Glass Menagerie

The Eager Beavers: Exposed

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by:  Nancy Glass – EDN

When was the last time you had a conversation with anyone where you openly asked if you could pay them to leave?  Or, in a non-inebriated state, discussed the various names for men’s and women’s genitalia? Or discussed with any other person, who you weren’t paying to be your therapist, the time when you were touched by an uncle?

Surprisingly enough, in the world of the band, The Eager Beavers, you would soon come to understand such taboo subject matter makes for engaging songsTheir style is much like The Andrew Sisters, strong vocal harmonies in a swing style but shockingly peppered with a Gilda Radner and Sarah Silverman flair. Granted, with a name like The Eager Beavers, one has to assume this isn’t your  run-of-the-mill girl band.   These four very talented women met early in 2011 as a vaudevillian-type ensemble and are capitalizing upon their unique experiences as women, which provides for humorous songs, engaging performances and their special style of truth-telling.

This quartet consists of four very different women who thrive on sharing their “truths” on  what being a woman means.  On vocals, guitar and ukulele is Jamie JamesonAli Losik also on vocals, keyboard and upright bass. Jonna Threlkeld on vocals, saxophone, clarinet and banjo and Cindy Ingram on washboard and ukulele.

The Eager Beavers   Photo courtsey Alexandra Notman
The Eager Beavers Photo courtesy Alexandra Notman

Jameson tells me, “All we can do is laugh at the strangeness of the world. We aren’t trying to make a statement, but life is ironic.  You can’t take life too seriously.”

Losik adds, “We’re not trying to make a statement. We’re telling truth as we know it.”

While Ingram adds, “I love the controversial nature of our music. As a feminist I feel it’s an act of reclamation of the right to be strong, sexy, defiant, to speak of things that women are not supposed to talk about.”

Threlkeld explains how the band got its start and how their name came about.  “The four of us first got together in February 2011. Jamie and Ali had played in the Whiskey Spots together for years and knew Cindy from her music promotion around town. Cindy met me at an open mic and got us all together. We met at Jamie’s place and I don’t think a single one of us knew what to expect. We didn’t know what we were going to do or try to sound like, but we knew that we loved the idea of an all girls group and began learning quickly that we all had something great and different to bring to the table. After a couple of hours, we all got up to leave our first session.   Jamie proposed the band name ‘The Eager Beavers.’  We all died laughing and that was that.”

Ali Losik   Photo courtsey David Heyer
Ali Losik Photo courtesy David Heyer

Songwriter and keyboard player, Losik moved to Eugene in 2002 to attend grad school at the U of O after graduating college in Wisconsin.  When she was seven years old, she got a little keyboard for Christmas. She remembers,  “After learning how to play all the songs I knew, my parents decided it was time for piano lessons.”  For Losik, growing up, the hardest thing for her to overcome was Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and its restrictive effects.

“My right hand often just goes numb” she explains.  With two degrees in music she started performing in Eugene when she first arrived. “I played and sang in my own jazz combo. But, at the time, no one really liked jazz, so I started seeking out a lower-brow crowd. I had joined Jamie in the band, The Whiskey Spots, and after everyone else flaked out, we had Cindy and Jonna play with us. I still do solo, straight-up jazz shows if I ever have a free weekend.”

One of the two songwriters in the band, Losik explains how she gets inspired to write a song.  “Once I have an idea I can dig, the rest just spews out like unstoppable vomit. The best tunes, I find, I process for a while, then write everything down.  The song Touched By an Uncle had been percolating for some time.  Another song I wrote called My Pretty Little Pussy, a song about my cat, percolated for about a week, and then I wrote it in an afternoon.  I usually write the words first and then the chords and melody. But sometimes, like in the case of Squirt Alert, everything came together at once.  That one I wrote while I was camping, and sang it to my husband all night. He wanted to kill me,” Losik laughs.

