Video Debut: Crow and the Canyon, “Golden Chains”
Oct10

Video Debut: Crow and the Canyon, “Golden Chains”

By Kara Wilbeck Photo by Little Green Eyes Media, courtesy of Crow and the Canyon Y’all like to hear about great new bands, right? Well here’s one you might want to pay attention to: Crow and the Canyon. You might not have heard of this band yet, but you probably know some of its members: Ben Larsen (guitar, mandolin, fiddle – formerly a member of Giraffe Dodgers, Twisted Whistle, Renegade String Band), Austin Quattlebaum (banjo and guitar), and relatively new Portland transplants Miles Berry (upright bass) and Leigh Jones (ukelele). With a group of musicians this seasoned, you know this band is going places. The folky, grassy group features gorgeous three-part harmonies and some great foot-stompin’ tunes, and they’ve been touring their way around the West Coast for the past few weeks. Check them out this Monday, October 13, where they’ll be headlining at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland! Here is the debut of Crow and the Canyon’s latest video, a performance of their song “Golden Chains” (written by Ben Larsen and featuring Leigh Jones’ soulful, beautiful vocals) on the balcony of the Crazy Horse Saloon in Nevada City, CA. Check it out! Crow and the Canyon will play at the Doug Fir Lounge on Monday, October 13. Tickets are $8 – $10 and can be purchased here....

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Preview: Leftover Salmon @ Crystal Ballroom, Oct. 10
Oct06

Preview: Leftover Salmon @ Crystal Ballroom, Oct. 10

By Kara Wilbeck Photo by Alexander Maso When a college friend first played me Little Feat’s iconic live album “Waiting for Columbus,” my first thoughts were, “Cool, that was fun!” A couple days passed… then BAM! All I wanted was to listen to “Waiting for Columbus” over and over and over again. Considering that 10 years later it’s still one of my go-to albums, my surprise obsession seems to have been a lasting one. There is really only one other album that’s done that to me, and it’s Leftover Salmon’s “Bridges to Bert.” I went from zero to I-fucking-love-Leftover-Salmon-give-me-more in a matter of days. So when Leftover Salmon recently announced the addition of Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne as a permanent member of the band (Payne had been sitting in with the band on an increasingly regular basis), you can imagine how beside myself with excitement I was – and am. This Friday, Oct. 10 Leftover Salmon will hit the stage at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, which (outdoor venues aside) is the perfect place to experience the band’s signature mix of bouncy, goofy, grassy, heartfelt and straight-up brain-bogglingly psychedelic music. If you’re already familiar with Leftover Salmon, you know that they are self-described as “polyethnic cajun slamgrass.” If you’ve never seen them before, get ready to find out why that is the only reasonable genre description for them. Leftover Salmon will play at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland on Friday, October 10. Kyle Hollingsworth Band opens. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9. All...

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NWSS Preview: 10Q with the Shook Twins
Jul16

