Around the 35-second mark on “It Ain’t Easy,” track 14 on Sassparilla’s recently released impressive double album Pasajero/Hullabaloo, something begins to sound very similar to a song cemented on classic rock’s Mt. Rushmore.
“‘Sympathy for the Devil’ was from the perspective of the devil, right? ‘It Ain’t Easy’ is supposed to be from the perspective of God talking,” songwriter Kevin Blackwell says. “And I wanted to use the ‘woo woos’ because I wanted to put that rhythm between the two songs — I wanted people to make that connection that it’s kind of our ‘Sympathy.’”
But Blackwell is quick to denounce any bold juxtaposition.
“Clearly it is not the masterpiece that is ‘Sympathy for the Devil!’ I am not saying that, but I did want to put a rhythm between the two songs.”
The singer and leader of Portland’s rumbling Americana band Sassparilla calls in to EW the day after the release of Pasajero/Hullabaloo, the band’s sixth — and a double album at that.
“I got to do what I wanted with Pasajero and then I said I should write something for the people who like us,” Blackwell says with a laugh. “So I wrote one record for myself and one record for everybody else.”
He and the band frequently tour the West, but two spots in the Whiteaker neighborhood keep reeling them back in.
“I love Sam Bond’s! It’s one of the best venues on the West Coast,” Blackwell says before turning his attention to grub. “Papa’s Soul Food is where we go. We miss Papa; that guy was a force of nature and a super talented man. So we will honor him by going to his restaurant every time we’re in town.”
Sassparilla plays with McDougall 9:30 pm Friday, June 27, at Sam Bond’s; $7.