The Intriguing Laryssa Birdseye at McMenamins’ Al’s Den with Will Kinky on February 16

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Yes! It’s her real name! Yes – she’s coming up with all sorts of fun puns for her new band name, “Birdseye Blind” being the one that made me laugh the hardest…Laryssa is a character you cannot help but love. She’s bright, funny, hopeful, and introspective. She has a sexy, smoky singing voice that comes across as intensely emotional. When talking, Laryssa is genuinely sharing energy with her audience, laughing and telling stories that naturally draw people in to listen more closely.

Laryssa-Birdseye-at-Als-Den-on-02-16-16-01I met Laryssa at a bowling party last year – she was so energetic and hopeful about the music community in Portland – looking forward to making connections and being part of building a spirit of cooperation and support system for local artists. Her positivity and enthusiasm led to her being an emcee at last November’s Mogo Music Festival, where she helped to introduce many outstanding local bands, such as Redcast, Bart Hafeman, Haley Johnsen, Mosby, Jordan Harris, Harper, Emotitron, Goldfoot, Berahmand, and ADDverse Effects on the Star Theater stage.

Laryssa-Birdseye-at-Als-Den-on-02-16-16-02Laryssa has been performing around town lately – and I was lucky to catch her at Valentine’s last week. Heather Hanson, host of Portland Radio Project’s “The Bus Stop” and creator of Super Groovy Cosmic Bus Entertainment, put together a fun, light-hearted bill of artists including Improv Logic, Matt Varga, and Craig Irby, Jr. Laryssa closed out the night with some beautifully moving covers and striking originals with her new band. Vincent Jaime of ADDverse Effects and Matt Brewster, formerly of Ancient Sol, are great additions to Laryssa’s guitar and vocals. The resulting sound is full, warm, and inviting. Click on the link to listen.

Laryssa-Birdseye-at-Als-Den-on-02-16-16-03Following is an interview with Laryssa Birdseye – you can catch her next at Plew’s Brews on Saturday, February 13, and at McMenamin’s Al’s Den on Tuesday, February 16, where she will be a guest of resident Will Kinky! Great opportunity to meet Will and Laryssa, as the venue is intimate and they have nowhere to hide! 7-10 PM, FREE show!


Is your band new? How long have you been together?

I’ve been writing songs for nearly ten years now, and have finally gotten around to putting them in the public eye. Both Vincent Jaime (of Addverse Effects) and Matt Brewster (formerly of Ancient Sol) are good friends of mine, and we just came together a few months ago to add additional layers to my music. They’re a great team to work with, and I’m really enjoying where we’re taking these songs.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on a single with Randal Wyatt of speaker minds–something I’m very excited about, as I really admire him as an artist and as a leader in the Portland music community.

Most excitingly, I’m working with the multi-talented, badass human of a producer, Jeanot Rolland, on my first record ever. It’s a culmination of ten years of writing, and we’ve just finished up the demo. I can’t wait to show the world what we’ve been working on. I’m lucky enough to work with him, and I would highly recommend him to other artists looking for a solid producer.

What are your goals this year – musically or personally?

My goals this year include getting this record out, putting out videos, focusing on the music above all, and to keep grinding at what it is I love most in this world. Music is such a terrific unifier. I hope to impact people with my music in a positive way. I just want to reach out and touch some hearts and souls.

Norman Sylvester at Prime Time on 02-06-16

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After 30 years of gigging, and with over 4000 shows under his belt, Norman Sylvester (aka The Boogie Cat of the Northwest) was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall Of Fame on October 8, 2011. The award didn’t give him a reason to retire, though, quite the opposite. He is still out a lot, sometimes multiple times a week!

Norman-Sylvester-at-Prime-Time-on-02-06-16-01In addition to being treated to some of the best Rockin’ Blues you’ve ever heard, he will also dazzle you with some of the fanciest threads you’ve ever seen. With Norman, there’s always an excuse to throw a party. On Saturday, February 6th, it was Marti Gras at Prime Time Sports Bar in Forest Grove, complete with masks and beads. In addition to his guitar, he brought a drummer, keyboardist, trumpeter, saxophonist, and his daughter Leanne on vocals. This band had people on their feet starting with the first song, and every one there after. While that made shooting some video a challenge, check this out to get a good taste of what a Norman Sylvester show is like, and a reason to catch one soon!

Kelly Jones is a guest on Portland Radio Project

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Portland Notes’ own Kelly Jones appears on Rob Rainwater’s “Songs From the Source” to discuss the new website, and how to efficiently use media to organize a record release. She’ll share a few songs that are influences in her life right now, and talk about a few local artists that are inspiring her. “Songs From the Source”, heard on Portland Radio Project, introduces listeners to Rob’s favorite tunes and music events around Portland. Kelly will join Rob on Sunday afternoon (February 7) from 2-2:30.

Update! Portland Radio Project posted an article and a podcast of the interview. Check it out here!

Kelly-on-PRP-01Kelly is a lover of all things musical. Born with a pitchpipe in her hand, Kelly has been singing and playing music since childhood. As an adult, she turned her attention towards supporting and encouraging musicians in their complicated artistic paths. Kelly thrives on the positive and unifying energy and synergy that are the foundations of music and musicianship. With experience in performance, merchandising, marketing, management, and media, Kelly actively seeks to find local bands and musicians who are wanting to reach out to a larger audience.

