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Eugene Weekly : Music : 01.27.05

Floating and Flying

Hem: an adult fairy tale.

BY MELISSA BEARNS

The members of Hem are getting some serious mileage out of an article in The New Yorker that dubbed them "fairy-tale music." They do make soothing, slightly ethereal songs, and lead singer Sally Ellyson's voice is like a sleepy cross between The Cowboy Junkies and The Cranberries' Niall Quinn.

Dan Messé and Sally Ellyson of Hem

But Dan Messé (piano, accordion, celeste and glockenspiel) is sick of reporters asking about the "fairy tale" of how Ellyson, who had never crooned a note into a microphone, blew everyone away when she tried out for the band. When he called it, "something that sounds like one of those made up publicity stories," it sounded like a rehearsed

line.

But it is a true story. And just like every other really great band, these eight Brooklynites have been pegged and labeled and stuck into a little box. Theirs is called countrypolitan. It's influenced by pop from the '60s and '70s — Glen Campbell, The Carpenters, etc.

Messé said that on their first album Rabbit Songs, he was fascinated by children's music, lullabies and sing-songy melodies. "We wanted to write children's music for adults," he said. The music came out sounding sweet, gentle and kind of floaty, with little hooks that stick in your head.

On Eveningland, their newest release, they've grown up. That sweet sound is a little more sultry, a little more luscious and deep. The melodies have more of an edge and the sad songs are so sexy, they make you wish someone would break your heart. And just when your eyelids start to feel heavy, they pick it up with songs such as "Dance With Me, Now Darling," that make you want to grab your honey and twirl.

 

 

Imagine If I … Share

Local network supports open source culture.

BY VANESSA SALVIA

Metamedia Cooperation is throwing a party organizers hope will bend and expand your mind. The experience Friday includes music by Raging Family, art installations, multimedia presentations, organic food and drink, massage, healing and talks by UO and Portland State University faculty.

Explore ideas of group theory with UO psychology professor Holly Arrow. Or learn how Jackson Pollack's paintings use fractals when Richard Taylor speaks. Eugene's Maetreya Ecovillage, ProtoTista, Planetwork and City Repair Project will also debate and discuss their theories and ideas.

Going to the sold-out Modest Mouse show? Don't worry. The event has late-night activities for folks roaming the streets after the concert. Local composer Jair is the main organizer behind the event and the Imaginify Community Network. In today's copyright culture of proprietary information, this emerging idea celebrates open-source culture or free culture.

The idea is that people benefit by freely sharing ideas and being able to modify those ideas, as long as credit is given to the idea's originators. That way the ideas evolve over time. Developments in technology support this philosophy. For example the Linux operating system is open-source, meaning you can download it and have access to the actual code that makes it run, which allows you to modify it. Technologies such as "del.icio.us" (http://del.icio.us) allow webpages to be bookmarked and shared.

Jair said many people practice and research ideas of thrivable culture, but call them different things. Imaginify's cyberspace meeting place celebrates "the connections between creative solutions in art, science and community," uniting people in disparate fields who work toward a common goal of sustainability and community.

 

Land Speed Records

The pick & twang of Jackstraw.

BY MELISSA BEARNS

Jackstraw's high-energy bluegrass tunes have two speeds, fast and faster. With more than the usual display of musical competence and skill, these four guys play, pick, twang and sing songs that zip along with the velocity of the TGV, France's high-speed rail with top speeds exceeding 200 mph.

Actually, that's not a totally fair assessment because it might make you think these Portland-based players just noodle away on their instruments. Not so. The songs on their self-titled 2002 release have lilting melodies and harmonies performed with joy, utterly lacking in pretense. "Ballad of Jamie Lynn," "Train 24," and "2,000 Miles" are slower songs that reach into your soul and hang on, leaving the voice of the vocalist still playing in your head long after the music's stopped.

