7th Annual Shakers’ Ball to take place March 30th at Aladdin Theater

With Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, Ian Moore & The Lossy Coils, and Rob Stroup & The Blame. Plus special guest performers from the Shakers’ Sessions CD.

The 7th Annual Shakers’ Ball will be held on Friday, March 30th at The Aladdin Theater, hosted by it’s founder, Rob Barteletti.  The event will honor and benefit two organizations that have served the local Parkinson’s community for years; Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (PRO) and The Parkinson’s Center of Oregon at OHSU (PCO).
Tickets for the show are $15 and are available through Ticketmaster, or through The Aladdin Theater box office. Box office hours are Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.   Doors open at 6:00pm and the show starts at 7:00pm.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive, and incurable neurological movement disorder marked by tremors, rigidity, slow movements, and posture instability. It occurs when dopamine-producing cells in one of the movement-control centers of the brain begin to die for unknown reasons. Its symptoms can be managed with varying degrees of success by various therapies, most commonly through medication. So far, however, no cure is in sight.
“Though that can change, given all the trials and experiments in the pipeline,” says Barteletti. “But money is still the bottom line – both for continued research as well as support for those of us who may not be able to wait for a cure. That’s why I host this event each year: to do my small part to help in this battle.”
The show will feature Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, Ian Moore & The Lossy Coils, and Rob Stroup & The Blame.  Rob Stroup & The Blame will also be the backing band for guests vocalists, including Wilkinson Blades’ Steve Wilkinson, Nick Peets, Bart Ferguson, Rob Stroup, Casey Neill, and Ian Moore, who will all be performing the song they sing on the Barteletti-penned The Shakers’ Session.
Holly Chaimov, executive director of Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon says of Barteletti, “Rob has blended his energy and enthusiasm for music with his dedication to supporting the Parkinson’s cause. We appreciate his efforts to bring awareness as well as donations to help us help those with this disease.”
The Shakers’ Sessions was released by Burgerville Records and sold exclusively at Burgerville’s restaurants, raising over $56,000 for The Brian Grant Foundation, an organization founded in 2010 by former Trail Blazers’ power forward/center Brian Grant to support efforts to build awareness and education of Parkinson’s disease in order to increase earlier diagnosis, educate patients and their families, and to provide a viable forum for people affected by Parkinson’s.  Both Grant and Barteletti have Parkinson’s and have been helped and supported by the Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon and The Parkinson’s Center of Oregon at OHSU.
The album is a 12-track collection of roots-oriented, folk-pop-tinged Americana, with each guest vocalist adding their own interpretation to Barteletti’s rustic Americana songwriting style.
The track listing:
  • 1. Being Jesus Again – Rob Stroup
  • 2. Queen of Sheba – Fernando
  • 3. Mr. Heartache – Nick Peets
  • 4. Ask Me Why – Pete Droge
  • 5. The Box – Ian Moore
  • 6. Voices – Storm Large
  • 7. Fool that Is Me – Bart Ferguson
  • 8. Bird on the Wing – Steve Wilkinson
  • 9. Reckoning Day – Mike Coykendall
  • 10. Wild Woman Blues – Ken DeRouchie
  • 11. Under Icy Falls – Casey Neill
  • 12. Her Man, Her Lover, Her Friend – Rob Barteletti
The record was released November 15, 2011 at all Burgerville locations and was sold throughout January 2012, culminating in a presentation from Burgerville to Brian Grant and his foundation with a check for $56,000 at the Rose Garden during half-time of a Trail Blazers’ game versus Charlotte Bobcats (the game ended in a 112-68 victory over the Bobcats).
Every day, 195 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s and it affects more than just the person who has it – it also affects the entire family dealing with Parkinson’s disease.  One such person is songwriter (and former high school teacher) Rob Barteletti, who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2002.
“At the time I was teaching a theology course that asked the question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ As I had learned from reading Harold Kushner’s book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, ‘Why?’ is the wrong question; the better question is ‘What are you going to do about it?  How are you going to make the most of the bad things that happen to you and your loved ones?'” Barteletti says without hesitation.  “Perfect,” I thought.  “My chance to put into practice what I have been teaching.”
He continued teaching for more than five years after his diagnosis, retiring in 2007 after 31 years.  After retiring, Barteletti, who realized the clock was ticking on his songwriting, his ability to play and write music on the guitar, dove into his music full-time, writing constantly.
Following a conversation with close friend, and recording engineer/producer Rob Stroup from 8 Ball Studios, the idea was born to do a benefit album for Parkinson’s patients, with local musicians coming in and signing songs Barteletti had penned.
“I had just written a series of swampy, tongue-in-cheek, sad, hopeful songs.  I brought rough demos to Rob Stroup for his opinion.  As we discussed this, we came up with the idea to invite the best singers in Portland and the Northwest to each record one of my songs.  The album would be sold as a benefit, with all profits earmarked for Parkinson’s support organizations,” recalls Barteletti .
Phone calls were made.  Emails were sent.  Soon, Barteletti found Northwest musicians more than willing to participate, including Storm Large, Pete Droge, Fernando Viciconte, Ian Moore, Mike Coykendall, Casey Neill, Bart Ferguson, Steve Wilkinson, Ken DeRouchie, Rob Stroup, and even the one-time student of Barteletti at Jesuit High School, Nick  Peets.
“There are three irrefutable cold, hard facts about Parkinson’s disease: it is chronic, it is progressive, and it is incurable.  Every Parkinson’s patient hears this somber mantra upon diagnosis,” informs Barteletti. “I now understand the reality of those words more than any time since I was diagnosed seven and half years ago.”
He continues, “Over the past few years, my musical skills have diminished, but it’s as if my songwriting has been set free by the disease.  This fills me with hope and inspiration.”
Honored that so many Northwest icons were willing to participate in the making of The Shakers’ Sessions, Barteletti hopes to inspire others with the disease, educate those unfamiliar with its impact on lives, and ultimately raise money to help those living with the incurable disease.
“The collaborative goal is to bring these songs not just public artistic recognition, but more importantly to share this music to bring awareness and funding to The Brian Grant Foundation, to further their cause, and help them provide assistant to those less fortunate than me, who are also living with Parkinson’s.  My dream is to see the day when a cure can be found for this insidious, relentless disease.
But, in the mean time, I hope The Shakers’ Sessions can inspire and offer hope to others like me.  Much like it has done for me,” Barteletti says.

