art, interviews, music, nature, Vortex Music Magazine

Laura Veirs: Devotional Experiments | Vortex Music Magazine

The singer-songwriter observes where nature, science, art and activism intertwine on her 10th solo record ‘The Lookout.’

The Lookout is an electrified ecosystem of songs set under sapphire skies, in desert canyons and moonlit meadows, on sunlit oceans and over starlit landscapes, flush with color in burgeoning green, gold and red, and filled with the sounds of campfire, wolf howls and painted winds. Veirs’ harmonic vocals resonate like calls through a canyon . . .

READ the rest at the Source: Laura Veirs: Devotional Experiments | Vortex Music Magazine

feminism, music, nature, Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

Lenore. is a dark planet with twin satellites of ethereal voices orbiting around it…Nature-inspired, dark folk songs like “Ether’s Arms” and “Dig” are sharp and shining—the glinting edge of a spade in the garden. Songs about the moon, sun, ancient trees, the seasons, and explorations of darkness and light resonate throughout this purely Pacific Northwest creation of lyrical magic and vocal alchemy.

READ the rest at the Source: Three New Records from Three Portland Artists to Watch | Vortex Music Magazine

music, previews, writing

Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

The first time I heard The Quebe Sisters, I was standing in the woods on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon at the Pickathon music festival. It was a private session of stripped-down songs, played in a quiet setting away from the larger stage and big crowds—and very intimate, except for the film crew and microphones jammed into the 10 by 10-foot concrete and wood pumphouse. I didn’t actually see them directly until they emerged—but what I heard instantly transported me to another time. It was the romantic and sentimental song, “Going Away Party,” by Texas songwriter Cindy Walker. The sound coming out of that little shed was so pitch-perfect and golden-toned, I thought it had been pre-recorded and auto-tune processed. It was as if the Andrews Sisters of the 1940s had emerged from the fires of time with their close harmony style and dropped down to the forest, fiddles in hand.

READ the rest at the Source: Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

holidays, interviews, music, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan

In the darkest time of the year, perhaps even, in our culture and our larger world, Bazan invites us to “admit your despair to safe people in your life this Christmas. Be a safe person for others. Feel better. Jesus Christ, you guys.” It’s an honest Christmas wish we could all find some truth and light in.

David Bazan has been remixing and remastering a lot of different things lately. His music. His workflow. His life. He’s been incorporating old songs and sensibilities into new endeavors, like releasing his first music video, embarking on a documentary about his “existential, artistic and family life,” and touring with a very unlikely holiday album collected from annual yuletide song releases, dating back to his Pedro the Lion days.

No matter the sound—from guitar strings to symphonics or synthesizer—nor the venue—whether it’s a house show or concert hall—one beautiful consistency remains in Bazan’s music: his raw, emotive vocal delivery of difficult topics, from faith to politics and all the human faults in between.

READ the rest at the Source: White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan

feminism, love, marriage, music, Vortex Music Magazine

In a ‘Haze’: Nataly Dawn at The Old Church

Walking around in an emotional ‘Haze,’ Dawn brings her new record to The Old Church on November 18 with collaborator Lauren O’Connell and openers The Native Sibling.

Haze is an emotional autopsy of confessions and conversations around the loss of relationships. It captures, as Dawn describes, both “that feeling of walking around in a haze” and “relates to the idea of being hazed: put through some strange and often cruel rite of passage.” As a daughter of missionaries, songs about her father and religion such as “Orchid” and “Amen” feature prominently on Haze. But these aren’t anti-religious anthems or angry breakup ballads. The 10 songs on Haze are melodic and precise—sharp words set to sweet hymnals ranging from sparse guitar and vocals to glittering synth ballads—as if to soften the scalpel she takes to her evangelical upbringing and poignant endings.

READ the rest at the Source: In a ‘Haze’: Nataly Dawn at The Old Church

 

feminism, gardening, interviews, music, relationships, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

Moorea Masa & The Mood: ‘The Garden’ [Song Premiere]

On Moorea Masa’s debut collaboration with J. Most, she moves into her R&B realm with a clean, crisp, almost symphonic song with plenty of room for fingersnaps, strings and sumptuous harmonies. Finding space to grow, listen now and stay tuned for more new sounds from Masa.

Every garden goes through its cycle of life. There’s the zenith of growth in summer, a gentle decline and falling away in autumn, a death or mere sleep in winter, and rebirth again in spring. So it has been for folk-soul singer Moorea Masa herself and her newly released track, “The Garden.”

Seeds of this song have been sown in various forms beginning with an acoustic performance set in a field of wildflowers as part of Chuck Johnson’s Humboldt Live Sessions in the fall of 2015 . . .

READ the rest at the Source:  Moorea Masa & The Mood: ‘The Garden’ [Song Premiere]

interviews, music, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

A Conversation of Collaboration: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop Burn ‘Love Letters’ Together | Vortex Music Magazine

As the duo return to Portland to perform their love songs at a sold-out show on June 3 at the Aladdin Theater, Vortex chats with Jesca Hoop about the co-creation of an album of duets with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam.

Some love letters we keep to remind us we are loved. Others, we burn to forget that we were broken by another. But the inspiration behind Love Letter for Fire, a collaborative album between Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop was not to remember or to forget—it was to reinvent. In this case, a 13-track album full of love song duets.

Like most loving endeavors, it began simply and in earnest—Beam and Hoop were fans of each other’s music. Beam had always wanted to make a record like this one with a female partner as an homage to the classic duets he grew up hearing on the radio. He went through Hoop’s catalogue on iTunes and was struck by the album Kismet. Meanwhile, Hoop was finishing her fourth record at the time and had never co-written. Hoop admitted familiarity with Beam’s music “because it had cleaned my house many times,” she remarks. So after a proper amount of mutual admiration, Beam decided he wanted to get to know Hoop better and invited her on tour, and the album was subsequently written throughout 2014.

READ the rest at the Source: A Conversation of Collaboration: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop Burn ‘Love Letters’ Together | Vortex Music Magazine

feminism, interviews, music, politics, Vortex Music Magazine, writing

Indigo Girls: Song, Spirituality and Social Justice | Vortex Music Magazine

In their 30-plus years as a band, Indigo Girls have increasingly turned their attention to social causes.

Indigo Girls have been in the music scene since the ’80s, experimenting with their sound, enduring worldwide touring, and outlasting many of their female acoustic-based folk rock contemporaries. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers boast a long-lasting girlhood friendship, 16 albums, more than 35 years of writing, arranging, recording and performing together as a duo, and a Grammy for their self-titled album, which contains their signature song, “Closer to Fine,” featuring earnest lyrics and finely woven vocal harmonies delivered with equal parts fire and grace—a distinctive quality that longtime fans have come to cherish.

Separately, they’ve released solo albums and embarked on successful personal projects—Ray founded a record company and a nonprofit organization that promotes independent musicians, while Saliers scored a film, opened a restaurant and cowrote a book with her father. But their accomplishments have expanded because of the music they make together—and beyond it—into the realm of political activism. Indigo Girls’ commitment to social justice issues, humanitarian concerns and environmental causes can be heard in their musical themes and seen as personal action. Together with Winona LaDuke, Ray and Saliers founded the nonprofit Honor the Earth to raise awareness and financial support for indigenous environmental justice.

READ the rest at the Source: Indigo Girls: Song, Spirituality and Social Justice | Vortex Music Magazine