Jonna Threlkeld  photo courtsey of Phillip Pritting
Jonna Threlkeld Photo courtesy of Phillip Pritting

Threlkeld’s interest in music began in the 5th grade when she got the Wizard of Oz soundtrack as a birthday present.  “I memorized the entire thing in a week. Then came The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle, The Temptations, and Mama Cass. I love clarity in music. I love music that lets you really hear every part and makes you want to move, or feel something you couldn’t have felt on your own,” she says. “I have been in some sort of band, mostly school ensembles,  since I was in fourth grade when I started playing saxophone. I sang alone in front of people for the first time 8 months ago. It went way better than I expected. I met Cindy that night, and soon after, she introduced me to the other girls.”

I asked Threlkeld what kind of message she feels she’s sending to others when she performs. She tells me, “I tend to think a lot about what kind of message I’m sending when I perform. When you dance around on stage singing about…what makes the best lubricant, it’s hard to predict if your songs are ultimately going to help open up conversation about sex in a fun and healthy way, or if you just made the world a little bit dirtier.”

Cindy Ingram  photo courtsey Ingram's FB page
Cindy Ingram Photo courtesy Chris Birke

Ingram, washboard extraordinaire, became interested in music in a more indirect fashion.  “My ex ‘baby daddy’ is a musician. I spent a good eleven years supporting him in his music.  We were facing the possibility of divorce, so in an effort to find something we could do together, I started booking shows for his band, SILAS. I learned quickly that I had a knack for booking shows, marketing and general promotion. I then started booking other bands, managing acts and such. A few months later Steve and I broke up, the band broke up and I quit my job as a bureaucrat for the exciting challenge of being a full-time, self-employed music promoter. I ran my own business, Cindy Ingram Booking & Promotions, for almost six years, which included managing large festivals, creating events such as GRRRLZ Rock, Eugene Chosen, Kidz Rock and eventually managing the WOW Hall. About three years ago I went into the garage and banged on my son’s drums for the first time while listening to AC/DC. I liked being loud. A few months later I was in my first band, Chesapeake Blue. I did that for a while and then decided that I wanted to play the washboard. Months later I joined the bluegrass band, The Whiskey Chasers.  Then seven months ago I also joined this band,” she explains.

For Ingram the hardest thing to overcome has been “isms” such as classism, sexism, etc. all of which fueled her passion for the underdog. She tells me, “I am a first generation college grad and am driven to help other single moms deal with barriers to self-sufficiency and safety. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. I can’t overcome the challenge of being a women in a male dominated society, but I sure can make the most of it by embracing female positive environments, and having a good sense of humor about it.”

Jamie Jameson  photo courtsey JJ FB page
Jamie Jameson Photo courtesy Colton Williams

The band’s other songwriter, Jameson chimes in,  “In high school I dated a drummer for 5 years. He was always playing in different bands. Later, my husband played bass.  When we were splitting up his band left for a two month tour. The guitar player left his acoustic guitar at the house.  After a lot of persistence I picked it up, learning from various friends and books. I then enrolled in Lane Community College to learn the basics of music, but ended up staying a few years majoring in jazz guitar. That is what definitely made it possible to write music in my favorite style of music which is 20’s to 40’s swing. I then started a band called The Whiskey Spots that I played in, and wrote songs for which lasted about six years.”

For Jameson, inspiration comes in many different forms, “I end up hearing a funny, yet wrong joke, I work in a bar, so I hear a few. For the song Yer Mom I asked everyone I saw and texted everyone I knew to find out what their favorite names for genitalia were. Urban Dictionary also has very valuable information.  Or you can follow what Charlie Sheen says.  Ha Ha!”

With regards to the process of songwriting itself she explains, “Some songs are written immediately, but some take months. Or you hear a chord progression and know what fits where. I like to insert funny jokes I’ve heard into everything, especially songs. Everyone in this style performs covers true to form of this time period.  We still believe in the fact that lyrics mean something and identify with people. I guess in our case, we like to make people laugh in a South Park or Family Guy way.”

