John Craigie’s new album No Rain, No Rose will be released January 27, 2017, but Portlanders got a very special treat on December 15 when he performed the new tunes in a once-in-a-lifetime concert at the Doug Fir Lounge with a bevy of local legends who were collaborators on the album. Tears were shed, hugs were shared, and the advance vinyl was available for one night only. The show sold out, of course – a statement about how locals value local music done with love. No Rain, No Rose was conceived, written and recorded in Portland – a first and joyful experience for Craigie, who tends to roam continually, intentionally, and always find his way back here. Craigie and his family of musicians wanted to offer the album to our city first, and with great impact – out of gratitude and love for our supportive and inspiring community.
The new album features such local power players such as Gregory Alan Isakov, Tyler Thompson and Jay Cobb Anderson from Fruition, Kat Fountain, The Shook Twins, Bevin Foley from Trout Steak Revival, Brad Parsons, Niko Daoussis, Justin Landis, Bart Budwig and John Nuhn. Craigie’s excellent partnerships have resulted in a decadent presentation of folk music, where every musical phrase complements the rest. Lyrically, Craigie’s message resonates and communicates universally. I had a chance to speak with him about his inspiration for writing, and what it feels like to be such a purposeful wanderer, sharing music with the world.
Laughter is the best medicine – we all know that. Psychology Today tells us that music soothes the soul Craigie has combined these two elements in his live performance and recorded music for over a decade – practicing his medicine and sharing encouragement with audiences. His goal, with every step, is to connect with the audience and break down walls. He says that the purpose of music is not necessarily to heal, but to allow folks to feel community – to realize they are not alone in their struggles. It’s therapy for the musician as well. Realizing this early on has created a sense of responsibility for Craigie. Based on his experiences and the goal of sharing, Craigie has masterfully incorporated levity into his performance.
After only a few moments of speaking with Craigie, I had to ask…”John, were you ever voted Class Clown?” Not surprisingly, he had won the title in eighth grade – feeling very proud of the award. He quickly followed up by saying he lost to a “funnier fellow” in high school Craigie still remembers his name…this was perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard from a musician. With an uncanny mastery of lyrics and melody, and an ear for heavenly harmonies that are more than enough to capture the listener’s heart – he still wants more than anything for them to smile and feel comfortable. Rather than “creating a fan base”, Craigie travels around touching hearts and making friends. I’m grateful to be one!
You can get your hands on the album this coming January 27. Until then, check out Craigie’s music on his website. Craigie has always been a traveller, wanting to see the world even as a child. His home is the road, so you will be able to catch him on tour starting January 12 – dates and locations are on the website as well.