NWSS Preview: 10Q with the Shook Twins

Interview by Kara Wilbeck Photo courtesy of the Shook Twins The Shook Twins are two of our favorite local treasures here in the Pacific Northwest! As they gain popularity, we Portlanders consider ourselves lucky to have the identical songbirds Laurie and Katelyn right in our backyards. Their band’s fun and magical sets have been a Northwest String Summit mainstay for years, and we’re looking forward to yet another festival with them! In anticipation of this weekend’s festival, we talked with Katelyn Shook about the Shook Twins’ music, their new album, and what we can expect from them at NWSS! 1. Portland Metronome: Your music has a sound that we just haven’t heard before. Growing up and making music together, how did this sound develop in its incubation period? Katelyn Shook: Well, it’s been a long process of finding out sound over the years. When we first started playing music we were covering songs of all genres for no particular reason, mostly if a song was simple enough for us to play and interesting enough for us to “Shookify.” And then out of the chords and harmonies of the cover songs, we crafted our own cheesy originals, which were not good in our opinion now! Over time, we got more drawn to the ambient and eerie sounds that we incorporate in our originals nowadays… and of course adding other extremely talented musicians like Niko [Daoussis] and Kyle [Volkman] helped us compose way more intricate instrumental parts!   2. PM: Your voices sound so similar, but you both have your unique musical personalities. As twins, how have you found ways to explore and broaden your individual styles and talents? KS: Well, Laurie has really expanded and focused on her looping and beat-boxing and percussion over the years, and she has also strengthened her harmony skills being in our side project, Morning Ritual. I have been able to focus on my rhythm guitar and vocal skills through both bands as well.   3. PM:  You are known for playing both daytime and late night sets at festivals – do you play differently depending on the setting? KS: Yes, our day sets are pretty normal… our night sets can be quite interesting depending on the festival! We always try to bring out the grooves for the late-night sets or at least get as dancy and weird as a folk band can be! We’ve been known too bust out some classic hip hop covers like “Gangster’s Paradise” and “No Diggity” and we also feature Niko and his solo project, Cyber Camel. He has some amazingly fun and surprising hip hop-esque originals that we do specially for those late-night festy sets. It’s so...

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A Gorgeous View of (More Than) 4 Peaks
Jul01

A Gorgeous View of (More Than) 4 Peaks

Story by Kara Wilbeck Photos by Alexander Maso Well, it’s official, and I’m not afraid to say it: I absolutely love, love, LOVE 4 Peaks Music Festival! The first time I went to the festival in 2012, it was a drizzly weekend, but the beauty of the place was not lost on any of us. This time around, though, the combination of the gorgeous weather and unbeatable view was overwhelmingly beautiful. It’s really impossible to get tired of the view at the Rockin’ A Ranch, with its rolling grassy hills surrounded by the high desert of Bend, which looks out upon the sprawling peaks of the Cascade mountain range. 4 Peaks was significantly larger this year, thanks to a mass gathering permit issued by Deschutes County. Even with the expansion, 4 Peaks still qualifies as a teensy-weensy festival, and instead of crowding more people in to the existing space, additional campgrounds were opened up for the bigger crowd. I love that the festival promoters know that part of the draw is the easygoing, hassle-free environment, and that they make sure that experience is preserved, even as the festival grows. This year’s music was top notch as usual, featuring mostly string bands with a peppering of funk. On Friday, some afternoon highlights included Polecat and Hot Buttered Rum (who played a handful of seriously awesome covers), and a super-long tent set from The Congress. Poor Man’s Whiskey (who have played at 4 Peaks every single year!) opened up the evening with a rippin’ set of Allman Brothers tunes, before Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk closed out the main stage with a dirty, funky dance party. After the main stage closed at 10, everyone piled into the side stage tent for a late-night set from Whitewater Ramble an accurately self-described “High-Octane Rocky Mountain DanceGrass” outfit who kept the party going until it was time to unplug (at which point they continued their set acoustically, to keep the neighbors happy). Even after the end of the scheduled music, the campgrounds at 4 Peaks don’t go to bed! Despite the chilly air, campsite jam sessions went on late into the early morning. Saturday began relaxed and fun, with campground neighbors trading stories and getting together for lawn games. The music up at the stages started early in the day, with highlights such as the Brothers Comatose, Tracorum, and Moonalice. One of my favorite sets of the weekend was from Brooklyn funk band The Pimps of Joytime, who played right before the headlining set on Saturday evening. These guys have been making a huge splash on the West Coast in the past couple of years, and it’s easy to see why-...

