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Fresh off a Bandest of the Bands win at WOW Hall earlier this year, local folk-rock outfit Small Joys is starting to pick up steam. What began as a conservative duet, composed of songwriter Olivia Awbrey and lead guitarist Dan Klee, has now blossomed into a harmonious four-to-six-piece romp.

The Soulstice is a celebration of summer and community with a variety of music that reflects Eugene’s diverse tastes like a summer pool. On Friday, the night of the summer solstice, Damian Marley and Stephen Marley bring their ganja-laced rhythms and rhymes to the stage. On Saturday, June 22, Beats Antique and Shpongle provide the psychedelic, tribal sounds of the bass music movement.

Amy LaVere has the kind of voice that you can’t help but notice and pay attention to. It’s not that it’s a perfectly polished gem of a voice, but rather that its flaws and nuances make you wonder just what it is that she’s really thinking.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Local jam band Blue Lotus is about to release their third album, A Thousand Other Things — their concert at WOW Hall on June 15 will be a CD release party — and singer-rhythm guitarist Brandelyn Rose says the band will be giving listeners something a bit different this time.

Fox & Woman formed at street poetry gatherings in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their 2013 release, This Side Dawn, is gentle; lilting violin and tight female harmonies from Jess Silva and Emily Halton — who occasionally sing in Portuguese — mix with intricate and delicate guitar playing.

I’m pretty sure truck-stop rocker James McMurtry was laughing into his dinner as he sat at Poppi’s Anatolia last time he came to Eugene. He was chilling out alone before his WOW Hall show, sitting one table over from me, and couldn’t help but to hear my friend Becky bitching me out for not putting hay bales around the bottom of my Airstream trailer in a sort of redneck insulation to keep it warm in the winter.

Corsets and top hats, handlebar moustaches and suspenders, petticoats and purple hair: enter the world of Portland’s neo-vaudevillian Vagabond Opera.

Whooowhee! Whitey Morgan & the 78’s are playing at Sam Bond’s this week, and it’s sure to be swingin’.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Crow Quill Night Owls are an old-timey band dealing with some 21st-century problems. The musicians, based in Port Townsend, Washington, are all set to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a new tour vehicle and to upload their latest record to Bandcamp — only problem is they can’t get their computers to work. 

On Nov. 3 1961, Dave Brubeck played at the UO’s McArthur Court for $2.50. Less than a year later, Brubeck joined Tony Bennett for the White House Seminar American Jazz Concert with the Washington Monument as a backdrop. On May 28, 2013, Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 was released after over a half century forgotten in a vault.

Name a music biz award and young pro-bull-rider-turned-dusty-throated-troubadour Ryan Bingham has probably won it. His song “The Weary Kind,” from the 2009 Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart, was awarded everything from an Oscar to a Grammy.

Friday night’s concert featuring the impeccable guitarist Frank Vignola, a frequent and always welcome visitor who brings a duet partner, guitarist Vinny Raniolo. Proclaimed one of the finest ever by no less than the sainted Les Paul (his former touring partner), the versatile virtuoso can convincingly cover everything from Black Sabbath to Bach.

Eric Earley is of two minds when it comes to talking about the 10th anniversary of Blitzen Trapper’s self-titled debut album.

Seattle has become a hip-hop factory — or at least hip hop with a PNW twist: Blue Scholars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Wanz, Common Market, Grieves, Shabazz Palaces. And, like most hip-hop scenes, Seattle is dominated by male artists. Then there’s THEESatisfaction.

Alternative rocker Laura Meyer calls it like she sees it. Religion, greed, life on the road and relationships all get their share of attention on her albums, and her observations will certainly get you thinking.

When there’s a story — or an album’s worth of stories — inside you, it’s going to find a way to come out. For Vikesh Kapoor, the first several years of his life were spent playing piano. Then, an arm injury. He turned to photojournalism at Boston University.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Laura Cortese jumps genres like freight trains. The young fiddler has appeared alongside rockers like Band of Horses, Patterson Hood and Michael Franti, while her solo work is drenched in Americana and classical sensibilities.

With music institutions — especially those in less commercial genres — struggling musicians and fans have had to get social and entrepreneurial, increasingly relying on grassroots funding (through Indiegogo, Kickstarter and similar crowdsourcing sites) and informal venues. 

It takes a special character to receive surprise fellatio onstage mid-performance (we’re not making this up) and then keep performing. But I guess that’s what happens when the majority of your lyrics focus on drugs, sex and the rockstar life (listen to the track “Die Like a Rockstar”). It’s the nature of the provocative rap beast.

Love or hate Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby, one of the most hypnotic scenes of the film is the first. There’s no Leonardo DiCaprio or Carey Mulligan, simply the camera zooming in on the metallic, Art Nouveau Gatsby crest as The xx’s “Together” pings with melancholy coolness. 

After a week of trying to set up an interview with Les Claypool, the time and day was upon me. I was slightly nervous, but getting more so as each minute went by and the phone didn’t ring. Les Claypool stood me up.