Posts Tagged ‘The White Buffalo’

Today in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Let me be very clear: I mean no disrespect to anyone or anything else when I say that I think the Sisters Folk Festival is the all-around best music-related event in Central Oregon.

From the quality of artists booked and the seamless operations to the beautiful setting and the overall vibe, SFF is just awesome. There may be other places or events in the area that bring in music that you or I like more, but in terms of the experience, nothing tops the folk fest.

We’re seeing that reflected in the festival’s popularity, too. Last year, organizers expanded their staffing and venues, and this year, for the first time ever, tickets sold out in advance. And so, the team that puts on Sisters Folk Festival is hard at work not only, uh, putting on a festival, but also working to overcome the challenges that come with growth.

But this weekend, it’s all about the music.

Tonight, Jimmy LaFave and a bunch of his friends (Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irions) will pay tribute to Woody Guthrie with a program called “Walking Woody’s Road.” I spoke with LaFave about the iconic folk singer, who would’ve turned 100 this year.

Guthrie’s music has experienced a rebirth in recent years, thanks in part to his daughter Nora’s efforts to turn his unused lyrics into new songs. LaFave — who is currently setting about 20 lyrics to music — said Guthrie wrote about 3,000 songs, but only 70 were really known in his day.

And beyond music, he painted and wrote poetry, wrote novels (including one about sustainable living in sod houses), and was fascinated by science and nature.

“He was a total sponge,” LaFave said. “The guy was not just talking about riding the rails. He was talking about quantum physics. He was so far beyond his time, they must’ve thought he was nuts.

“There’s no one,” he said, “that lived 20 different lifetimes like Woody Guthrie.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing. Also, I wrote blurbs about seven artists I consider to be highlights of this year’s SFF lineup. You can click through those here (sorry about the tiny type).

’80s hit machine Huey Lewis and the News will play Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater on Tuesday. My colleague David Jasper spoke with Lewis about all kinds of things, including his love of our town.

“I love Bend, Oregon. It’s one of the great places on Earth, I think,” Lewis said by telephone last week. “I live in Montana, in the Bitterroot Valley, which is not dissimilar, but actually Bend is a little more upscale. Your bagels are better than ours.”

Wait. How does Lewis know so much about Bend and its bagels? Because the man who crooned on “Jacob’s Ladder” also knows his salmon ladders: He’s a fly-fisherman. In effect, Lewis knows the power of love and the power of the mighty Deschutes. In fact, he believes Bend is up there with Los Angeles and San Francisco in their primes.

“Imagine L.A. in the ’30s and ’40s. No traffic, no pollution, these winding streets,” he said. “It was the best place on the planet in the ’30s and ’40s. Best weather in the world in L.A.”

San Francisco was great in the ’50s and ’60s, Lewis said, but “the population keeps getting more and more crowded, and they keep moving — and now it’s Bend, Oregon.”

You really should read the whole article.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Guitar savant Buckethead returns to town, The White Buffalo is back as well, Casey Neill & the Norway Rats come to McMenamins, Black Beast Revival plays Liquid Lounge, Necktie Killer wraps up Redmond’s Music in the Canyon concert series, and both The Horned Hand and Silver Moon are super busy, each with four shows over the next seven nights.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 13th, 2012

One of, in my opinion, the world’s finest singer-songwriters is coming to Bend’s Tower Theatre on Tuesday.

You should go. It’s going to be great.

Ladies and gentlemen, the wonderful and ever-so-slightly warped Todd Snider:

I chatted with Snider last week while he was driving south through California. He was kind, totally forthcoming, and highly quotable. But the most interesting part was when he told me he’s done making records! Wait, what? Yeah, that’s what he said. Believe him if you like, or don’t. (I don’t.) Who knows? But here’s an excerpt:

“I mean, I think I should stop making records, yeah. I may go out and try to tour for a while and really … work on my guitar playing and learning my old songs … but I think I’ve said the s–t I need to say. I don’t see any reason for me to say more s–t. People have given me plenty of attention.”


