demo

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pretty Gritty

Haley Johnsen

7 p.m.

Free

21 and over

Share this event

Add to Calendar

Pretty Gritty

Pretty Gritty

Pretty Gritty might be another duo emerging from a sea of female/male acts as of late, but there is nothing typical about these two. Sarah and Blaine have cultivated a sound that is both timeless and classic, yet they still succeed in bringing something fresh to the table, pushing rootsy-Americana sounds into an edgy, alternative space. These two have carved out a reputation as a must-see live act, allowing them to open for such acts as The Wood Brothers (SalmonFest 2016), Tim O'Brian, Tony Trischka, Chris Eldridge, Rod Picott, Lake Street Dive, Ben Sollee & the Kentucky Native and Joe Newberry.

Both members utilize their multi-instrumental skills to sing, play stringed instruments and hold down back-beats, all simultaneously for a truly engaging experience. But they are not simply just entertainers. It is their mesmerizing vocal harmonies and beautifully crafted songwriting that really tug at the heartstrings and earn them life-long fans.

"There's an elusive chemistry between some singers. George and Tammy had it, and so did Olivia and John. Those kids from Nickel Creek had it, and the hottest example of it (recording) in Nashville at the moment are a duo known as Pretty Gritty."
-C. Brett Campbell
Middle Tennessee Music

The duo originally formed in Maryland in 2010, but after completing 2 (completely DIY) National tours and 3 recording projects, Sarah and Blaine decided to relocate to Portland, OR. At first they hit the streets, busking downtown, but it didn't take long for folks to take notice. Pretty Gritty are now playing at venues all over the Pacific Northwest. They have successfully completed several tours, covering ground all over OR, WA, MT, CO, UT and AK.

Pretty Gritty's self-titled debut album (2012) features the well known jam/festival scene artist, Keller Williams, as the voice of the devil on the track titled "Hellhound Blues." This freshman attempt won them 2 Indie Music Channel awards, Best Country Song and Best Folk Song.

In 2015, Pretty Gritty began their relationship with producers Fred Cannon & Paul Buono at Creative & Dreams Music Network (Nashville, TN) where they recorded their Lonely Road EP (released Feb 2016). Pleased with the experience, everyone decided to continue the relationship and return to the studio to record a full album, Seven Year Itch, due to release March 30th, 2018.

 

Website:
www.prettygrittymusic.com

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

Haley Johnsen

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

Events

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. 

 


 

 

Menus

Explore the Crystal Blocks

Our Crystal Hotel and legendary Crystal Ballroom are just across the street from each other, each offering their own unique spaces for live music, Northwest style fare and McMenamins hand crafted beverages.  Explore these properties and all they have to offer. 

Crystal Ballroom Property

Crystal Ballroom  Lola's Room  Ringlers Pub  Crystal Brewery

Crystal Hotel Property

Crystal Hotel  Al's Den  Ringlers Annex  Zeus Cafe

Contact Us  | Join Our List  |  Music Booking Inquiry  |  Employment  |  Privacy Policy  |  Accessibility  |  Gift Cards  |  Donations

Site handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A
Copyright © 2018 McMenamins Inc. All rights reserved.