PDX Spotlight focuses on Brass Tacks – Oregon Country

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Fulfilling a musical bucket list dream, Oregon Country band Brass Tacks played their hearts out on PDX Spotlight last night. Their episode will appear in May, but Portland Notes can’t wait to share our excitement about this band of “brothers”, who are so earnest about what they do. The Brass Tacks are friends as well as bandmates, and most of their songs are actually fairly literal, describing experiences they have shared along their musical travels. These musicians connect with their audiences with relatable and recognizable stories – and they really do connect! They’ve been given priceless gifts from their admirers – listen to the interview below to hear two special stories that brought tears to my eyes. The passion to connect with their audience is evident even in the way these men speak about their music.

Brass-Tacks-at-PDX-Spotlight-on-02-03-16-06Oregon Country is a label that was casually applied to this band, but the band has embraced the name – it’s a little bit blues, a little bit rock, a lot of energy, and a complete transparency of expression. With their current musical influences being drawn from a variety of genres, their music is anything but basic. Oregon Country also means something more to them than just a style – the songs are about Oregon experiences, Oregon journeys, and Oregon hopes and dreams. Here is a link to one song about the Oregon Trail journey – “Pioneer.”

Brass-Tacks-at-PDX-Spotlight-on-02-03-16-10At a live show, a listener will be a friend by the end of the night because there is something to identify with in every single song. The Brass Tacks are releasing a new album soon – hoping to start revealing songs in March, they introduced the new songs on PDX Spotlight and shared the stories in an interview afterward. I particularly loved the song “Small Town Drunk!” Who among us hasn’t said, “You can’t cut me off”? Maybe not to a bartender, but perhaps to a partner or an employer…we’ve all been desperate at times. Bonding with audiences over common ground creates a comfort and familiarity that continues to draw crowds to see and hear Brass Tacks.

Brass-Tacks-at-PDX-Spotlight-on-02-03-16-08Portland Notes would like to thank Mike Burling for inviting us to witness the show – Mike and his impressive volunteer crew spend their time and energy to support and promote local artists, an effort that we appreciate and admire. Mike will appear on Portland Radio Project’s “Sounds of PDX” show to talk about his project, and why local music holds a special place in his heart. Luke Neill hosts Thursday night, February 11- 7-9 PM on www.prp.fm.

Have a listen to Kelly’s notable conversation with Brass Tacks and check out all the photos she took as PDX Spotlight was recording.

Tyler Stenson; A special tribute to the Counting Crows

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Star Theater was the place to be Saturday night because Tyler Stenson drew a packed house for his tribute show in homage to the band he gives credit to for his music styling. A listening party at a friend’s 14 years ago forever changed his songwriting approach. He counts himself as the love child of Josh Ritter and the Counting Crows, but Adam Duritz and Counting Crows came first. Without them, he might have ended up a country musician but instead he has forged his path along what he calls, “Elegant Folk.”

Tyler-Stenson's-Counting-Crows-Tribute-on-01-30-16-18Not only is Tyler a talented musician with a gift for vivid storytelling, he is also a savvy engineer of social media and through this has developed a massive group of devoted fans, often tagged, #TeamTyler. He is always looking for new and creative ways to reach an audience so in an effort to start off the New Year with something different, he decided to put his own music aside for one night in order to play the music of his all-time biggest influence. Thus, the Counting Crows Tribute Concert featuring Tyler and the Black-Winged Birds was conceived. The Black-Winged Birds, was comprised of members from his former Wyoming band, Lander, as well as other local musicians he has shared a stage with at times; Corey Kintzi, Matt Putnam, Ken Hess, Arcellus Sykes, Erin Adkisson, Jean-Pierre Garau, Peter Rodocker, and Ravi Gadad.

Tyler-Stenson's-Counting-Crows-Tribute-on-01-30-16-14His set list covered CC’s Greatest Hits from “August and Everything After,” “Recovering the Satellites,” “This Desert Life,” and “Hard Candy,” 1993-2002. Starting off with “Round Here,” the audience was instantly engaged by singing along to words they knew well. Portland certainly has a fondness for its tribute bands and it’s not hard to realize why when you go to a show like this one that is full of tight musicianship that does the name band justice. You could tell from the smile on their faces that performing this music was one of pure joy, with each artist putting their all into their role.

Tyler-Stenson's-Counting-Crows-Tribute-on-01-30-16-27Watching Tyler onstage throughout the night was like seeing the young Tyler that was smitten by his mentor Adam Duritz and band. His ear to ear grin never left his face, and his entire being was thrown into this performance. At one point leading up to the show, Adam Duritz retweeted Tyler’s tweet, endorsing the show. It was recorded live, so hopefully, Adam will get to watch it and see that Tyler did him well.

Tyler-Stenson's-Counting-Crows-Tribute-on-01-30-16-03It is often a guessing game to see how many will come out on any given night, and that was certainly the case here. Any fears of a small crowd were quickly put to rest as the theater filled to just under capacity. From the first bars of music to the very last note, the entire audience was captivated. Sometimes one can go to a show and feel that magic is in the making, and Saturday’s show was definitely one of those times. It didn’t take long to realize the night was a success, and one that bears repeating. Fortunately, for all those Tyler Stenson fans, we will be rewarded with another.

Find a bunch of pictures of this special evening in the Portland Notes Photo Album.

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