836 N. Russell St. / Portland, OR, 97227
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
8 p.m.$15 in advance, $20 day of show21 and over
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Following the release of his second album The Blackberry Train in 2016, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter James McCartney is set to tour the US in 2017. James has built a robust international profile through tirelessly touring the UK, Europe and the US, including a sold out three show residency at The Islington in London. Having gained critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and The Daily News, James toured the US in 2016 playing 44 shows in 25 states in just over 6 weeks. James released his first full-length album Me in 2013, describing it as an, "Intimate, deeply personal, and honest" album that would say, "This is who I am... both musically and personally." Since then, James has remained fiercely dedicated to his musical vision of melding smart hooks and feral alt-rock with the grandeur and spiritually centeredness of psychedelic music. The Blackberry Train, engineered by Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies and PJ Harvey), is both a diverse and cohesive album with an eclectic mix of delicately crafted songs. It opens with the jangling rocker, 'Too Hard' which features Dhani Harrison on guitar and vocals and closes with the aptly named folk song 'Peace and Stillness'. The album blends indie-rock, alt-rock, feel-good music, great melodies and catchy hooks. Highlights include the rough-edged and urgently melodic ‘Unicorn', the anthemic 'Peyote Coyote', and the soulful ballad ‘Prayer'. One very personal song is the winsome and reflective ‘Waterfall' which was inspired by memories of his mother. "I like the music to have elements of the avant-garde, psychedelic, and be just a little against the grain," James reveals. "But in the end, it's about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically. It's all about the music being cathartic, heartfelt and true." Thinking ahead, James says: "I just want to keep on going, keep working, and improving as a songwriter. I'd love to feel that I realised my full potential both as a person, and as a songwriter. That feels like a great, fulfilling goal to shoot for. Making a lot of music, and striving for more depth artistically - those are my goals." James shows no signs of slowing down and continues to hone his craft as a songwriter, musician and performer.
Anna Rose is rock n' roll. Raw and unfiltered only begins to
describe the petite-blonde's persona; so don't let her looks fool you. After
her sophomore album Behold a Pale Horse, Rose has evolved deeper with
her upcoming release, Strays In The Cut.
Rose sums Strays In The Cut into one crisp breath - bravery.
Stripped of its fat and fluff, tracks like "Bury Me Deep" coarse through
your veins with depth and rock energy. Rose is unconcerned with conformity and
hones in on feeling. It is equally a reflection for Rose as it is for the heart
of each listener: Bury me shallow where the rain can touch / keep the knife
dull 'cause I feel too much of everything. "I wrote this song at a time
where I very often felt misunderstood," where spurts of emotion get lost in the
chaos of life and the vast music industry," said Rose. "Bury Me Deep" attests
to that focus heard in its hazy guitar riffs, defined pulse and electricity.
Attitude crosses honest writing and pierces your skin: Bury me deeper where
the sun don't reach / breaking my heart just so you can see the rest of me.
The six-track EP is a defiant revolution that pushes both personal
and musical boundaries for Anna Rose. "I am very much an album artist and a
storyteller," said Rose. Sentiment and conviction fountain from Strays In
The Cut while embracing electronic elements like omnichord, edgy guitar and
Rose's powerhouse vocals. "I gave myself more freedom to push my ability as a
writer and artist" said Rose, all of which underline the EP's transparency from
the studio to the stage.
"Start A War" is equally mesmerizing. The intro conjures a calming
effect, soothing the ear in the wake of its storm. Rose's voice is healing. Her
tone lures listeners into the heart and soul of Strays In The Cut.
"Start A War" becomes a melting-pot of life, death and sorrow that blooms at
each chorus and snare rolls propel the band into a distant forum of release.
By the age of five Anna had already taken up piano, guitar and
dance. "My house was a rock n' roll house," said Rose. The lineage of rock
music is potent, filled with innovation, rebellion and respect, which Anna Rose
fully embraces. Her roots travel deep to the birth of rock and blues, or as
Rose calls it, "soul-food." Artists like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led
Zeppelin have been at the core of Rose's upbringing; "Oh my god, Led Zeppelin,"
Anna repeated. Rose's musical palette extends to innovators such as Muddy
Waters and Tom Waits to Placebo, Nirvana and Soundgarden.
It is equally important for Rose to pay homage to those who have
inspired her. During the recording of Strays In The Cut Rose continued
this tradition covering Warren Zevon's "My Shit's Fucked Up" and "Downtown
Train" by Tom Waits. "Anytime you cover a song it is because it has made an
imprint on you," said Rose, a feeling that bridges hope, melody and mystery.
Rose turns up the gain on Zevon's folk-tale, amplifying its
looseness and integrity. Unlike the original, Rose's song begins with a defiant
banjo lead, deep southern soul and earthy drums. Anna recalled Zevon's Grammy
Awarded effort The Wind, which was the singers twelfth and final studio
album. Zevon began the record as a response to being diagnosed with pleural
mesothelioma lung cancer. Two weeks after the album's release Zevon died. Anna
remains overwhelmed by Zevon's bravery - a theme that resonates throughout Strays
In the Cut. "You just can't wait because you never know," said Rose.
Strays In The Cut
is bold. It rebels, excites and challenges the current industry, human beings
and their emotions that are clawing - waiting to be set free. "We as people
deal a lot with surface-level feelings; yet each set of eyes sees the world in
a completely different way," said Rose. At its core Strays In The Cut
represents all that Anna Rose stands for. "I'm trying to remember where I am at
the heart of it. I'm a songwriter. I'm emotional...but if you're always
fighting for what you believe in, that is all that matters," said Rose. "This
is who I am."
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