Lynn Conover and Lowell J. Mitchell at Grand Lodge on May 21, 2017

Lynn Conover and Lowell J. Mitchell are both 20+ year veteran Americana folk alt-country roots musicians. A few years ago, they released an album together, Lynn Conover Live with Lowell J. Mitchell which I encourage you to pick up. You can even name your price! In the mean time, get a little taste from this video shot last weekend at McMenamins Grand Lodge.

Avalanche Lily – EP Release May 27 at Valentine’s!

I’ve been introduced to each member of Avalanche Lily separately over the past few years. Not surprising, since each member is also part of at least one other local band that I follow. I was so honored to have Cyndy, Ramune and Drew sit down with me to talk about their combined project and the upcoming EP release this Saturday at Valentine’s. They’ll be playing with Shed Incorporated and Vibrissae at the intimate venue, where the band is at eye level with the audience. In the audio interview, the band talks about show strategy, the visualization of the music, and a completely unique writing/compilation process.

Avalanche Lily is what I would call an intentional band. Cyndy calls herself a “collector of songs”. She’s responsible for bringing songs that she’s heard and loved in her travels. She finds that Avalanche Lily challenges her to take these songs and adapt them for this band, sweeter and softer and with room for all three members to add their vocal textures. Ramune also writes and brings songs to the band, again – knowing that there is a feeling, perhaps even more than a sound, they are looking for. This is sometimes achieved with the addition of unusual instruments or by Drew bringing subtlety, dynamics and variety to the percussion. The band is excited about the depth of the music flowing organically from the members.

The sound of the EP is designed to create a casual and relaxed emotional response. Meant to invite the listener to just relax and enjoy the sound, while feeling comfortable and cozy and leaving the opting to tuck in for a deeper experience if desired. Creating this simplicity and accessibility in the studio was also intentional. It was a choice to keep the sound free of unnecessary layers and modifications. Avalanche Lily will give you the same experience live as in the recording – a feeling of being welcomed and accepted as a friend. I loved Drew’s visual description of the music. He actually sees and projects color as he drums. After listening to the EP only a few times, I could sense that there was indeed a visual element to the way the music comes together.

 A Conversation with Kelly Jones

Check out the interview, listen to a sample of the music, and join us at Valentine’s on May 27 for a change to hear Avalanche Lily play through the EP. Cyndy is creating some exclusive and very limited handmade merchandise that I cannot wait to get my hands on! This band has a vision, and they make their vision accessible to all of us. They describe themselves as “salty and sweet.” I would add “savory and a little bit addictive.” Music is also available on their website and on CDBaby for advance listening.

Avalanche Lily’s “Astronaut”

Shelly Rudolph at Hotel Vintage on May, 13, 2017

Shelly Rudolph has been singing, performing and composing for over twenty years. Her projects have embraced soul, jazz, blues, R&B, reggae and pop. Music has taken Shelly all over the United States and the world. Ensembles have ranged from intimate duets to Jazz Orchestras and most everything in between. She is currently among the busiest vocalists in Portland.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Shelly in the past as a volunteer at Portland Radio Project. Last weekend, I got a chance to just sit and enjoy one of those intimate-duet shows at Hotel Vintage with pianist Ramsey Embick. She performed a wide range of music, and the number that brought a little tear to my eye was Skylark. Enjoy the video.

Tara Velarde at Grand Lodge on 5-6-17


Tara Velarde is a young lady who’s been on my radar for a couple of years as she’s played McMenamins Grand Lodge many times. She went to college at Pacific University in Forest Grove, just up the road, so she’s quite at home here at the Garage Door. Tara can wear a lot of hats – singer, songwriter, teacher, actress, poet, (I could go on), and she brings it all to every show. She’s got some mighty talented musicians in tow as well, including Joe Deardorff (drums), Steph Landtiser (keys/backing vocals), and James Pierce (guitar).

Check the Portland Notes Calendar for an upcoming show, and listen to our radio stream as we’re playing lots of her music. A week ago, I captured a song we’re not playing and I hope you enjoy.

Hayley Lynn at McMenamins Grand Lodge on May 6, 2017

During a Portland snowstorm, what does one do? Well, if you’re Hayley Lynn, you go into a studio and record an album, taking with you bassist John Bruner. Not long after, Amy Håkansson (who plays the violin, banjo, guitar and the nyckelharpa) took her place in the band. The trio played to a room full of enthusiastic fans at McMenamins Grand Lodge Saturday night.

Though she doesn’t mention him as a influence, Hayley reminds me a lot of Jason Mraz, with her jazzy style and playful lyrics that can speed past you quickly when she gets wound up. The video I captured for you is not in that vain, but is a more introspective piece that held the crowd’s attention from start to finish.

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