“You gotta ask yourself how many songs the world needs, you know? God. There’s already so many, and in my neighborhood, I promise you, there’s 10 since me and you started talking. There’s 10 more songs in this poor world,” Snider said. “Maybe there could be something else I could write … maybe a bunch of love songs, (but) that last bit felt like the last bit of throw-up, the bile part. I like it. I think it might be my favorite one. But I (also) think I might’ve said what I was supposed to say, if I was even supposed to say anything.”

You should go read the whole thing.

Also next week: The return of Last Band Standing, Central Oregon’s multi-week, audience-determined battle of the bands. The schedule calls for 28 bands to duke it out over nine weeks, and the winner will pick up some studio time, a vehicle and other stuff. Plus, it’s all free to attend! This really is a pretty great way to sample lots of the local music scene, so go and get all the Last Band Standing info you need.

This week’s music section is packed, by the way. We’ve got something on The White Buffalo, Matt Hopper, Basin & Range and The River Pigs’ CD-release shows, plus The Dig, The We Shared Milk, Michael Allen Harrison Superband, Warm Gadget, the Central Oregon Songwriters Association’s annual showcase, an underground hip-hop show at JC’s and more.

Oh, and tonight’s Roach Gigz show at the Domino Room is canceled.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

(Note: Oops, I meant to post this yesterday. Apologies to the Friday events that have now already happened.)

First of all, if you love music, Central Oregon, music in Central Oregon, or you just love having things to do in Central Oregon even if they’re not related to music, you should check out this week’s GO! Magazine, where we celebrate today’s date — 11/11/11 — by recognizing 11 people, places and things that have shaped the regional arts and culture scene over the past 11 years.

It’s a fun package of stories and photos. (There’s a photo of Ben Harper at the Les Schwab Amphitheater that is a must see.)

Anyway, you can find it right here. Now onto the music:

Wednesday brings a strong progressive bluegrass bill to Bend when Greensky Bluegrass and Hot Buttered Rum play GoodLife Brewing Company.

The Maiden Bend Bluegrass Fest showcases the talents of six female musicians with local ties.

–The Horned Hand hosts a couple of local faves: The White Buffalo on Monday and Great American Taxi on Thursday.

Provo, Utah’s The Brocks are coming to Bend, and for 60 percent of ’em, that means a trip home.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: The return of Warm Gadget, Mars Retrieval Unit lands at Silver Moon, The Church of Neil is in session, Shawn McDonald plays at Journey church, Brothers Young headline an alt-folk bill, and a slew of heavy bands are playing around town this week.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The fine fellas in local rockabilly blues trio Boxcar Stringband will play the M&J Tavern Saturday night to celebrate the release of their new album “Going Down South.”

I spoke with founding members Joseph Balsamo and Casey Cathcart about their band’s distinctly vintage style.

Much of today’s music industry is obsessively focused on the future.

Just about everyone is out there trying to create the next big sound, find the next big thing, or stumble onto the next big viral marketing scheme.

Not the three guys in Boxcar Stringband. The Bend-based trio … lives in the 21st century, but its music is a convincing throwback to a bygone era.

“When I think of our band, we’re playing basically everything that was around in 1953,” guitarist Joseph Balsamo said in an interview last week. “We just have bigger, stronger amps than they had.”

You should go read the whole thing here, and then go check out Boxcar on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the music section, we’ve got all the details you need on two local festivals: the rootsy, jam-focused 4 Peaks Music Festival near Tumalo, and Saturday’s living shrine to the acoustic guitar, the Breedlove Festival.

Plus, local folk favorite The White Buffalo returns to the region for two shows, one tonight in Sisters and one Saturday at The Horned Hand, a brand new art/music space on Colorado Avenue in Bend. Click here to read about The Horned Hand’s plans and the people behind them.