Two weeks ago the gals started laying down tracks at Fusion Bomb Studios for their debut CD scheduled for release in January 2012.  Not only do the girls have material for this CD (11 songs), but they are well on their way with material for their sophomore effort. Given the wide array of subject matter this band has in their songs its hard to believe that the girls draw a line when it comes to some subjects.

“Animal abuse is something we will never write about.  We will never write any kind of song that promotes racism either” Losik says.  However, such explosive topics as rape, abortion, and domestic violence apparently are fair game.

The Eager Beavers  photo courtsey Roger Rix
The Eager Beavers Photo courtesy Roger Rix

In much of the same context as the Vagina Monologues,  and despite their initial denial,  The Eager Beavers are making a statement with their music.  Ingram concedes, “We utilize powerful tools such as gallows humor and sarcasm to fight the barriers faced by the average female. We are a bit funny, shocking, sexy and darn musically talented.”

Threlked adds, “All four of us are very strong sensitive women.  Most women can relate to being taken advantage of by a man, or another human being.  We have just found a way to deal with it through funny songs and not being too serious.”

Even though the gals enjoy being on stage performing, being an Eager Beaver comes with a price.  How would you explain to YOUR parents you’re in a band whose material is of a taboo sexual nature?  For at least two members of the band, relationships with parents have been strained.  Not to mention the fall-out from their male fans thinking that these beautiful women have any intention or desires for them.  “My husband loves the fact I’m in the band and hates it at the same time,” says Losik.

But there are both artistic and emotional rewards for artistic integrity. Threlkeld explains, “After a show  we are met with so many smiles and kudos for what we are doing. I think in general, people really like and appreciate us bringing to the table, in a light-hearted way, topics that never get discussed but that so many people go through.”

Ingrid adds, “Recently I met some young women who told me they were inspired by me and one of them purchased a washboard.  I am just proud when I can stop thinking and just play without fear. This is when I am my best.”

Jameson responds, “I think when people enjoy what we are doing I feel happy to be doing what I’m doing.”

To help ensure people enjoy what The Eager Beavers are doing and recognizing they are controversial in their subject matter, the band actually reads a disclaimer during their set.  Much like the controversy of physical exposure, these women emotionally avail themselves to the naked and raw sentiment of their femininity and write about it in songs that are memorable.  Their three-part vocal harmonies provide a sharp contrast to the lyrical content, and are powerfully evocative and tight.  Their style is undeniably unique.

Fans who enjoy the Andrews Sisters song, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, or Ella Fitzgerald’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, would enjoy the musicianship of this band.  And for those fans with a penchant for sexually perverse, bawdy humor bordering on the disturbing, all the better.  Either way, these ladies are having a ball and are not ashamed.

Threlkeld sums up the band’s esprit de corps simply,  “Being in The Eager Beavers has been  amazing. The lyrics are so fun and the song concepts so meaningful, yet light-heartedly conveyed. We’re just having fun being women and musicians.”

 

Betty and the Boy

Betty and the Boy

classical folk bluegrass

Bettreena Jaeger – guitar, vocals
Josh Harvey – mandolin, banjo, harmonica, vocals
Jon Conlon – upright bass
Michelle Whitlock – violin

 

Betty and the Boy   Photography courtesey Fallen Apple Photography
Betty and the Boy Photography courtesy Fallen Apple Photography

Betty and the Boy originally started as a modest duo in the small northwest Montana town of Kalispell when Jaeger and Harvey met over 4 years ago.  Relocating to Eugene shortly thereafter, they combine their minimalist approach to their instrument-rich sound.  A variety of sounds can be heard in their original compositions including mandolin, harmonica and violin. While most of their material is centered around love and loss, Jaeger’s voice is hauntingly pristine, similar to Brandi Carlile’s style. Recently tying first place in a local talent competition for their unique sound in their song Moth to a Light.  Playing such regional music festivals recently as, the Sisters Folk Festival, there is poetry in their songs with a dash of grit ” honing ragged emotion into their artful and spunky new tunes.”

