Evan Knapp – Keeping it Real

Photo by Jesse Newell

So, documentary lovers…tell me you don’t get all excited when you see “based on a true story” come across the screen…of course you do! Evan Knapp tells it like it is in every song, he’s an engaging storyteller, and keeps it real by writing personal songs that I suspect every listener can relate to. Knapp dropped by the Portland Notes studio to talk about his upcoming Sagittarius Birthday show (with Cairo Gylphs and Vega Black at Mississippi Pizza Pub this Sunday, December 10. In the interview, you will find out some juicy secrets about Evan and his songs, and when you listen, you’ll hear some exclusive live recordings!

My introduction is short and sweet, because I want you to hear Knapp’s story in his own words. He’s so much fun to talk with, and I know that if you come to an Evan Knapp show, you’ll enjoy his smile and conversation too. Inspired by John Mayer and Ed Sheeran, Knapp’s music is also very enjoyable and light hearted.

This very friendly and beloved Northwest musician has a few great videos out as well. He’s an open and accessible artist, and it’s so easy to identify with his very relatable songs. “Frosted Flakes” is a clever story about a date who kept cancelling and therefore missed out on Knapp’s very entertaining company…and pancakes. Please enjoy the interview, the live recordings, and check out his music for yourself December 10 at Mississippi Pizza Pub. Music is also available on his website.

We Three – Meet the Family Band: Release concert this December 10

As We Three prepares to launch their album, Celebrate the Struggle, Part 1, the siblings have found a non-profit partner to work with. In this interview, learn about their history, the upcoming release show on December 10, and their plans for the next year.

Siblings who have been playing together for a while, We Three create original music, as well as bringing their own style to some of your favorite covers, past and present.  Check out the interview below, and be sure and mark your calendar for a fun and worthwhile event.

PORTLAND NOTES: Tell me about the upcoming release – how did you decide when to “drop”? How will you promote the new music? What’s it called?

WE THREE: As for the release date we basically chose it because we it worked out well for the December 10th concert . We were asked to partner with an organization called Hope On The Hill by putting on a benefit concert for them on the 10th at their Church on the Hill. In doing so we wanted to take advantage of our amazing community of people who would be coming out by releasing our album specifically for that concert. We have an amazing support system in our town. The community of McMinnville loves the arts and LOVES supporting local musicians. We have fans who have seen our shows too many times to count but still make it a priority to come out to every show they can. It means so much to us.

The album is Called “Celebrate The Struggle Part 1”. We’re releasing this album in three parts because we are so eager to release a full album again. In our society we are all about instant gratification and we completely understand that’s it’s important to continue releasing projects for your fans. We didn’t want to keep our amazing group of fans waiting for a whole album which can take a while so we decided to split it up into 3 parts. By doing so we’ll still get to release Part 3 as the final album with all the parts combined. For us it’s going to feel like a completed project because we have so many songs we want to share!

PORTLAND NOTES: How did You Three find each other?

WE THREE: We are siblings, so we met at birth. We started playing together almost 10 years ago. We grew up each taking private lessons all starting on piano and from there shifting to our main instruments. Joshua stuck with piano and added drums. Bethany shifted to bass. Manny shifted to guitar. All of us love singing as well. We learned to sing and play simultaneously.

PORTLAND NOTES: Who are your musical idols, past or present?

WE THREE: Past favorites are Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower Of Power, Bela Fleck and Chicago. Presently,: Ed Sheeren, John Mayer, Sara Barielles and Josh Garrels,

PORTLAND NOTES: What is the first band you remember hearing as a child? Who played that album for/with you?

WE THREE: Earth Wind and Fire by dad.

PORTLAND NOTES: Why do you all make music – what message do you want as your legacy?

WE THREE:  It’s our way to connect with people, spread light and love and spread the vision of hope for a better tomorrow. We like to be honest in our songs. As songwriters we’re learning how important and difficult it is to be honest and vulnerable through your music because that’s when you can touch the most people. We hope to encourage and support people right where they’re at in their lives through our music.

PORTLAND NOTES: What are your plans for 2018? What are you looking forward to most in the coming year?

WE THREE: We are looking forward to promoting this album and finishing up part 2 and 3! We’ve had some exciting opportunities and some incredible feedback on the album already, which makes us very excited about this coming year! Our summer concert schedule is already filling up! We’ve learned so much and love the idea of life being all about the journey! We don’t expect to ever get to our destination. We love the journey and pushing ourselves to constantly grow in our music. We’re grateful that we get to do it together as siblings.

You may listen to music by We Three on their website, and engage with them through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We Three doing “Timeless”

Laryssa Birdseye Makes the World a Better Place

Laryssa Birdseye might be Portland’s most compelling singer-songwriter. Last weekend at Kelly’s Olympian she and her all-star band delivered a memorable performance that reflected their natural connection with each other and with the audience. Laryssa’s voice was brilliant, but her keen sense of awareness, introspection, sense of humor, and sincerity were what made the show even more special.

