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Thursday, April 11th, 2013


Pronghorn Wedding Music – Bend Oregon

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The Ashlings played the wedding of Annie LaFranchi on July 28, 2012, at Pronghorn… and what an absolutely epic location to get married. It was just nominated as one of the best new locations in Oregon by Oregon Bride Magazine. Annie is a sophisticated woman from a well-established Oregon family with hotel properties here in Bend and a winery out on the coast. She is also young and hip with a pulse on great music, music that would add a youthful spin to an extremely classy affair.

She requested the Ashlings learn “Little White Church” by Little Big Town and “Beloved” by Ben Harper, both upbeat and heartfelt requests, respectively. Learning “Beloved” came off without at hitch, as it is a folksy ballad where I consider Harper at his best. “Little White Church” is more of a country pop song, and I was worried at first, but managed to channel the blaze sassiness of the lead singer, and with only a cello to back me, it came off as rockin’ without the abrasiveness of the original. I highly recommend this number as a recessional to all the brides out there with spunk and class.

Although Pronghorn has the reputation as a “Members Only” atmosphere, they book weddings for non-members, have ample lodging, and the food is as good as it gets in Central Oregon, or anywhere in Oregon for that matter. This is the perfect venue for those seeking a destination wedding with impeccable grounds and views, great golf opportunities, and all the recreational amenities of Bend just a short drive down the road.

And while you are putting everything together, consider The Ashlings to create a magical musical backdrop for your special day. We are a great ceremony and reception music for Pronghorn weddings. We love learning individual songs, and because we can play both the ceremony and the reception (before the DJ of course!), it takes the hassle out of music planning.

Airstream Business/Living Partnership Opportunity

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Hey folks,

I’m planning to buy this Airstream this year, move it to a permanent location in Portland, and rent it out as a vacation rental in the summer months. If you know someone in NE PDX with a big backyard who might already be renting rooms on the side, please forward along. $200 reward to anyone who finds me the winning situation!

















Airstream Business/Living Partnership Opportunity

You: Own your own home in NE Portland in walking distance to Alberta or Mississippi.

Looking to make $200 extra a month in the winter and $400+ extra a month in the summer to accommodate a 32 ft. Airstream in your backyard that would plug into the grid.

Me: Looking for a homeowner interested in a creating a living/business partnership that would accommodate the Airstream.

In the summer months, I live in Bend, and would like to rent it out in Portland on Air B & B for $100/night for $500 week. In the winter, I would live there most of the time and might rent it here and there if I’m away.

The Airstream is 32-foot custom redesign. See photos here: Originating from the 1960s, it has been fully gutted and in place of old carpets and outdated fixtures, teak floors have been added, along with solar panels, a fully functioning marine bathroom (with shower), electric stove, full fridge, comfortable double bed, huge wrap around dining area and whatever other amenities we could imagine: a record player with a collection of local Portland bands for example, or an iPod dock, etc.

The ideal partner would be someone who already has a room or two on Air B & B who is used to the concept of hosting guests and would be able maintain the Airstream as a dream destination for those looking for accommodation in NE Portland.

Backyard space needs to be big enough for the 32 x 20 footprint of the Airstream with the awning pulled out. Ideally there would be plenty more space in the backyard for garden/firepit etc. There will be some creative engineering logistics involved in getting the Airstream plugged into the grid, but I plan on hiring outside help for this stuff.

Please drop me a line if you are interested, and perhaps we could meet next time I am in Portland. Thanks!










Playing a show in Ashland OR – And the lovely Kites & Crows

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I played my first gig in Ashland last week. What an adorable and amazing little town. I’ve always wanted to go and spend some time there going to the Shakespeare Festival. Next summer for sure.

I played at this great little pub called the Caldera Tap House, which is right downtown on Water St. I love this company and their beer. They were one of the first to put their microbrews in cans, which is awesome if you are an outdoor fanatic who likes to bring good beers on trips. By day 20 on the Grand Canyon, PBRs and Tecate can get a bit… old. These beers are true currency out on the river.

For all you musicians out there thinking of playing a gig here I would definitely bring your own equipment. At the last minute I decided to go strait from Bend instead of going first to Portland to collect my stuff. While a quick call to the bar confirmed they had a sound system, all the chords were missing and I had to jerry-rig the stuff to get it to work. Well, actually Mysha Caruso, the lead singer and songwriter for the band Kites & Crows helped me with the sound. Came to the rescue really!

Meeting Mysha was definitely the highlight of my night. His band is truly an Oregon gem. The sounds blends Mysha’s gorgeous tenor with an indie-folk style guitar (think Iron & Wine.) Add cello, banjo, ethereal female harmonies and lyrics that reflect Mysha’s literate sensibilities, and you’ve got a band that should be on tour with the Decemberists. (They have opened for them!)

These guys met at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where they work together. I’m assuming the band name came from the play Coriolanus, but I’d love to know more about why they chose this; as the line doesn’t feel that significant to me on first read. But as a band name it is intriguing and epic at the same time. It’s no surprise they are so big in Southern Oregon as their songs – and their woodsy, yet sophisticated sound – seems of reflection of their little region of the world.