Betty and the Boy

 

–Glass

Blue Lotus

Blue Lotus

psychedelic jazz funk

Brandelyn Rose – rhythm guitar, vocals
Felix Blades – lead guitar, vocals
Ben Bosse – bass
Peter Bauer – drums
Peter Allan – percussion

 

Courtesy Blue Lotus Facebook Page
Blue Lotus

This Eugene-based psychedelic jam band formed in 2011 through a chance encounter at the Oregon Country Fair. Brandelyn Rose and Felix Blades met out in the fields of Veneta. Inspired by such bands as The Grateful Dead, Phish, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd, Rose and Blades created Blue Lotus. Ben Bosse and Peter Bauer, formerly of The Walnut Collective, joined them. Peter Allen later joined and adds multidimensional percussive rhythms.
With a reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) mixed with Shirley Manson (Garbage) Blue Lotus musically has a jazzy, blues funk sound with Page-like guitar riffs.

Blue Lotus

–Glass

We Have Guns

We Have Guns

Hardcore Metal

Tobby Lugo – guitars
Issa Koberstein – guitars
Carl Sundberg – vocals
James Smith – bass
Damon Skelly – drums

Label: WHG Music

We Have Guns Photo Courtesy WHG Reverb Nation Page

This Eugene metal band formed in 2007 and consists of members who have been playing in the metal scene for years.  Well known in their underground metal circles, this band released their first, self-titled CD September 2011.  The music on this album was conceived mostly by guitarist Tobby Lugo, who put the band together as a side project years ago while he was still the drummer in Grynch.  Many of the songs have been penned from Lugo’s teenage years, but all of the members of WHG contribute to the songwriting process.  The band’s song content range in topic from “zombie apocalypses to religious genocide, the war in Iraq, drug addiction, alien abductions, self-reliance and the nature of the country, brotherhood and blacking out.”  They have been been compared to the apocalyptic metal band Ramallah for their  “eerie melodic aggressive music.”

We Have Guns

 

–Glass

 

 

 

Greenlander: Flash in the Pan?

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Greenlander:  Flash in the Pan?

by: Nancy Glass – EDN
Greenlander

The bonds of friendship made in high school typically serve their immediate emotional purpose and generally tend to fade after graduation.   Sometimes those bonds never fade. Such was the case in 2004, four sophomore friends in a band class at Cottage Grove High School started jamming one day and slowly began to sow the seeds of longevity into their future.

I had a chance to chat with Trevor Helt, lead guitarist from the Eugene band Greenlander, and picked his brain about his life, the band and music. An Oregon native, Helt grew up in Creswell and moved to Eugene where he attended the U of O majoring in Business Marketing and Music.

“We were all in the same jazz band and shared a lot of musical similarities. We started playing outside of school and picking up gigs and it slowly became official.” explained Helt.

Greenlander is: Wilson Parks on lead vocals and guitar, Thomas Heritage on bass, Merlin Showalter on drums and Trevor Helt on lead guitar;  Showalter is a classical percussion major, Heritage is a Jazz Studies major, Helt a guitar performance major, and Parks a Music Tech major; all at the U of O.

Not to be confused with the band out of Ohio with the same name, this Greenlander is a power-pop alt-rock band. Helt said “Some of us were fans of a band called Pavement and they wrote a song called “Greenlander.” We needed a band name. So we took it.”

The best thing this band has got going for them is their creativity and talent. Showing a higher level of musicianship than most up and coming bands, their sound, largely influenced by 90’s alternative rock, features strong melodies with catchy musical and lyrical hooks. The song Where’d the Music Go is an example of the band’s collective, if under produced, abilities. Seemingly an attempt to be this generation’s answer to Don McLean’s “American Pie”, the song has some very good lead and bass work, with interesting Vetter like vocals.  Their song, Eugene (The Weather Man) has some very nice piano hooks along with some well placed trumpet solos and is catchy.  I could hear this song in the background of some Portland filmed TV show. Their strongest song, Wasted Moment, epitomizes the band skill and inherent talent as musicians.  Offering heavy guitars, good vocals with harmonies and strong song dynamics; this song illuminates the true talent of this quartet.

