BANDHAPPY Announces the Official “BANDHAPPY Lesson Tent” at the 2012 VANS WARPED TOUR!

BANDHAPPY, the first LIVE online and in-person music education service, is pleased to announce their sponsorship with the Vans Warped Tour this summer! As a sponsor, BANDHAPPYis very proud to offer a unique service for fans and bands alike on each date of this tour. BANDHAPPY is providing an official “BANDHAPPY Lesson Tent” where fans/attendees will be able to take lessons from their favorite bands/musicians on the Vans Warped Tour! Since launch, BANDHAPPY has serviced thousands of students in over 100 countries learning daily on the site by either live video chat or in-person while artists are on tour.

At the Vans Warped Tour, BANDHAPPY lessons can include anything from instrument and vocal lessons, to lessons about songwriting, marketing, image, management, gear walk-throughs, or anything else relating to the music industry. Take a trip over to and check out all of the new details, as well as to vote for which artists YOU would like lessons from (and on what instrument) in each city!

All BANDHAPPY lessons will take place in the official BANDHAPPY Lesson Tent and can be pre-purchased at the link above, or via cash or credit card on day-of-show. Initially,BANDHAPPY will be offering pre-sale lessons for fans via from members of BaysideBorn of OsirisThe Streetlight ManifestoAfter the Burial,VannaiwrestledabearonceImpending DoomChelsea Grin, and many more!

BANDHAPPY representatives will be on-site outside the festival speaking with fans waiting in line and taking orders for lessons. During lessons, students will be provided with practice instruments by SJC Drums, Ernie Ball, Orange Amps, Evans Drumheads, Planet Waves, Pro-Mark Drum sticks, Mapex hardware and pedals. Also taking place in the BANDHAPPY Lesson Tent will be master class meet and greets, contests, recording of lesson footage, and more! Additionally, official Vans Warped Tour ‘Pit Reporter’ Amy Willard will be taking weekly lessons at the tent and will issue updates.


Not only a great tool for fans attending the festival, this is a great opportunity for bands to become teachers on the tour as well. Lessons can be taught in a band’s down time every day, and while this is definitely a way for them to make additional money, it’s so much more than that! Both BANDHAPPY and Vans Warped Tour will be heavily promoting BANDHAPPY and its teachers.  There will be a vast amount of articles, interviews, blogs, posts, etc. about this service, and the bands who take part in it.  You’re already getting your name out there from being on the Vans Warped Tour, why not MAXIMIZE that?

Bands can use BANDHAPPY to book and provide online lessons to their students with our built in video chat setup, or book private, in person lessons at home or on tour!  BANDHAPPYmakes this effortless and it takes the hassle out of lessons. Bands can set their own rates and schedules with the assistance of BANDHAPPY, and everything is self-contained including scheduling, payment, etc., so your info stays private and your schedule stays organized. It has never been easier to establish a dedicated network of students worldwide.

For more information on BANDHAPPY’s involvement with the Vans Warped Tour, please visit these websites:




BANDHAPPY – a new music marketplace for a new music world. BANDHAPPY connects teachers and students in a one-of-a-kind music community, offering both in-person lessons or online lessons anywhere on the planet via our custom-built, in-house video chat system. For all things BANDHAPPY please visit and

New Musician Arrives in Portland

Brianne and Jared Mees, empress and emperor of the Tender Loving Empire, welcomed baby July Simone Mees into the realm on March 21st, 2012 at 6:22PM. With a fighting weight of 8 pounds 9 ounces, little July is expected to release her first album sometime in 2013 on the Tender Loving Empire label. Proud mother is recuperating. Proud father is bouncing off the walls. Let’s all wish them well.

Brianne and Jared Mees with baby July

My Life with Ronnie Montrose

by Brent Angelo

I woke up early and my wife was on the computer. As I was getting the coffee going my wife was like “Oh my God, Ronnie Montrose passed away yesterday.” My heart just sank. This was no ordinary musician to me and to have him gone seemed like a bad dream. I just couldn’t believe it and still don’t.

When I was growing up, my parents were very influential on me especially with music. They took me to a lot of concerts when I was growing up and in our house there was a lot of (now) classic rock for one. My music appreciation was growing from what I had been listening to at home and I started to find likes of my own.

One band that hit me hard was Montrose. I loved Sammy especially with Van Halen, but Montrose a rock legend. My interests in instruments started about this time so Montrose became in a way like a guitar music teacher to me. I am no expert, mainly a hobby player, but what a feeling cranking an amp and playing along to that first Montrose cd. I would sit there and really listen to those songs, hearing every single note, heard some things I never noticed before and then I would try to figure them out.Then when I became old enough to hit the bars/clubs to see him play in person, that really gave me an even bigger appreciation for the man.

