Archive for the ‘People’ Category

New Album from Anna Fritz of the Portland Cello Project

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Anna Fritz CD Release Show – Thursday, January 17 – The Secret Society

Portland, OR – Long-time core member of the Portland Cello Project, Anna Fritz, will be releasing her new solo album “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” on Thursday January 17 at 8 p.m. at The Secret Society in Portland. Closing out the evening will be the sing-a-long carnival antics of The Saloon Ensemble.

Fritz wrote most of her new album, “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” in a little cabin in Southern Oregon, nestled within the coastal mountain range of Coos County. Two small creeks ran through the camp, and it was the first time in years that Fritz felt like she was in a place that was truly quiet, with only the sounds of the water, birds and wind to lull her to sleep.

“I had a strong connection with a place that felt sacred; the land all around me was an inspiration, and central to the creative process,” Fritz explained.

And so emerged one of the primary themes of her album: exploring the natural world as a place of comfort and spirituality, longing for this connection within an urban landscape. The video for the title track, produced and filmed by David Waingarten, depicts her waking in the morning in the city to find a string that she follows deep into the woods, where she is free to be her most natural self, finding music in everything around her. The video is a stunning work of art in itself, and helped Fritz to raise over $15,000 through Kickstarter to fund the recording of the record.

Her voice on “Tree Bark” hints at the vulnerable tremolo of Mira, with a contrasting soaring soprano like Sinead O’Connor’s. Musically, cello takes center stage. Fritz has been a core member of the Portland Cello Project since its inception, which has given her a sense of “freedom through limitation.” While most singer/songwriterly records are fleshed out by a rainbow of tonal palettes, “Tree Bark” is arranged for cello trios and quartets. The result is a style that blends Fritz’s orchestral sensibilities, with songs born from the folk rock tradition, layered with tasteful drums and percussion by Ji Tanzer. Jason Wells (March Fourth Marching Band, Trashcan Joe) recorded and produced the album, and his expertise and affection for Fritz’s music resulted in a record with equal parts professional polish and earthy luster.

Fritz’s first solo effort, “Wake,” released in 2005, was a much more overtly political album, oftentimes bordering on angry. Since then, Fritz has grown up a lot, both as a musician and as a person. On “Tree Bark,” anger, frustration and alienation are sublimated into songs that are experimental and playful, sweet and sad. One of the most poignant moments on the album is during Fritz’s rewrite of “The Water is Wide,” where she sings of the struggles of a transsexual lover, a boy trapped in the body of a girl. As the French Horn soars over the background, each verse unfolds the struggle: “And so began my true love’s journey to claim his body for his own, to find a way to bend and shape it, to find a way to call it home.” The familiar chorus takes this story—starring an otherwise invisible member of our society—and makes his story universal, inviting the listener to remember that hard times can be overcome with the help of another.

Other musicians featured on the album include David Waingarten (electric guitar), Alison Ippolito on piano, Samantha Kushnick on cello, and Leander Star on French horn. Album art by Aremy Stewart features a woman smiling peacefully, laying on the ground, her body blending into the earth and roots of a tree. The artwork, just like the chorus of the title track, ties the spiritual and natural themes of the album together. On the chorus of “Gospel,” Fritz sings, “Life is a prayer in the gospel of tree bark. There’s a voice that whispers in the branches at night. It says life has gone on and will go on forever and you’re just a droplet, a small beam of light.”

For more information about Anna Fritz and “The Gospel of Tree Bark,” visit www.annafritz.com.

Up Close with Larry & His Flask

Monday, June 4th, 2012

-Published in Central Oregon Magazine in Spring of 2012 by Laurel Brauns

It might come as a surprise that the nationally famous, Warped-touring band of acoustic punk rockers from Redmond, Larry & His Flask, used to have a hard time getting a gig in Bend. They were too loud, too crazy or just too electric for this laid-back, bluegrass-loving mountain town.

Shunned by most major venues in Central Oregon, they took to the streets—literally—and set up impromptu stages on street corners, often drawing droves of patrons out on the sidewalk in front of the very venues that wouldn’t give them the time of day. Sometimes they’d even march through pubs and bars, play on table tops for a song or two, and rally on to the next place to stir up the crowd.

There was just one problem: they were a punk band, and this whole busking thing required acoustic instruments and someone that could sing loud… real loud.