Trevor Helt - William Lead Photography

Initially listening to legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as a lot of 90’s alternative, such as Porcupine Tree, Dream Theatre, Mutemath and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Helt has found his musical flavor of late to swing more towards Chet Atkins style country and Folk music.  Expanding on both his technical and stylistic talents, this has proven helpful when collaborating on new songs with his band mates.

Wilson Parks - William Lead Photography

Collaborating can be an art in and of itself, especially among friends, and particularly when writing songs.  Like most bands there is a process to getting a song created.  “We all collaborate on the songwriting process, but Wilson carries a lot of the weight. He has a lot of talent when it comes to that” explains Helt.  “Most of the time we’ll start with a jam session, and sometimes it turns into a potential song. In some cases someone will come to rehearsal with a riff that we’ll build upon. The song Eugene(The Weatherman) was written in high school in the band room. I had a guitar part that Wilson added a sweet keyboard part to, than Thomas and Merlin laid down the rhythm parts. Nothing sounded great by itself, but together it grooved.”

“As a band the most challenging aspect is making it work amongst ourselves in regards to schedules, compromising with songwriting, and sharing the same goals. But there are always rough patches here and there.” Helt said.

One such rough patch happened when the band played a gig on the UO campus.  The sprinklers turned on during their second song of the set. But then on the other end of the spectrum, one of the band’s best live experience was headlining the 4th of July show at Dexter Lake and performing in front of 3000 people.  As an artist or a band, you have to learn to deal with such good and band times and hope that there are more good than bad moments. It’s during those times, Helt tells me when his stage fright kicks in. “I don’t get stage fright unless we’re unprepared or if there are technical issues with gear or the PA.”

Thomas Heritage - William Lead Photography

“Some of the band’s most proud moments were playing with the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and then for The Marshal Tucker Band.  Those shows were all a blast” Helt says.  Specifically he goes on to say “the most fun element for us,  is sharing our finished product with other people and watching them enjoy it. That makes all of us very happy.”

Artistically, writing songs from personal experiences typically resonate with the listener, usually resulting in a connection between the band and the audience.  With that in mind, the band wrote a song about a close friend who recently had passed away entitled, Live Without Dreaming.  Helt says “It’s my favorite because it has the most meaning  compared to our other songs.”

When asked what Helt finds the most challenging about being a musician, he answers candidly “as a musician the most difficult thing for me to overcome is lack of motivation. When I look at other musicians who have “made it,” they have all worked hard and are constantly on the go. Maintaining my motivation and keeping it fun is the most challenging aspect for me.

Merlin Showalter - William Lead Photography

Balancing school, life and a band can be difficult at best. Thankfully there are those in Helt’s life who have helped fuel his motivation.  “I have had a pretty cushion life.  I have nothing to complain about.” Helt said. In addition to his parents, there was his high school music director, James Phillips. “He was a huge influence” Helt says. Now that the band is in Eugene, James Book, of Ninkasi Brewery has also been supportive of the band and has proven helpful with booking as well as production.

When we aren’t performing Helt confesses “we’re all pretty busy with school, practicing and… you know, girlfriends!” Four very different people each with their various lives can get in the way of a band’s life, but overcoming distraction is often what helps to define a band.  Not to draw a musical comparison, but what would our worlds be like if Plant and Page were more focused on anything other than their music in their time?

Another element that is difficult to overcome for this band is that they aren’t all together creating their music. Parks is in Portland with his barista day job, Showalter just returned from his day job as drummer on Royal Caribbean Cruise line, Heritage is in Eugene along with Helt. Merlin Showalter is the original drummer, but due to his day job schedule, stand in’s Dustin Riddle and Harrison Moser have also sat in with the band.  Again, think of Led Zeppelin having a stand-in drummer for Bonham.