Jesse Withers (bass), David Pugh (mandolin), Jon Neufeld (lead guitar) and Darrin Craig (guitar) all sing and play with passion and bring a freshness as green as the smell of newly cut grass. They grew up sitting on the knees of acoustic musicians and falling asleep to those harmonies and melodies drifting through the night air.

Raised in Kansas, Rhode Island, Colorado and Chicago, they first got together in 1997 and spent a lot of time experimenting, discovering the path away from the electric guitars, keyboards and drums, the sound so characteristic of the '80s and '90s, and back to an earthy homegrown sound.

Jackstraw remains strongly rooted in traditional bluegrass harmonies and the topics of their songs rarely stray from the standard fare. But their sound is a little different, filled with a youthful energy that has lead many critics to call them the new generation of bluegrass.

 

Not So Modest

Mouse opener Cass McCombs deserves a listen.

BY MELISSA BEARNS

If you haven't heard of Modest Mouse, you're woefully behind the times. Sorry. It's true. Whether you like indie rock or not, the name should ring a bell. If not, now you've read it and you know they're a BFD in the music scene today. They're up for two Grammy's for cripes sake. But there's no point in writing a whole big thing on them since both shows at the McDonald Theatre sold out and they're working on their tans right now and aren't available for interviews.

But Cass McCombs, their opening act, has received little ink and he is available. See how that works? Pairing the late '80s Brit, psychedelic, drone pop sound with today's leaders of indie rock seemed a little strange at first listen. But McCombs' music combines modern-day lyrical style and rise-and-fall harmonies with the darker grit of post punk and snakey little twists that make it work, at least most of the time.

McCombs prefers to conduct his interviews by e-mail. Maybe that's because it's pretty hard to end up misquoted. Anyway, his quirky personality comes through even in type. Here are a few excerpts from our e-interview.

How have your musical tastes changed over the years?

I have no musical tastes. Taste is the destroyer of music. How disgusting it is to impose personal style and preference upon a thing of ultimate beauty! The only way to love music is with an infinitely open mind. Just as the only true love is platonic. I regard taste as I do racism: with spite.

So did you think being a rock star and opening for a two-Grammy nominee would be more glamorous? I hear you've been couch surfing?

Glamor is always seen from an outsider's perspective; the grass is always greener; which is terrible and ungrateful way of thinking. I wouldn't wish to try on anybody else's shoes. and with what problems I do have, I'm perfectly able to deal with them myself. No fear.

If you're lucky enough to have scored a ticket to the show, get there early enough to at least catch a few of his songs and position yourself strategically amidst the mob.

 

 

Three's Just Charming

Trés Chicas bring country girl rock to Eugene.

Somewhere between Houston and Dallas, the ladies of Trés Chicas were having a grand old time. One might say that for a band on a grueling 18-stop tour that stretches from South Carolina to Texas to Washington, they were having way too much fun.

On tour with Grammy nominee Tift Merritt, the Trés Chicas Caitlin Cary, Lynn Blakey and Sara Bell (sitting in for Tonya Lamm) take their backgrounds in rock, Irish, and folk and create a sound that's a mix of Southern girl rock and country.

Their ballad-like tunes, with strong melodies and an even stronger blend of rich, gorgeous harmonies, draw on love, loss and life for inspiration, then throw in a decidedly soft feminist twist. The tunes are catchy — good for driving and singing along. The opening track, "Sweetwater" draws you in like an oasis of cool in the scorching desert, soaking you with sweet heartache and the beauty of moving on.

But these ladies are no wilting wall flowers. They have nerve, I tell you. Lamm can't join the tour because she's got a newborn — a month in a 16-passenger bus would be a little much. Now if they had a real bus, she could come. So one night, after a few drinks, the Trés Chicas decided that the best way to get that bus would be to write Dolly Parton a letter asking if they could borrow hers.

"We thought she'd understand the dilemma of women musicians trying to travel with children," Blakey said. "The letter that we wrote has a lot of things crossed out because we kept saying, 'oh we can't say it like that.' We wanted to be respectful, not too pushy."

