Tag Archives: Indie

Tara Velarde at Grand Lodge on 5-6-17


Tara Velarde is a young lady who’s been on my radar for a couple of years as she’s played McMenamins Grand Lodge many times. She went to college at Pacific University in Forest Grove, just up the road, so she’s quite at home here at the Garage Door. Tara can wear a lot of hats – singer, songwriter, teacher, actress, poet, (I could go on), and she brings it all to every show. She’s got some mighty talented musicians in tow as well, including Joe Deardorff (drums), Steph Landtiser (keys/backing vocals), and James Pierce (guitar).

Check the Portland Notes Calendar for an upcoming show, and listen to our radio stream as we’re playing lots of her music. A week ago, I captured a song we’re not playing and I hope you enjoy.

Tommy Alexander – Old News is Good News!

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-FI

Tommy Alexander has just released a new album entitled Old News. Portland Notes says, “It’s good news to us!” The classic folk lyrics combined with interesting instrumental voicings have resulted in a sound that appeals to folk traditionalists and new style seekers alike. Tommy’s return to Portland with his album release at the Goodfoot on Wednesday night was a success after an exciting tour. The concert with the Harmed Brothers and Taylor Kingman was only $1 – providing an all-access pass to experiencing the excitement of the release celebration!

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-01We asked Tommy a few questions about his recent tour and the new album. For more Information and links to videos from Tommy Alexander’s Old News, check out the album review in Vortex Music Magazine! Please enjoy the link to Old News in its entirety, available on Bandcamp!

I’m very interested in Jenke, your artist collective. What led you to form this collaboration?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-04It started at a small idea of collaboration between friends. I was living in Burlington, Vermont working to get into the music scene. I figured it would be fun to present the shows at a series, “Jenke Presents”. This idea grew and grew, until eventually we had 1400 square foot studio and 100 or more donation-based classes a month plus fundraisers and musical events – we released almost 20 albums in 4 years. Truly this was not my plan when I started Jenke, but it was very fun seeing it grow and grow.

Your lyrics seem to be based from personal experience – it that the case? Does Old News really reflect old news for you, or does this represent your current state of mind?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-03Yes. generally my lyrics can be very relatable to my life and current experience. The process is very therapeutic. In the case of ‘Old News’, the tune was inspired by my own break up with an ex-lover. Inspiration for me comes from all over for sure.  Stillness and movement have their place in the process. I travel quite a bit these days and the creative juices have really been flowing. Happily, I’ve already got the next album written and ready to record.

The songs have traditional folk elements, for sure. But, there are some instrumental sounds and production techniques that are extremely modern. What led you in that direction?

Tommy-Alexander-Old-News-is-Good-News-02Working with Mike Coykendall opened up all those doors with ease. He and I are on the same page in every regard of where the sound should go. I’ve always been very into different genres of music, from hip hop to punk rock. Growing up in southern California, I was constantly hearing new sounds and new beats. I don’t want to be confined to any specific genre because truly I like them all. It is much more fun for me that way, and the band agrees.

How have your fans reacted to the new sound?

The reaction has been really incredible. FUN FUN FUN! The music drives and moves with a nice story to tell. People are listening and dancing. Folks have been loving it, and I’ve been loving it too. We’re really just beginning to scratch the surface here.

The Faints (formerly The My Oh Mys) at Grand Lodge on 03-05-16

The-Faints-at-Grand-Lodge-on-03-05-16-FI

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).

The-Faints-at-Grand-Lodge-on-03-05-16-01This 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.