Oh wait, there’s more: Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom has a big week planned, with guitarist Fareed Haque’s Math Games group tonight, locally rooted indie-folkers Loch Lomond on Wednesday and junkyard blues specialists Hillstomp on Thursday. Madhappy Lounge has a busy schedule, too, with underground rapper Open Mike Eagle on Monday, political punkers Prayers for Atheists on Wednesday, and electro-hip-pop group Vokab Kompany on Thursday. Then there’s the wonderful Nicki Bluhm at Alive After 5, The Greencards play the free Sunday show at the Schwab, Town Mountain brings three nights of bluegrass to McMenamins, and a Last Band Standing update.


This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Local fave folk singer The White Buffalo returns to Bend this weekend for a two-night stand at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom. I spoke with the Buffalo — aka Jake Smith — about his early, frustrating days as a musician in San Francisco.

“Nothing was really happening for me,” (Smith said). “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to get gigs. I didn’t know how to even think about making a CD.

“I would write songs and … I wanted to play music, but I was not very confident as a performer and I played like once a year,” he continued. “I’d call people on the phone, and they wouldn’t ever call me back.”

Undaunted, Smith took a more primitive approach to booking shows.

“I started playing songs into the phone, and then I would get calls back and I would start getting gigs,” he said. “I would try to rock like 30 seconds of something, and then I’d say, ‘This is The White Buffalo. Call me back.’ And I’d leave my phone number.”

“That actually worked every time I did it,” Smith said. “That was my press kit.”

You should click here to read all about a guy who plays to sell-out crowds pretty much every time he comes to town.

(Video of Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives at the Tower Theatre by YouTube user tdworak.)

For my Feedback column this week, I wrote about last week’s outstanding show at the Tower Theatre by country traditionalist Marty Stuart and his band. Spoiler alert: I thought it was the first great local show of 2011.

Honestly, my jaw was on the floor throughout most of the night. From the minute the quartet walked on stage — Stuart in a black suit (embroidered with flowers) and a turquoise scarf, his band mates in glittery, head-to-toe turquoise suits and all-white boots — this was a show so tight, so smooth, so perfect, it was like watching a video of a band that had been rehearsed and re-shot and edited until all mistakes were eliminated. Except this was live, right in front of my eyes.

Not a note out of place. Not a hair out of place. Devastatingly gorgeous harmonies swooping through the air. White-hot guitar playing as far as the eye could see. Big smiles, charming winks, witty banter. And a selection of wonderful songs, perfectly paced.

I hope you’ll go read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Moira Smiley & VOCO wrap up the Sisters Folk Festival’s Winter Concert Series, the popular 80s Video Dance Attack returns to the Domino Room, a big rap show on Sunday night will serve as local MC Jay Tablet’s CD-release party, local musicians get together in Sisters to raise money for Jim Bull, and a couple of University of Oregon a cappella groups visit Bend High School. Plus, ska/reggae dudes The Supervillains play The Summit and California power-poppers Bright Faces are at JC’s Bar & Grill.

Plenty to do out there, folks! What are you gonna go see?

Baker’s Dozen: The 13 best concerts of 2010 in Central Oregon

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I’ve gone on and on about my favorite recordings of 2010, but live music is the backbone of any good scene. Here is a look back my 13 favorite shows of the past 12 months in chronological order, with excerpts from reviews already published in The Bulletin or on Frequency.

The White Buffalo, Jan. 26, Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom

(Jake) Smith’s talents are many, but his voice is obviously his most distinctive quality. It’s a show-stopper. A jaw-dropper. It’s canyon deep and sequoia strong, with a natural resonance that 99 percent of singers would kill to have.

The closest comparison I can come up with is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though when he’s at his best, Smith makes Vedder sound like Bobby Brady going through puberty.

He’s just that great of a singer.

Smith showcased that voice on barnburners like “The Madman” and “Carnage,” with their ultra-low notes, as well as meandering, pretty numbers such as “Sleepy Little Town” and “Where Dirt and Water Collide.” And he let it soar during two of his best songs, “Love Song #1” and “Damned.” The ascendant pre-chorus of the former and the roller-coaster verses of the latter were perfect examples of Smith’s skill for writing melodies that are both unconventional and memorable.


