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Friday, January 10

Portland's Folk Festival

Anna Tivel

Jeffery Martin

Haley Johnsen

Cedar Teeth

Maita

Glitterfox

Nick Delffs

Ben Larsen

Jacob Miller

Tara Velarde

5 p.m. doors, 6 p.m. show

All ages welcome

$25 advance, $30 day of show, $40 two day passes

Portland's Folk Festival

Anna Tivel

Anna Tivel's wide-eyed celestial folk songs belong in a similar ballpark with Anais Mitchell, Gregory Alan Isakov and Laura Veirs, where gentle picking plucks among occasionally unconventional sounds and a gorgeous voice tells stories of life in a world of natural wonders. The resulting music is incredibly honest, lyric-driven, and deeply affecting.

Website:
http://www.annativel.com/

Jeffery Martin

While I was earning an English degree, Josh Ritter came to my college and put on a small solo concert. Watching Ritter on stage was like watching someone trying to make sense of their existence, in real time, with a guitar and words. It seemed to be less of a performance and more of one man's necessity, which happened to be on public display that night. I had written songs before then, but certainly all that followed became something else entirely. I strive to find those songs, to write those songs, that exist in that perfect place perched between my own experience and the common experience that everyone can relate to. This rarely happens (in fact, I don't even know if it's happened yet.) I also think that I take myself much too seriously, and I have a lot to learn about writing songs that make people feel good; that make people want to shake around a little bit.

When I'm not playing music I substitute teach high school students. People love to ask how I balance music and teaching, which one I'm more passionate about; would I leave teaching behind entirely to pursue music? Does teaching influence my music? I don't know the answer to any of these things. I am passionate about music and I am passionate about teaching. Some days I can't stand music, some days I can't stand teaching. Both can feel like work, and both can leave me feeling like a crook for getting paid to do what I do.

I grew up a little bit in Texas, and then mostly in Oregon. My parents read to me at night and took me to the library and flooded my ears with music that meant something. My mom made me learn the cello at a young age. My dad took me to see John Gorka and Leo Kotke. I have a dog, a yellow lab named Ben, who has toured more than 10,000 miles with me over the past few years (human miles.) I play an old 1970′s Takamine gifted to me by my uncle.

-Jeffrey Martin has released two albums. Gold in the Water (2009) and Build A Home EP (2012.) In 2011 he was invited to the Sisters Folk Festival as an emerging artist, and then returned in 2012 as an officially showcased artist. In fall of 2012 Jeffrey was a finalist in the Mountain Stage / New Song contest in New York City. And he has earned songwriting mentions in American Songwriter Magazine, as well as the 2009 Kerrville Folk Fest songwriter contest.

 

Website:
http://jeffreymartinmusic.com/

Haley Johnsen

The daughter of a professional drummer, 26 year-old Haley Johnsen grew up in the rain-soaked atmosphere of the Northwest surrounded by musicians in the industry, but managed to keep her own love of music and perfect pitch a secret. Shy and fearful about her ability to sing when a child, Johnsen kept her obsession with finding the perfect harmonies to herself; she would only sing hidden in her closet or when she knew she was home alone. "I couldn't handle attention...I never knew what to do with it," she remembers, " I was so self-conscious for so much of my life, even raising my hand in class left my heart pounding. Being the center of attention was my worst nightmare and my greatest dream at the same time."

It would be a dedication to gymnastics that would take this shy girl who preferred to blend in with the background and turn her into a daredevil, dancer, and performer. "This sort of athletic expression didn't feel as nerve wracking to me. I could be silent and allow my physical my strength and flexibility to do the talking. As strange as it sounds, hurling my body around rather than my voice just felt safer."

Whether she knew it or not at the time, Johnsen was building not just physical strength, but discipline and self-confidence that that would ultimately challenge her to put herself out in front of a million people to face her biggest fear - singing.

It was a last minute decision to join the thousands of people in line that February afternoon in Portland, Oregon in 2011 when American Idol auditions rolled into town, and she knew what a long shot it was. Still, she could afford to roll the dice; she was on the cusp of finishing her degree at Oregon State University where she had spent four years slowly cultivating a discipline for singing and performance through classical vocal training and performance as a hobby alongside her studies and really had no plans post graduation.

Johnsen would be cast into the national spotlight when she captivated American Idol Season 11 viewers making it all the way through to the Top 24 semifinals before conceding.