Between songs she talked about her recent breakup, proclaiming that she has no luck in love, which is ironic given her incredible talent, intelligence, and warmth. She also talked about the topic of suicide- saying something that seems obvious, but is never talked about- that everyone on this planet has probably contemplated suicide at one point in time or another. In another truly intimate moment, she talked about a recent audition and the struggles of being an artist, and then debuted a brand new song called “Famous”.


Laryssa Birdseye debuting “Famous” with Agyei Marshall on guitar, Sean Kenny on drums, and Matt Brewster on bass.

Link to video

Laryssa Birdseye and her band make the world a better place. Learn more about her on Portland Notes and listen to her new album on Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. Check out Layrssa’s website and follow her on Facebook. Her next gig is at the Local Celebrity on Dec 6.

It’s Impossible Not to Fall in Love with RILLA

RILLA is a four piece psychedelic rock band that will wow you with their musicianship, humility, and comradery. All the bandmates happen to be women, but they resist being labeled by their gender. They are one of the best bands in town, and are a fantastic example of why Portland is a great place to enjoy local music. Their first incarnation was in 2011 as a five piece called the Vandies. After the departure of their lead singer, the four remaining band members regrouped, wrote all new material, and reinvented themselves as RILLA in 2014.

RILLA released their first EP, I Am Not a Robot, in 2016. The five tracks shine from start to finish. They released a second standout EP, Cutthroat Bingo, in August of this year. The third track, Sorry to Bug You Late, is a great example of their killer guitar riffs, dreamy vocals, honest lyrics, dynamic jams, and danceable beats. These women have a quirky sense of humor as well, with song names such as Summertery and Mindfork.

They are in music for all the right reasons- for a creative outlet, friendships, and shared adventures. They cherish their friendships and it shows. A recent exclusive interview with the band reveals how they think about themselves. Check out their music and videos on their website and see them live this Friday, Dec 1, at Kelly’s Olympian.

Interview:

Portland Notes: Do you market yourselves as an all women band, or as a band that happens to be all women, or do you think that gender should simply not be part of the band description at all?

RILLA: Unfortunately, our culture is hyper aware of gender. We happen to be women, we support women in music, and our focus is on the music we make.

Portland Notes: Do you have a band leader, or is it a band democracy?

RILLA: We all follow the Ways of RILLA. 

Portland Notes: I’ve noticed that you have band huddles before you start your set, and maybe after you finish too. Whose idea was that, what are you doing, and why?

RILLA: You noticed that eh? We like to play. We have fun.

Portland Notes: I know that you also have other priorities in life, like organic sustainable farming, that take away from band time. Any comment on that?

RILLA: We all live full lives! The band is the glue that holds us all together and keeps us sane(ish).

Portland Notes: You went on tour and posted a video of the experience. When was the tour, where did you all go, and what were the best and worst parts about it?

RILLA: We did a West Coast Tour around Halloween of last year (2016). We loved it, it was really fun to spend so much time together, singing in the van. We all loved the hotel breakfasts!

Big Brim Birthday Bash – Ettabration! with Arietta Ward!

How about this: a celebration that lasts all month long, a party that is for everyone, and an epic musical and visual event to bring it all together? Arietta Ward celebrates her birthday in style, December 8 at Mission Theater – come as you are, and be prepared to be surrounded by fabulous people in formal frocks and big brimmed toppers!

Arietta Ward is not one to stay in the background! In true artist form, she takes important mileposts in her life, and turns them into shared experiences through song. What might have seemed to be devastating to one person can turn into an encouraging experience for another. In the interview below, you’ll have a chance to walk along with Ward in her musical journey, truly one of discovering her voice.

For a few years now, Ward has included as many people as possible in her all-month-long celebration called “Ettabration.” It’s a good solid month of parties, events, friends, fellowship, love and music, of course. Everyone with or without a birthday is welcome to join in. All over Portland in December, you’ll see groups of people celebrating – keep an eye out for Ward and her troupe of party people! Then, join the fun at the Big Brim Birthday Bash at Mission Theater on Ward’s actual birthday Friday 12/8.

The Bash will be a chance to dress up! Not the average non-committal bedazzled jean shorts and Birkenstock night, but a rare opportunity to put on an evening dress or a suit, shine the shoes, and find THE best hat! Music, drinks, dancing…a party to get the good times rolling!

Ward’s music will be featured, so we’ve given you a little taste here too. We’d love to see your hats ahead of time too- I’ve included my dream hat photo. It’s not a big brim, but it’s inspiration!

 

A conversation between Kelly Jones and Arietta Ward

 

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