“We couldn’t plug in, so if we needed volume, we’d just double up the instruments. At one time we had four guitars and twelve people that would play with us on a given night,” said drummer Jamin Marshall, who along with his brother Jesse, founded the band eight years ago.

Jamin had always been the lead singer, and his gritty vocals complimented the band’s beer-before-breakfast sound. But guitarist Ian Cook had the ability to really project over the crowds that would often gather to witness the Flask’s sidewalk mayhem, and with that in mind, he was newly elected lead vocalist.

Cook’s voice and musical inclinations tended towards more of a country/Americana sound, and as he performed the songs that had been in the band’s punk repertoire for years, they were transformed into something altogether entirely. Excited by this new direction, and dedicated to making it work, the boys holed up in a closed-for-the-season lakeside resort in British Columbia for the winter, which was owned by a family member, and woodshedded their new songs and sound.

Enter Dallin Bulkey (guitars), Kirk Skatvold (mandolin) and Andrew Carew (banjo), the diaspora of the then defunct Central Oregon band Zombie Co-Pilot, former Flask touring mates. Equipped with a keen knowledge of crafting three part harmonies, and an empathy for the punk rock scene and sound, the new members hopped in the back of a yellow short bus for a three-and-half-month tour around the U.S. and Canada… and never looked back.

The result was a marriage of bluegrass/Celtic/country instrumentation with the raucous energy of the Flask’s punk-as-hell live shows. One must see it to believe it, but start by imagining a bunch of bearded guys in suits, throwing their fros around to drunken sailor songs and running circles around each other with mandolin, banjo and guitar solos. If it gets too hot, Jamin flings off his shirt. If it’s a particularly fast song, Jesse leaps back and forth across the entire length of the stage like Peter Pan, miraculously taking his upright bass with him, and never missing a note.

Gigs eventually got booked in Central Oregon, and word around town spread that the Flask’s shows were not to be missed. And then the magic finally happened: long-time advocate and promoter Bret Grier of Random Presents got the boys a slot opening for Dropkick Murphy’s, a internationally touring Celtic punk band from Boston. The Dropkick’s merchandise manager was blown away by the sheer energy the Flask brought with them on stage, and got them on a national tour with the Boston powerhouse. This led to many music industry connections, and eventually a spot on the main stage on the Warped Tour this past summer.

In the middle of their crazy touring schedule, the band also managed to release a full-length record in 2011, which made a number of top ten lists both regionally and nationally. “All That We Know” gleams with studio polish and combines Mumford & Sons –esque vocals with explosive drums and banjo riffs. Americana gems like “Slow it Down” place them on par with the Avett Brothers, and has the potential to bring their high-desert thrashgrass to a whole new audience.

With months of touring ahead of them, right now the band is happy to be back in Central Oregon, the place they proudly call home.

“We’re country boys,” Jamin said. “Jesse and I were actually born in Baker City, and I think most of the band just feels more comfortable here.”

“Being on tour so much has also made me really appreciate this place,” he added. “Most of America is badlands and plains, dirt and nothingness. Here, there are mountains all around us… Smith Rock. Sometimes when I’m out in the middle of Kansas or something… I just want to see a tree, or a rock or a stream.”

 

Casey Neill and KMRIA play St. Pats 2012 in Portland and beyond…

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Casey Neill has the kind of voice that makes you stop what you are doing. It’s timeless, like something that might drift out of a jukebox in a roadside tavern somewhere in Middle America. But there are other qualities there that make it truly unmistakable: hints of Michael Stipe’s vibrato tenor, some alt. country inflections of Jay Farrar and the occasional whiskey-soaked growl of Shane McGowan.

I caught a show by Casey and his band, The Norway Rats, at the Laurelthirst Public House one Wednesday as part of his month-long happy hour residency at Portland’s favorite Americana pub. I’ve been listening to him since college, and have come to expect a mellow, easy-on-the-ears folk/country sound (with an occasional rocker thrown in); essentially a predictable mix best characterized by his 2007 album, Brooklyn Bridge. The 2007 album was recorded mostly in New York City, and documents his stint in Brooklyn, while also placing his songwriting and vocals at center stage.

As I should have expected, a lot has changed for Casey since those days in New York. His live show at the Laurelthirst was anything but mellow. Since coming back to Portland and re-establishing his roots a few years ago, Casey put together a super-group of the city’s finest folk/Americana musicians—including Chris Funk and Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists, and Scott McCaughey of Minus 5. While not all the household names where there last Wednesday night, the band played a rousing set of rockers balanced by a few old favorites (see “Riffraff”) and some folksy solos.