When I grew up in Sacramento, I would see him all the time. Ronnie was a San Francisco Bay Area guy so that played in my favor. I would see all over the area when he played…Sacramento, Tahoe, and I even went to a NAMM show and saw him play there. After the Montrose “band” period, he went on to a solo instrumental career so I saw and heard a lot of that music especially. There was this one magical night at a club called Big Shots in Roseville California that he was doing some solo work when a local musician, who I was unfamiliar with got Ronnie in the jamming mood. He offered his rock vocals and they started blasting through the “classic” Montrose tunes. It was amazing and the people went nuts. You can tell Ronnie was having a blast with a grin from ear to ear. It has to be hard for an artist when they create something massive in scale where so many people love it and are so dedicated to it.

Ronnie was an artist and not some greatest hits kind of guy. He challenged himself as an artist even writing music for video games. He had his solo work, acoustic work, other band projects, but his fans missed “Montrose”. He listened to his audience and began to play those beloved songs again. It was around the same time, Sammy Hagar and Van Halen had gone their separate ways. Sammy had begun writing for his solo album, Marching to Mars and in the process got all the original members back together for the song Leaving the Warmth of the Womb. It was like time stood still….that huge sound was BACK. The reunion of the band gave for speculation of a possible full scale reunion, but that never happened. Montrose did do some shows with Sammy on his solo tour making for some amazing encores.

Soon after Ronnie’s health sidelined him from music and he stepped out of the spotlight.He began to battle Prostate Cancer. He was missed in the rock world and then out of the blue, he was back. Ronnie seemed healthy, happy and ready to retake his rock throne. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, Portland is now my rock ‘n’ roll home. When I saw Ronnie was to play Portland’s Aladdin Theater, I “jumped on it” getting tickets as soon as they went on sale. As a local music photographer and new to, I thought I would try some new ground on this show too. I got a photo pass, and was also offered a chance to interview him as well. What do you ask your guitar hero?

I did my best as it was my first time, but what an experience. He and his awesome wife/manager were so good to me. These people are the real deal kind of folks. They were not the usual “music business” types. As a long time fan, I just really wanted to show my thanks somehow. I knew he had health issues and I was glad to have him back. In my own way, I wanted to help get the info out to help sell this show out. I personally wanted Ronnie to walk out on that stage to a full house of fans and know he had been really, truly missed. When he came to that show, he got just that and for the fans, they got Ronnie at his best. He was simply ON FIRE. He sounded better than ever. His playing was strong and the band as a whole put on an amazing show showcasing the great songs from his career in music. It was truly a special night of music and it was so good seeing my guitar hero play live again.

As part of the performance, he had set up a program to donate a guitar at each show that would benefit a local charity. With my help, I hooked him up with the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, who I thought would be perfect for his guitar donation. When he heard about the music education program they were involved in, he told them the guitar was theirs. He was a giving type and cared about the people around him. He was not a musician to run into the bus after the show and made time for each and every fan, who wanted to see him. He had no ego, only heart. I never thought the Aladdin show would be my last show of his, but what a memorable night it was.

Ronnie Montrose had a long, amazing, storied career in music. He has played with so many people during that time. In his days with Edgar Winter for one, he helped create classics like Frankenstein and Free Ride. It was his own band Montrose with Sammy Hagar that really made him a rock legend in his own. The sound he and the band captured on that first record defined guitar and show what it was capable of. Songs like Rock Candy sounded huge – massive drums and sonic guitar riffs. So many musicians were inspired by Montrose’s work and still credit him. Some musicians that I have gotten to know over the years credit him for a lot of things they now know about the music business. He was a great musician, but also a smart businessman too. He took care of the people around him and treated his fans with respect. I am sad to see him gone and that he lost his battle with cancer. Ronnie did not leave this world on a low note, but a high one. His last tour was a celebration of an amazing musician and a great songwriting legacy. I am thankful of the times I had with him and will miss him greatly. You rocked my world my friend….you may be gone, but the music will live forever.

Ronnie Montrose fan (and friend)

Brent Angelo

More info on his career

For my interview

Brent Angelo Photography gallery from the Aladdin

Support the future of Oregon’s musical coolness… donate $12 in ’12

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Oregon’s thriving and diverse music scene has given much to many. Some made a living, some made their careers… some even married their band mate. And many made memories that will surely last the rest of their days. Now, the Oregon Music Hall of Fame has made it REAL easy to give a little something back. Please donate $12 to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and help them grow future generations of talented Oregon musicians. Remember fondly those days of yOre… now cough up $12 bucks please.