For artists that come through the Idol machine, the experience can be either a make it or break it one. What it did for Johnsen was confirm that she could - and should - pursue a professional music career based on the response judges and audiences had to her performances. "Idol was the stepping-stone that persuaded me to believe in myself as an artist and performer, and it confirmed that I had the talent to make music my ultimate focus," Johnsen reflects. "Being surrounded by so many other gifted and passionate musicians ignited a fire in me to carry out my dream as a singer/songwriter that I hadn't thought I was capable of before."

Over the course of the last three years, Johnsen has written and recorded over 100 songs. With the help of Portland-based producer, Rob Daiker (Katy Perry, The Fame Riot, Christian Burghardt), the two began a collaborative process of selecting the ones that would best represent Johnsen's range and songwriting abilities.

"The songs are mostly about the extremes in life that I was faced with - sort of like a scrapbook of what I was going through: leaving Hollywood to come back home to Oregon; figuring out what I wanted my life to look like; and finding my own authenticity as a songwriter. My best songs are the blatantly honest ones. Sometimes my lyrics are things that I wanted to say to someone, but couldn't find the words in the moment. Later those words show up perfectly as the chorus to a song. Other times, I was just trying to work out a problem or express to myself a sense of acceptance of whatever I was going through. They are cathartic that way," Johnsen revealed.

Johnsen's influences range from the eccentricities of bands like Radiohead and Pink Floyd; to classic, folk and indie-rock vocalists such as of Eva Cassidy, Nicole Atkins, Florence Welch and Brandi Carlile - all artists with a flair for the dramatic in their delivery. "From a melodic standpoint, I have a hard time writing songs that don't build to an epic moment. As a naturally a loud singer, it is really fun for me to play with intricate melodies that reach a point where I can just belt it out with a big lunged chorus, taking the song in a direction the listener wouldn't expect it to go. I visualize my songs in a linear way when I write them, but imagine the places where the song needs to rest, climb, and then soar - sort of like a journey to a destination."

The final result of Johnsen and Daiker's collaboration is a seven song EP Through the Blue written by Johnsen, arranged and produced by Daiker and recorded with guest instrumentalists including drummer Joe Mengis (Priory, Climber, Casey Neill and the Norway Rats). It serves as a personal reflection upon this season in Johnsen's life - the transitions she faced, the relationships that were impacted, and the lessons that came from her experiences. "What I have discovered in writing these songs is that there is peace in struggle. As I grow, I am learning to accept the ambiguity of life."

Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/haley-johnsen/sets/through-the-blue/s-7lFRF

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HJohnsenAI11/info

Cedar Teeth

Cedar Teeth didn't plan to start a band around the campfires that lit up their Oregon youths in the forests of the Cascade foothills that form a clear-cut divide between Portland and the surrounding wilderness.  The genre bending roots troupe owe their inception to bassist Rayson Gordon, who forged a musical link between friends and provided their secret headquarters: a cedar shed on his grandparents' 40 acre forestland on Green Mountain Road. In their new practice space, campfire tunes turned into intricate songwriting and friendships became a partnership. 

Following their 2014 debut album, Hoot, Cedar Teeth built their reputation on stage, whether at festivals like Summer Meltdown and Wildwood, or at clubs throughout the Pacific NW, where they have joined bands like Fruition, Shook Twins, Motopony, Hot Buttered Rum, and Magic Giant. 

On their 2017 EP, Farewell To Green Mountain, Cedar Teeth explore everything from indie rock and grunge to psych folk and bluegrass, reflecting the diversity inspired by their lives on the dividing line of societal opposites.  Produced by Larry Crane (Elliot Smith, The Decemberists), the EP leans heavily on backwood harmony, allowing complex song structures and off-kilter melodies to support tales of love and war and the moments in between. In one sense, Farewell to Green Mountain is a goodbye to both their formative practice space and the vanishing wilderness and community they knew growing up; a sense of loss that makes its way into songs such as "Cancer" and "Mama's Mourning".  But then again, a voice of defiance emerges in songs like "Winter" and "Echoes Grounding", testaments to renewal and resilience in the face of the dying light. 

While their range of sonic interests and influences defy easy classification, it is difficult not to hear Levon Helm, Rick Danko and company, The Band, hollering from the grave. Indeed, imagery reflecting organic flesh and bone, mingling with gnarled old-growth roots music, is what this band is all about.  Call 'em whatever you like: they are harmonizers and collaborators and Cedar Teeth won't let the fire go out.

Website:
http://www.cedarteethband.com

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/cedarteethband

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CedarTeethBand

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/cedarteethband/

Maita

MAITA (Maria Maita-Keppeler) is a Portland songwriter, visual artist, and creative writer. She is currently working on her debut EP with Matthew Zeltzer (The American West) and John Askew (Neko Case, Lost Lander, Richmond Fontaine).

