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Back Beat

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley
Skating Polly


November is here and Eugene’s annual month-long GRRRLZ ROCK music and art festival is in full swing. Celebrating its 11th year, GRRRLZ ROCK creates a space for women, young and old, to get involved in music with its educational series at Ophelia’s Place, gigs around town and workshops. Catch a festival highlight with alt-rock darling Skating Polly 7:45 pm Friday, Nov. 11, alongside local and regional bands Which Way, Suite Clarity and Blood on the Banjo at all-ages venue The Boreal; $5 suggested donation. Kudos to GRRRLZ ROCK for bringing Skating Polly back to Eugene; the Tacoma-based riot grrrl duo is a great inspiration for fledgling musicians — sisters Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo formed the band in Oklahoma City when they were 14 and 9 respectively. For the full lineup of grrrl-centric events this month, visit grrrlzrock.com or find the festival on Facebook. 


Paper Bird


Don’t miss: Denver’s indie-folk wall of sound that is Paper Bird when they perform with Boston’s harmonious trio The Ballroom Thieves 9 pm Saturday, Nov. 12, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; mellow-romantic singer-songwriter Amos Lee at 8 pm Thursday, Nov. 17, at McDonald Theatre.


Valley Queen


Natalie Carol’s voice is a crackling force majeure, harrowing but with hints of sunshine, as if Neko Case laid down roots in Laurel Canyon rather than rural Vermont. Carol fronts the soulful Los Angeles country-rock outfit Valley Queen, which will be performing 8:30 pm Friday, Nov. 11, at Cottage Grove’s Axe & Fiddle for $7 — a great chance to see this band on its way up. (For a double dose of women who rock, check out Neko Case the night before at McDonald Theatre.) Valley Queen has only been around since 2014, but its small oeuvre feels well oiled and confident. Try the 2016 single “In My Place” — full of sparkly guitar and cutting, winking lyrics, like when the Arkansas-born Carol sings of her new golden state as a place “Where no one ever dies or admits to growing older.”


photo by Todd Cooper


Yelawolf can’t get enough of Eugene, and Eugene can’t enough of that Southern hip-hop heartthrob. Wolfy hits WOW Hall 8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 16, with Struggle Jennings (grandson of Waylon) and Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord; $22 adv., $25 door. In 2014, EW got cozy with Yelawolf and produced an intimate Q&A and photo session. Yelawolf described carving out his own niche as a white hip-hop artist: “I really need to do some shit that is damn-near impossible to imitate. And I knew what that was. It’s just some shit that you gotta be from where I’m from to even get it in the first fuckin’ place, you know what I mean?” Read the full interview at bit.ly/2fMUX7i.