Elsewhere: Shadows on Stars headlines Liquid Lounge tonight (stream their album here), Polecat plays twice in town next week and singer-songwriter Paul Eddy is back in town and gigging all over the place after a few years living in Texas. And more, of course.
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.”
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.
The friendly folks in the Bellingham, Wash., bluegrass-ish band Polecat came through town twice in the past 10 days or so, once for a set at the Bend Summer Festival and once for a show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
My colleague Adam Sears was at the McMenamins show, video camera in hand. His footage is below. As you’ll see, this band pumps up its acoustic sound with drums, electric guitars and a bunch of sounds that wouldn’t be caught dead in traditional bluegrass. It’s pretty cool, so check it out.
As summer unfolds, the local music scene is getting busier and busier. This week is no exception. Here’s what’s in the music section of this week’s GO! Magazine:
–Country/bluegrass crossover stars Alison Krauss & Union Station return to Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater Saturday. (By the way, you really should grab a print copy of The Bulletin today. The cover of GO! Magazine is designed so that you can tear it off and fold it into a functional paper airplane to commemorate Krauss’ new album “Paper Airplane.” Fun!)
–The Bend Summer Festival will be crawling with bands all weekend, including Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ottmar Liebert, Night Ranger, Coco Montoya, The Dirt Drifters, Luce, Mosley Wotta and tons of locals.
–The Bend Metal Fest gathers five solid local metal band for a night of headbanging tonight at the Domino Room.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Washington bluegrassers Polecat play twice, gifted Portland MC Illmaculate visits Madhappy Lounge, a roving group of Accordion Babes invades McMenamins, The Barn in Sisters hosts a fundraiser for the High & Dry Bluegrass Festival, and a Last Band Standing update.