Sunday, July 29, 2007

My favorite new band

Every once in a while you're out at a show and you just by chance see a new band or artist you've never heard before. And they are so good, you just can't believe it. You're looking around at other people watching, thinking, "does anyone else know how fucking good they are?" (I hadn't felt this way since seeing Jovie McLemore play solo, before he formed Mothball.) This happened last night at a benefit for AMP (or Artist Mentorship Project) at the new Ace Hotel everyone has been raving about (turntables in the rooms - oh my god, how incredibly hip! Barf). When you marry a social worker, you have to start thinking about all this kind of stuff, benefits, non-profits, volunteerism, etc. Laying on the couch and watching Start Trek dvds is no longer a viable method of effecting social change.

We didn't see much of the hotel, but we caught a set by the Old Believers. 2 kids with guitars, probably about 19 years old, singing simple but unique songs with beautiful harmonies. Think Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, but without the overwrought Dust Bowl fixation. Apparently they just moved here from Alaska. We were beat after a long day of yard work and digging out stumps (and 4 glasses of wine in 20 minutes), so we didn't stay late, but we did pick up a demo cd for 5 bucks.

At first, my mind was racing - thinking about how I could possibly help them. Could I get them any gigs, or record labels, did they need a bass player, or could I introduce them to a producer, etc. But then I realized that all that had to happen, was for them to keep playing out and they would soon be the toast of Portland. After checking them out on MySpace, I realized that they've been doing this for awhile and have everything together that they need. Plus, they are already being helped by Will Kendall and the great folks at AMP:

"The Artist Mentorship Program (AMP) exists to create musical opportunities for youth in a safe and healthy environment. AMP strives to build musical skills so that youth can express themselves and obtain their goals in the arts. Youth who participate in AMP interact with and are given instruction from working, professional artists from the Portland community.

AMP is a drug/alcohol and weapon free program staffed by volunteers and available for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16 to 24."

Will is a great guy, and an old friend of colleague of Mrs. Best, and I've thought about mentoring there. Let's see:

Our mentors are dependable and consistent.

OK, that sounds like me.

They are working musicians with at least 5 years of industry experience.


Our mentors enjoy share their knowledge while teaching artistry and style. 


They are comfortable working with youth.

Uh, ok. Here's the problem. Youth scare me. That's why I could never be a teacher. I know what an evil bastard I was when I was a kid and to have the tables turned might be more than I can handle. Maybe one day I'll get off my ass and help out. I love the idea, but having no experience in working with the kids - well, we'll see. But, you? You should do it now.


Lester said...

Totally agree, the Old Believers are awesome. I haven't heard a guy and girl sound so good together—sound so much like they were meant for each other—since M. Ward and Norah Jones. They're brilliant.

Anonymous said...

The Old Believers definitely sound great together. I've listened to their demo a bit, and some of my friends have it on repeat. This has been for the last week or so. These guys rock in that hometown feel sort of way. Little bit of folksy, little bit of mellow, whole lot of talent (like a twelve-acre parcel... outside of AK).

pdx|pedicab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pdx|pedicab said...

I had the rare opportunity to here Nelson play one of their songs acoustically and it blew me away, then we were lucky enough to be present at the AMP fundraiser and I noticed I was not their only fan they do rock their myspace url is:

Well worth the listen...

Lost in transit said...

they were awesome in Fresna, CA