Want to hear Jackson-Holman’s more beat-oriented sound for yourself? You’re in luck! Here’s one of the best examples on “Cardiology,” an upbeat collision of dance-pop and Beethoven’s “Für Elise” called “For Albert.”
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.”
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.
Downtown Bend will celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style Thursday as L.A. fusionistas Ozomatli headline a free outdoor celebration on Wall Street. My conversation with band co-founder Ulises Bella focused more on Ozo’s world travels than its music.
But it’s the band’s role as U.S. Department of State-designated Cultural Ambassadors that sparks a fire in Bella. When he talks about Ozomatli’s music, he sounds excited. When he talks about its overseas work, he sounds inspired.
Since 2007, the band has traveled to Nepal, India, Myanmar, Madagascar, Jordan, Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt, Mongolia and China on official government business, playing free public concerts, conducting workshops and doing community outreach in, as Bella puts it, “places no bands go to.”
To wit: Last summer, Ozomatli performed for thousands of people in a public square in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. They were the first Western band to play there. Ever.
“We feel like some pioneers. Like, yo, we’re gonna go into this country and … maybe a handful of people might know who we are,” Bella said. “In a weird way, it’s a great litmus test for letting the music stand on its own.
“In a lot of ways, there’s something in our music, especially rhythmically, that you can latch onto and be like, ‘Hey, I kind of know this. This kind of seems familiar to me,’” he continued. “We start playing and immediately the reaction is for the most part overwhelmingly positive.”
Elsewhere in this week’s jam-packed music section, we’ve got short stories on Cash’d Out and The Staxx Brothers, plus The Northstar Session, Mad Rad, The Anvil Blasters, Sara Jackson-Holman, Super Adventure Club, Brandi Carlile, Floater, Tony Smiley and Marv Ellis, the Acorn Project and more.
Take your mind off those ominous skies to the west by reading a round-up of locally flavored music news that should take some of the sting out of the next few months:
–The fine folks at KPOV would like you to know that you can now buy tickets to see banjo genius Bela Fleck & the Flecktones at Mountain View High School on Dec. 8. They’re available at KPOV’s website. After Fleck’s Christmas show at the Tower a few years ago, I talked to several people who said it was amazing. So yeah, go make sure you have a seat.
–The Steep Canyon Rangers are one of the finest young bluegrass bands in the country, though lots of folks best know them as the backing band for famous comedian and bluegrass dabbler Steve Martin. Regardless, the Rangers are coming back to Central Oregon to play Sisters Folk Festival’s Winter Concert Series. While we’re at it, here’s the whole series lineup:
All shows start at 7 p.m. in the Sisters High School auditorium. Tickets are available here.
–Bend-based singer-songwriter Sara Jackson-Holman just released three Christmas songs — “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Angels We Have Heard On High” — and has made them available for download. For $1. What a bargain! Plus, proceeds go to charity. I don’t know which charity, but I trust Sara, and so should you.
You can stream two of them and/or download all three at Jackson-Holman’s Bandcamp site.
The Cowboy Junkies visit Bend’s Tower Theatre, and my colleague David Jasper spoke with bassist Alan Anton:
The band is promoting the new album “Renmin Park,” the first in a series of four albums they’re calling “The Nomad Series.”
“This is what we’re doing that’s special,” Anton said, referring to the band’s 25 years together and the four-album cycle, to be released over an 18-month period.
In a statement on their website, www.latentrecordings.com, Cowboy Junkies explain that “for the first time in 20 years we are completely free of any recording contracts and obligations, we find ourselves writing and recording more than we have in years, our studio (The Clubhouse) feels more and more like home, the band now has 25 years under the hood and is sounding so darn good.”
Mosley Wotta performs at Portland's MusicfestNW on Sept. 10.
Every year, I travel over to Portland for the big MusicfestNW extravaganza. This year, for the first time (that I know of), the festival’s lineup included two Bend acts: Mosley Wotta and Sara Jackson-Holman. In this week’s Feedback, I write about their performances and how the crowds seemed to like ’em.
Performing live is still a relatively new endeavor for the 21-year-old Jackson-Holman, and on stage, her nerves sometimes show.
