Partially propelled by the hot success of the single “Same Love,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are touring the world — supported by legendary Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli, which is puzzling considering Kweli is one of the pioneers of socially conscious hip hop, without which “Same Love” (a song condemning homophobia in all strata of society — particularly hip hop) might never have found mainstream acceptance.
Almost Famous, the 2013 release fromSeattle’s Big Eyes, busts out of the gate with “Nothing You Could Say” — a riff-heavy, drum-bashing, fist-in-the-air anthem with guitarist and vocalist Kate Eldridge recalling Joey Ramone or Joan Jett.
For Ben Morrison, the guitarist and one of the vocalists for The Brothers Comatose, recording their second album, 2012’s Respect the Van, was a very different experience than recording their debut album, 2010’s Songs from the Stoop.
In order to make her last album, 2012’s Bridges, come to life, Lisa Forkish — a South Eugene High alumna, current music educator at the Oakland School for the Arts and jazz vocalist — had to jump into the deep end and pray for the best.
Douglas County Daughters is another firm example that music is a place where sibling rivalries can fall by the wayside. After growing up in Douglas County, Neb., surrounded by their mother’s passion for 1940s music, sisters Mollie Ziegler and Emily West became classically trained musicians.
The Shook Twins live a charmed life. Whether performing their quirky brand of indie folk pop solo, opening for Blitzen Trapper or the Carolina Chocolate Drops or partaking in side projects like Morning Ritual with Portland jazz luminary Ben Darwish, people love them to death.
The Eugene-based Breakers Yard band says it best on the back of its latest release, Raise Some Bacon: “Legend has it Breakers Yard formed when both [band members] Greazy and Hot Coppa were simultaneously visited in a dream by the ghost of Cab Calloway.”
Lyrics like: “bridges hold a sky of tired birds”; “come October we’ll fill our blankets up with leaves”; and “we sway until the moon is on our shoulders” go to show Anna Tivel, known on stage as Anna and the Underbelly, has arrived as a songwriter.
On Nov. 23, the Eugene Symphony transforms an opera into a concert and a ballet into a play. The inventive show opens with Sergei Prokofiev’s intensely dramatic 1936 ballet score, Romeo and Juliet — but instead of dancers, the Silva Hall stage will boast a trio of actors from Ashland’s world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival who will perform scenes from Shakespeare’s play, sometimes interpolated, sometimes in conjunction with the music.
Every culture lives in a state of duality, whether it’s past versus present, left versus right or some other ying yang. But few places have a physical barrier marking the binary like the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, where life, love and culture literally straddle a wall. This is where the sounds of the Nortec Collective, and its major players Bostich + Fussible, were born.
When I spoke to alt-country singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, she was in Los Angeles on the first day of a nearly month-long cross-country tour. I joked that because she was just getting started, she wouldn’t be burned out by the time she got to Eugene 10 days later. Gauthier responded quickly and insistently: “I don’t get burned out. This is my job and I love it. This is a privilege. I may get tired but I would never call it burned out.”
New York City-based experimental duo Blues Control is made up of Russ Waterhouse and Lea Cho. Cho is a classically trained pianist. Waterhouse, a self-taught musician, started playing guitar and keyboards, and he began experimenting with home recording in high school. As a teen, he was a fan of Miles Davis’ electric era and free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.
It’s been three years since local singer-songwriter Anna Gilbert was dubbed Eugene Weekly’s Next Big Thing, and she has been busy. Since then, she has released an acoustic-themed holiday release, spent time writing country songs for other artists and now she is back with a new album, The Able Heart, which was released Nov. 5.
In the post-Halloween afterglow, there is a very good reason to catch frenetic “soul and roll” band The Pimps of Joytime: Bandmember Mayteana Morales played “Gaby” on PBS’ Ghostwriter. Now one of the Joytime’s lead vocalists, Morales helps create the band’s tight, punchy, soulful sound.
Stalwart Eugene live act Medium Troy has been undergoing some changes. “We used to be a big band, sometimes as many as 11 people on stage,” says JoJo Ferreira. JoJo and his brother, Jesse Ferreira, form the core of the group. “We had tours where half the band would bail and we’d be stuck without a drummer playing four-hour sets at a taco bar in Medford.”
Just when many proclaim “Last of!” or “Never again!” along comes a chap like Rufus Wainwright, the sort of entertainer some say “they just don’t make anymore.” Sir Elton John, for one, calls him “the greatest songwriter on the planet.”