This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I love the Central Oregon music scene. You guys know I do.

But today, I’m driving over to Portland to see three great bands — Telekinesis! Superchunk!! Teenage Fanclub!!! — and I need to hit the road, so we’re gonna keep this short:

Click here to visit The Bulletin’s online music section for a rundown of what’s happening in Central Oregon this week. We’ve got country star Jo Dee Messina (kinda love this song), Alaskan rocker Matt Hopper (his new album is great) and local pop-punkers Capture the Flag (kicking off a U.S. tour by playing with the great Broadway Calls tonight), plus The White Buffalo, Lucy Schwartz, Big Jugs, Luckyiam, The Defibulators and a locals’ roundup that includes Blackstrap, Chris Chabot, Deb Yager and Bo Reynolds, StillFear and Shovelbelt. You need more options? Visit our complete music listings.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Kelly Joe Phelps and Corinne West will bring their wonderful new duo to Angeline’s Bakery in Sisters next week. Both are well known solo artists on the folk circuit, but they’ve merged their talents. West told The Bulletin why:

We didn’t know quite what to expect other than that we were going to have a great time, which we did. However, we found a mutual bond on many musical levels that took the music places neither of us had been artistically. Very magical. It was an easy decision in the end to continue forward, as the music seemed to form its own life around us, and we both thought it was extremely beautiful. Heartfelt and strong. So many things.

and …

We’ve been amazed by the sound of our voices together — something neither one of us ever expected to find in terms of a true sympathetic companion vocally. Not emotionally, necessarily (even though that does apply as well) but tonally. We’re still amazed by that. And we’ve found a commonality in things like phrasing, vocal or guitar, where we’ll be in the middle of some flight of musical fancy and find ourselves phrasing vocally or guitaristically in the exact same way at the exact same moment. Out of seemingly nowhere. It’s really turning into quite a journey.

You can read the whole thing here.

Steve Earle performs at Bend's Tower Theatre on June 29. Photo by Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Alt-country icon Steve Earle played to a sold-out Tower Theatre in Bend June 29. I was there and wrote a review, and here’s part of it:

I was surprised by how few songs Earle did from his new record “Townes,” a tribute to his mentor, the late songwriting genius Townes Van Zandt. He did the man’s best-known tune, “Pancho and Lefty,” and “Rex’s Blues,” as well as one of his own songs, “Ft. Worth Blues,” that’s about Van Zandt. But that was it, unless I missed one.

As he introduced “Rex’s Blues,” Earle described Van Zandt as a “migratory” fellow, and the lyrics of “Ft. Worth Blues” reflect that; besides the title town, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas (and Houston), Amsterdam, London and Paris all make an appearance in the song.

Five minutes later, Earle was plucking his guitar and talking about his sons, two of whom are grown and the other brand new. He dedicated “Little Rock ‘n’ Roller” — a tender lullaby released 25 years ago on Earle’s first album — to his boys, and turned in a genuinely moving performance that exuded a blend of love and regret that any workaholic parent can understand.

Somewhere in there, it occurred to me that “Ft. Worth Blues” and “Little Rock ‘n’ Roller” neatly sum up most of Earle’s oeuvre; almost all of his songs are about motion or emotion. Or both. If he’s not singing about being stuck in this town, getting out of this town, or wandering over to that other town, he’s playing a song he wrote “for what’s-her-name, wherever the hell she is,” as he said in Bend.

