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.
Rob Rainwater and Michele Van Kleef are both popular, local, singer-songwriters. One evening last year, they were both booked for the same show! Instead of flipping for it, they decided to make it a duo songwriters-in-the-round kind of thing. That is when they discovered they both have a great love for singer-songwriter music of the 1960s and 70s. Not long after, the Whiskey Darlings was born and they instantly began crafting original music with the same vibe that brought them together.
When I heard that they were booked to play a Valentine’s eve show at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge, I wasted no time getting it on my calendar. This was the perfect show to take my wife to. The room was full when we got there, so we sat in the overflow section. Normally, the dinner crowd leaves when the music starts, and the music lovers stream in. This night, nobody left! I have never seen this room as full and as quiet. The overflow section just grew.
Michele and Rob did mostly original tunes with some covers tossed in. Simon and Garfunkel is providing much of their listening enjoyment and inspiration these days. And, of course, since it was Valentine’s weekend, they rolled out some lovely, sappy songs for us as well. The Whiskey Darlings are playing several McMenamins venues in February and March, before the Spring and Summer festivals begin, which they will frequent. If you’re looking for sweet downhome acoustic music with guitars, mandolin and stunning harmonies, be sure to look these guys up!
Her bio describes her as a traveler, a dreamer, and a banjo player who sprouts alfalfa beans in mason jars in the back of her tour van and counts the days until she returns home to her house boat to write songs on her banjo through the rainy afternoons.
I can take Bluegrass music only in small doses, and I’m not crazy about the banjo, but for some reason, I love hearing Kendl work! This is the third time I’ve heard her, the first two times with Palmer T. Lee, her partner in the duo The Lowest Pair.
Have a look at the photos I took, and check this video.
Jack McMahon has been around a long time. He’s a joy to experience on stage because he is right at home there. It’s like he’s invited you into his living room to hang out for a few hours. He started in New York’s Greenwich Village, and opened for such acts as Bruce Springsteen and Steely Dan. You’ll find him at large festivals and small venues all around town — and I suggest you do.
I took a few photos that evening, shortly before Christmas.
Oregonian music critic John Wendeborn called Jack “…one of the best on the west coast…”, and that’s why The Cowboy Angels recorded Jack’s song “When The Rain Came Down”. Hear Jack’s version as I did: