and Building 429 will put on a concert at the Christian Life Center in Bend.

So obviously, plenty of choices out there. Everyone have fun and be safe.

August 21 in GO! Magazine

Friday, August 21st, 2009

It was an insanely busy week at my desk, so I didn’t get to do as much blogging as I would’ve liked. And I’m wiped out. But here are (some of) the fruits of my labor:

-Moonalice guitarist Roger McNamee talked to me a lot more about the music industry than music, and it would seem he knows what he’s talking about. Anyone with an interest in the business of music in 2009 — I’m talking to you, local musicians — should read this article. Moonalice performs tonight at Silver Moon brewery.

Oh, and you can follow Moonalice’s Twitter here. And hey, while you’re there, follow Frequency, too!

-David Bowers has had a great run as a singer-songwriter living in Bend over the past decade, but it’s time for him to move on, south to California. I asked Bowers to reflect on his time here, the local music scene, and his future as a performer. Read what he had to say here.

-Clear Summer Nights has two solid singer-songwriters performing on Sunday. The headliner is Jackie Greene, but you want to make sure you get there in time to catch local dude Eric Tollefson, who’s also opening for G. Love early next month. Kinda makes you wonder if Tollefson is heading for big things, doesn’t it?

-The Staxx Brothers play heavy, booty-shakin’ soul music. There is no other way to say it.

-Get all the details on shows by Po’ Girl, The Honey Trees, Wesley Jensen and The Pack, as well as Moon Mountain Ramblers, The JZ Band and Shireen Amini. Also, there’s a benefit party for lost dogs in Chile tomorrow night.

Some of those links are available to everyone, and some only to subscribers. To get it all, pick up a copy of The Bulletin and look for GO! Magazine, where we also have coverage of local plays, visual arts, restaurants, movies, DVDs, video games, and just about anything else you can do to entertain yourself.

Central Oregon musicians pay tribute to Michael Jackson (Part I)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Michael Jackson

It’s been a week now since the unexpected death of Michael Jackson, and the man, his life and his legacy is still a hot topic of conversation. Whether you think he should be remembered as a pop-culture icon or that his latter-day legal troubles overshadowed his chart success (or both), there’s no question the guy had an enormous influence on music.

To get an idea of the influence he had on Central Oregon’s music scene, Frequency asked a bunch of local musicians to talk about Michael Jackson’s role in their development as artists, to reflect on his life, or just to share their memories of his music, and so many responded, I’m going to split this up into two posts. Click below to read their thoughts, watch a video tribute, and see some themes — “Thriller” and sadness — unfold. Then check back in the next day or two for the rest.

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May 29 in GO! Magazine

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Happy Friday, friendly Frequency readers. Every Friday morning, I tell you about all the music stories we have in that day’s GO! Magazine, and today is no different. This week, the recap is brought to you by our buddy Keyboard Gato:

-Local singer-songwriter Kim Kelley celebrates the release of her new album “Bending Blue” tonight at Silver Moon Brewing. Read that story to find out exactly why she started writing songs, and then download a track from the album here:

Download Kim Kelley, “Into Your Blue”

-Alt-country veteran Fred Eaglesmith played a house concert near Sisters on Memorial Day. According to my review, he was pretty great.

-You may not know the name Water & Bodies, but you may very well know more about the Portland band than you realize. Heck, you may know two of its members. BONUS: Click here to download a song and read an interview with the band.

-This weekend should be nirvana for area jazz fans. There are no fewer than three ways to see live jazz over the next 48 hours. Get all the details you need right here.

-Portland musician Stephanie Schneiderman brings her electro-pop solo act back to town on Wednesday, and she has kindly provided a song for you to download!

Download Stephanie Schneiderman, “Oxygen”

-Also in this week’s edition: the Moon Mountain Ramblers, Electric Sudaki, Baby Bash, Frankie J., and a show in Sisters to benefit a Sparrow kid.

By now, you know this, but I’ll say it anyway: Not all of those online stories will be available to anyone to read. For some, you’ll need to be a subscriber. So either subscribe, or pick up a print version of The Bulletin.