One of the most delightful things about summer in Portland is enjoying free live music outside on the Doug Fir patio on Sunday afternoons. Bevelers haven’t played out in a year, so seeing them play in the Pickin’ on Sundays series was a rare treat. The duo, Lee Aulson and Adria Ivanitsky, are integral to Portland’s music scene. Lee has been a booker for several music venues and hosted a singer songwriter showcase at Vivace coffeehouse for many years, which even featured Taylor John Williams before he reached fame on the Voice. More recently, Lee and Adria have separately formed new projects, Lee and the Bees and Cool Schmool, though they still enjoy playing together.
During their patio set, they each took turns playing a single guitar, playing simple tunes and singing beautiful harmonies. Adria claims that anyone can go on tour with two chord songs like they did, but that’s because the chords are just the backdrop for their beautiful harmonies. In fact, this live acapella performance of their song, Icebergs, proves that guitar chords are entirely optional.
I first heard this mind-blowing group of women when they were a featured guest band at McMenamin’s Al’s Den last summer. At that show the band played on a bill with Adam Sweeney, who was a one-time member of The Cabin Project. I was so impressed that just three people could create such a full orchestral sound, and was determined to follow this band to see what they would do next! Since I saw them live, The Cabin Project has written a new album, been featured on Portland Radio Project, The Big Takeover, and BitchMedia’s New Music Monday, just to quickly give an example of how active they are – the band are capturing the attention of listeners due to the complex and enthralling music they create as well as the personalities they exhibit on stage.
In the audio interview, Katie Sawicki (vox, guitar, keys), Zanny Geffel (drums, vox) and Rebekah Hanson (viola, vox) explain the development of the new album, Unfolded – and more importantly, they discuss the dynamic of the band. These women work together in music, with equal passion, dedication, and input. The result is a fully cohesive sound that is stunningly beautiful. The band releases Unfolded at The Doug Fir Lounge June 24, playing with beloved spacey/jazzy Coco Columbia and the enthusiastic and dynamic Human Ottoman.
The Cabin Project has approached their music with determination and intent. They chose to step out and add the strings and looping pedals to already an already creative and very solid indie pop/rock. They chose to have an all-female band, and to limit themselves to a small group that “clicks.” They collaborate in an almost uncanny way when writing, arranging, embellishing and performing. There is no judgment at any step along the way in the music development process – just trust, respect appreciation, and very hard work.
I think this is one of the most revealing and personal interviews I’ve done, as far as the band members understanding and expressing themselves, both individually and as a group. These women are a band of true friends and sisters. You can feel it in the music. The album reflects the energy and uniqueness of their live performances – as well as an honesty and an insight into the difficulty of producing this roomful of sound with just three people. Check out the live album in full on June 24 at The Doug Fir Lounge. Some sample previews are available to get you excited: BitchMedia premiered the new song “Focus” this week, and The Big Takeover announced the release by sharing the song “Highways” on their site. The Cabin Project is an experience – I hope you will join us at The Doug Fir Lounge Friday, June 24, and enjoy them with us!