Play it Loud, Out and Proud
We are privileged in Eugene to have the marriage of music and socio-political cause as a frequent occurrence. Sure you can hit up some of the more college-type bars and dance to Top 40 chart hits if thats your thing ã but for those who prefer substance in not only their music but also the events showcasing their music, we here are very fortunate ã so fortunate that we can even afford to celebrate the tradition of this particular wealth.
OUT/LOUD, the Northwests premier queer womens music festival is a locally grown event that humbly began here, in a Eugene backyard. The festival, formerly known as Lezbopalooza, will be celebrating 10 years of longevity at the WOW Hall, May 13-14. Spread over the two evenings, show-goers will be treated to the Afro-Caribbean music of Taina Asili, the songs of Nicole Sangursee (who has been performing at the festival since she was thirteen), local favorite Virginia Cohen, as well as the nationally acclaimed stand up comedy of Heather Gold. Also on the bill are artist-activist band Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs, Portland-based group Tender Forever and more.
And its not just music ã mockumentary film Lesbian National Parks & Services: A Force of Nature, directed by Shawna Dempsey & Lori Millan, will screen May 13. The movie is a parody on the objectivity of educational films, following a group of young lesbian rangers as they patrol, inform and practice lesbian survival skills.
OUT/LOUD has outdone itself for its 10th anniversary. What it BRING's to the WOW Hall is not only a great multi-media spread of talented artists, but also a stern declaration of arts and activism.
OUT/LOUD hits the WOW Hall 8 pm Friday, May 13; no cover. ã Dante Zu¿iga-West
The Solace of Jazz
When local jazz crooner Halie Loren performs a special benefit Sunday, May 15, for victims of Japans tsunami, its gonna get personal.
Loren has strong ties to Japan. Recently signed to the countrys JVC/Victor Entertainment division, she has already toured the country twice and her albums consistently peg in the top ten on the Amazon and HMV Japan charts. But her connection to Japan runs far deeper than the artistic.
"Its a very personal thing for me,” Loren says of the tsunamis impact in Japan, where she has forged several lasting friendships. After finding out about the March 11 quake, she spent most of the night online and on the phone, making sure her friends overseas were safe. "Its had a big impact on my life, and I felt very deeply moved to try to help in any way that I could.”
The night will feature Loren and her band ã pianist Matt Treder, bassist Mark Schneider, drummer Brian West and guest guitarist Bill Marsh ã performing an array of originals, including songs from her latest CD, After Dark, as well as a new Loren composition, "In Time,” which topped Amazons mp3 Japan chart and with proceeds from the single going to Japanese Red Cross. Japanese cookies and other pastries will be provided gratis by the LCC Culinary Arts program, and commemorative T-shirts designed by Sapporo native Momi Smith will be on sale along with beer and wine.
Halie Loren plays 7 pm Sunday, May 15, at Jazz Station, 124 W. Broadway; $10 door, adv. tickets available at CD World; all ages. ã Rick Levin
Fresh and Familiar
Kina Grannis might not be the most original artist in the world, but her music is so enjoyable you might not care. A number of her ditties are about the idyllic love most people long for but rarely experience. While its the sort of thing youve heard hundreds of times before ã mostly from other young female artists whose songs target the same twenty-somethings that Granniss work aims for ã it sounds a lot less vapid coming from her. The fact is Grannis can put a fresh spin on the familiar.
On multiple occasions her Ingrid Michaelson influence is more than a little eerie ("The One You Say Goodnight To” will make you think you're listening to a kissing cousin of Michaelsons hit "The Way I Am,” right down to the hand claps and the vocals), the semi-acoustic sound of most of her songs is reminiscent of Colbie Caillat.
Grannis is a winning performer because her easygoing songs have a depth and genuineness to them that will draw you in every time ã even if its to a place you're sure youve seen somewhere before.
Kina Grannis plays 7 pm Thursday, May 12, at Prince Lucien Campbell Hall; $6-12.ã Brian Palmer
Hayes Carlls honky tonk-alt country sound is just as comfortable coming out of the speakers of my crunchy granola Subaru as it is blaring from the cracked dash of my Ford 4x4 truck. He packed Sam Bonds on his last visit to Eugene with hula hoopers, a couple hipsters, a few guys who pulled up on their motorcycles and a general miscellany of folks like me who listen to that far-ranging mix of music that falls under the heading of "Americana,” which encompasses acts from Kasey Chambers to The Jayhawks.
On May 17 Carll comes to the WOW Hall with his new album KMAG YOYO ã a military acronym for "Kiss my ass guys, you're on your own.” Carll previewed a couple of new songs at his September 2010 Eugene show, like the drunk Democrat meets equally three-sheets-to-the-wind Ann Coulter-esque rightwing hottie duet "Another Like You” ("Youre probably a Democrat/Well what the hell is wrong with that?/Nothing if you're Taliban”) to appreciative whoops, hollers and attempts at two-stepping.
The albums title track adds a little surf rock to the country sound and in the tradition of another of my alt country heroes who frequently comes through Eugene ã James McMurtry ã "KMAG YOYO” is an anti-war commentary with lines like, "Woke up in a firefight/tripping from the morphine Ä God dont let me die here/I aint even 19,” about a drugged out soldier struck by an IED. When lanky, laidback Carll drawls the line, its as rhymey and danceable as it is depressing.
KMAG YOYO is as politically impudent and lyrically clever as Carlls 2008 album Trouble in Mind and its acclaimed by some and condemned by others song "My Girlfriend Left Me for Jesus.” Though, sadly, there are fewer songs about whiskey, Carlls voice on this album is no less shaded with tones of bourbon and Texas.
Hayes Carll, with opener Quiet Life, plays the WOW Hall 8 pm Tuesday, May 17; $12 adv., $14 door. ã Camilla Mortensen