Website:
https://maita.bandcamp.com/releases

Glitterfox

 

After taking home the grand prize win at Buskerfest (Long Beach's largest and longest-running battle-of-the-bands competition) and being named "Best Folk Act" by the OC Weekly, the on-stage bandmates and off-stage girlfriends of Glitterfox (formerly Bearcoon) made a bold decision: to sell 95% of their possessions, quit their jobs, give up their apartment, and begin touring the country full-time. 

 

The duo spent the next two years living in their Chevy G20 van, touring the country full-time, and making appearances at some of Southern California's most noteworthy festivals - Joshua Tree Music Festival, Music Tastes Good, and multiple appearances at the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival.

 

Glitterfox has released two studio albums, the first of which, El Guapo, reached the #1 spot on amazon.com's "Hot New Releases" list and would later go on to be voted "Long Beach Album of the Year." Summed up best by Live Rock Gig: "El Guapo is a collection of poetic lyrics combined with spellbinding harmonies... a profoundly heartfelt collection of recordings."

 

Glitterfox is currently finishing up their third studio album with plans to release in September 2019. 

 

Website:
https://www.glitterfox.org

Youtube:
https://youtu.be/yi5XnYYs-GE

Nick Delffs

Nick Delffs (formerly Death Songs, The Shaky Hands) is creating a divine fusion between Townes Van Zandt and James Brown by means of his own mighty, highly original soul. There is that deep love and physicality of rhythm and syncopation married to the studied lyricism of folk. It is a potent combo -- a truly alchemical vision that deserves the world's utmost attention.

Nick Delffs is a seeker. He'd never identify himself that way. He's unassuming and self-effacing, careful to discuss song meanings and biographical details without indulgence or melodrama. Delffs cut his teeth playing basement shows in Portland a dozen years ago, just before that city's cover was irreversibly blown. It was a time when being musically ambitious meant impressing other local musicians. You were a joke, in that world, if you proclaimed yourself an artist or promoted your band with any zeal. So Delffs would probably find "seeker" a rather grandiose title.

But Nick Delffs is, in fact, a seeker. He's an old-school rustler of the human condition; a tireless navigator of social and spiritual landscapes; a genuinely curious and wide-eyed, mankind-enthusiast. Soon after meeting him, one gets the impression that Delffs could be dropped in some far corner of the Earth and he'd not only survive, but he'd make a lot of friends-maybe even start a new band. In both casual conversation and his songwriting, Delffs gravitates to the universal. That's his search. His life's work is in the identification and removal of our shared illusions. And that is, largely, what Delffs writes songs about. Songs come to him when he's "feeling detached from the world but totally in love with it at the same time," he says. "Mostly they come when I am patient and I don't need them or care about them too much."

They happen to be pretty catchy songs. Delffs first emerged in 2003 as the frontman for the seminal Portland band The Shaky Hands, known for their jangly, pulsing and introspective songs and their high-energy live shows. The band would sign to the venerable Kill Rock Stars imprint and tour internationally with bands like The Shins and Meat Puppets.

The Shaky Hands went on hiatus in 2011, and the changes came fast and furious for Delffs. He released a stripped-down, self-titled EP as Death Songs. He became a father. He relocated to Idaho. He took odd jobs and worked as a landscaper. All the while, he was strengthening his musical chops by collaborating with artists like Luz Elena Mendoza (Y La Bamba) and Ali Clarys-both of whom play important roles on his new LP, Redesign.


Living in Boise, Delffs remained a beloved figure throughout the Northwest-traveling often and moonlighting in friends' touring bands. Slowly, through collaboration and time off, the pressure of being a full-time songwriter subsided and a thrilling new confidence emerged in Delffs' own work.

"I like to disassociate myself with being a songwriter," he says. "I like to forget I even do it. In the past that would have freaked me out, but I have a healthier relationship with my songs now. It's less codependent."

Redesign is the first full-length album Delffs has ever released under his own name. He first shed the Death Songs moniker in 2015, when he unceremoniously dropped a four-track EP of fantastic story-songs simply titled Home Recordings, and last year Mama Bird released Delffs' reworking of the traditional English Christmas carol, "As I Sat on a Sunny Bank". But Redesign is a self-contained universe of songs that play with themes that, on the surface, seem at odds with one another: longing for nature ("Somewhere Wild", an ode to off-the-grid living) and learning to take responsibility ("Song for Aja", a sweet and percussive tune about Delffs' now six-year-old son that recalls Cat Stevens and Paul Simon). Musically, these themes are stitched together by the album's warm, organic production and Delffs' playing-he's behind every instrument on the record-but Delffs also connects those seemingly disparate dots under the heading of Redesign. Heading into wilderness provides the insight for dealing with life's heaviness; the responsibility of being a parent is also an opportunity for endless imaginative self-exploration.

