836 N. Russell St. / Portland, OR, 97227
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
8 p.m.$10 in advance, $12 day of show21 and over
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It's been five years now since Wood & Wire sprouted out of the rich musical soil of Austin, Texas. In that time, they've written music, recorded albums, and performed at some of the most notable festivals and venues across the country.In the often tightly defined genre of bluegrass music, Wood & Wire's "band-style" ethos are not unheard of. Nor are the elements of song crafting, so often associated with their Texas home, that permeate their sound. That said, what comes out of the Wood & Wire blender is something entirely its own.Tony Kamel -- leader singer, guitarist, mover, shaker, and primary songwriter -- brings his material to the group in a malleable form, and the results are illimitable. "I think I'm most proud of how we've developed our sound together," says Kamel. "It feels great to step on stage feeling like we've really found our own style, which feels most to me like alt-country tunes expressed with bluegrass instruments more than anything. It's all centered around the songs."A culmination of very distinct musical personalities, there's one ambition they all share: "Our goal is to show up and drive, so that the energy hits you, and it's undeniable," says bassist Dom Fisher.Fisher, a New York state native, formed the group with Kamel in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the addition of banjoist Trevor Smith, says Fisher, "really put us on a different level."Smith, who had been playing music with Fisher, Kamel and other local musicians at a weekly bluegrass gig in Austin, actually grew up playing classical piano. After attending his first bluegrass festival, he picked up his main instrument, the banjo. "I was perplexed by the sound of it, and I had to figure it out," says Smith. "We're rooted in traditional bluegrass but don't limit ourselves to any perceived notion of what that's supposed to be. We do our own thing, and we realize that vision collectively."Mandolinist Billy Bright joined the group in 2014. Bright brought with him a suitcase full of tunes and a trunk full of ideas."Billy really rounded us out in a big way" says Fisher. "We're really excited to finally make a studio record with him."The band began recording their upcoming studio record in Austin this spring and plan for an early 2018 release."We can't wait. This will be our most definitive record to date. We're fortunate to have reached both die-hard bluegrass fans, folks who have never heard of bluegrass, and everything in between," says Kamel. "We'll keep working hard to bring the music to our fans."
Ben Larsen, principal songwriter of Crow and the Canyon, vocalist, and guitar-and-mandolinist, is originally from Connecticut and came to Portland's Lewis and Clark College. There, he began studying jazz guitar, eventually shifting focus to classical mandolin, playing with several formidable acts after college, including Renegade Stringband, and Allie Kral (Yonder Mountain String Band). "My last band, The Giraffe Dodgers, broke up just before everyone else moved to town in January, 2014," say Larsen. "I started playing with Austin as a duo, then Miles, and then finally Leigh, when she joined us for our first show as Crow and the Canyon in June of that year."
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