If that letter is anything like their music, they'll get that bus. Their sweet melodies work their magic with subtlety. -MB

 

 






DAVID LINDLEY PLAYS MONDAY AT CAFE PARADISO.

AX BILLY GRILL & SPORTS BAR

999 WILLAMETTE ST. 484-4011

SA: Gus Russell--8; Jazz

BEANERY

5TH ST. 344-0221

FR: SpunHoney w/ Hollis Ann Thompson--7; Singer-songwriter

BLACK FOREST

50 E. 11TH ST. 686-6619

TH: Secret Agent Bill--9:30; Rock

FR: Gle3K, DJ Dyanoga--9:30; Experimental electronic

SA: DumDum, Like Breathing, On the First Day ... They Were Kittens, Widow White--9:30; Rock, hardcore

SU: Caught in the Act Karaoke--9

MO:
$1000 Karaoke Competition begins--9

TU:
Acoustic Maneuvers in the Dark--9:30


WE: Android Ethic, Plow--:9:30


THE CIRCLE DANCE COMPANY PERFORMS FRIDAY AT CAFE PARADISO.

CAFE PARADISO

115 W. BROADWAY 484-9933

TH: Tom Griesgraber and Jerry Marotta--8

FR: Americanistan w/ Circle Dance Company--8:30; Middle Eastern

SA: The Dan Neal Band--9

SU: Hem, David Mead, Dawn Landes--8

MO: David Lindley--8


CLUB TSUNAMI

2222 CENTENIAL BLVD.

SA: DJ Tekneek--10:30; Hip hop, R & B

COFFEE GROVE COOPERATIVE

510 E. MAIN ST., COTTAGE GR. 942-8847

FR: Open mic w/ Ron O'Keefe--8

SA: Rob Murtaugh & the Ellis Family--7

COZMIC PIZZA@THE STRAND

8TH AVE. & CHARNELTON ST. 338-9333

TH: John Itkin--8; Acoustic rock

FR: Deb Cleveland & the Vipers--8:30SA: Indigo--7 & 9; Film

SU:
Indigo--5 & 7; Film

MO:
Rainy Day Blues Society Annual Meeting and All-Ages Jam--6:30

TU:
"Global Trends-Local Voices" featuring Mayor Kitty Piercy and Enemy Combatants--7; TV-style talk show

