John and I have two days off between the Arts Northwest booking conference and a one-off gig at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield, Washington. What better town to kill time in than the so-square-it’s-cool hippie Mecca of Portland, Oregon?
We rolled into town yesterday about 5 PM, and with an hour to kill before happy hour at the Laurelthirst Public House, we walked off to hunt and gather like the authentic cave men that we are. We asked a friendly passer-by for a food recommendation, and ended up enjoying Cuban tapas at Pandiche. Good food, reasonable price, fun crowd.
But live music was our objective, so we headed back up Glison to the Laurelthirst, where Caleb Klauder and his country band were entertaining the Bohemian crowd with a lively set of hard-core country music that ranged from old-time to bluegrass to Texas swing. I’ve written here before about Foghorn Duo, and we were happy to see that Sammy Lind was in attendance doing his amazing thing on the fiddle, along with a tight backup group that included pedal steel, bass fiddle, and drums.
(Sad side note: Caleb’s cherished vintage guitar was recently stolen. Here is the info. Please pass it on so people can be on the lookout. 1939 Martin O-17 (all mahogany) Acoustic Guitar. This instrument is well worn and played. The head stick has been broken, the top and neck show heavy play wear and there are other dings all over it. It’s a small body guitar but not a parlor guitar. Case is black. Contact Caleb at 971-242-9140. )
After meeting an old friend and saying hello to the band, we headed over to our homestay accommodation to unload our instruments, and happened upon a singer-songwriter song swap being hosted by Chris Kokesh of Misty River. After hearing a few choice new tunes, we ventured out to the Goodfoot Lounge, where we heard our friends 3 Leg Torso perform their wierd-cartoon instrumental songs that featured Bela Balogh on gypsy fiddle and Courtney Von Drehle on accordion. The quintet’s wonderful and far-out music is tough to describe… the web site calls it an “eclectic synthesis of chamber music, tango, klezmer, latin and world music.” Whatever… it’s awesome.
After 3 Leg, our homemade music festival culminated with a mesmerizing performance from the 20-piece Balkan Fusion Project, featuring Bulgarian-born virtuoso accordionist Milen Slavov as well as a crowd-pleasing belly dancer. All in all it was quite a day of music in the alternate universe they call Portland, Oregon.