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 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

McDougall’s CD release show – March 24th 2012 at Secret Society Ballroom

With Water Tower (formerly Water Tower  Bucket Boys) and Henry Hill Kammerer (of Hillstomp).


On March 24, 2012, Portland, Oregon-based Americana/folk-rock one man band McDougall will celebrate the release of his sixth full-length, A Few Towns More, at Secret Society Ballroom.

Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm.  Tickets are $8.00 advance and at the door.  Also on the bill are Water Tower (formerly Water Tower Bucket Boys) and Henry Hill Kammerer (of Hillstomp).

On the title track to A Few Towns More, McDougall sings, “The road you chose might take you back to your front door, but it looks like mine’s gonna take me on a few towns more.”  Telling the story of touring, human interaction, and sharing in life’s adventures, McDougall sums up his album on the final track, discussing the isolation and loneliness of touring alone, while also singing it’s praises, meeting new friends and new adventures in cities he plays.

“It’s the title track and the final track on the album,” McDougall says of A Few Towns More.  “It’s a song that portrays how lonely and yet totally amazing it can be touring alone.  The loneliness you face sometimes is all worth it as you spend each night sharing songs with people and making friends out of strangers.”

Equal parts folk, Americana, and old-time country, McDougall’s music conjures up images of sitting by a coffee-can fire in the middle of a dry California river-bed that then pulls you up on a freight train that travels through the lush spring-time of the Pacific Northwest, with you ending up rambling around the country with all your possessions on your back.

McDougall wishes to keep to the unwritten rule of using what was left by those before while leaving something of your own for those who come after, as you exemplifies on A Few Towns More, an album that prevails with a message of hope throughout every journey.

“As with all of my albums, there is an underlying message of hope.  This one also deals with the responsibility each one of us has to take what we learn in life and share it with others, to find that place where we know we belong and can do the most good,” McDougall says, summarizing the album’s lyrical themes.

A ten-track collection of dusty-trail Americana, it is hard to imagine that A Few Towns More is pulled off as a one-man-band live, McDougall handling either the guitar and banjo, while also playing percussion with his feet.

“I dig that when listening to [the album] you sometimes forget that most of it is one guy,” McDougall beams.  “I try hard to find a balance between getting creative in the production realm and trying to produce something that can be repeated live with the same intensity.  I think we found a good balance on this record.”

Whether it’s the opener, “Coleraine,” a banjo-driven clap-and-stomp chant piece that wears its hymn-like vibe on its sleeve.  Or the rambling rock of “Ready, Begin,” in which McDougall sings, “time for living, you know, moving and thinking.  I felt the bitter cold air make me high.  On your mark, get set, and back to the task.  Before all your chances change their colors and die,” McDougall creates mood-elevating, hopeful songs that remind you that you’re alive.

McDougall turns it down a few notches on the moonlit folk of “Evening Tide,” a ragged, yet mellow acoustic number that finds McDougall in a contemplative state.  The high-impact banjo dance number “Cuttin’ the Grass/Tom and Willy Go To Town” is an instrumental that will make you get up and move, while creating the perfect soundtrack for the should-have-been theme song for the Oregon Trail.  Abound with promise and adventure, even without words, McDougall can elicit feelings of a new life and excitement.

On the gospel-folk of “When God Dips His Love In My Heart” McDougall challenges himself on this traditional number that his mother used to sing with his grandparents when she was a kid.

“Gates of Victory,” with group vocals from various Portland-area musician friends, will have you singing along to the chorus, which rings with the words, “Looking to those who have humbly walked before us.  They taught us how to live and they taught us how to die.”

“[The song] is about following solid examples of those who walked before us,” exclaims McDougall.

Recorded in a barn during a Washington winter, at times McDougall found it too cold to even play his banjo.  But he persevered and made it through, proud of what he’s accomplished with A Few Towns More.  Now all McDougall has to do is hit the road and play these songs for fans, new and old alike, while hoping they find the songs encouraging, engaging, and fun.  With artwork from Modesto-based folk-singer/tattoo artist Roy Dean, A Few Towns More is rooted in traditional, better meant for your stereo, with artwork in your hands, than your MP3 player.  However, McDougall will take listeners any way we can get them.

And, as he sings on “A Few Towns More,” “As we sing together each night in each town, old friends and new in the same room all let their problems down.  And with our hands, feet, and voices proclaim, that every day doesn’t have to be the same,” McDougall hopes that his album will help you break up the monotony of every day life, helping you relax and enjoy yourself.

Jack Wilson to release debut, self-titled full-length CD March 6th on Fluff & Gravy Records.