I’m my third listen through the “Golden Room,” which is on iTunes, and I’m just downloading Villager right now, which I guess you can only get from their website. Easy enough.

On a side note, a few people came into the bar before I started playing saying they wanted to come, but were off to see a local jam band where all their friends were going to be (sounds like a night in Bend… why did I move to PDX again?). But… one guy told me there was “weird energy” in the town, because the week before a local grocer had been beheaded (head cut off with a sword!) while walking through a nearby park at night.

Only in Ashland?


“Why then the worlds mine oyster, Which I with sword shall open…”


“The pen is mightier than the sword”
…Maybe not.

House of Snow – Album Preview

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Laurel Brauns – House of Snow (3) by Laurel Brauns
Laurel Brauns – Doldrums (3) by Laurel Brauns
Anywhere by Laurel Brauns

House of Snow Cover by Kaycee Anseth

Track Listing:

1. House of Snow

2. Doldrums

3. Anywhere

4. Puppy Love

5. Named After You

6. Kaleidoscope Eyes

7. Fireflies

8. Maps

9. Westfall (Okkervil River cover)

10. Dreams

11. A Place for You to Fall

12. James

Photo by Anthony Dimaano


Douglas Jenkins (Portland Cello Project) – producer and arranger

Sam Cooper (Horse Feathers) – banjo, drums, piano

Jenny Conlee (Decemberists) – piano, organs

Skip VonKuske (Vagabond Opera) – Cello

John Whaley (Run On Sentence) – trumpet

Franchot Tone (Culver City Dub Collective) – guitars

Shared the stage with

Portland Cello Project

Horse Feathers


Loch Lomond

Matt Costa

Matt Pond PA

Tara Jane O’Neil

Casey Dienel

Patty Larkin

Greg Brown

Peter Mulvey

The Mammals

CD Party Press Release:

Laurel Brauns to release the album House of Snow

September 16, 2011 at the PoetHouse in Bend, OR

Bend, OR – On September 16, 2011 from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Laurel Brauns will celebrate the release of her fourth full-length album, House of Snow. The album was produced and arranged by Douglas Jenkins, creative director of the Portland Cello Project and features many of Portland’s finest musicians including Sam Cooper (Horse Feathers), Skip vonKuske (Vagabond Opera), and Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists.)

After listening to the album Chris Dahlen of Pitchfork and Paste Magazine wrote, “Laurel Brauns writes some of my favorite songs, and the way she sings them makes me shiver.  Her new disc is lovely, strong, and haunted, and likely her best yet.”

The album is best classified as indie-folk with elements of neo-classical, organic gothic and earth pop. Water emerges as the most prevalent theme weaving the songs together. The title track House of Snow is a dreamy tale about a float down the Rogue River in Oregon. Doldrums is a depiction of the Great North Pacific Gyre, a swirling patch of plastic suspended in the Pacific Ocean.

Local musicians Erin Cole-Baker, Mark Ransom, Patrick Pearsall and Laurel’s sister Katie Brauns lend their voices to the song Doldrums which ends in a chorus crescendo, and guitarist and singer/songwriter Franchot Tone adds his jangly pop style to the last two tracks on the album.

The biggest local contributor was silent however. Kaycee Anseth is the visual artist who was commissioned to do the front cover, and was so inspired by Laurel’s demo of songs, that she created the back cover as well.

Laurel has opened for Loch Lomond, Horse Feathers, and Weinland and collaborated with the Portland Cello Project. She recently had her song North 93 placed in the Fox TV series Traffic Light.

Admission to the CD release party at the PoetHouse in Bend is $5 or free with the purchase of the album ($15.)

Follow this link to listen and download the first three songs of the album. Please email for a password to download the whole album or to request a hard copy. Attached photos are for web use only. High-res versions available upon request.

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Sunday, April 17th, 2011

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Collaborations in PDX: Sam Cooper

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Sam Cooper of Horse Feathers plays the floor tom on the song Anywhere at Doug's house. The upstairs of Doug's house is a nursery school on the weekdays. It was definitely play time when Sam came over.

Sam is the multi-instrumentalist for Horse Feathers and also writes lush countrified folk under his own name. I first met Sam when my band the Sweet Harlots opened for Horse Feathers last spring as part of the PDXchange series produced by my buddy Henry Abel. Part of Henry’s vision was to have a local band here in Bend collaborate with the band from Portland and so Sam met with us back stage for about a 1/2 hour before the show to hash out some parts to the cover songs “Westfall” by Okkervil River“ and Miss Ohio by Gillian Welch. You can see our rehearsing and eventual performing in the videos below.

Sam lives a mere 20 blocks west of Doug so we thought we could call on him to lay down some banjo and possibly some mandolin. Sam is a true nocturnal so he did not arrive for the session until the sun was setting, claiming he had “just woke up.” He got very painterly on the song “Anywhere,” a bouncy pop ditty about sailing and dancing. Besides writing a very hooky banjo line, he played some stuff on Doug’s piano and did some banging on a floor tom of which you can see his picture above.

Sam is one of those musicians who can come up with cool parts in a just a few minutes; an amazing asset to any band he performs in. I really like his own songwriting and voice though too, so I hope in the future he gets some props for that as well. Thanks Sam!