Described as a “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player” by Downbeat Magazine is Mary Flower. She’s won awards, is internationally known, and played to a room full of people hanging on every note Sunday evening at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. With the help of Spud Siegel on mandolin, she played the title track from her most recent album.
Anastasia Gilliam and Zay Harrison joined forces in 2011 to become Butterfly Breakdown. They are very versatile with a vast repertoire of original songs and cover tunes ranging from R&B, Pop, Rock and Blues. In 2015, they were joined by keyboardist Fern Young, though she was on vacation this night, taking the duo back to their roots. As they played the Garage Door at McMenamin’sGrand Lodge, the sets consisted of 50% original material, with covers by the likes of Amos Lee, Marvin Gaye, Tracy Chapman, Louie Armstrong, Led Zeplin, Stevie Wonder and others.
In addition to a great variety of entertaining music, you should catch Butterfly Breakdown live someday for the equally entertaining story-telling between songs. I’ve capture an example for you. Enjoy!
Sonny “Smokin'” Hess has been playing guitar since the age of 8 and it wasn’t long after she started gigging. These days, she plays mostly as a trio with a drummer and bass. Lisa Mann is an award-winning bass guitarist originally from West Virginia who comes armed with several vocal styles.
I’ve been to several of their shows over the years and even though they have been gigging together for almost 20 years, this week was my first chance to see them share a stage. I was not disappointed. They got their Blues on, and shelled it out like crazy. If you missed it, don’t fret. (Pun intended.) They currently own the 4th Wednesday slot at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove.
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!
Sharing a pint or two with Kivett Bednar at The Portland Cider House on Hawthorne, I reminisced with him over our first musical conversations at the Portland School of Rock. We had been talking about our mutual passion to connect with an audience at their level, trying to read what makes an audience want to get up and dance – or simply get lost in the song. Both of us wanted to move people to have an emotional experience through music. Kivett has been on that journey throughout his life, and believes he has found partners to achieve his artistic dream. The Pining Hearts is the new project, and you can catch them this month at the Twilight Cafe! Playing with his partners Eddie Steele [Drums], Fabio Prieto Veiga [Bass] and the very charming Joshua Davis [Saxophone / Vox], the band creates an incredibly full and balanced sound that seamlessly crosses quite a few genres.
Kivett’s goal of connecting musically with audiences has been consistent. He’s been an instructor, a solo artist, a front man for his Land of the Living Project, in addition to having been a youth music instructor. His desire to be emotionally accessible and relatable was evident at every show as faithful fans made repeat appearances to dance and enjoy the experience. Kivett always managed to convey his personal experiences in a completely accessible and endearing way. He introduces songs with a bit of a history lesson – I always felt like I had gained some new gem of knowledge at every show. Now, the new project The Pining Hearts, is allowing the band to educate us about an entirely new genre! In the audio interview, you’ll notice that the music refuses to be labelled, and that’s absolutely wonderful. (There are references to Philly Cheesesteak and Chex Mix…)
The Pining Hearts is a Psychedelic / Blues / Rock band hailing from Portland, OR and Austin, TX. Eddie Steele of Entendre Entendre and Kivett Bednar from Land of the Living started sketching out the framework for a new act in the Summer of 2015. But the ball really started rolling when Kivett and Johnny Holliday happened to be sitting in together for Ed Cohen’s New Year’s Eve show at Slim’s Lounge in St. John’s, and decided they should jam with Eddie. The mix felt great, and when Johnny brought in Fabio Veiga, Cuban native and music school grad, they knew they had the makings of a band. Adding Joshua Davis on saxophone was an obvious choice to make the seemingly wide-ranging music genres blend together.The music emerging from the group ranges from patient and exploratory to dynamically emotive and exultant.