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McMenamins Music

303 S.W. 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Will West

Robert Wynia
Skip vonKuske

7 p.m.
Free
21 and over

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Will West

Carolina-born songwriter Will West performs with a rotation of acoustic musicians called The Friendly Strangers, featuring an array of fantastic Portland players on banjo, cello, mandolin, horns, percussion and other surprises. Together they create a signature acoustic sound blending Old Time Roots and Folk Influences with Modern Inspirations & Positive Vibes. They tend to improvise and experiment, and they have a great time doing it.

Will West & The Friendly Strangers are cruising along after the release of their 2nd album called "Sunshine" in July 2012.  Performing in various  Northwest Festivals & Outdoor Concert Series during the Summer of 2012.  Songs have been featured on KNRK 94.7, KINK fm 101.9 and KZME 107.1 in the Portland area.  
 They released their debut album called "Take this Moment" in January of 2011.  The song "Understand" was featured on the KINK FM Local's Only  CD  Volume 4 in the summer of 2011. The album was nominated for "Album of the Year" by the 2012 Portland Music Awards and it has recently launched as a station on Pandora Radio.

The son of a fiddle player, West cites Old-Time Bluegrass, Blues and Heavy Metal music as some of his early influences. West moved to Portland in the summertime of 2002 and began cutting his teeth as a performer at Open-Mics and busking in Northwest Portland. He picked up his first formal gigs in 2004 and has been on a steady rise in the vibrant Northwest Music scene.

Will West has also released 3 solo albums and several limited press EP's. 
"to inspire" by Will West (live & lo-fi) ~ April 2009.  A collection of live studio recordings and home studio work by Will West and guest bandmates. (limited press)
"Shine" by Will West ~ April 2007.  Will's debut studio album. Recorded with Rob Stroup at 8 Ball Studio in Portland, Oregon.
"Reconstruction" by Will West ~ Jan 2004.  A collection of intimate acoustic recording of Will West at Ethos Studio in Portland, Oregon.

Their live performances continue to evolve and change. As a solo performer or with variations of a band, West pulls off fantastic acoustic guitar playing with smoothly delivered vocals and harmonica. Each show is an experience and it's all about the vibe...

Website:
http://www.willwestmusic.com/

MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/willsmusic

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

Video:
https://vimeo.com/195249689

Robert Wynia

Robert Wynia

Robert Wynia is a native son of the Western US. Born in Oregon, he has been performing and writing all his life. He has been voted Best Male Performer, Best New Artist, and Performer of the Year in Eugene and Portland, and received two preliminary Grammy nominations for his work with his band "Floater." He has appeared in numerous radio, television and web-based shows and has traveled extensively on tour. With his debut solo release "Iron by Water," Wynia created an atmosphere of open plains, shadowed woods and remote towns, and filled those landscapes with hook-laden melodies of obsession, love and  hope for redemption. "Iron by Water" weaves a tapestry in rhythms and film-score style music, with enough pop sensibility to keep the listener wanting more. The fusion of alt-country, pop, blues and rock is hard to pigeonhole, but easy to lose yourself in from the first listen.

?His newest release, "Brave the Strange" is a lush, cinematic musical journey through songs of lost love, addiction, and the struggle to find your way. It represents the bold collaboration of Wynia as producer with co-producer Daniel Riddle (King Black Acid), who brings his illustrious career with movie soundtrack production to the album's sonic palette. Recruiting the talents of some of the Northwest's best known and most talented musicians, "Brave the Strange" features a rich array of organic instruments and layers of sound that pull the listener in. The deeply personal and heartfelt vocals move effortlessly from sparse guitar and voice passages to grand orchestral tidal waves of sound, all the while drawing you further and further in. The drums and electric guitar often times sitting back and simply providing a comfortable canvas for the voice and other gathered instruments to paint.

?Robert Wynia currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where is a musician, producer, and performer in numerous projects. Learn more at robertwynia.com or email management@typhonrecords.com.

Skip vonKuske

Skip vonKuske

Haven't heard of Skip vonKuske? Chances are you've heard him - whether on his own recordings, or those of his primary live touring projects Vagabond Opera and Portland Cello Project. From Pink Martini to M. Ward, Skip has played cello on hundreds of recordings over two decades in Portland. He has performed around the nation and the world, while maintaining an active schedule in the local music scene in all types of genres.

Skip vonKuske has been playing the cello for nearly 30 years.  After leaving college in 1989, he played bass and guitar in pop bands but more recently has found himself integrating his classical training with improv/pop/ethnic/world music.  He is a skilled improviser, with an uncanny ability to slip into others' music.  His ability to provide the prefect complement has earned him credits on over 100 local albums.  vonKuske remarks:  "I am as inspired by Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and the minimalism of Philip Glass as I am by Little Sue or Pink Floyd.  My goal has been to EXPAND the perception of the cello.  Its tonal palette goes beyond classical / baroque usage; there is a viability to make any type of music with the cello."

Skip vonKuske is one of the most sought after cellists in the Northwest; he is  perhaps best known as a master collaborator for his work with groups such as Vagabond Opera, Portland Cello Project, and Groovy Wallpaper.  vonKuske is also many other things: a composer, an innovator, an improviser, and producer. The Oregonian has described him as "a one-man chamber ensemble," and this is apparent in his solo work, in which he uses looping technology and sound-manipulation tools to push the cello into uncharted terrain, and yet does so without sacrificing the sentiment which is heard in his powerful, concise phrasing.

Skip began playing cello at the age of eight, and has studied with renowned cellists William Stokking of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Lorne Munro of the New York Philharmonic. He attended the Performing Arts School of Philadelphia and also studied at Michigan State University. While at MSU, Skip performed with numerous regional orchestras and in several original music projects, in which he also played bass, guitar and mandolin.

When Skip moved to Portland, Oregon in 1994, his skills as an improviser and singer/songwriter set him apart from many other classically trained musicians. In his first three years in Portland he recorded on projects with well over fifty artists. And over the last decade, Skip's cello has provided vital, though often subtle texture, to hundreds of recordings including M. Ward's "Post War" and Pink Martini's "Sympathique".

Skip has also worked with the Oregon Symphony and performed with Smokey Robinson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Judy Collins, Crystal Gayle and many others. He stays active in the Portland's Jazz community and collaborates with film makers, producers, chamber music groups and is the first call of top music studios whenever a professional cellist is needed, whether their client has chord charts, written parts, or even no preconceived

Since the early 2000s, Skip has been a regular performer throughout the McMenamin's Kingdom, playing on nearly all their stages; plus sharing the Crystal Ballroom stage with national acts like Pink Martini, Devotchka, Beats Antique, Buckethead, Trampled by Turtles, and more. In 2015, he reached a rare milestone - holding his on-going Monday night residency at Edgefield Winery for ten years.

Website:
http://www.skipvonkuske.com

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About Al's Den

Head downstairs at the Crystal Hotel to hang out in this music venue named for Al Winter, Portland's gambling overlord who, in the 1940s, managed his vast empire that spanned the Pacific Northwest and into Las Vegas from this very location. Today, we hold live music, artist residencies, pre- and post-concert performances and more. 

 


 

 

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