Neill embraced the talents of some of these same stellar musicians on his 2010 release “Goodbye to the Rank and File” with a nice blend of Celtic punk, rockabilly and folk. Neill’s literate sensibilities ground each song in memorable images and turns of phrase. It’s a nostalgic homage to a country life that may have never been, and puts you inside the cool silver waters of the quarry with a young lover on a hot summer night.

Look for his newest record “All You Pretty Vandals” to be released this year, produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists.

Neill says of the new record, “We stayed away from any roots tropes this time—no train beats, no twang, no Irish bits, very little acoustic guitar … It’s very much a high-energy band record with a big anthemetic sound. It feels edgy and urgent. There’s some horns and strings, some guest vocalists. We had a lot of fun making it.”

In the meantime, catch one of his upcoming shows in March featuring his Pogues tribute band K.M.R.I.A. (And what does that stand for, you say? Kiss My Royal Irish A**, a phrase used in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and in the Pogues’ song “Transmetropolitan”).

Thurs. March 15: K.M.R.I.A. – CENTRALIA, WA @ The Olympic Club 7pm $15

Fri. March 16: K.M.R.I.A. – SEATTLE, WA @ The High Dive 9:30pm 513 N 36th St.

Sat. March 17: The Norway Rats – PORTLAND, OR @ McMenamins Kennedy School Gym. 4 p.m. Free.

Sat. March 17: K.M.R.I.A. – PORTLAND, OR @ The Wonder Ballroom (Always sells out), 128 NE Russell St $13, Presented by Monqui with special guest SASSPARILLA

Fri. March 30: The Norway Rats – PORTLAND, OR @ The Aladdin Theater

Upcycling… getting crafty in Central Oregon

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The floors and couches of Sheri McGovern’s apartment are covered in a rainbow of sweaters: sweaters made of cotton stripes, purple cashmere, and argyle wool are piled in suitcases throughout the room. Instead of a bowl of fruit, her kitchen table is layered with a cutting mat, and a tower of multi-colored threads sit a few feet away from McGovern’s most valuable tool, a four-string serger.

Using these tools, McGovern transforms used sweaters into A-line skirts, complete with matching leg warmers and headbands. Along with dozens of other hobbyists and entrepreneurs, she is part of a growing trend in Central Oregon called upcycling: the art of taking something old and transforming it into something new.

“I went to fashion design school, so I love fashion and really wanted some new clothes but couldn’t afford them,” McGovern said. “I found a sweater in the closet I was never going to wear again and the idea was born for a sweater/skirt. Now I sell dozens of them a month.”

While McGovern had years of professional training, she believes that learning to upcycle clothing is open to everyone with the desire and patience to learn how to sew and some simple training in pattern making.

Allison Murphy of Utilitu Sew in downtown Bend suggests taking a beginning sewing class or two before diving in and investing in your own machine. Her sewing shop and classroom, which she opened up this fall on Hill Street, features four top-of-the-line Bernina sewing machines for students to hone their skills. When first learning to sew, students may experience a number of technical difficulties as they wade through the process. Working with an instructor on a high-quality machine will reduce frustration and lower the learning curve.

“We live in a time where it is so easy to get things instantly; to just go to the store and pick something up,” said Murphy. “People are not used to taking the time to do something, but sewing takes a lot of will power and determination.”

Murphy supplies students with full sewing kits, items that they can eventually acquire themselves at her shop or other sewing stores in town such as Morrow’s Sewing & Vacuum Center. These include tools like dress making shears, seam rippers and flexible measuring tape. And while buying the right equipment will help beginners be more successful, Murphy insists that sewers should not become overwhelmed by all of this at first

“You don’t need a machine with a million stitch options to make a cool dress,” Murphy said.

Once your basic tools and basic skills are acquired, the creativity begins. There are plenty of places to find clothes that are begging to be transformed into something more contemporary. While thrift stores and the Goodwill are a great first stop, also consider things like clothing swaps, your mother’s or grandmother’s closet, and yard sales.

Upcycling doesn’t stop at remaking clothing. Consider checking out antique stores, places like Pak It Liquidators in Bend, or even the dump for ideas on remaking furniture and other household items.

