Going West

This week’s blog post is gonna be a quickie, but a goodie.

Will West, "The Life Single"


Will West has been holding down a lot of forts for us lately – heading up the White Eagle’s “Eagle Time” and “Add Love” showcases, kickin’ it at Rock Creek Tavern, etc.

We like West for his hand-clappy, call-and-response approach to Americana….

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Wild Flag’s Undercard: EMA

photoUnless you’ve been living under a moss-encrusted rock somewhere on the nether side of Mt. Tabor, you know that Portland’s beloved Wild Flag will be gracing the Crystal Ballroom stage on May 4.

If you like rock ‘n’ roll even a little, teeny bit, go. Go to this show. Wild Flag puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see.

But today’s blog post isn’t about Wild Flag. Today’s blog post is about one of the support acts –EMA–  who will be playing this show. 

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Celilo: Laurel Canyon Meets the PNW

photoI’ll be honest: I’m not a big fan of Celilo’s occasional new age driftings. But when the group corrals its inner Enya and sticks to its own brand of mellow California 70s rock, it’s fun and groovy and gently rocking, in a Laurel Canyon kind of way. It’s a sound as airy as sea foam, but rooted, too, like a sequoia. If that makes any sense. 

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Americana, Part 2: What the Hell Is It?

photoLast week I wrote a blog post (here) with some preliminary thoughts about the nature of “Americana.” I use quotes around that word because I mean the nature of “Americana” as a term -or at least that’s how I intend to start the conversation -because it’s a term that gets bandied about like a mofo and I wonder if it’s lost some meaning in the process. It might be interesting to unpack it a bit.

Pinning down the definition of music genres is something I think about a lot (Seriously. I know, I’m a nerd. But I once wrote a 1,200-word piece on the true definition of “emo” and got all sorts of hate mail about it, so obviously I’m not the only nerd who cares.), and my interest was re-piqued by Frank Fairfield’s recent stint at Al’s Den.

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“Americana,” Part 1: Huck Notari

photoMaybe it’s spring’s slow, long drag into summer (which I’m choosing to view as romantically rainy, rather than what it really is), or maybe it’s the lingering effects of Frank Fairfield’s recent old-tyme revival in Al’s Den -for some reason I’ve found myself drawn to dreamy, down-tempo, reverbed-vocal-laden tunes of late. We’re talking the type of music that is very broadly termed “Americana “-which is lazy as hell, as far as I’m concerned, because what does that term even mean any more?

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What Music Pairs With Ruby?

photoPerhaps you’re thinking, Hey, I should go out and celebrate Ruby’s birthday tonight. After all, pints of Ruby are a mere $2.50 all across McMenamins-land. You would be thinking correctly, friend. Ruby’s big day is one of the most popular we have. The air around us carries with it the same zingy crackle as Ruby’s raspberry infusion. The beer’s a-flowin’, the smiles are…smiling, and the music’s jinglin’, janglin’, rippin’, and roarin’.

Music? You say. Why, of course! What’s a birthday without music? And you would be right. You’re a smart person, friend, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

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The Decemberists’ Chris Funk talks Pogues, KMRIA

KMRIAI have spent the last 8 hours wracking my brain, trying to figure out how to tell you exactly how awesome KMRIA – Portland’s Pogues tribute band – is. The band, which consists of some of the best musicians the Pacific Northwest has to offer, will kick off the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend festivities tomorrow (Thursday, March 15) at the Olympic Club.

The Pogues are not your normal band, and this not your normal tribute band (after all, what tribute band can boast members of the Decemberists, the Eels, and Dr. Theopolis, among others?), and so I feel compelled to get the message out. And the message has gone through all sorts of fancy permutations in my head, borne of panicky questions: Do people know who the Pogues are anymore? Do people know what an amazing band they were? Do people understand the level of talent that’s in KMRIA? Do people know what “KMRIA” stands for?

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Sarah Jaffe: Beyond a Singer-Songwriter

Sarah JaffeThe first time I heard Sarah Jaffe (who is opening for the New Multitudes boys at the Crystal Ballroom this Friday, March 9.) she was maybe 20 years old. It was 2007. I had just moved to Dallas to take the music editor position at the alt-weekly Dallas Observer, and one of the first things I heard out of the mouths of those in the know was, “You gotta go hear this girl, Sarah Jaffe. Singer-songwriter. She’ll blow you away.”

I was doubtful. I had already spent four years covering music elsewhere, and I had grown cynical about the genre. The words “singer-songwriter” to me equated “bore you to tears,” not “blow you away.”

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Jay Farrar + Woody Guthrie = New Multitudes!

Beardos, take heed! All your dreams are about to come true!

photoSeems some of America’s most favorite be-whiskered gentle rockers have teamed up to tackle a very Americana-esque task. Going under the moniker “New Multitudes,” Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) have joined forces, gathered up some previously unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics, and set them to their original compositions, on which they all collaborated.

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15 Minutes With: Fade to Light Fashion Show

photoLike clothes? Like supporting Portland’s finest designers? Like music, beer, and a fashion scene that’s fun but not snotty? Then you’ll dig the Fade to Light Fashion show at the Crystal on Wednesday, February 29.

We’ll be honest: When we first heard about this show, we weren’t quite sure what the deal was. A fashion show’s a fashion show, right? You know: Clothes. Runway. Models. Repeat until the drinking can start.

But Fade to Light…well, it’s much more than that. For one thing, DJ Gregarious will be holding down the musical fort, along with Brainstorm* and that, friends, equals fun. But more important, event producer Elizabeth Mollo promises it will bust the boundaries of your usual fashion show, in some very creative ways. We chatted with Mollo on the phone today to get her thoughts on things.

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