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Fortunate Souls

Photo by David Putzier
Photo by David Putzier

Popular Eugene band Fortune’s Folly recently won Hi-Fi Music Hall’s Sun-Sets Summer Concert Series. The prize: recording time at local studio Track Town Records. 

Fortune’s Folly front-person Calysta Cheyenne credits her fans for the victory. 

“We weren’t expecting to win,” she says. “Before the show we started promoting it more, and we just had an overwhelming positive response from people.”  

“Seeing the crowd was awesome and breathtaking,”  Cheyenne  recalls, adding “studio time is priceless for any musician.”

Fortune’s Folly has built a sizeable local following playing what Cheyenne  calls “high-energy rock” with “elements of funk.” 

Catchy tracks like “Anchor” feature ’90s-style alt-rock guitar licks (a little reminiscent of Blind Melon, not in a bad way) and Cheyenne’s more-than-ready-for-primetime pop vocal work with a definite “it” quality, like a young Gwen Stefani. Overall, Fortune’s Folly exudes a patently Millennial sense of optimism that is made for outdoors summer music festivals.

Cheyenne writes all her band’s vocal melodies and says Fiona Apple and Tracy Chapman inspire her lyrics. 

“I like to write creatively,” she explains. “A lot of my songs are personal, inspired by personal events, feelings that I’m having.” 

“Sometimes I’ll bring in a chord progression,” she says. “Most of the time the guys will have something. We’ll each contribute our own ideas and build a song from there.”

"The guys" are Ira Mazie on guitar, Jesse Sanchez on bass and Alex Koleber on drums. Cheyenne says the band’s focus on performance has helped Fortune’s Folly build a loyal local audience — success she hopes to take beyond Eugene.

“I like to make sure everyone’s having fun,” she explains. “Smiling, dancing and feeling comfortable. I try to communicate as much as I can with the audience.”

She continues: “We’re really hopeful for the future, and every day inspired by how many people come up and tell us how much our music means to them. The sky’s the limit for us.”

Eugene has two chances in October to see Fortune’s Folly. First, alongside Eugene reggae-rock act One Dollar Check 9:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 1, at Sam Bond’s Garage; $5, 21-plus. And next at the EP release party 9 pm Saturday, Oct. 29, at Luckey’s; $5, 21-plus. — William Kennedy