The title track "Redesign" was written during a rafting trip in Eastern Oregon. "I couldn't go for the full three days, so I went for one day and hiked back to my car alone," Delffs says. "It took maybe nine hours, and I had no shoes, and there were rattlesnakes. I took naps, I sang in caves. I felt like I let a lot of things go on that walk."

A redesign means "to change out the parts of yourself that don't work, or don't serve anyone," Delffs explains. "And if you are changing and growing, your relationships have to as well. It seems like redesigning our relationship with the world-and staying open to change and curious about the future-is more important now than ever."

This is what you can depend on from Nick Delffs. In a world of noise and madness, he will use his music to try and scratch at something human and real. Something helpful. Nick Delffs is a seeker. He shares his discoveries. Redesign is his greatest gift yet.

Redesign will be released on July 21st from Mama Bird Recording Co.

 

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/nickdelffs/

Ben Larsen

Ben Larsen is a long time resident of Portland, OR where he began his music career thirteen years ago. A singer-songwriter, and multi instrumentalist, Larsen has been busy developing and producing his solo project.

His new, self produced album Turn, was developed with the support of many mainstays of the Portland music scene. With roots in acoustic music, Turn grew into a multi genre project creating both an honest and humbling space for Larsen to expand his musical palette. 

Sounds on the project range from a full string quartet and horn section, to Larsen alone in front of one mic with a guitar.

Always on the search for a deeper and more genuine understanding and connection to music and listeners, Larsen is constantly expanding and examining his role as an musician, artist and creator.

Look for the new record out everywhere on November 27th

Website:
http://benlarsenmusic.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/benlarsenmusic/timeline

Jacob Miller

A Wisconsin native, Jacob Miller left his hometown for Portland, OR the summer of 2009 via Amtrak; bringing with him only a suitcase and a Fender Jaguar guitar. After one year in the city - he left to travel North America to study and perform music while working on farms and ranches between travels. Time spent as a farm hand in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina shaped his devotion to the finger-picking style of the region. Playing along with old recordings and locals in the surrounding areas of Appalachia, Miller delved into the inner workings of the music's practice and history.
After 7+ years of leading a 6-piece jazz band, performing both throughout North America and internationally - Miller now focuses his efforts on a different kind of songwriting and storytelling.
With an affinity for minimalist pop and firm roots planted in American traditional music, Jacob Miller crafts a timeless sound unique to his style and abilities.
In 2019, Jacob will release and tour a debut album which displays his abilities as a performer, writer and composer. Recorded and performed entirely by Miller in a SE Portland living room turned studio - songs and ideas come together to form an album that is hard, honest and heartfelt.

Tara Velarde

Diva Folk artist Tara Velarde combines commanding vocals and thought-provoking lyrics into a genre distinctly her own. Part soul, part singer-songwriter, part blues-rock, and with a splash of the theater, Velarde takes the stage with charm, sass, and a quest to find the far reaches of her vocal abilities.

Listeners liken her performance to Adele, Brandi Carlile, and Carole King - great female powerhouses with a lot to say. Glide Magazine says: "While rooted in folk and pop, the [new] album finds Tara tapping into a more soulful sound, which suits her well as she definitely has the vocal chops. It also displays a young artist with a soaring sense of confidence who isn't afraid to step outside her musical comfort zone and take risks for the sake of the song."

With the recent release of "Rise" (EP, 2019) following her freshman “Get Out and Walk” (LP, 2016), Velarde stays active on the road and in the studio. She tours both solo and with her full band throughout the Western US, and in 2018 made her European debut with a 3 week tour of Italy.

VIDEOS:

"Feel Like a Human" Live (2018)

"Touch You" Live (2018)

"Such an Island" Live (2017)

PRESS

Tara Velarde embodies that elusive combination of swagger and sensitivity. She writes songs with a sharp sense of poetics and vulnerability, and then steps up to the mic to her deliver words and vocal melodies with powerhouse pipes.” — Screams Media

Website:
http://taravelardemusic.com

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/taravelardemusic

YouTube:
http://youtube.com/taravelarde