All posts by Paul Lankow

Strawberry Roan at McMenamins Grand Lodge

Catherine Loyer‘s band, Strawberry Roan, is best known for having a tight groove, driven by rich, powerful vocals, and high caliber players. Catherine is backed by Willow Heavritt on vocals, Jim Loyer on acoustic guitar and vocals, Michael Kepel on drums and vocals, Ben Rector on Bass and vocals, and George Reiswig on electric guitar and vocals. They play an array of originals, artistic covers, as well as everyone’s favorites. The songs range from country, pop, roots rock, and even rock-n-blues. By adding their own personal slant, She and each player create the distinctive sound, known as Strawberry Roan.

Catherine uses a wireless microphone when performing because she loves to move. During the first song, I am amazed at how she works the band, works the sound board, and works the venue to make sure it’s sounding good everywhere. Once it’s all dialed in, she stays on the move. At this show on the lawn at Pat’s Corner (McMenamins Grand Lodge), she remarked that the audience was so far away, she was glad she was mobile so she could come out and visit.

Strawberry Roan has plenty of shows coming up this fall, and to give you a taste of what you’ll see, here is Catherine’s take on the Del Shannon song, Runaway.

Link to video

Kris Deelane at McMenamins Grand Lodge

From her bio we learn that Kris Deelane is making a loud noise in the Portland Rock scene. She sings, she plays guitar, she writes songs. Lots of songs. From a deep place, a raw place. A truly fearless composer, she is willing to stare down her demons and reach within to get to the purest of emotions.

Even playing solo at the Garage Door at McMenamins Grand Lodge, her loudness and intensity came through. But don’t think that’s her only dimension. Some of the best ballads come from the hardest rockers, and that is certainly true of Kris as well.

Here’s a song she likes to do with her 10-piece Motown Soul band, especially at happy hour events around the city. While you make your plans to catch a show, enjoy this video of “Corroded Angels”.

Link to video

Livy Conner at Grand Lodge

Originally from Charleston, SC, singer/songwriter Livy Conner has set up camp here in Portland. All the ingredients are there – solid, clever, and touching songwriting, a clear and beautiful voice, a passion for her art, and the joy of leading an on-stage team to deliver the goods.

I had the opportunity to meet Livy recently as she played the Garage Door at McMenamins Grand Lodge. I was immediately struck at how “together” this band was. They made everything look effortless. Free-flowing ballads never flow freely without a great deal of effort, concentration and rehearsal. With her on stage were Will McKay on Lead Guitar, Luke Smith on bass and Keegan Leonberg on drums.

Livy has released two collections of songs so far. The full album “Mind Of Your Own” in 2013, and the “Sleepy EP” in 2015. Here is one of those stunning ballads – Kind Blue Eyes.

Link to video

Worth at Grand Lodge

WORTH is the music project of Portland-based singer-songwriter Christopher Worth. WORTH has become known for his unique style of bohemian blues hop which he developed as a street performer traveling across the US and Europe. His songs are timeless and real and are tied together by the power and purity of his voice. On stage, he takes charge and let’s it go in whatever direction that seems right at the moment.

Over the weekend, Christopher was kind enough to come to my neighborhood. I have to admit that I’ve never heard music with a single guitar/vocalist and a sax before. It was amazing (as you’ll hear).

It was one of those *very* warm summer days we’ve been having, and during one of the first songs, Christopher wanted us to encourage the staff to get some fans for the band. Instead of waiting for the song to end, he just made up a new verse, and let his wishes be known. Since he was playing the Garage Door at McMenamins Grand Lodge, the solution was simple – open up the big door. Right after that, he played this lovely love song.

Link to video

Anita Margarita and the RattleSnakes at Grand Lodge

Turtle VanDemarr on guitar, Jeff Hudis on drums, Dan Haley on guitar & lap steel, and Brent Martens on bass are joined by newcomer to the Portland music scene, Jazzy Lee VanDemarr. Jazzy (lead singer for Anita Margarita and the RattleSnakes) has studied and been involved in musical theater, performing on stage for the past 20 years. Her singing style is a little bit sassy with a lot of strong jazz/blues influence. This band is “too much fun”, covering everything from Johnny & June to Ella & Louis, Doris Day, Louis Prima & Keeley Smith, Dan Hicks, etc. – with added hilarious stage banter. They are the foremost proponents of a new music genre – JassaBilly.

Even though this summer has been hot, it’s always cool in the shade at Pat’s Corner (the lawn at McMenamins Grand Lodge) when there is a breeze. Such was the case earlier this month as I captured this band doing “Don’t Be That Way”, a jazz composition composed by Benny Goodman and Edgar Sampson and made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong.