YONDER BLUE – Hey Love, Hold On

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Country music has long held a fascination for me – it seems so simple, to tell a story in song…but it’s harder than it looks (or sounds). The ingredients of a song: the lyrics, melody, harmonies, instrumentation, flow, and dynamics – they all tell a part of the story. When combined, the end result is dramatically more than the sum of the individual parts. Yonder Blue has really grasped the idea of honest and heartfelt storytelling in a way that is very appealing. Terri Lynn Davis and her band have thought through the stories from introduction to plot and conclusion. Terri shared part of her musical story with Portland Notes this week, and we are thrilled to share it with you. If you love country, Yonder Blue’s music will resonate with you. If you haven’t found country that connects with you yet – this might be the day your life changes! True words about life, love, and loss paired with musical skill and attention to detail have blossomed into an album that is simply precious.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-03For me, there is a fine balance between honesty and poetry in songwriting. Being true to one’s soul and inspiration is key to writing songs that make a difference in people’s lives, but sometimes saying something directly is too harsh or cold. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful when a metaphor can be powerful, yet hit home in a sensitive, respectful way. Terri Lynn’s writing pays absolute respect to her life experience, with a dedication to simple chord structure and truth in storytelling. With that solid base, Yonder Blue can explore rich harmonies and instrumental layers that build into the lovely embellishment we all love to hear from good storytellers.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-01Terri’s background is diverse – she’s always loved music, but Yonder Blue is a new project birthed from a lifetime of paying attention to detail, learning lessons through work and musical trials, and being open to partnering with like-minded individuals. In the audio interview, Terri gives credit to a number of people throughout her life who have influenced her musically, personally, and professionally. Yonder Blue is composed of musicians who are very active in the Portland music community – with experience in booking, marketing, producing, writing, and performing. This level of expertise and experience again gives the band a stable and solid foundation, on which they can build and expand their project.

Yonder Blue owes great thanks to Kevin Hahn, who not only produced the album, but also introduced Terri to her fellow vocalists Michele Linn and Katie Lou Ellen. Terri also is extremely grateful for the encouragement of Matthew Higgins, as well as the skill of Andy MacMillan on lead guitar and Paul Prato on bass.

Blue-Yonder-Hey-Love-Hold-On-02Yonder Blue’s upcoming show on March 19, is greatly anticipated by friends and fans of Terri and her past work. The band has purposely released just two of the songs in advance : the title track, “Hey Love, Hold On” and “Little Grace”. The Laurelthirst show ticket will include a free copy of the entire album, in addition to experiencing the full band live! Yonder Blue plays alongside Ryan Rebo, and Jawbone Flats. The night looks to be amazing, with plenty of great conversation, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. This is quality work, with good intent, and presented with great love and care. We hope to see you there!

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The Junebugs at Grand Lodge on 03-12-16

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Originally from Vancouver, BC, Moses Barrett migrated to Portland and formed The Junebugs with drummer Kyle Owen and bassist Sean Vinson. It would appear requirement number 1 to being a member is wearing a beard! They describe their music as high-energy pop with Pacific Northwest folksy goodness. At times I felt like they were like a modern day Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. About a third of their musical selections were covers from the likes of Red Hot Chili Pepers, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Tom Petty and the Eagles. Their presentation is tight and the vocal harmonies are outstanding. During the show, Moses talked about his love for folk music, which this crowd at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge was eating like candy. Based on the reception, they will certainly be back. We recently reviewed their album, “Home To Me, and have posted this Photo Album.

Size 85 High Tops – First Official Stage Show!

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With the recent release of their second album, Get Loose, Size 85 High Tops is already seeing a flurry of activity – the 14 track original album is available for streaming or purchase on ITunes, CDBaby, Spotify,YouTube and Bandcamp. The band wanted to guarantee accessibility to all, and they’ve taken it a step further by booking their first on stage, full band performance as an all-ages show this afternoon at Analog Cafe on Hawthorne. Jesse and Myra Keyes stopped by between school and rehearsal to chat with us about Get Loose, the upcoming concert, and the immediate future of the band.

Size-85-High-Tops-03The history of Size 85 High Tops is yet to be written – Myra is currently eleven years old, and has been singing since she was only two. She’s about to sing on stage for a live audience for the first time today, and is very excited! Myra has an ease about her that is sure to be welcoming to the Analog Cafe crowd, and her rich, warm-toned voice will definitely cause the audience to listen in closely. Jesse and Myra work well as a team, having developed this project together as father and daughter bandmates. Though Jesse and Myra have recorded with the full band before, this afternoon at Analog marks their first performance all together with Myra on live vocals. Myra is looking forward to meeting new people, getting some exposure for the band and exploring new opportunities. Jesse sees the potential for at least one more album on the heels of Get Loose, and his inspiration just keeps coming!

Get Loose is a diverse collection of songs ranging from authentic country to complex jazz to upbeat pop – inspired by a range of musical influences and armed with vast songwriting skill, Jesse Keyes has created a delectable buffet for the ears in every musical key imaginable – each song reflects the band’s heart, but each song is very different from the last. The band is constantly incorporating new inspiration, through the cooperative work of musicians with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences.