And sometimes inspiration might literally be in the trash. Tracy Curtis of Ballokai is the mother of the 20-year-old Sister’s singer/songwriter Laura Curtis. One afternoon, she spied her daughter’s used guitar strings in the garbage, plunked them out, and made them into earrings.

“I volunteer with the Sisters Folk Festival and get a lot of old strings from them,” Curtis said. “I just love that someone has played music with them, and now they have a new life.”

Curtis has also used her creative vision to remake burlap coffee bags into stylish totes that she sells online, in local boutiques and in the Pearl District in Portland. She gets the majority of her bags from the Sisters Coffee Company and because plantations are constantly changing their graphics and styles, no two totes are ever the same.

“I think the upcycling trend is a result of people acknowledging that the planet is not in good shape and we need to do something about it,” Curtis said. “It is about asking our selves how many different ways can we use the stuff that we just waste?”

Sara Wiener of Sara Bella Upcycled uses plastic bags, food wrappers and banners to create tote bags, dresses and hats. To date she has saved 35,800 bags from going in the landfill, and the tag line on her website is “Making beautiful products out of garbage!” Using only an iron and a sewing machine, she fuses together plastic bags and creates practical things her customers can use for years to come. It took her five years to perfect her process, but instead of patenting it, Wiener teaches the process to others through workshops at Central Oregon Community College and Bend Parks and Recreation District.

“My philosophy is, the more plastic bags I can use, and teach others to use, the less will end up in the landfill and our waterways, killing fish and birds,” Wiener said.

Whether you are just getting started upcycling your own creations, or are ready to start peddling your wears on Etsy.com, Murphy recommends taking the extra time to craft something well-made that may be loved for years to come.

“Upcycling isn’t just remaking clothing—it embraces rethinking all things that have been used to death in their current form, just begging to be reincarnated into something useful, witty and resourceful,” she said.

The Tools

While there are scores of high-end instruments that will eventually make your sewing life easier, here is a list of must-haves for beginners:

Scissors, a separate pair for cutting paper and fabric

Pins and weights for cutting patterns (weights can be as simple as a soup can)

Tape measure and a clear plastic ruler

Marking tools like a pencil, chalk and water soluble markers

Seam ripper

Hand sewing needles and machine needles

All-purpose polyester thread

Iron

Easy to use sewing machine

A simple pattern

Getting Ideas

There are scores of books on upcycling techniques in bookstores, the library or online. A quick Google search for upcycling ideas reveals a long list of blogs and project ideas ranging from making a wallet out of bike inner tube to turning jeans into tote bags.

Finding Materials

Goodwill, Restore, Pak It Liquidators, thrift stores, antique shops, relative’s closets, the garbage, the dump

Inspiration and Finding Your Style

It is important that you are making things that you are going to love and want to wear or have in your home. When considering what kind of clothes to upcycle, Murphy recommends being both confident and honest with yourself. Try new things, but think about what styles look best on you. Sheri McGovern, who crafts sweater/skirts is a great example. She is also affectionately known around Bend as “dancing lady” because whenever there is live music, she is always upfront, dancing to the music. The skirts she makes skirts compliment her free spirit, high-fashion sophistication, and slender figure, all at the same time.

Making a Music Video with Tim Cash

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

This video was shot on the Deschutes River at Dillon Falls in Bend, Oregon in December of 2011.

Laurel Brauns “Kaleidoscope Eyes” Music Video from FAR from EARTH Films on Vimeo.

As a child of the 80s, I’ve always wanted to make a music video. Of course my vision then was of big metallic hair, cheesy effects, and lots of hopping around throwing my leg in the air as a dance move.

How ever many years later, my dream came true, but its my 30-something self’s version of the dream where I am playing guitar and singing by my favorite river. The whitewater and mist erupting behind me is the most exciting action, and the only thing that might be considered an “effect” is the videographers skillful use of a 18 ft. Kessler Crane that he lugged through the woods for a ½ mile.

Oregon Filmaker Tim Cash has been specializing in creating music videos for close to a decade, and along the way he has produced works of art for many local Central Oregon musicians, exponentially increasing our professionalism overnight. The videos he made for Erin Cole-Baker and Leif James are some of my favorite.

