Thursday, July 25, 2024

Brianna McGeehan

Ann Vergnetti

8 pm

$15 in advance, $15 at the doors

21 and over

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Brianna McGeehan

Mystical hobo folk

Brianna McGeehan

A little over a decade ago, Brianna McGeehan dropped out of the Music Therapy program at a small college in Portland. It was in part a protest over the firing of the program's director but also because she realized she just wanted to perform. either have to or you don't.
Born in Oregon to a music teacher father, she began studying music around age 6, playing piano then violin, but it was singing that captivated her most. Harmony was a revelation. McGeehan knew she'd spend the rest of her life doing it. Her music studies have taken her to as far reaching places as India and Tanzania.
She was influenced by a grab bag menagerie: Lauryn Hill, Radiohead, The Cranberries... Dad's Beatles, Aunt Kitty's Irish folk tapes. Growing up in the 90's in the Pacific Northwest, grunge was one of the building blocks of a healthy musical diet, but rainy afternoons also lent themselves to Beethoven on the piano.
Brianna picked up the guitar in her early 20's and started writing songs. Moved to New York and played some gigs. Got pregnant and had a baby, returned to Portland and became a single mom. She wasn't about to quit music though, so she put a band together with some friends from the Music Therapy scene. She let that go to join forces with Drew de Man - now her husband and musical partner - and the two formed a band, calling it Pretend Sweethearts. They spent the next few years touring the US and Europe playing their version of Americana, that was as poetic and political as it was spiritual. "Heart Hunters' music might sound delicate on first listen, but it packs a heavy punch." - No Depression
The pandemic kept her off the road, and almost off the stage entirely, while she and her man raised their two kids together and put their energy into community organizing. Now she's got a whole new crop of solo material and it's something of a departure from the old Americana sound. "I call it anti-americana," she says. The new record is a realization of the vision she's had since those first days in New York - a cocktail of powerful vocals and synth strings, traditional instruments and electronic beats and loops.
McGeehan has shared the stage with the likes of Allison Russell and Peter Case. Her voice - effortlessly powerful and delicately beautiful - resounds with the talent of a genius and the skills honed in rigorous vocal training. She is an activist and community organizer who feels called to do social justice work through music. She just might change the world. When you hear that voice, she'll surely change yours.


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