Tag Archives: Size 85 High Tops

McMenamins White Eagle presents our second Local Youth Showcase!


Tomorrow, Saturday May 28 is another great day in the local music scene! An all-ages concert by youth and for youth will blow everyone away from the first note played at noon! This is an event dedicated to raising awareness of the quality of our local youth bands, as well as to offer a chance for musicians to learn about a different topic relating to the industry. Doors open at 11:30, and tickets are available online or at the door. White Eagle Saloon is located at 836 N Russell St.

Second-Youth-Showcast-02Shadows of the Revolution, an all-youth cover band, will open the show at noon with songs you will know and love. They perform at a variety of venues this summer – catch them here first! Size 85 High Tops will follow with their unique father-daughter front team, offering a variety of genres – all original. New Social Outcasts is next, with some of the most passionate young men I’ve ever seen on stage. Jack Mortensen Band is our headliner, with the lovely and talented Miaya Shambry on vocals. Their music will get us all cheering and out of our seats. This will be one to remember! Jack Mortensen band is also performing in July at a fantastic Radio Hot Tub event, and has applied to be part of Robert Richter’s Local Roots show this year.

Second-Youth-Showcast-04Our media partners, Vortex Music Magazine, Teri’s Tunes, and PDX Spotlight have been sharing the event – Mike Burling from PDX Spotlight is working to create an upcoming episode of the television show featuring some youth bands. School of Rock provides backline again for this event, we have Connor Johnson as stage manager, and the fantastic Teresa Topaz will be on hand to deliver an informational and interactive lesson on guitar tone. John Guffey is training several people on stage set-up and tear down. Danny Frye will run our sound – This is going to be awesome!

Second-Youth-Showcast-03Special thanks to our sponsors: White Eagle Saloon, Ole Latte Coffee, Stefanie Fisher/Windermere Real Estate, and Stoller Family Estate Winery. Because of their financial contribution to cover the expenses of running these shows, we are able to guarantee that all ticket proceeds pay the bands. Please come, invite your friends, and prepare to be more than impressed. These students have something to prove: that they can keep up with the adults! See you there!

Portland Notes announces our next Youth Concert 5/28: expanding opportunities!


We cannot wait to host another youth event with McMenamins White Eagle Saloon – the staff was amazing. I think we ate all the polenta strawberry shortcake in the house, but the cheesecake was also yummy! (I have not had lunch yet…) This May 28 event is very exciting, because some great organizations are stepping up to help promote and expand this ongoing series! Tickets are now available – ALL ticket proceeds go directly to the bands!

Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-01PDX Spotlight, a locally produced television program who focuses in tightly on a different local band each month, is scouting our youth events looking for talent. Mike Burling, producer, sees that our next generation of musicians is on the rise, and wants to gather a few bands together to produce a special video event.

Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-02McMenamins White Eagle Saloon is again donating the venue, promotional services, sound engineer, and service staff to allow us to pay the bands directly from ticket sales. We really appreciate White Eagle’s great attitude in taking this risk, and we certainly hope they will feel rewarded for their generosity!

Annette Johnson, veteran rock photographer, will be taking amazing photos of the participating bands. Her shots are unbelievable!

Stefanie Fisher Realty has offered services Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-03again – we cannot wait to talk poster design and event planning with Stefanie, who really came through with promotion for the awesome April 9 showcase!

Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-04Stoller Family Estate Winery has contributed towards our out-of-pocket costs! Thank you Stoller, for supporting youth and local music!

Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-05The BANDS this time, wow! Size 85 High Tops will be joining us this time, along with New Social Outcasts, Jack Mortensen Band, and Shadows of the Revolution!

Youth-Concert-May-28-2016-06Co-host for this event: I am waiting to find out if Teresa Topaz is available to speak to the bands about guitar tone – a subject everyone talks about, but few understand. Teresa is an accomplished guitar player and performer, who also is a great consultant and instructor at Guitar Center.

May 28, the next step in making youth music a DO NOT MISS for Portland! If you’d like to help in any way, please email us at info@portland-notes-5bc2dd.ingress-baronn.easywp.com. If you’d like to contribute, we’d love your help. If you’d like to get your band into an upcoming event, please come to the 5/28 show and sign up!

Size 85 High Tops – First Official Stage Show!