But by the time she arrived at the cascading melody of “Into the Blue” and the bouncy “Cellophane” — backed by an effortlessly skilled three-piece band — she found a good groove that carried through the rest of her night, including a formidable cover of Death Cab for Cutie’s “Transatlanticism.”
Live, the songs were noticeably more sparse than their lush, slickly produced counterparts on “When You Dream,” with the exception of the album’s woozy, slow-burning title track, during which Jackson-Holman used unexpected percussion and a gadget that looped her voice to create the set’s true “wow” moment.
Again, if you’ve seen Mosley Wotta, you probably know most of the songs he/they did: “Birthday Suit” and “Smoke” and “Smile Hater Smile,” all the faves. There were some familiar faces in the crowd of 60ish — Graham’s former DJ Mike “Mud” Graham and former Person People bassist Jordan Muller among them — but there were also lots of people I didn’t recognize, and by the time MoWo finished his opener, “Licking Reason,” most of them were smiling and bobbing their head to the beat.
From there, Graham kept reeling them in. “Boom For Real” is an undeniably great song, no matter your age; halfway through it, I turned and saw two white women in their 60s or 70s, dressed for a night at the opera, shaking their fists and chanting “boom … boom, boom!” to the chorus. Behind them, a 20-something black dude was doing the same thing. (The older women actually howled during “Smoke,” too. It was hilarious.)
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: The Devil Makes Three, Greg Brown, The Redwood Plan, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Mindscape, and live music returns to Sisters’ Three Creeks Brewing Co. And you can always find more options in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.
Here’s the official video for “Cellophane,” the first single from Bend singer-songwriter Sara Jackson-Holman‘s debut album “When You Dream.” The clip, created by Chris Tootell of Whitegate Films, stars downtown Portland, Cannon Beach, and some lush (presumably) Oregon forest, but not Jackson-Holman herself.
On his Twitter Wednesday night, local hip-hopper Mosley Wotta (aka Jason Graham) announced that he has been added to the multi-day, multi-venue, multi-genre extravaganza’s schedule.
When I visited Graham’s house a few weeks back (for this blog post), he told me he had just put together an artsy application to play MusicfestNW. Obviously it paid off. In an e-mail this morning, Graham said he’s slated to play at 8 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Jimmy Mak’s, where the bill also includes THEESatisfaction, Champagne Champagne and Shabazz Palaces. (That is an outstanding bill. My love for Shabazz Palaces is well-documented.)
The whole MusicfestNW schedule is right here, and if you go there, you’ll see a couple other Bend-connected names are on the bill:
— Supernova singer/songwriter/pianist Sara Jackson-Holman will be at Ash St. Saloon at 8 p.m. on Sept. 10, opening a night of music featuring Casey Neill & the Norway Rats, Austin Lucas, The Slants and Hillstomp.
— Former Bendite, cornerstone of our local DJ/hip-hop scene, and current Portlander DJ Barisone (aka Bryan Barisone) is set to play Rotture at 9 p.m. on Sept. 10. After he’s done, the party will continue with Ryan Organ, Tyler Tastemaker and Lazer Sword.
Congrats to all three of these fine folks for snagging a spot at one of the coolest music festivals around. And for representing Bend’s music scene in the big city!
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.”
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.
By now, you are probably becoming familiar with the name Sara Jackson-Holman, if not from my feature article on her way back on New Year’s Day, then from the press clips she’s piled up since. Most impressive is this review of the release show for her new album “When You Dream” that appeared on The Oregonian’s online arm (and perhaps in print, I’m not sure), plus this preview and review from Portland alt-weekly Willamette Week.
Indeed, when you are a preternaturally talented singer and songwriter with a distinctive sound (Norah-esque classical+jazz+pop), a compelling backstory (from MySpace comment to record deal) and an affiliation with a credible label (Expunged, home to Blind Pilot), the press will take notice. But why listen to the press? (Don’t answer that.)
A few weeks ago, Frequency asked Jackson-Holman to jot down some thoughts and feelings about each track on her debut album, “When You Dream,” which came out May 25. Below you’ll find her insights on the origin of some songs, the meaning of others, and a quick update on her plans for the summer, including the just-confirmed date of her local CD-release show!
these songs are all little fragments of me, from my imagined and real worlds.