Sunday, December 4, 2022

Brad Creel and the Reel Deel

featuring Jenny Conlee (the Decemberists) and Paul Brainard

3 p.m.

$10 in advance, $10 day of show
Limited Seating, first come first serve.
Expect standing room.

All ages welcome

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Brad Creel and the Reel Deel

Dark and funny folk

Brad Creel and the Reel Deel

Lava Lamp Country is a place where Gram Parsons and John Prine are constantly spinning on the turntable, Cher frolics with Bigfoot in the backyard, the lights are low, and the lava lamps flow.

Lava Lamp Country is also the new album by BRAD CREEL & THE REEL DEEL, their fourth, as well as the musical genre that they practice. The style is as nebulous as the melting wax in a lava lamp: constantly shifting and pulling into separate forms, but ultimately sticking back together into a unified whole.

The hot wax flows from the harmonious depths of "Five Rivers," to the whimsy of "She's Got What it Takes," and then even further to the sentimental Southern rock of "When the Rain Comes" (with Decemberists' Jenny Conlee on keys) -- and what would a Portland band be if they didn't have a song about the rain?

The arrangements of the songs display a similar tasteful eclecticism, with the almost Dixieland-style horn accompaniment of "Fishing for a Song" giving way to the raucous fiddle playing on "Raise Your Glass." But it all holds together as one ball of hot wax within the genre of Lava Lamp Country, a mixture of rock, bluegrass, jazz, and country.
You might call Brad Creel the mayor of Lava Lamp Country. As a Jungian therapist by day and a musician by night he's been known to say, "A band is just a therapy group where everyone happens to play an instrument."

Brad came to music later in life. He didn't begin writing songs until his 30s and has lived a life as eclectic as the musical style he's defined. In the 90's, Brad was a comic artist who wrote and illustrated multiple-page panel cartoons for outdoor publications and travel magazines. He then became a carpenter, remodeling houses and making stuff out of wood. While in grad school for counseling, he wrote his thesis on the inspiration and the origin of song, using the single from his new album, All the Friends that I have Found, as the major example.

If Brad is the mayor of Lava Lamp Country, the Reel Deel is his duly-appointed cabinet. There's the inventive but never obtrusive bass playing of Ben Grosscup, who met Brad while kayaking on the Deschutes river. There's multi-instrumentalist Michael Moore, of the country swing band Shorty and the Mustangs, on guitar. And there's the friendly vocals, acoustic guitar, and assured drumming of Robert Hawkins, a veteran of the Portland, Oregon music scene who found a home with The Reel Deel in late 2010.

The new album was recorded by Steve Drizos at Panther Studio in Portland, over the course of a year and a half during the covid lockdown. Since the band could no longer practice in each other's basements, they reached out to a church across the street from Brad's home. This old stone church became the birthplace of Lava Lamp Country. The church was vacant and cold, but the band was able to stand at least 20' apart and write the songs, which every member of the band were instrumental in arranging and producing.

The Lava Lamp Country release show is Sunday, December fourth at the White Eagle in Porltand, OR. All ages, $10 at the door will get you a new CD and some cool stickers.


featuring Jenny Conlee (the Decemberists) and Paul Brainard

featuring Jenny Conlee (the Decemberists) and Paul Brainard

Jenny Conlee-Drizos is a keyboardist and accordionist from Portland Oregon. She is a member of the indie rock band The Decemberists as well as other musical groups including The Minus 5, Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Ashleigh Flynn and the Riveters, and her own group The Jenny Conlee Quartet. Jenny is a classically trained pianist with a love for music of all genres. Jenny and her husband Steve Drizos composed and recorded the music for a documentary called "Voyagers without Trace", a short film called "The Kid", along with music for podcasts and commercials.


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