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Galactic’s New Direction: A Review
Apr22

Galactic’s New Direction: A Review

Review by Kara Wilbeck Photos by Alexander Maso There are not many bands that can consistently reinvent themselves every few years while remaining beneath a single genre umbrella. Fortunately for all of us, Galactic is one of these bands. Since its formation in 1994, the funk outfit has spent the last 20 years representing every aspect of the fluctuating New Orleans musical culture.  The original Galactic sound was far on the jazzier end of the funk limits- there was a sophistication and maturity to the sound. Over the next decade, the group evolved into a looser, edgier form of itself, and started to enjoy mass appeal from a huge range of ages and demographics. Finally, in the late 2000s, Galactic dived deep into further exploring their hip hop side with From the Corner to the Block, which was rounded out by the “melting pot” album Ya-Ka-May, whose songs ranged from relentlessly funky to anthemic to, well, totally gangsta.  Galactic’s most recent album celebrates yet another essential aspect of NOLA culture: Mardi Gras. Carnivale Electricos added festive and bacchanalian sounds to Galactic’s palette, furthering the band’s incredible diversity. The most recent tours have focused mainly on these last few albums, and featured vocalists (and New Orleans music royalty) such as Cyril Neville and Corey Glover. And just when we were expecting another tour with this formula…BAM! Galactic goes and changes it up on us again.  The show at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom on March 14 was a jump forward from what was becoming Galactic’s norm. Since the band plays in Portland at least once a year, the crowd gets extra excited when something new is in store for them. The band’s arrival was preceded by rumors of a new singer, an absolute wild woman that, well, no one had ever heard of before.  For a singer with such little experience touring with a well-known band, Maggie Koerner sure knows how to work a crowd. From this small, young woman emanates a huge, commanding stage presence. The addition of Koerner to the band allows Galactic to choose from a far larger and more diverse pool of songs, including several older tunes from their repertoire, a handful of soulful covers, some brand new Galactic material, and even one of Koerner’s own songs. In fact, with the exception of “Hey Na Na” (which Koerner sings in the album version), Galactic left their newest release, Carnivale Electricos entirely untouched.  The show opened with “Cineramascope,” one of the powerhouse instrumental hits from Ya Ka May. Usually placed as a mid-to-end of set main course, “Cineramascope” as an opener was a serious indication that we were in for a treat. Koerner made her first...

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New Ammo: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Crystal Ballroom, 2/15
Mar20

New Ammo: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Crystal Ballroom, 2/15

Review by Kara Wilbeck Photos by Alexander Maso With a musician as versatile as Karl Denson, there have been times when I’ve wondered which side of him would show its face at a concert. Would it be the fly, funky Karl or the smooth jazz Karl? The hard rock Karl or the psychedelic Karl? Denson’s shapeshifting abilities seem to have spread to his jazz/funk/rock outfit Tiny Universe. Playing a late-night festival set at Horning’s Hideout, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe amped up the psychedelia, leaving the audience somewhere between “What just happened?” and “That was awesome!” At a fall show at Portland’s Aladdin Theater, Tiny Universe tapped Zach Deputy‘s vocals for an all-stops-pulled Ray Charles dance party.    At the Crystal Ballroom on Feb. 15, Denson and company opted for the harder, fuller, rockier sound, which unsurprisingly reflected the audacious attitude of their recent release, New Ammo. Much of the show’s set time was devoted to showcasing the new album, which- trust me- nobody was upset about. Forgoing the groove and soul of previous Denson projects, New Ammo is aggressive and bold- and bold is most definitely the way to go when you’re playing at the Crystal Ballroom.   Borrowing bassist and vocalist Tony Hall from Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk for the show, Denson’s show that night was fired up. The matching suit-clad band played with nonstop energy, barely giving us rest between songs. Statuesque guitarist DJ Williams blew the crowd away (as usual) with the shockingly good sounds emanating from his instrument. The night culminated in an intense cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” a standout track on New Ammo. (This author is also a huge fan of the title track, “New Ammo.”) The show ended with the Crystal Ballroom’s spring-loaded floor still bouncing and a crowd wanting even more of Denson’s heavy artillery.   Correction: This article previously referenced former guitarist Brian Jordan. The current guitarist for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is DJ Williams. We apologize for the error. Gallery: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR, 2/15/2014 Click on photo to view full...

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