Since Mare Wakefield moved to Nashville from Eugene three years ago, she and her husband, Nomad, have settled in and purchased a home there. This summer they spent six weeks touring Germany. I caught up with Wakefield in Nebraska on her way to her West Coast tour dates after she and Nomad had finished doing yoga while watching the sun set over the prairie.
“I feel like we’re really warming up to Nashville,” she says. Wakefield has embraced co-writing, which she was initially reluctant to do. “Nashville is all about co-writing,” she says, “and I had always written songs by myself, in my room, with the door closed! But it’s really become something that I enjoy and that’s opened up a lot of doors for me.” On this tour, Wakefield will be performing “Pretty Little Bird,” a song she wrote with Colleen McFarland.
Another facet of Nashville life is that most concert opportunities are “in the round,” meaning that you share the stage with other singer/songwriters and perform just a few of your own songs. Wakefield misses being able to play a whole show by herself, but, as she points out, there are “so many” musicians in Nashville that there are not enough venues for everyone to have the stage to themselves each night.
Wakefield and her friend Eve Fleishman recently released Daddy’s Moonlight Alligator Boat Ride, a collection of 15 children’s songs. Wakefield says the children’s CD has met with great success. Now, performing as part of the duo Eve & Mare at children’s concerts is about half her income, “if not more,” she says. Nomad is building a successful career as a composer and producer, and he learned bass so that he could more fully back up Wakefield when she performs. Now that’s true love! Mare Wakefield plays with Nomad on bass and piano at 9 pm Friday, Sept. 14, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. $5 — Vanessa Salvia
Three Guys and a Laptop
Three guys from Chico who perform indie rock that sounds like the Magnetic Fields? Who’da thunk? Not too jammy, not too stony, pretty much straight ahead indie rock circa 1996, complete with drum machine (probably a laptop) and crooning vocals (courtesy of Maurice Spencer). Guitarist Chris Hunter and drummer Clint Bear (Bear Hunter, get it?) connected in 1997, but didn’t absorb Spencer into the group until 2001. Once the trio was completed, they disappeared into their basement and recently remerged with their first full length album You Will Be Heard!
Comprising a mix of styles — tracks like “Action Reaction” sound straight out of The Magnetic Fields Get Lost, and “Caught in a Well” feels almost Xiu Xiu-like with its mix of instruments such as marimba and accordion — You Will Be Heard! takes a brief tour through some of the more plaintive genres of indie-rock. Far from depressing — but maybe a little dopier (sluggish-sounding) than I thought — Bear Hunter’s tunes are enjoyable in their nostalgia for a more “sensitive” time in college-rock history.
The group is a little off-brand, considering the current indie rock climate, so Bear Hunter may have an uphill climb to stardom. However, their throwback sound definitely has a niche market these days as well. Maybe a release on the 5RC label (home to Xiu Xiu) in the future? I think it could work. Bear Hunter, Three Guys That Paint and Redox play at 10 pm Sunday, Sept. 14, at Diablo’s Downtown Lounge. 21+ show. — Steven Sawada