Much like one’s bucket list, it could seem this band was merely something for these four people to experience together, but now has run its course.  They have established they can create good quality music together when they get together; which was how they originally started out.    But it’s actually getting everyone together that seems to be the most challenging element for this band’s future success.

Thankfully, Helt tells me, right now our main goal is to finish our CD and we’re gonna wait to see what happens after that. It should be released by the end of this year. We feel good about it.”

 

Greenlander
Photos courtesy of William Lead Photography
Interesting tidbit: Helt, for reasons unknown, has a Facebook page group called “Trevor Helt Sucks”. 

Night on the Town

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Night on the Town  -Saturday –

Keegan Smith & The Fam

Lovely day for some sunshine, even if October is six days away. If you aren’t watching the game tonight, there is so much to do and hear.  I’m a bit tuckered out from last night truthfully.  Long night for this princess. Fun, exciting and well, nothing a lady would care to discuss in print.

Tonight Whiskey River has the game on the big screen, complete with some good cold beer and some very cold air conditioning.  Keegan Smith & The Fam is performing directly after the Ducks win.  Keegan Smith & The Fam took home, last year, the prestigious honor of BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE at the 2011 Portland Music Awards.  This band emanates funky soul grooves and palpable vibes that makes one want to get up and dance.  This Portland band is bad-ass in that they were asked to provide an original movie sound track for a movie/documentary Green Light: The Sustainable Oroville Project.    As mentioned on the band’s website, “Kelsey Smith, Keegan’s sister, manages the band. Kelsey is very close to her brother and she considers the band to be part of a close-knit family.  “Keegan is an amazing story-teller,” said Kelsey. “He connects with people by walking and dancing through the crowd. It energizes his audience and perpetuates a sense of familiarity that makes them feel at home.”  Should be an interesting night for the Whiskey River crowd.

We Have Guns

If you’re in the mood for some fine acoustic guitar and smartly written songs, Tyler Fortier, is playing at Cornucopia at 10pm.  If you’re into something a little low-key, in an intimate setting, this would be the ticket.   But again, if you’re up for a cool tribute type show, The Grateful Dead tribute band,  Cast of Clowns is at Luckey’s tonight.   However, if you get the itch for something a little new, a little different, check out what’s happening over at Mulligans.  With such names as Electric Howie &  the Roadrunners, Bobby Six Crows… could be an interesting night?  The WOW Hall has the We Have Guns CD release party tonight as well.  If you missed their acoustic set at CD world today at 2pm (acoustic metal???) then you need to see these guys live in full metal instrumentation.  Of course, metal heads, Crimson Guardian are on tap over at (of all places???) Quackers.  Intimate place for metal.  Not quite sure how they worked it out, but tonight’s show will be  broadcast live at www.liveoregon.com. If you’re into metal, these guys put on a killer show.  I saw them at The Black Forest last weekend, and I’m not a die-hard metal fan, but I liked their songs.  So, it would be worth the effort to head out that way to hear them.

As for this gal, tonight is going to be pretty low-key.  I am going to see Tyler Fortier, have a couple of beers, and enjoy some rather fabulous company.  After, I get my mani and pedi, that is.  I’m certainly happy my “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ban is still in effect where my personal life is concerned.  But then, really, who IS going to ask anyway?  And as for my last night… my lips are sealed!

I will see you out there!
 

