If you are looking for an excuse to get out on the dance floor to some in-your-face Rock & Roll and driving Blues, then you need to seek out Don’t Tell Mary, a local full-throttle rock cover band. Drawing from their collective roots in folk, heavy metal, classic rock, grunge, and blues, this band can put together a set of music that will make you feel like a kid again. Singer-songwriter Jennifer Swick-Birkland and vocalist Beth Britton front the band with veteran players Jeff Birkland on lead guitar, Bart Kilpatrick on bass, and Mike Miller on drums.
With a name like Don’t Tell Mary, you know there’s got to be a story. However, until Mary is told, we will never know what it is, beyond Mary being Jennifer’s best friend. Saturday night, November 3rd, at the Tigardville Station Pub & Grill, I heard a set of music originally done by The Beatles, KT Tunstall, Stevie Wonder, Rolling Stones, The Romantics, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Talking Heads, Tracy Chapman and Led Zeppelin. In the midst of all that, they tossed in this little gem Jennifer wrote for her daughter called Little Girl.
Pretty Gritty is a Portland-based Rootsy-Americana duo formed 8 years ago in Maryland. Before moving to Portland in 2014, they sold their self-produced and self-titled CD (2012) and the River EP (2013) at shows. They were followed by the release of the Lonely Road EP in 2016 and the Full length CD Seven Year Itch in March 2018.
Sarah and Blane enjoyed a month-long Monday-evening residency at McMenamins Rock Creek Tavern in October. I was lucky enough to grab a bar stool on their final evening. They were pleased to see the larger-than-usual turnout that evening. I understand that they are already booked again for next October. Nothing like planning ahead!
There is nothing flashy or superficial about these guys. Every song in the set I heard, had a purpose and a message (which was overwhelmingly positive). No string of good-love-gone-bad songs from these two. The set was made up of about half and half originals and covers, which I like since you can learn a lot about an artist from their treatment of familiar songs, as well as their own.
So, join me at the bar for a few minutes and have a listen to “You And Me”.
Andy Harrison is a prolific songwriter with 18 CD releases to his name so far. While his music is certainly entertaining, he wants it to be transformational to those who hear it, helping people find lasting happiness in their lives. You won’t hear songs about good-love-gone-bad from Andy, but songs about possibilities for a better future. I have captured a good example at Clark’s Bistro and Pub from Friday, October 26.
I’ve been personally stalking Andy for ten years now. My first journal entry about him was when he played the Venetian in Hillsboro on October 24, 2008. He was doing mostly covers there, including a rousing rendition of Stayin’ Alive! I have enjoyed watching Andy morph into a fine singer/songwriter and motivational speaker. Of course, he would tell the possibilities for tomorrow are without limits.
Brother Not Brother (formerly Hammerhead) is an indie folk-rock band made up of Tyler Robinson and Andrew Harrison, who have been rocking the Portland music scene since 2015. In addition to their dualing-guitar thing, Andrew (on the left) has a tambourine on a foot pedal while Tyler (on the right) has a bass drum, allowing them to build songs big, then suddenly bring them down, which they do to a T. The other amazing thing about these guys, though related, is the wide range of moods they can create, and their ability to adapt to where they are performing. Saturday, October 13, at the Garage Door inside McMenamins Grand Lodge, they had a quiet, attentive audience. Their music sets were created for them.
My favorite song from the set was “Modern-Day Astronaut”, but I chose to show you “Death Of Eden” in the video because it demonstrates the many moods they can create, even in a short, five-minute time span.
At the heart of the band Corner, is Crystal Lariza. Even before the band was formed in 2012 by employees of the Portland Grill, she and her sister Angela played as an indie duo for years around portland as The Lariza Sisters, and still do. Every once in a while Crystal will grab her guitar and fly solo, which was the case on Sunday, November 5th at McMenamins Grand Lodge.
Every good singer/songwriter as a good-love-gone-bad song, and Crystal is no exception. It’s called “Goodman”. Enjoy!