Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lunch w/ Across Tundras

Tanner Olson Tundras Farm to Artist
A lot of the artists who have participated in the Farm to Artist project are involved in a diverse array of activities.  Some enjoy to garden, some have gone further and worked extensively on farms, but Tanner (guitar, vocals) from Across Tundras, as the founder of Ramble Hill Farm near Nashville, TN, is the first farmer to participate in this project.  Tanner, along with Casey (drums), Dennis (bass), and Taija, joined me at Wealth Underground Farm for a tour and a meal.
Across Tundras Farm to Artist
I said this during the meal but I didn't immediately enjoy the music when I first listened to Across Tundras.  I cut short the first spin of their album and didn't come back to it until about three weeks before the band rolled through Portland on tour.  I'm not sure what happened, maybe it was all the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns and John Wayne movies I binged on or maybe I cleaned out my ears but when I relistened to Sage it suddenly resonated and I couldn't stop repeating it over and over again.  The tracks skillfully blends doom, country, psychadelic, and Americana in a way that, when you close your eyes, paints in broad swaths the mountains and plains, the mystique and allure of the American west.  It's also catchy and fun, there is a progression I occasionally get stuck in my head that I've realized is from the opening track, In the Name of the River Grand.  I would love to see this band score a movie some day as the music is incredibly visual and can really get under your skin.
Across Tundras goat
Due to van trouble, they were only able to make it to one of the two Portland shows they were scheduled to play.  A sidenote, the van trouble ended up cutting short their tour and cost them a fair amount of money, so please consider purchasing their album (links at the bottom of post).  The turnout at Plan B was low and I have to think that not enough people have listened to this band because anyone who here's the recorded music will want to see them live.  They played a strong set and were then followed by Farm to Artist alum Megaton Leviathan.  The two bands were musically and thematically complementary and, though the show stretched late into the night, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Across Tundras Chris Seigel

Thanks to Across Tundras for joining me at the farm.  You can hear their music, including their most recent album, Sage, at their bandcamp page or purchase the Sage double lp here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Getcha Frittata w/ Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts goats
It's difficult to hold back the compliments/applause when talking about Reggie Watts.  I'm not going to fight it; skip to paragraph two if you don't want to read pure gush.  In my humble opinion, Reggie Watts is one of the most relevant entertainers of our time.  He is bright and talented and, through improvisation and stream of consciousness, can weave a tapestry of humor and gracefully stumble upon incite.  We talked briefly about the idea of sincerity in entertainment as a form of medicine and I believe Reggie is a doctor in the entertainment field, not just prescribing sincerity pills but curing the disease by treating the problem as a whole.  On top of it all, he is an incredibly nice guy who doesn't put on any sort of disaffected or jaded act.

Reggie Watts Wealth Underground Farm
Gush fest over, Reggie and Abke recently joined me at Wealth Underground Farm to participate in the Farm to Artist project.  It was a standard manic PNW day, overcast with bursts of sunlight shining down on us as we walked around the farm.  For lunch, we ate salad that had been harvested hours before, a frittata made with WUF eggs, broccoli, and garlic, opened a jar of pickles, and chatted before his performance at the Crystal Ballroom that night.  The conversation bounced around but some topics we hit were life in Brooklyn vs. Seattle, his involvement with Comedy Bang Bang, the process of improvising, etc.

Reggie Watts Farm to ArtistThat night he played an early show at the Crystal Ballroom.  I unfortunately missed the opening acts as they were given ten minutes and they started right on time.  When I walked in, Reggie was in the middle of his act, performing in front of  a packed crowd of sitting spectators.  I was amazed with how well he followed the energy of the crowd and was able to continually get laughs via talk or song.  The highlight for me was definitely his final song when an impromptu dance party broke out.  People got out of their seats and crammed against the front of the stage.  For his part, Reggie extended the song to allow people to get out their dancing jitters, at one point making a lap around the audience while singing along to the beat he had looping on stage.  It was a one of a kind performance and I'm stoked that I got to witness it.

Reggie Watts arugula Farm to Artist

Thanks to Reggie and Abke for joining me at Wealth Underground Farm.  Be sure to pick up Reggie's newest album A Live At Central Park released by Comedy Central.  Also check out Reggie on Comedy Bang Bang, which airs every Friday on IFC.  You can see videos of him "making music" with the guests on the IFC website.  Stay up to date with Reggie on his facebook page, where you can hear more of his songs/comedy and find information about his upcoming shows.