 

Original Music

FREE: Black Forest Baby Beast & Special Guest—10; Rock
FREE: Cornucopia Tyler Fortier—10; Folk
FREE: Quackers Audiophobia, The Entity, Crimson Guardian—9; Metal
FREE: Wandering Goat Chorduroyys—9; Electic
$10.00 WOW Hall We Have Guns, I Am Ruin, Lidless Eye, Hero Explains The Ghost, Gusher—8; Hard rock
FREE: Mulligan’s Electric Howie & the Roadrunners, Bobby Six Crows & The Riggin’ Warriors w/ Bobby Jones & the Wild Buffalos—9
$5.00 Axe & Fiddle Trio Zazi—9:30; Folk, pop, jazz
$7.00 Sam Bond’s Marv Ellis & the Platform w/ Element & DJ DV8—9:30; Hip hop

Cover & Tribute Bands

FREE: Happy Hours Coupe De Ville—8:30
FREE: Mohawk Tavern “Just Another Day” ft. Monolith—9; Rock
FREE: O’Donnells Mixed Blood—9
FREE: Spirits Joybox—9; R&B, jazz, country
FREE: Village Green Razor Road—9; Rock
$15.00 Luckey’s Cast of Clowns—10; Grateful Dead tribute

Blues, Jazz & Country

FREE: B2 Wine Bar Taste—8
FREE: Yukon Jack’s Blazin’ Eddie—9; Rock
$7.00 Whiskey River Ranch:   Ducks football game screening w/Sol Shakedown, Keegan Smith & The Fam—7:15; Various

Hip Hop, DJ, Dance, Other

FREE: Conways Ladies Night—9
FREE: Cowfish “Sup!” w/Sassy Mouff, Michael Human & Guests—9:30; Top 40, electro
FREE: Doc’s Pad DJ J-Will—8; Dance mix
FREE: Embers Retro—9
FREE: Taylor’s Bar and Grille DJ Crown—10; Hip hop, dance
FREE: Two Friends Pub Ladies Night—9
$5.00 Downtown Lounge Comedy Showcase—8; Comedy
$6.00 Mac’s Soulicious—9; Funk, R&B, soul
$12.00 Red Lion Salsa Night w/El Combo de la Salsa—9:30; Salsa

Dubious

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Dubious

Eclectic Groove Rock

Heather Davis – lead vocals, winds
Adam Tamarkin – bass, vocals
Aaron Malsch – keys, vocals
Dave Wenda – drums,
Tre Larsen – guitars

 

Dubious

This Eugene-based groove funk band has been in the spotlight for a number of years as local favorites. Dubious were finalists with the 2009 KNRQ Last Band Standing competition, with their song Aileen Aileen, which also appears on the 2010 Next Big Thing Music Compilation CD.  With seasoned musicians who have been involved with various musical projects in as many different genres their sound includes pop rock, jazz and blues danceable grooves.  The lead singer, Davis, has a voice much like The Motel’s lead vocalist, Martha Davis and Patty Smyth of Scandal.   Their CD Blinded was recently released early 2011.

–Glass

 

Apropos Musique

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Apropos Musique

Alt Country Blues Rock

Curt Masterson –  guitar vocals
Neil Henderson – guitar, vocals
Stephanie Lansdon – vocals
 
Label: Equus

 

Apropos Musique

Apropos Musique is a trio consisting of two multi-talented guitarists and a strong vocalist.  Guitarist, Henderson has won The American Song Festival Awards for three consecutive years, written a Broadway Musical and preformed on stage with major artists, including Richard Marx, Melissa Etheridge, Charlie Daniels, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder. Vocalist Lansdon, who has aspirations of becoming a national recording artist has performed the National Anthem at the Olympic Track and Field trials in Eugene and sang the Anthem at the University of Oregon’s Mac Court.  Masterson, who grew up in a family of singers and musicians with parents in the entertainment business in Hollywood, picked up the guitar at 8 years old and  has not put it down since.

With two CD’s released, Everybody Has A Story – (2009) and Let The Light Shine – (2011), they have a sound reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks sound with Carrie Underwood styled vocals.

Apropos Musique

 

Ronnie Montrose Plays The WOW Hall

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Shane Thornton – Guest Contributor

It’s not everyday you get to witness a rock legend.  But when you do, you cherish every second. Ronnie Montrose for me is a living legend. His 2011 tour with Michael Lee Firkins just happened to kick off here in the Emerald City @ the WOW Hall with full force.