So here is our little masterpiece. I think it is really different than anything else Tim has done, and I am so truly appreciative of his ability to create something that I feel is so authentic to me. To put things another way, this guy can basically do anything. He has the skill and most of the equipment to do what all the big budget guys are doing out there, but instead of adding all that stuff in, I feel the strength of this particular work is in the subtraction and simplicity. I think it takes a real sensitivity to an artist’s vision to help them find their own authenticity, and to be humble enough to do something understated. So thank you Tim for all of that, and for all of you musicians out there, if you are looking to make a music video, check out all of his other project on his website, and get in touch!

And if you’d like to see a little behind the scenes, check out Tim’s explanation of the Crane that he and his assistant Robert Slaney carried through the woods.

 

Oregon Filmmaker: Kessler Crane from Oregon Filmmaker on Vimeo.

Lewi Longmire at the Laurelthirst Public House, Portland, OR

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Lewi Longmire and Bingo play the the Laurelthirst Public House

I went out to see an old music aquaintance of mine, Lewi Longmire, play at the Laurelthirst Public House this Tuesday after Jackstraw. This bar sits on the north end of Laurelhurst Park and is known for featuring a great mix of acoustic Americana and bluegrass. Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, played some of his first Portland gigs here, and Portland music luminaries like Laura Veirs and Casey Neill often pop in to play cameo shows.

I first met Lewi when he was working for Music Millenium, one of those rare gem’s of a music store that promotes local and upcoming musicians with in-store performances. Lewi has always had a name around town playing is own music, but has also built a great reputation as a multi-instrumentalist and has been featured on many albums by national acts like Minus 5 and Tara Jane O’Neil, as well as playing as a side man in the above mentioned Casey Neill’s band (The Norway Rats), as well as with James Low and Caleb Klauder.

Check it!

Tuesday at Laurelthirst, Lewi was playing with his buddy Bingo, who was visiting from Joshua Tree. The way they meshed was magical, and both traded songs and leads like only old music friends can. Lewi’s voice is classic Americana and he can carry a slow and sad tune (see “San Ysidro”) just as well as his more prolific and upbeat numbers like “Disappear,” both of which you can get your hands on through CDBaby.com on his most recent album, “Fire ‘Neath the Still.”

And speaking of this album, I’m intrigued by the cover. It looks like a shot from the Crooked River in Central Oregon, or maybe the John Day? If his love for rivers and the outdoors says anything about the tribe that Lewi attracts, I know you guys would love him in Bend.

And speaking of, the Laurelthirst in general seems to be a gathering place for these type of folk. Though I moved here to take a break from the foot-stompin’, shaggy-haired music so prevalent on the other side of the mountains, I have to say my soul felt filled by being at the Laurelthirst this week. Sometimes you have to move away to remember who you are.

Support My Own Two Hands – the Annual Fundraiser for the Americana Project in Sisters, OR

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

John on the mic at his venue in Sisters. One of his favorite bands, Weinland from Portland was playing that night and he knows a few songs by heart.

There is something special about kids that are born and raised in Sisters, Oregon. I’ve experienced this first hand many times. The most recent occasion was while I was playing a gig at one of my favorite venues of all time, The Barn off Three Creeks Road in Sisters and was first approached by eighteen-year-old John, one of the owners of the venue. He was warm, hospitable, confident and totally present. He is a fellow singer/songwriter and a senior at Sisters High School – an almost alumni of the Americana Project, the educational arm of the Sisters Folk Fest. The Project was was established to foster a passion for the arts among the youth of Central Oregon. As a student in the program, John learned everything from how to play the guitar, to songwriting skills, to how to appreciate music of all genres. Many other students of the Project were there in the audience that night, and it lives down in my memory as one of the best shows I ever played, specifically because of how attentive and appreciative these high school kids were during the performance. They hung on to every word, and surrounded me after the show, offering accolades and sharing stories from their own songwriting process.

Brad Tisdel on the mic with the students of the American Project.

This weekend in Sisters, ww all have a chance to support the wonderful work of the Americana Project. There are performances, a community art stroll, a parade, and the finale fundraiser at the Ponderosa Forge & Ironworks. Read on for more info about this awesome event:

The 2011 My Own Two Hands Celebration is an annual fundraiser for the Americana Project, the educational outreach of the Sisters Folk Festival. The event encompasses a full-weekend of activities on April 15th and 16th including a  Community Parade, the Community Art Stroll and Performing Arts Evening , and the Art Auction and Party.

