I’ve seen Oregon music hall-of-fame’r Jon Koonce play solo and with bands, but this was the most up-beat I’ve heard him. You see, he was scheduled to play with his quartet outdoors. Not expecting rain, what they had in their back pocket was a slough of rock-n-roll songs. Instead of trying to change it up, they went with their plan, at the garage door venue in the basement of McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. While the music was plenty loud, it was well mixed and I stayed for the whole show.
Jon always delivers a good show, even to a very small crowd (you could count the sets of ears on one hand). The Thursday night music is new this year at Grand Lodge, and it’s not well socialized. Jon and the boys played hard. The dueling guitar solos were outstanding!
Well, it was supposed to be an outdoor show last Thursday, but mother nature just didn’t cooperate. (In fact, this whole Spring has been either too hot or too wet, eh? I digress.) The good news about coming inside is we could enjoy the music in more comfortable surroundings. The bad news is Wil Kinky‘s big sound was a little overwhelming for the small room downstairs at the Grand Lodge. But, it didn’t matter – nobody went anywhere!
Wil was raised near Cornelius on Blueberry farm. He learned early on the value of hard work. He brings those values to his music. If you look at his show schedule, you’ll quickly realize this man isn’t idle much. That hard work and commitment to his craft really comes through. Most of Wil’s music during a show is original. He also tosses in several interesting covers from the Doobie Bros, Al Green and others.
Wil has mastered the art of making his guitar not sound like a guitar. I was amazed and the sounds he was able to create. None of it was noise for noise sake – all the effects were carefully crafted to paint the moods he intended. No doubt he will be playing near you soon. Be sure to check him out.
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.
McMenamin’s Grand Lodge threw a 94th birthday party for itself Saturday by having live music all day, sometimes in more than one location. One of those locations was outdoors, under tents in the sometimes-driving rain. After reading their bio, I was looking forward to checking out The My oh Mys (soon to change their name to The Faints).
This 6-piece band (with the recent addition of a background singer) is made up of former members of bands like The Decemberists, Jive Talking Robots, Triclops Organ Trio, Rob Stroup & the Blame, The Minus 5, Curtis Salgado, The ForReals, Jeremy Wilson, Dr. Theopolis, and Redray Frazier. The strong pedigree shows as there music is tight, melody-driven rock with 4-part harmonies that is easy to listen to but not predictable. When they broke out a ballad, they were *so* gorgeous I just melted, not an easy feat in 50-degree temps with the wind blowing through.
In the Spring of 2013, they released their first album “A Howl Against the Wind“. They return to the studio soon to begin work on their second. They treated us to some first-time-performed titles. I’m here to tell you this is going to be a great album! In the mean time, their next show is Thursday, March 17, 8PM at Doug Fir.
Jackalope Saints describe their sound as “folk music fashioned to bluegrass and hammered to the floorboards of forgotten barns, winding through overgrown valleys where ailing giants sleep their lives away”. They played McMenamin’s Grand Lodge Saturday night with the full band, less the drummer who sprained his foot the day before.
The amazing thing about this band is the wide variety of sounds they can produce. In their musicial arsenal they have an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, violin and trumpet. (In fact, with the use of the trumpet, I also heard a definate latin feel to some of their songs.) This variety of sounds takes us to their name. According to legend, the mythical jackalope (looking like a jack rabbit with antelope horns) can mimic any sound. Given enough time, I believe these guys could too.