Michael Lee Firkins Trio

Opening the show is Michael Lee Firkins from Omaha, Nebraska. His self-described brand of guitar playing is known as “self twang”. When you hear him play, you’d think he’s playing a slide guitar.  But when you watch him, you see that his action with the wang bar sounds just like a slide!  If you weren’t watching him, you’d never know. His style is everything from Albert Lee to Hendrix with some Angus Young and Ry Cooder.  Firkins’ band, a three-piece unit, Micheal Lee Firkins (guitar), Dave Rapa (bass) and Courtney DeAugustine (drums) brought their “A” game with such songs as Skynyrd’s I Know A Little opening the show.  Ripping through complex down-home originals that provided cheers and fist pumping from the crowd to excellent renditions of “Black Betty” (one of my all-time favorite songs). The trio played a mind shattering version of Sabbath’s “War Pigs”  done with bottle neck slide by Firkins. His rhythm section reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble on steroids.

The Montrose Band

After their set, the focus now was all on Ronnie Montrose. Throughout the audience you could see fans with their old original vinyl albums of Montrose in hopes to get their record immortalized with an autograph from Ronnie himself.  He’s been playing for well over 40 plus years and apparently, there is no stopping this Montrose train. With guitar leads from the old school of “let it rip” to the soulful tones of his classic blues licks, Ronnie came out with a BANG and never stopped.  Screams and cheers from the audience shouting “We love you Ronnie” seemed to last the whole set!

Lead vocalist, Keith St. John, whose resume includes fronting such bands as the Neal Schon Band and Sweet, nailed every note with perfection and had a certain Robert Plant type charm that the crowd ate up.  St. John’s vocals is the perfect voice to all of Ronnie’s tunes…including songs from the Gamma days (Ronnie’s old band).

When you back up a guitar great like Ronnie, you better be good. Steve Crow, on the drums, was pure thunder and let me just say his meter had no waver. He built a solid foundation for the band and when he went into the drum intro “Rock Candy” I could feel it in my bones.  Dan McNay on bass guitar was riveting with his tight in the pocket approach on his “slap and pop” solo.

Michael Lee Firkens (g), Ronnie Montrose (g), Dan McNay (b)

Ronnie Montrose, by his actions off stage, is known for being a kind hearted man who loves music and is sympathetic to other musicians. He teamed up with MEMA (Musicians Emergency Medical Association)  for a Ronnie Montrose Charity Guitar RaffleAlso teaming up with local music organizations, he gives away a signed guitar after every show this tour.  Yes, I did put my name in for such a coveted guitar!

At one point in the show I screamed to Montrose “thanks for making Eugene your first stop opening the tour Ronnie!” In which he went to the front of the stage and gave me a fist pound and said “And it certainly won’t be the last!” The crowd roared as he blasted off into Bad Motor Scooter  which he invited Firkins to join him onstage to add extra psycho slide guitar. Montrose proved he truly is a guitar legend in his style, his performance and his obvious love of his craft.

Crooked River

Crooked River

Roots Folk Country

Rob Jacobs – guitar, vocals
Teri Jacobs – guitar, vocals, harmonica
Lana Dishner – guitar, vocals
Lane Fricke  – washtub Bass

Label: Crooked River

Crooked River

Crooked River is a quartet from Springfield, OR that formed several years ago with members who all share a love of traditional country music. Fricke is the newest member joining the band adding a washtub bass. Rob and Teri have both played in bands such as The Crop Circles, Dicky Mo and Jentzu as well as the Alter Egos.  The band’s debut album My Troubled Heart was released in 2010. With three strong songwriters rendering original material (Rob, Lana & Teri) in such songs as My Troubled Heart, this band sounds a lot like The Judds meet the Dixie Chicks.

Crooked River

 

–Glass

 

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