My Own Two Hands celebrates how one individual can change their community for the better using their skills in a positive way. It also helps to support the mission statement of the Sisters Folk Festival to expand community involvement in the arts.

Brad Tisdel is the executive director of the SSF and the Americana Project. He is also an amazing singer songwriter and is looking all kinds of blissed out in this shot.

“It is amazing to see so many people from different parts of the community come together in support of music and visual arts through the Americana Project,” said Brad Tisdel, executive director of the Sisters Folk Festival. “It is a testament to the meaningful impact that music, the arts and community create in people’s lives.”

One of the core elements of the My Own Two Hands fundraiser is the Common Canvas Project. Every year a different theme is chosen, and visual artists from the community and beyond are invited to create pieces, which will be featured in the community art stroll and auctioned off as part of the final fundraising event on Saturday night.

This year’s theme is “In the Current.”

“We like to keep the theme open-ended,” said Katy Yoder, development director of the Sisters Folk Festival. “It can mean whatever the artists want it to mean. So far this year we’ve had donations ranging from water themes, to air currents, to an actual current, as in the berry.”

Common Canvas is not just for professional artists, however. On the Community Art Day (March 12th this year) members of the community were invited to Sisters Middle School to create art around the theme to be worn or displayed during the community parade, which will take place this year on April 15 from 4 – 4:30 p.m. and run down Hood Street. The Sisters Chamber of Commerce is still accepting applications for the parade.

One interpretation of the theme. Fish!

Shortly after the parade, the Community Art Stroll begins, where over 40 Sisters businesses keep their doors open late, displaying all the donated works from artists, the Common Canvas pieces, and featuring performances by over 20 local musicians. The festivities then move Bronco Billy’s for the Performing Arts Evening, featuring performances by students of the Americana Project as well as the SHS jazz band and choir.

“The Performing Arts night is a real showcase of how the kids in this community have gotten better and better over the ten years of the Americana Project,” Tisdel said. “Younger kids are inspired which gives them goals and creates opportunities for youth mentoring.”

The finale of the weekend’s activities is the Art Auction on Saturday, April 16th at the Ponderosa Forge & Ironworks from 6 – 9 p.m. This event features both a live and silent auction and there are limited tickets available. If you would like to buy tickets, please call the Sisters Folk Festival office at 541.549.4979. Those who cannot make the event are welcome to donate to the American Project on the Sisters Folk Festival website or by calling the office.

“There is an amazing multi-generational aspect to these events,” said Tisdel. “Everyone from elementary school kids marching in the parade, to wise and talented artists donating pieces for the auction; it is really unique in that the community support extends far beyond people with kids in school.”

All monies collected at the auction support the Americana Project. Although the Americana Project is best known for its innovative songwriting and folk music history classes in Sisters High School, its reach goes far beyond these classes and supports many different aspects of music and art curriculum in the Sisters School District. The program awards scholarships for students in the visual and performing arts, provides national, regional and local guest arts and mentors in the classroom, gives an annual gift to the Sisters High School art, choir and music departments and supports both the Sisters Middle and Elementary School music and arts programming.

“I like to think of the Americana Project as more of a movement than a program,” Tisdel said. “It’s a central point in the development of young people in this community, and there is a certain magic in seeing so much community support for a cause that is all about creativity and self-expression.”

Rush Sturges new film “Frontier” in Bend tomorrow night

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Many folks in Bend know Rush as one of the most renown pro-kayakers in the world, but he’s also an incredible musician of the hip-hop/world variety, and one of my favorites right now. He usually goes by Adrenaline Rush when he’s on the mic. Read my review of his most recent release “The Road is Gold” on the Tumalo Creek Blog.

He’s coming to Bend tomorrow night for the premier of his latest movie “Frontier,” and he’ll also be playing some music after the screening.

This kicks off at Silver Moon Brewery at 8 p.m. sharp, so make sure to get there in time to see the film. Door is $5. This event is sponsored by Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, and we’re hosting Green Drinks at the shop this same night if you want to stop by from 5 – 7 p.m. to get warmed up for the show.

Loch Lomond, boy next door

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Loch Lomond

Nearly every morning, at eight a.m. on the dot, the songs of Loch Lomond drift through my window here on Ithaca Ave. in Bend, Oregon from the speakers of Jerry Young’s white Jeep. Loch Lomond’s lead singer, Ritchie Young grew up next door, his parents still live here, and his father is an obsessive fan. When he’s not blasting Ritchie’s latest, I’ll hear Brothers Young for a while, the musical project of his other three sons.