I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing. And click here to see more of Bulletin photographer Rob Kerr’s photos of the show.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Former Men at Work frontman Colin Hay kicks off the Clear Summer Nights series, top-notch folkies Sid Selvidge and Amy Speace play a house show in Bend, The Aggrolites return to town, the Poison Control Center brings ’90s indie rock to Mountain’s Edge, and Silver Moon Brewing has a typically strong week planned, with the Raina Rose Trio tonight, Not An Airplane on Saturday, and a full band show by The White Buffalo on Thursday. As usual, you can find lots more fun stuff to see and hear in The Bulletin’s complete music listing.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Portland-based hip-hop/magic/comedy band Chicharones are headlining the big “Madhappy Freak Show” at the Domino Room Saturday night. I spoke with band principals Josh Martinez and Sleep, who aren’t your average MCs, that’s for sure. For example:

“We’re bringing … exploding cigarettes and a bunch of other random things that we’ve brought together,” said one half of the Chicharones, Josh Martinez, in a telephone interview last week.

“Now we levitate Josh on stage,” chimed in Martinez’s partner, the MC known as Sleep. “Which is pretty awesome.”

Martinez and Sleep are both Northwest-based rappers and musicians who, for the past several years, were better known for their brainy solo work than their joint venture.

That’s changing, though.

Since Martinez moved to Portland a few years ago, Chicharones’ vaudevillian take on hip-hop has gained the duo a higher profile, bigger crowds and more opportunities. And that means more money.

Which means — what else? — buying more magic tricks!

Both these guys were great interviews, and I’m truly stoked to see them perform Saturday. The whole night — which features locals Jukebot, Mindscape and Capture the Flag — is going to be fun, and I hope you’ll read my whole article by clicking here.

(Perhaps the highlight of Sunday’s Band of Horses show in Bend. Video by buckluther.)

For the first time in 2010, Feedback traveled to Les Schwab Amphitheater to see She & Him and Band of Horses. The former was boring, but the latter was great. Here’s a bit of my review:

New tunes “Compliments” and “Laredo” provided a taste of “Infinite Arms,” and were followed by “No One’s Gonna Love You,” a beautiful older song that struck me in a new way. Looking back, I’m surprised it wasn’t a huge hit thanks to its soaring chorus and some shrewd placement in a romantic comedy film.

The highlight of the night, though, came during “Monsters,” when some serendipitous soul let fly with fireworks across the Deschutes River. They first caught the attention of the crowd, and then (Band of Horses frontman Ben) Bridwell, who was visibly stoked to see them, shouting “Keep doing that, please!” Which they did. For a couple of minutes, the fireworks flashed and boomed and fell glistening to the ground, while “Monsters” loped to its crescendoing chorus and then faded into the night air as Bridwell bowed to the east, pressing his hands together in thanks.

I’ll spare you the unkind words I had for She & Him. You’ll just have to click here to read them.

Also in this week’s music section: pop-rock singer-songwriter Tyrone Wells is at The Annex tonight, and burly, bearded folk singer The White Buffalo returns to Silver Moon Brewing on Saturday. And there’s always more in The Bulletin’s complete music listings.

Review: The White Buffalo at Silver Moon Brewing

Friday, January 29th, 2010

I mentioned this in passing yesterday, but folk singer The White Buffalo (aka Jake Smith) performed on Tuesday night at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom in Bend, and pretty much blew me away. Here’s an excerpt of my review:

Smith’s talents are many, but his voice is obviously his most distinctive quality. It’s a show-stopper. A jaw-dropper. It’s canyon deep and sequoia strong, with a natural resonance that 99 percent of singers would kill to have.

The closest comparison I can come up with is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though when he’s at his best, Smith makes Vedder sound like Bobby Brady going through puberty. He’s just that great of a singer.

Smith showcased that voice on barnburners like “The Madman” and “Carnage,” with their ultra-low notes, as well as meandering, pretty numbers such as “Sleepy Little Town” and “Where Dirt and Water Collide.” And he let it soar during two of his best songs, “Love Song #1” and “Damned.” The ascendant pre-chorus of the former and the roller-coaster verses of the latter were perfect examples of Smith’s skill for writing melodies that are both unconventional and memorable.

You can read my take on the first great local concert of the year by clicking here. (Note: That article is freely available to all. You won’t hit a paywall.)

The White Buffalo at Silver Moon. Photos by Ben.

The White Buffalo at Silver Moon. Photos by Ben.

(Click below for more photos.)