On March 6, 2012, Portland, Oregon-based Fluff & Gravy Records will release the debut, self-titled full-length from Austin, Texas-based folk-pop songwriter Jack Wilson.  His debut bridges the gap between the folk-rock of Seattle (where he began his career as a full-time musician) and the acoustic music prevalent in Austin.
“Somewhere, in the blending, is the sound of the record,” says Wilson, a little ambiguous when he talks about his music, but focused on describing it as best he can.  “Whatever you might call it; my sound, well, it’s that blend.”
Jack Wilson; photo Courtesy of Fluff & Gravy Records

Wilson, a songsmith able to pull off his live performances solo, or with a full-on rock band, says that is what he set out to do with this release.

The result is the eleven tracks that comprise the album.  Jumping from the nineteen electric guitars found on “The Cure,” a full-on rock number complete with a horn section, or the subdued, late-night folk of “The Truth,” the album travels the spectrum without sounding out-of-place, sloppy, or without direction.
From album opener “Valhalla,” a love song about dreaming and keeping watch over a sleeping loved one, through “I’ll Do the Same,” about meeting an old flame many years down the line, Wilson weavers tales and melodies into earnest indie-Americana.  There is the chilling indie-folk of “Red Feather,” haunting you with a slow melody, about a winter night in Seattle, seeing the good-luck bringing Red-feathered Cardinals, and the country-rock of “Black Hills Fiction,” a three part narrative about the huge humanitarian disaster that was the Black Hills Gold Rush, told by a native, a prospector, and a soldier.  Wilson is able to tell stories, sing about his love and life lessons, all while giving the listener a musical journey that is anything but predictable.
One of the album’s strongest songs is the alt. country kicker “Paying for Misery (Thanks to You)”, a song Wilson wrote as a homage to a train hopper and two folk singers that helped show him that working a menial job and squandering his musical career was never going to satisfy him.  Suffice it to say, Wilson quit his job, wrote this song, and hit the road; putting everything on the line.
Thankfully Wilson did this, putting his faith in his own music, and what would become the self-titled full-length.
“I decided to go with a self-titled record for my debut,” Wilson admits.  “During the process of making the record, which consisted of months of pre-recording talks and planning, I opted to steer away from a concept record.  I didn’t want to make a rock record, or a folk record, or a low-fi record, or what have you.  I just wanted to sit down and record the songs the way that they sounded best.”
He continues, “I didn’t want to be constrained to limits of alt. country, or rock, or folk.  It was the greatest hurdle facing the record; just that idea of, ‘Do we make a rock record? Does every song need to have drums on it? How do we make an album that settles together and tells one story?’  Through multiple takes and versions, re-cuts and overdubs, some tracks kept all the complexity of the rock that they were recorded with, while some tracks, like the album’s only cover, ‘Clean,’ were stripped of everything.  That’s what the song needed to come out and be heard.”
One of Wilson’s favorite songs on the record is “Valhalla,” a song he doesn’t even remember writing.
“It’s the song I play the most,” he remarks.  “The funny thing is that I don’t remember writing it, at all. I don’t remember any point during the writing process. I do remember my ex, reading ‘The Mists of Avalon,’ and loving it and reading bits of it to me every night. I suppose that’s why it’s my favorite, it’s like someone gave it to me to play. As a gift.”
Proud of his debut full-length, Wilson doesn’t take the sole credit.  He is quickly eager to thank, and show appreciation, for all the players that made the record a reality.
“So many friends helped this record come together,” he says.  “The horn sections are something that I felt we used sparingly and with great impact. In the last chorus of ‘Valhalla,’ Alex Kostelnik and I spent hours finding ways to mix in the vocal lines, the pedal steel swells, the ecstatic drumming, and those four horns. Through that cacophony, came such a sweet feeling, like a tipsy stumble sidewalk, following a marching band through the streets of the French Quarter at 9 o’clock in the morning.”
Now the only thing left for Wilson to do is continue touring in support of the album he put his heart and soul into.
  • 1/27/12 – Cafe Medici – Austin, TX
  • 1/28/12 – Skinny’s Ballroom – Austin, TX
  • 1/30/12 – Saxon Residency (after Bob Schneider) – Austin, TX
  • 2/03/12 – Club Deville – Austin, TX
  • 2/08/12 – Marathon Live Music – Los Angeles, CA
  • 2/09/12 – Silverlake Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
  • 2/18/12 – Hole in the Wall – Austin, TX
  • 2/22/12 – Folk Alliance Int’l – Memphis, TN
  • 3/08/12 – 35 Denton – Denton, TX
  • 3/16/12 – Eastside Lounge (Ninkasi Brewing party) – Austin, TX
  • 5/13/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/14/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/15/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/16/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/17/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/18/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/19/12 – Al’s Den @ Crystal Hotel – Portland, OR
  • 5/24/12 – The Old Church – Wilsonville, OR
  • 5/25/12 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA