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.
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”.
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.
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.
On the first Saturday of the month, Tara Velarde plays the Garage Door at McMenamins Grand Lodge, and generally brings a friend. She has awesome friends. Case in point, Clara Baker. Clara grew up in Portland as part of a musical family. She has spent the past seven years learning licks and writing songs while performing and touring in Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, California and the Northeastern US. Her debut album, Temporary Things, was successfully funded on Kickstarter and came out in June 2015 to critical acclaim.
Clara did the second set during Tara’s residency last weekend, and I was there with my video camera. As much as I loved her music, I enjoyed the storytelling even more. Knowing a little background on a song just makes it pop to life all the more. Here is a great example (picked because it made me laugh) for you to check out. Then, head to her show page and catch a show. You won’t be disappointed.