Roots-rock megastar Ray LaMontagne is playing in Bend next week, but the notoriously press shy singer-songwriter declined my request for an interview.
I won’t lie, it hurt a little bit.
UNTIL … (this is called a cliffhanger, please scroll down)
I SCORED AN INTERVIEW WITH RAY LAMONTAGNE’S BEARD!!! That made me feel way better. Here’s an excerpt:
GO!: Have there been any low points in Ray’s career so far, in your opinion?
RB: I don’t know about low points, but did you see Taylor Hicks sing “Trouble” on that “American Idol” show? What is up with that dude? How did he win? Better yet, how did he beat Daughtry, Kellie Pickler and Katharine McPhee?
GO!: I don’t know.
RB: Me neither. I just know I don’t trust him. No facial hair.
GO!: So what musicians do you like?
RB: Hmm … well, I dig Hairy Belafonte. Whiskertown. Tuft Merritt. Aesop Locks. And also actual artists like Bush, Grizzly Bear and Shaggy. ZZ Top, obvs.
And I can’t resist posting this part of it:
GO!: Why can’t I find any pictures of Ray smiling?
RB: I don’t really want to get into that. Let’s just say that his teeth and I have had some tussles in the past, so it’s good to have his lips as a buffer between us.
GO!: Whoa … are you saying that Ray LaMontagne’s teeth are a bunch of jerks?
RB: No comment. Next question.
Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good interview, considering I was talking to a beard. I hope you’ll go read the whole thing by clicking here.
I went and saw Bend fave Ben Harper at Les Schwab Amphitheater last week and thought it started slow but ended strong. Also, my steak chilaquiles from Spork were awesome. Here’s an excerpt:
Now, I’m no classic rock connoisseur, but even I admired Harper’s epic cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” with its unmistakable, roiling guitars and dynamic extremes. Set against a subtly psychedelic light show, Harper ably handled Robert Plant’s vocals while his band jammed with significant crunch for a good 10 to 15 minutes.
Then, as if to declare himself unafraid of any classic guitar riff, Harper launched into Neil Young’s protest song “Ohio,” which predictably provided a perfect showcase for his deceptively strong voice and his not-so-deceptively prodigious skills on the slide guitar. The crowd around me — filled with 30- and 40-something rock ‘n’ roll lifers — went wild, fully satiated by the 20-minute nostalgia detour.
But with Ben Harper, the music always comes back to positive, forward-thinking messages. He closed the show with one of his best tunes, the globally flavored “Better Way” (complete with shrieked final verse) and an unreleased song called “Better Than I Deserve” that I’m still humming six days later.
Click here to read the whole thing, including more about the food (and also the show).
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: return visits by the Reverend Horton Heat, Portland Cello Project and Diego’s Umbrella, Jailbox plays The Sound Garden, and summer concert series are wrapping up at Parrilla Grill, Angeline’s Bakery and Black Butte Ranch.