I spend a lot of time talking about how great the Sisters Folk Festival is; it is without question one of the musical highlights of Central Oregon’s summer.
But SFF is a year-round organization, and you should know that its annual Winter Concert Series — three concerts held at Sister High School’s auditorium — is a good time, too. I saw Trombone Shorty there a few years ago, and it remains one of the best concerts I’ve seen in my time here.
This year’s winter series will kick off Monday with another seriously danceable band from the great state of Louisiana. Here’s a taste …
Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys will turn the high school auditorium into a zydeco dance party next week. My colleague David Jasper spoke with Broussard about how he learned to play accordion, among other things.
After seventh grade, he quit school to help out on the farm by picking and sorting potatoes. And as the story goes, every chance he got, he’d sneak in the house, reach up on the closet shelf and take down his dad’s prized accordion.
“(Dad) started working at another place,” Broussard, 44, told The Bulletin last week. “And when he would go to work, me and my brother would take chances and steal his accordion out of the closet. He didn’t even know which one to point the finger at.
“Every time we did that, though, our mom was like, ‘Y’all know, y’all’s daddy find out you’re doing that, you know what’s going to happen,’” he said. “But we would take our chances. That’s pretty much how I learned.”
Also highlighted this week is the Portland band Animal Eyes, which will play two shows in town — tonight at The Horned Hand and next Friday at Silver Moon — over the next week. Click here to read my take on their wide-eyed, globally inspired indie rock.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section, we’ve got artists that mine American folk, roots and rock ‘n’ roll as far as the eye can see: Peter Yarrow, Danny Barnes, Johnny A., Sassparilla, Calling Morocco, Restavrant and more.
Last but not least, I spent my Feedback column reviewing last week’s Pickwick show at McMenamins. Read that right here, and click here if you’d like to watch a few videos of the band’s performance.
Portland indie-folk artist Laura Veirs will arrive in Bend Wednesday to play her gorgeous songs at the Tower Theatre. (There are a couple places in the article where it says the show is Tuesday. Oops. Ignore that. It’s Wednesday.) I spoke with her about her new baby and her seventh album, “July Flame,” which was released early this year and is a return to the folksier sound of her early work.
Stripping away some of the fancy production of past albums was the goal from the beginning, Veirs said, for two main reasons.
One, she wanted to challenge herself.
“This last album was quite a challenge for me to write because I’d written seven albums,” she said. “I’d played these chords hundreds of times, so it was like, ‘OK, I need to change the tuning on my instrument. I need to write on a different instrument. I need to surprise myself.’ I think that’s where the good art comes, when you yourself feel surprised and engaged in something new, because that’s what resonates with other people.”
I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing.
California folk singer Rita Hosking will visit Sisters Saturday night to kick off the new season of HarmonyHouse concerts. My colleague David Jasper spoke to Hosking about what HarmonyHouse denizens can expect.
“We do mostly my original songs, which range from uptempo to pretty slow,” she explained. “It’s all very country-folk, and so it’s all acoustic, and you’ll often hear a lot of harmonies; they sing along with me.
“We also do some covers and banjo-fiddle tune instrumentals thrown in here and there. It makes for a nice, diversified show for an acoustic group. We do lots of different things. We can rock out a little bit, or play old-time music or bluegrass. I like to do folk ballads. We do it all.”
Click here to read the whole thing and to check out HarmonyHouse’s lineup for the season.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Super Adventure Club, The Mostest and Matt Miller, The Capitol Steps, Acorn Project and Sassparilla. As always, there’s more in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.
Portland-based Sassparilla is a six-piece jug band that rose up in Chicago and Pittsburgh before migrating to the West coast, and man, are they a good time. The group rocks out on:
a cigar-box guitar made from an old jewelry box
a washtub bass beaten with a stick
a polka-dotted 5-gallon-bucket drum kit with rusty brake-drums and a hat-box bass
washboards and a fiddle/harmonica duo that “interjects like a muscular horn section”
I caught this band in Portland in the middle of winter, and it only took one song before the freezing cold bar was a virtual sauna, insulated by puffy jackets stuffed under the tables by the now-frantically dancing patrons. The twangy uptempo songs and the band’s enormous personality — just wait till they start scat singing — make their show a total hoe-down.
You’ll see a wide age range of hipsters, conservatively dressed folk and oddities in the audience. Don’t be put off by the guy in the cowboy hat and boots — he belongs here too.
The music is a mix of fast and slow blues with some punk rock thrown in. This song, “99 Year Blues,” (if it doesn’t start playing when you open that page, scroll down a bit) seemed to be the big hit with the crowd. Check out more songs on their MySpace page or on CDBaby.
Sassparilla is playing at Angeline’s Bakery in Sisters tonight and it’s really worth checking out. Come on, when was the last time you saw a band with a washboard?
SASSPARILLA: The Portland-based blues-punk band performs; $5-$10; 7 tonight; Angeline’s Bakery & Cafe, 121 W. Main St., Sisters; 541-549-9122 or www.angelinesbakery.com.