Bevelers on the Doug Fir Patio

One of the most delightful things about summer in Portland is enjoying free live music outside on the Doug Fir patio on Sunday afternoons. Bevelers haven’t played out in a year, so seeing them play in the Pickin’ on Sundays series was a rare treat. The duo, Lee Aulson and Adria Ivanitsky, are integral to Portland’s music scene. Lee has been a booker for several music venues and hosted a singer songwriter showcase at Vivace coffeehouse for many years, which even featured Taylor John Williams before he reached fame on the Voice. More recently, Lee and Adria have separately formed new projects, Lee and the Bees and Cool Schmool, though they still enjoy playing together.

During their patio set, they each took turns playing a single guitar, playing simple tunes and singing beautiful harmonies. Adria claims that anyone can go on tour with two chord songs like they did, but that’s because the chords are just the backdrop for their beautiful harmonies. In fact, this live acapella performance of their song, Icebergs, proves that guitar chords are entirely optional.

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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”.

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Tumbledown Sounds Fresh, yet Familiar (album review) – A.K.A. The Trimet Connection

Tumbledown’s latest release In Between kicks off with a song called Friend in Texas that immediately conjures up an image that suits this 5 piece band. This is Americana that will have you humming and tapping your foot within minutes, if not seconds. The opening tune includes a harmonica jam that pretty much settles any questions about what this band is about. Even if you don’t have a friend in Texas, you’ll find yourself singing along.

Tumbledown has two lead singers, Tyler South and Scott Robertson, collaboratively songwriting, and swapping lead and harmony singing. Drummer, John Markealli, lays down a solid beat for the rest of the band to build upon, creating catchy dynamics that are fresh, yet immediately familiar. Bass player, Brian Panulla, adds a third harmony and occasional lap steel guitar.

Fun fact: this band has a deep TriMet connection. Brian joined in 2014 after seeing them play at a TriMet function. Keyboard player Dave Whipple, who works at TriMet, joined in 2015 after seeing them play at a TriMet function. Scott also works at TriMet. It seems like TriMet functions are a great place to meet friendly musicians!

It’s clearly evident that the band takes inspiration from Tom Petty, Neil Young, and other icons of the songwriting craft. While the band has over 30 songs, they chose to focus on producing what they felt were their best 7 songs for this debut EP, which explains why it is so strong from start to finish.

Tumbledown also sounds great in person. Catch them live on Saturday, September 9, at Skyline Tavern or on Tuesday, September 19, at McMenamin’s White Eagle.

In Between” was released on Feb 17, 2017.

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.

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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.

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