With the recent release of their second album, Get Loose, Size 85 High Tops is already seeing a flurry of activity – the 14 track original album is available for streaming or purchase on ITunes, CDBaby, Spotify,YouTube and Bandcamp. The band wanted to guarantee accessibility to all, and they’ve taken it a step further by booking their first on stage, full band performance as an all-ages show this afternoon at Analog Cafe on Hawthorne. Jesse and Myra Keyes stopped by between school and rehearsal to chat with us about Get Loose, the upcoming concert, and the immediate future of the band.

Size-85-High-Tops-03The history of Size 85 High Tops is yet to be written – Myra is currently eleven years old, and has been singing since she was only two. She’s about to sing on stage for a live audience for the first time today, and is very excited! Myra has an ease about her that is sure to be welcoming to the Analog Cafe crowd, and her rich, warm-toned voice will definitely cause the audience to listen in closely. Jesse and Myra work well as a team, having developed this project together as father and daughter bandmates. Though Jesse and Myra have recorded with the full band before, this afternoon at Analog marks their first performance all together with Myra on live vocals. Myra is looking forward to meeting new people, getting some exposure for the band and exploring new opportunities. Jesse sees the potential for at least one more album on the heels of Get Loose, and his inspiration just keeps coming!

Get Loose is a diverse collection of songs ranging from authentic country to complex jazz to upbeat pop – inspired by a range of musical influences and armed with vast songwriting skill, Jesse Keyes has created a delectable buffet for the ears in every musical key imaginable – each song reflects the band’s heart, but each song is very different from the last. The band is constantly incorporating new inspiration, through the cooperative work of musicians with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences.

Size-85-High-Tops-01The show at Analog is the first of many to come – Jesse and Myra have planned to be very busy this summer, while she has no school responsibilities. Myra looks forward to meeting musicians close to her age in the hopes of collaborating on some youth-centered projects. Jesse is excited about that possibility, as well as making even more connections within the local music community, and working on the next album. There is no shortage of enthusiasm with Size 85 High Tops – total positivity and hope radiate from this family-formed band. Realistic expectations, hard work, and good partnerships have gotten the band off to a great start – and we are excited to see where they go from here. Check out the podcast for more insight, and look for Size 85 High Tops around town!

Size 85 High Tops – Fusion in many forms!


Those of you who know me know that I have a passion for youth and music – put them together, and you have my attention! Thank you to Alex Steininger of In Music We Trust PR for bringing Size 85 High Tops to my attention! This youth-inspired and co-fronted band blew me away with the perfectly timed and blended vocals, original lyrics, variety, and precision production! Because their next show is an album release, Portland Notes wanted to just get the word out – Size 85 High Tops ROCK and will release their album Get Loose at a concert at McMenamins White Eagle Friday 2/26. I cannot wait to get them in for an interview, but until then I’d like to share a bit about them from their biography and album release notes. This father/daughter-led band is an inspiration to me, as it shows a multi-generational investment in the creative process.

The following bio segments are taken verbatim from the band’s Facebook and record release press kit: music is available on Bandcamp.

Size 85 High Tops are an art-rock band from Portland, OR led by daughter-father duo Myra and Jesse Keyes; together with multi-instrumentalist Scott Van Schoick, the High Tops play and record in various combinations with contributions from Joel Bocek (Bubble Cats), Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine), Kyleen King (Heartless Bastards), David Gerow (Sneakin’ Out), Victor Nash (Point Juncture, WA), and Jenny Conlee (the Decemberists), among many others. Their music is a fusion of forms: classic rock, power pop, folk, jazz, prog, and country merge with grunge, neo-psychedelia, and an imaginative style of songwriting to yield a vibrant modern Northwest sound.

“I write a lot of the time with her in mind. She gives me unlimited options and I’ll use her to sing a line I might initially hear played on guitar, horn, strings, whatever,” says Jesse Keyes about his ten year old daughter, Myra Keyes. “And she loves being in the band, frankly. We wouldn’t include her if she wasn’t having a ball. She named us, it’s her band, and she’s the muse.”

Jesse Keyes is the songwriter for Portland, Oregon-based Size 85 High Tops, which he fronts with his daughter.

“She’s such a big part of the whole thing organically that it was a no-brainer,” he says of adding Myra to the band. “She’s the reason I’m even back in music again at all. I was more or less content to work my job and hammer away at unpublished novels all those years until she came along and started singing like that.”

The result is Size 85 High Tops’ second album, Get Lose, a fourteen track collection of songs that span the gamut and vibrantly meld classic rock, power-pop, psych-folk, prog, and country into a sound the band has dubbed “Hightopsian.”