COUNTRY SIDE RESTAURANT

4740 MAIN ST. 744-1594

TH: Line dance lessons--7

FR & SA: Roughstock--7

SU-TU: Karaoke

WE: Country dance lessons--7




DA HOUZE

915 OAK ST., DOWNSTAIRS 345-7878

TH: Old School Karaoke, Kamikaze Hip Hop--8

FR: Rob and Carlos present Hip Hop Live--9

SA: DJ Mead--9

MO: Metal Trilogy Mondays--9

WE: Free Sushi Wednesdays--10





DOWNTOWN LOUNGE

959 PEARL ST. 343-2346

TH: Open turntables--10

FR: Eagle Park Slim Band, Sweet Island Thyme--10; Blues, funk

SA: The Hell Yeahs--10; Guitar rock

SU: Fetish Night--10

MO: Mix Down Mondaze--10; Rock, funk, requests

TU: Pre Fat Tuesday Party--8

WE: The Hounds--10; Funk







DUCK INN

1795 W. 6TH.

TH: Ben Coleman's Karaoke--9

SA: Ben Coleman's Karaoke--9


EMBERS SUPPER CLUB

1811 HWY. 99 N. 688-6564

TH: Billy McCoy—9; Country

Fr & SA: Michael Anderson Trio—9; Variety, country


EUGENE WINE CELLARS

255 MADISON ST. 342-2600

WE: Craig Einhorn--5; Jazz

GOOD TIMES

375 E. 7TH AVE.

484-7181


TU: Rooster's Blues Jam--8

HiDEAWAY LOUNGE

645 RIVER ROAD

FR: Paul Biondi & the Motown Review--9

SA: The MVP Blues Union--9


JO FEDERIGO'S

259 E. 5TH AVE. 343-8488

TH: Jo Fed's All Star Jam Session--9

FR: Skip Jones--9

SA: Reeble Jar--9

SU: Mark Alan—9; Jazz

MO: Skip Jones Hammond Organ Trio--7:30





JOE'S BAR & GRILLE

25 W. 6TH 221-3360

TU: DJ Tekneek--10; Hip hop, R & B

JOGGER'S BAR & GRILL

710 WILLAMETTE ST. 343-0224

TH & FR: Karaoke--5

SA: Dancing w/DJ Ty--19; Old school hip hop

MO: Working Man's Blues Jam—9

TU: Dancing w/DJ Ty--9; Old school hip hop

WE: Karaoke--5





JOHN HENRY'S

77 W. BROADWAY 342-3358

TH: '80s Night w/Chris, Jenn and John--10

FR: The Sawyer Family, Joshua James & the Runaway Trains, Deke Falcon--10

SU: John Henry's Broadway Revue--10; Burlesque, variety

TU:  DJ Mark--9




LATITUDE 10 CAFE

2757 FRIENDLY 343-3460

SA: Paul Prince--6; African & Hawaiian guitar

LAVELLE'S WINE BAR & BISTRO

5TH ST. PUBLIC MARKET 338-9875

TH: Skip Jones--5; New Orleans piano

FR: Gus Russell--5; Jazz piano

SA & WE: John Crider--5; Jazz piano



 DEVIL DOLL BRINGS KLEZMER PUNK TO LUCKEY'S ON THURSDAY.

LUCKEY'S CLUB CIGAR

933 OLIVE ST. 687-4643

TH: Rant Music, Devil Doll--10; Klezmer punk, jazz punk

FR: Mary Speak--10; Folk rock

SA: Savitri--10; Party rock

TU: Jazz Night w/ the Manis Trio--10

WE: Beth Miriam Rose, Gus Greif, Fred Van Vactor--10; Acoustic





LUNA

30 E. BROADWAY 434-5862

FR: Erik Muiderman--6; Singer-songwriter Ala Nar--8:30; Middle Eastern, bellydance

SA: Erik Muiderman--6:30; Singer-songwriterm,The Project--9; Jazz blues fusion


MAC'S AT THE VET'S

1626 WILLAMETTE ST. 344-8600

TH: Mac and Mo's Blues Jam--9

FR: Juke Joint Blue

SA: Jerry and the Stagehogs

WE: Christie and McCallum--8; Honky-tonk




MCDONALD THEATRE

1010 WILLAMETTE ST.

FR & SA: Modest Mouse, Cass McCombs

MONROE STREET CAFE

1193 MONROE ST. 343-0863

MO: Poetry open mic--7

WE: Open mic--7


OREGON ELECTRIC STATION

27 E. 5TH 485-4444

FR & SA: Don Latarski Group—8; Jazz

OVERTIME GRILL

770 S. BERTELSEN 342-5028

TH: Blues Jam--8

PEABODY'S

444 E. 3RD AVE. 484-2927

TH: Gordon Kaswell--6; Piano

FR:  Patrick and Giri--8; Hot & tasty acoustic

SA: Open mic blues jam--8

MO: Gordon Kaswell--6; Piano

TU: Patrick and Giri--7; Hot & tasty acoustic

WE: Gordon Kaswell--6; Piano






PERUGINO

767 WILLAMETTE ST. 687-9102

WE: Irish Jam--7; Celtic

QUACKER'S

2105 W. 7TH 485-5925

FR: Mixed Blood--9; Rock & blues

SA: Valley Boys--9

TU: Karaoke--8:30

WE: Blues Jam--8:30




RAMADA INN

225 COBURG 342-5181

FR & SA: Coupe de Ville--9:15; Classic rock

SAM BOND'S GARAGE

407 BLAIR 431-6603

TH: Sweaterclub--9; Funk jazz

FR: Jackstraw--9:30; Bluegrass

SA: The Peter Sellers Experience, Deke Falcon, The Walton Complex--9:30; Variety, rock

