Friday, August 4, 2017


Steve Wilkinson

7 p.m.


21 and over



With his imagination often dwelling in the very real places of his past and present, as well as in the possible future, McDougall’s songs may very well seat you by a coffee-can fire in the middle of a dry California river-bed, pull you up onto a freight train in the lush spring-time of the Pacific northwest, raise your voice in hymns with the entire family on a Thanksgiving afternoon, or haste your good-bye to civilization as you know it, as you ramble on with all you possess on your back.


Fact, fiction, and a little in between, McDougall carries on the relevant tradition of oral history and folklore, making it a part of everyday life and sharing it with those around him. Inspired by the word of God, his family, friends, fellow workers and fellow travelers met along the way, McDougall wishes to keep to the unwritten rule of using what was left by those before while leaving something of your own for those who will come after.


Steve Wilkinson

Steve Wilkinson

You know that expression "lets get the band back together"? Well, that's sort of what happened. Sort of. Though most of the names and faces are the same, it really isn't the same band. Time, distance, experiences, and evolving musical tastes make the incarnation of Wilkinson Blades on ‘Home' as fresh as ever. The new LP is a snapshot of their newfound creative spark amongst old friends and musical cohorts.

The Blades are the live answer to Steve Wilkinson's first solo studio album ‘4:00AM' (under the Wilkinson Blades moniker) on Austin, TX's Shiftone label. The album received strong critical acclaim and airplay at home and abroad and a trip to Austin for three showcases during SXSW. The live performance experience started as a trial but as the group continued writing, rehearsing and recording new material, they realized they were onto something special.

‘Before we knew it', Wilkinson says, ‘we had over half of a record completed and it sounded nothing like the first. It sounded like us - only different. That was a cool thing. In no way would I want a new record to resemble anything like I just released...what would be the point?'

What the veteran Blades (comprised of singer/guitar player Wilkinson, guitarist Grant Cumpston, drummer Jon Beyer, bassist Johnny Huck, and keyboardist Rich Landar) ended up with was new 10 tracks, each sounding different from the rest yet cohesive to the record. ‘Home' is a nod to their American rock roots but heavily influenced by the unique psychedelic overtones of guitarist Grant Cumpston. "I think the mere fact that we've played together in one form or another for so long" says Cumpston, "gives us our own sound to a degree without having to be too formulaic".

He is referring to the ten-plus years Portland's Gravelpit he, Wilkinson, Johnny Huck, and Jon Beyer played with from the 1990's on, and Wilkinson's continuation of the band with John Beyer and stints with Rich Landar in Mission 5. The hundreds of shows and 5 full-length records earned them a reputation, in one form or another, as a hard-working, high-energy band that offered creative variety to their sound. That experience has brought them back to where they are now, which currently sees an even newer lineup with all sorts of guests floating in and out of rotation.

‘For now', says Wilkinson ‘everything is fine. I actually can't wait to make the next album. We'll continue to add new sounds, people, and styles to the mix. I have no idea where that will take us, and that's super exciting."



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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