Pilar French’s CD release show, March 16th 2012 at The Secret Society Ballroom

On March 16, 2012 at the Secret Society Ballroom, Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Pilar French will celebrate the release of her latest CD, Deliver, her third album overall.  A six-song collection of heartfelt, warming pop-rock sprinkled with roots leanings, French takes a lighter approach on Deliver, following up on 2009’s Alive, an album that tackled life’s heavier subject matter.

Pilar French’s website

Also on the bill are Riviera and Nicole Campbell.  Coors at 8pm, show starts at 9pm.  Tickets are $8.00 in advance through Brownpapertickets.com and $10.00 at the door.

Recorded at 8-Ball Studios, and produced by French and Rob Stoup, French is joined by her band, Jeff Koch (guitar, guitanjo), Tony Howard (drums, vocals), and Sean Nowland (bass), as well as guests Jean Pierre Garau (keys), Rachel Taylor Brown (vocals, accordion), Marilee Hord (violin), and Todd Bayles (cello).

Discussing the optimistic vibe of Deliver compared to its predecessors (besides Alive, her debut album is 2007’s Butterflies), French comments that, “The second record I did was a little bit heavier. It touched on heavier topics like human perseverance and the will to survive and overcome life challenges,” says French. “This CD is more about cherishing family, relationships and what you have as opposed to what you don’t have. The music is a little more light-hearted. It’s meant to make you feel happy and appreciate what you have.  I wanted to write songs to remind me to appreciate what I have. You walk away from it with really positive vibes.”

Opening with the title track, a song inspired by her nephew, French sings about wanting a better world for the next generation.

“It was inspired by Luke, my nephew, who was born prematurely but who is now a healthy, vibrant little kid.”

A mid-tempo pop song, the song comes across like a burst of sunshine, French’s warm voice accompanied by a steady drum beat and beautifully-crafted instrumentation, the keyboard adding a spring to the already heartening song.


“Love and Live” finds French being more soulful, a rich, passionate soul-roots song that has her singing about forgetting the rat race and appreciating what you have.

“There’s so much going on in our society right now – people are losing their jobs and their homes. Times are tough,” French says, discussing the song, and the overall vibe of the album. “We’ve got people fighting in a war that’s been going on for ten years. It’s a time that makes us want to reflect on what we have and appreciate it.”

With the addition of guest vocalist Rachel Taylor-Brown on “Tumbleweed,” the pop-rock number comes alive, while “Place of Our Own” finds French creating a mysterious ambiance with its late-night, been out all night having fun, laid-back rock style.

The soul-pop groove of “End of the Day” showcases French’s voice perfectly, while the album closer, “The Build,” offers a nice instrumental roots-pop finish to a polished, memorable collection of tunes.

Some will notice that “End of the Day” also appears on Alive.  The version found here is a full band version, expanding on the acoustic recording previously released.

“I wanted to record it with the full band and capture a more euphoric sound.  The song came to me while sitting on a log on the beach in Pacific City during sunset.  For me, sunset is the best part of the day.  It’s the most frequent time you will find me pausing to catch my breath and appreciate my surroundings.  I guess because I am often stunned by the beauty.  Call me a sap,” she says of the re-recording.

With Deliver French tries to capture the breathtaking beauty of a sunset, and the daily joys of life, and put it to music, offering listeners a sound that will give them hope, optimism, and something to slow down, take a deep breath, and relax to while they take in life and all its wondrous beauty.  If there is one message you should take from Deliver it’s live for today, enjoy life, and don’t let the negativity bring you down.

Previous Press Quotes:

“Her voice is old-fashioned, but it’s not quirky like Nellie McKay, it’s a ‘better than anyone you know’ voice in a tight style that sticks to the classic delivery Bonnie Raitt and many others.” – OPB Music

“Song titles like ‘Alive’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Higher Ground’ might make you wonder whether Pilar French’s new release (also calledAlive) is a covers album, but the Portland singer-songwriter has been busy on both sides of the hyphen. Vocally alternating between airy and nasal, she reminds me of Aimee Mann as well as Portland artist McKinley; as far as songwriting, her quirky melodies and glossy and spiky New Wave production are also, if you will, ‘McKinleyesque.’ French’s Higher Ground, a duet with Justin Jude, is a bouncy, would-be radio-ready pop song and the highlight of the album released tonight.” – Willamette Week

“…years of playing in various – and varied – outfits have given Portlander Pilar French a confidence and polish that can’t be faked.” – Portland Tribune

“Pilar can be loungy, smoky and silky, bluesy but is slightly askew… The vibrant Pilar French Intention has made its mark at various Pacific Northwest venues including the Water Front Blues Festival, The Bite of Oregon, Robin Hood Festival, Crystal Ballroom, and Doug Fir.” – Oregon Coast Today

“She may have accidentally created an album about perseverance, but French herself knows firsthand what that means.  Alive is a solid, confident affair and we’re the lucky recipients of her will to endure and grow.” – Oregon Music News