I’ve been long over due to write about Ritchie. I’ve loved his music for nearly a decade now when I first heard him play in Portland while I was going to college there. He writes beautifully dynamic chamber-folk, fleshed out with the baroque flourishes of his five band mates. They most recently played in Bend for the PDXchange Program, opening for Viva Voce at the Tower Theatre, and it was quite possibly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Brothers Young

After the show, I hopped over the garden to Ritchie’s house, and got to rap with the band for a bit about how things have been going. They did admit that they had been rehersing A LOT lately, due to a new infusion of energy that was partially inspired but some recent successes. One, they had the song “Wax and Wire” picked up by Red Bull in the UK to be the sound track to BMX rider Danny MacAskill’s newest video. Last time I checked, it had 8 million views, and Ritchie told me they’ve sold close to 50,000 iTunes downloads of that track as a result. Cha-ching!

Check out some wonderful pictures of Loch Lomond in Bend, Oregon, taken by Photographer Byron Roe, and see the Danny MacAskill video below. The band also just released a new album in February on Tender Loving Empire called Little Me Will Start a Storm. Nice one neighby!

Elk Lake Ice Man Weekend Adventure – Music, Skiing and Debauchery

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The lonely ski in to Elk Lake Resort - 11 miles!

I got a late start on my sunset ski out to Elk Lake this weekend and didn’t leave the parking lot from Dutchman until 6 p.m. My pack was heavy and kept throwing me off balance, and once the wind kicked back up and clouds closed in, I considered turning around more than once.

I’ve done this 11-mile ski on a winter evening quite a few times now, but solo on only one other occasion. (Usually this was when my band, the Sweet Harlots had been hired to play out there for the weekend.) Once I got warmed up and accustomed to the extra weight, I was content to be out there all by myself as the sun quickly set, creating interesting light play between the clouds, mountains and lava flows.

Jason Jermane, Kitri Falxa, Jill and Jasmine

Only one group passed me while I was out there; two snowmobilers also headed out to the lake, but other than that I was totally alone.

For someone who treasures time by myself, I was surprised that loneliness overtook me during the ski. As it got darker and darker, colder and colder, I imagined my friends whooping it up in the lodge, tipping back beers at the bar and singing along to the music. I imagined my sister and her friends back in Bend in our house, having a cozy night by the fire, watching a movie and eating popcorn.

Eleven miles later, just as the delusional headlines like, “Outdoors Writer Found Frozen in Snow Bank,” started to pop into my head, the sign for Elk Lake appeared on my right. My pace quickened and I made the happy decent down to the lodge just as my friends had begun to get worried.

My friend, Kitri Falxa, rented a cabin at the resort for the weekend in order to enjoy the music of our buddy Greg Botsford who was playing in the lodge both nights for Elk Lake’s Ice Man weekend.

Pam Stevenson (who always seems to win the PPP for the non-elites), and Elk Lake owner Nansee Bruce

One of my favorite things about Elk Lake is its wonderful homey feel. Families have been coming up for years and all know each other for the most part. The owners of the resort dine at the same long common table alongside guests. If anyone is a stranger to the resort, it is pretty much guaranteed they’ll know everyone’s name and, maybe even their life stories, before they leave. Perhaps the person most responsible for this atmosphere is Elk Lake’s jubilant General Manager Jay Walsh, who makes everyone feel like a friend, and who can be the life of the party if you catch him on the right night.

After a late night of drum circles and cabin hopping, our group made the trek around the freshly groomed loop around Elk Lake Saturday morning. One of the owners, Nansee Bruce, is an avid skate skier and her husband groomed the road and erected a substantial barrier to prevent snowmobilers from chopping up the fresh corduroy on that loop. Without stirring up too much mixed-use controversy, I will say it was a nice relief to get away from the noise and the smell of snowmobiles for a few hours.

Botsy rockin' out in the Lodge

Elk Lake Resort will still be snowbound for the next few months, and I highly recommend this spring skiing adventure, especially for those who enjoy the balance of a social atmosphere and a wilderness retreat. The resort can accommodate nearly any budget, with camping cabins starting at $58 a night, to the most luxurious cabin at the resort for $399.

This article was previously published the The Source Weekly.