SU: Irish Jam--5




Bingo with Tom and Scott K--9

MO: Sean Shanahan--9; Acoustic

TU: Sam Bond's Bluegrass Jam--9

WE: John Shipe, Lisa Vasquez--9; Rock


SAM'S PLACE

825 WILSON ST. 484-4455

SA: Christie and McCallum--8

SAMURAI DUCK

980 OAK ST. 345-6577

TH: Two Cow Garage, others--9

FR: Station Way, Chain of Being--9

SA: Necryptic, Seven Percent, Head Rush, Chainsaw Sex Vikings--9

SU: Tales From the Crate--10; Hip hop

MO: Industrial night with live fire dancing--9

TU: Karaoke w/ DJ Malicious--9

WE: Retro night--9







STACY'S COVERED BRIDGE

401 E. MAIN ST., COTTAGE GROVE 767-0320

WE: Open Mic Night w/Ron O'Keefe--8:30

SWEETWATER'S

VALLEY RIVER INN 687-0123

FR & SA: River City Rhythm and Blues--8:30

SU: Lou Crist--9:30 am; Acoustic piano


TAYLOR'S BAR AND GRILL

894 E. 13TH AVE. 554-5320

TH: DJ Smuv & DJ Tekneek--10; Hip hop, R & B

MO: DJ Tekneek

TU: Karaoke



TINY TAVERN

394 BLAIR BLVD. 687-8383

WE: DJ Secret Hippie's Disco Inferno--9

VET'S CLUB BALLROOM

1626 WILLAMETTE ST.

FR: Salsa Dance w/ DJs Mario Mora & Herman Reyes--9

WETLANDS

922 GARFIELD ST. 345-3606

SA: PB Army, No Cash Value, Bastard Saints, The Anxieties, The Perverts--10

CHRISTINE LAVIN PERFORMS MONDAY AT THE WOW HALL.

WOW HALL

291 W. 8TH AVE. 687-2746

TH: Hanger 18, One Be Lo w/ Majestic Legend, 3 Blind Mics--8:30; Hip hop

FR: Northwest Royale, Domeshots, Five Foot Thick, Blunt Point--8:30; Hard rock

MO: Christine Lavin--8:30; Folk

TU: Tift Merritt, Tres Chicas--8:30; Country rock




YUKON JACK'S

4TH & W. BROADWAY., VENETA 935-1921

FR & SA: The Survivors--9; Classic rock

 

 

CORVALLIS

AJ'S

137 SW 2ND 752-7570

FR: Mary's Peak--9:30

SA: Adequits, St. Helens, Dance Card--9:30

WE: Groundhog's Day w/ The Groundhogs--9:30



BOMBS AWAY CAFE

2527 NW MONROE 757-7221

TH: John Bliss XTET--7:30; Original jazz

FR: Big Island Shindig--9:30

WE: Ben Mutschler--7:30; Jazz saxophone



CLUB ESCAPE

SNELL HALL/MU EAST

737-3032

TU: Roper, Creswell--7:30


FOX AND FIRKIN

202 SW 1ST

753-8533

WE: The Hounds--9


MURPHEY'S

3740 SE 3RD ST. 758-9000

SA: David Samuel & Vanilla Sugar Blues--8:30

NEW MORNING

BAKERY


2ND ST. 928-9578

SA: Last bluegrass jam of the season--7:30

THE PEACOCK

125 SW 2ND ST.

754-8522


WE: Improv blues & jazz jam w/ Neal Grandstaff & Ray Brassfield--8:30

PLATINUM

NIGHT CLUB


126 SW 4TH

FR: Eleven Eyes--9