Size-85-High-Tops-01The show at Analog is the first of many to come – Jesse and Myra have planned to be very busy this summer, while she has no school responsibilities. Myra looks forward to meeting musicians close to her age in the hopes of collaborating on some youth-centered projects. Jesse is excited about that possibility, as well as making even more connections within the local music community, and working on the next album. There is no shortage of enthusiasm with Size 85 High Tops – total positivity and hope radiate from this family-formed band. Realistic expectations, hard work, and good partnerships have gotten the band off to a great start – and we are excited to see where they go from here. Check out the podcast for more insight, and look for Size 85 High Tops around town!

Soulful Sundays with Scott Brockett and Rob Rainwater

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Portland Notes spent an early Sunday evening at Alberta Street Pub for the Soulful Sunday concert with the Scott Brockett Trio and the Rob Rainwater Trio. This all-ages show featured some amazing soul, blues, folk, and rock music that was at times quiet, others rockin! It was also a benefit concert to help raise money for the Tim Ellis Medical Fund. Tim is well known in the Portland Music Scene and beyond. He has performed with and recorded for some of the biggest names in the business and has built his professional reputation on his commitment to excellence and a relentless work ethic. He also owns the well known, Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studio. In December 2015, Tim was diagnosed with Advanced Melanoma. To help offset the mounting medical costs he is incurring, the Portland music community has banded together with fundraising concerts to raise monies to help Tim and his family with these costs. Scott and Rob wanted to do what they could to help so they organized this one at Alberta Pub.

Tim-Ellis-Benefit-01Rob Rainwater opened the show with Steve Hale on bass/backing vocals, and Max Tarpley on drums. Rob has a lot of new music which he hopes to release as a solo album later this year. His songs straddle the Blues and Country genres, with a folk/rock edge. Alternating between acoustic and electric guitar, he plays those Blues guitar riffs particularly well. He closed his set with two new songs performed solo because they’re not yet ready to hand over to a backing band. The touching, “Yesterday,”was written after reading divorce rate statistics, and in the song, the couple is trying to work it out. Rob has a busy performance schedule as a solo artist, as well as with “The Whiskey Darlings,” a project he has with Michele Van Kleef. He also has the popular Sunday radio show, “Songs from the Source” on Portland Radio Project from 1-3 p.m.

Tim-Ellis-Benefit-02Scott Brockett closed the evening backed by father/son duo, Cory (bass) and Jared Knowland (drums). Theirs is a sound that combines the emotional impact of soul with the grit and energy of pop-rock, sprinkled at times with some great funky beats. Scott’s songs are personal, often about love, and played with passion. The three seem to really enjoy performing together, laughing and appreciating when they go off into unknown territory during a song with a result that makes them proud. The band played a couple of fantastic renditions of covers, “Use Me,” by Bill Withers, and “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay,” by Otis Redding, that had the audience singing and cheering along.

There will be future Soulful Sunday concerts so be sure and check out Alberta Pub’s calendar to find out when the next one will be. The audience clearly enjoyed this one, and the music was hard to beat; a perfect way to end the weekend!

My Brothers and I – Don’t Dream Alone

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With a new album release and an 11 stop tour going on now through the end of March, you’d think this band might want to sit back and relax, but NO! Their dream is expansive, and it’s carrying their audiences and fans right along. My Brothers and I will never dream alone! Portland Notes was invited to attend soundcheck and the concert at their March 3, Mississippi Studios tour kick off, and we were impressed by what we saw and heard. This band is on the rise – check out the podcast to hear about their debut album, their first full-length tour, and the challenges of balancing fame with…finals…and flip-flops…you’ll also hear what originally inspired the band to unite, and what they are planning for the next few months.

My-Brothers-And-I-02Don’t Dream Alone features 11 beautifully produced, soulful yet dancy songs, that are impossible to avoid singing along to. The album is available on Itunes now…but wait! There’s video! The Dream video is a beautiful tribute to the value of relationship, and the corresponding “making of” video explains why – the participants, band members, and producers are all friends, living out this musical dream together. Granted, their newest video, was just released on USA Today, and featured on the hit television series Pretty Little Liars (Season 6, Episode 19).

My-Brothers-And-I-01Their tour is going well, even better than anticipated! According to manager Kyle Kuhns of XX Artists – advance tickets are selling extremely well, even in cities the band has never previously visited. This is not surprising, given their success on Spotify – with several hundred thousand listeners, the word is spreading, and dreaming alone is no longer even an option. So much attention so fast might overwhelm a band, if they weren’t deeply connected as brothers and friends – this project is a labor of love, and it is sweeping audiences off their feet in a major way! Front man David Wurgler is somehow managing to balance a series of engaging performances with studying for his college finals, which take place immediately upon his return! Their stories are personal, the connection with the audience is real – it’s what we are all wanting from our favorite artists!

My-Brothers-And-I-04David (lead vocals), Scott (drums), and Erik Wurgler (bass) are actual brothers, who play alongside childhood friends Jordan Roach (guitar) and Johnny Iliyn (keys). The band is finding the value of collaboration – working with experts to get their message out. Alex Steininger, of In Music We Trust, along with Kyle Kuhns, are making sure the mates connect with people who want to help them. The band gives a HUGE shout out to their resident technical genius, David Iliyn, Johnny’s cousin. Knowing who to turn to has really propelled the band to greater heights.

My-Brothers-And-I-03Portland Notes was honored to spend time behind the scenes with this outstanding new band- the conversation with the group was so entertaining and informative – we know you will enjoy learning about this band of brothers – My Brothers and I!

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