Keyes, who was born and bred in rural, small-town Wisconsin, moved to Portland with his prolific, yet short-lived obscure art-rock band Pan, which quickly dissolved. He then soon found himself married and returning to college to focus on his technical writing, leaving music behind.


Soon thereafter he began digging ditches and decommissioning oil tanks to supplement the family income. Then, following a ten year hiatus from music, over a long run of hard labor, Keyes met artist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Van Schoick and the two become fast friends, sharing a love of music history and an affinity for their Midwestern heritage as well as for the possibilities of a new-old kind of music in the Northwest.

“So I started buying vinyl again and discovering, with Myra this time, a lot of music I had missed the first time around. We listened to a lot of Wings, Carpenters, Lovin’ Spoonful, Beach Boys, Beatles, Cat Stevens, Mamas and Papas, Donovan – stuff that kids naturally gravitate toward because it’s playful and innocent and melodic and creative and colorful and often very sophisticated,” Keyes says of his return to music. “One thing led to another and pretty soon I was buying a cheap guitar again and starting over. Because she was so much fun to sing with. She had a knack and a love for music and she was just so inspiring.”

Size 85 High Tops released their debut, a self-titled covers album in 2012 for family and friends. But, before that project was even wrapped up, Keyes was well into writing songs for what would become Get Loose.

“The old songwriting bug had been zapped alive again,” he laughs. The result was Keyes had written two double albums and had music for two more albums as well.

With Van Schoick’s knack for arrangement and production, along with his skills on the drums, piano, and trombone, Keyes, Myra, and Van Schoick entered Victor Nash’s studio in early 2014 to begin recording Get Loose, enlisting the help of local musical heavyweights such as Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine), Kyleen King (Swansea, My Morning Jacket, Heartless Bastards), Joel Bocek (Bubble Cats), Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists), and David Gerow (Sneakin’ Out), among many others, to flesh out Keyes’ songs.

Of the studio experience, Keyes says that the record came out exactly how he heard it in his head. The highlights for him, without hesitation, is every song.

“Every song seems to have its own little transcendent moment – some are a bit more dramatic and others are subtle, but I guess those for me are highlights. There are also very clever piano phrasings – often just two or three notes, but they’re the right notes – all over the album. Little instants that make me remember all the work that went into certain transitions and sections that were tricky to develop. I like what we achieved vocally on ‘Hills.’ The macabre organ coming after the bridge on ‘Grackles.’ Very visual, evocative moments for me. Myra’s ‘alive’ vocal in ‘Laid.’ Kyleen’s incredible tone on ‘Madrona.’ Joel’s melancholic guitar on ‘Store.’ Other things that make me smile and remember laughing in the studio. Victor and Scotty and I shared a lot of laughs. God we laughed.”


Awestruck by all the players and their performances, Keyes says he’s very proud of Get Loose and happy the way everything turned out.

“It speaks to the players and to our engineer that they could read the material so well and bring the final realization so close to our vision. In some ways it shattered my expectations and in many ways it really did just nail it. I recorded a little demo on my eight-track with guitar and vocals that I gave to everyone before rehearsals, and listening back you can hear all the potentialities and ways for the songs to go – an infinite number of directions and possibilities, really. But I always feel like there’s one optimum way, and if you can find the trail and keep your balance, you only follow a song to its logical conclusion. That goes for both writing and recording. It’s very intuitive and you shouldn’t over-think it.”

He continues, “One of our mottos was ‘new songs, old sounds,’ so we used a lot of vintage amps and pedals and old phasers, lots of verb. ‘Space and grit’ was another one. I think it’s a good guitar album because of Joel’s playing and because of the variety of acoustic sounds we were able to dial up. You’d think I was playing a bunch of different high-end guitars but it’s just my cheap old Epiphone jumbo with strings that should’ve been changed years ago. People get so caught up on gear and sound that they lose sight of what matters: good songs and good playing.”

That is exactly what you’ll find on Get Loose, a tight collection of fourteen songs that vary in style and sound, all woven together with common patterns and textures.

“It’s an album born out of life, loss, land, work, and family. Mostly it’s a love letter to my girls,” admits Keyes. “It’s emotional and confessional and there was an explicit attempt to get the best artistically out of my own synesthesia – to build an album of songs in all twelve keys corresponding individually to colors, and then to manipulate that color wheel in a way that might produce a rich and satisfying listening experience: to essentially ‘paint’ an album.”

Upcoming Shows:
Friday, Feb 26, White Eagle (album release)
Saturday, Mar 12, Analog Cafe (all-ages)
Wednesday, Apr 20, Panic Room