|Bill Bloomer (1)|
|Dave Carter (1)|
|Theresa Demarest & Good Company (1)|
|Lyle Ford (2)|
|Tony Graham (1)|
|Arlene Hale (1)|
|Pamela Jordan (1)|
|Carolyn Kardinal (1)|
|Misty River (1)|
|Party of Two (1)|
|Jay Purvis (1)|
|Brent K. Rogers (1)|
|Southern Nights (1)|
|Paul Summers Jr (2)|
|The Wags (1)|
Reviewer: Michael P. Jones
"Misty River" is one of those rare bands that has perfected the rare art of being able to capture their music and deliver it to their audiences through an unleashed abundance of talent, all the while seeming to have a damn good time while doing so. Whether it is live on stage or through a recording project in a studio, their sound is both unique and familiar, allowing them to appeal to just about any audience no matter how discriminating their musical taste.
The music of "Misty River" is represented by both traditional as well as their own award-winning original songs. The tunes they perform are those that most people can embrace and appreciate. They include everything from those seemingly familiar Folk melodies to upbeat Country sounds, as well as seemingly undaunting Bluegrass, to magical Celtic tunes and those mysterious and absolutely haunting ballads that we'll never forget.
Music is the magic of "Misty River", and "Misty River" is the magic of music. They are inseparable, like the water is inseparable from a river, and the mountains are inseparable from the horizon.
The tunes of "Misty River" are a blend of compelling harmonic voices that are superbly accented by an array of musical sounds created by a splendid arrangement of fiddle, guitar, banjo, and bass, as well as dobro and mandolin. This unique combination of instruments and vocals create a special brand of music that can only be called Americana, a sound that is uncharacteristically free-spirited yet refined by each band member's individual talent.
Since the founding of "Misty River" in July of 1997, this all-female quartet -- Carol Harley, Laura Quigley, Dana Abel, and Christine Kokesh --- has become one of the best, if not the best, that you'll find anywhere in the Folk circuit throughout the Pacific Northwest. They have attracted audiences from around the Northwest who appreciate their rich and seemingly endless talent and professionalism.
The band tends to pick traditional or obscure tunes, or old Bluegrass songs, to perform. However, "Misty River" takes these songs "and puts a new twist on them". All of the band members assist in arranging the tunes, which takes a lot of time and work.
"When all of the band members are finished with their part of the arrangement, the song is very different from when we first started," explained Harley. "In the end, the finished product is purely our own."
"Misty River" has also earned a number of awards that have peaked-the-interest of music watchers. A few of their more notable recognitions include the following: First Place for the Kokesh's "Real As A Dream" which won the "Best Song" at the Portland Songwriters Association (in April of 2000) and they were the West Coast Regional winners in the "Best Unsigned Band Contest" that was sponsored by Zideo.com (for 2000); and they took First Place for the "Not Quite Bluegrass Band Contest" at the Columbia River Gorge Bluegrass Festival (in July of 2000) and took First Place for Kokesh's original "Only Love" and Second Place for her "Mother, Mother", giving her recognition as the Best Songwriter ( in 1999); and a were a Semi-Finalist in the Regional Lilith Fair Band Competition held in Portland, Oregon (1999). In addition, Quigley won the "Best Bass" at the Washington State Bluegrass Championships in Chehalis, Washington (for the year 2001).
Yet, in spite of all of their awards and exposure, "Misty River" remains very humble. In fact, all the credit they give to their audiences who were instrumental in giving them the appreciation which had lead to their success. "We really love our audiences, because they are the 'key' to our success," explained Harley. "They give us the energy we need to go on performing our music."
The story of "Misty River" is not one that represents an overnight sensation. On the contrary, it was one of hard work, giving one another respect, proving themselves, learning about one another, and then working even harder.
The members of "Misty River" came together by accident at an "open-mike" at a former Irish pub called Gallaways. Harley and Quigley were mother and daughter, Able was one of Harley's former guitar students, while Kokesh was a waitress at the place.
When the four women took to the stage, there was a special magic between them, which the audience could sense. After their performance, the manager of the pub approached them and wanted to hire them to perform at the club on a regular basis, which surprised them.
"You don't understand, we are not a band", responded Harley. "No, you don't understand, you are a band," said the pub manager.
However, perhaps the best explanation of the birth of "Misty River" and the direction their music has been going, is best illustrated from the band's own words. The following was taken from the j-sheet of their year 2000 CD, titled "Rising":
"We didn't mean to be a band at first. When we started, if we were asked our vision of our music, each of us may have given a different
answer. We came from various musical backgrounds, but when we gathered for the first time in Carol's [Harley] basement, we discovered that a common thread tied us together: We loved to sing.
"What we found most compelling was creating harmonies. We sang the music we wanted to hear, and our influences of folk, country, bluegrass, Celtic, classical and rock began to converge.
"We soon discovered there was more to being a band than singing our favorite songs. We needed confidence, conviction and a strong downbeat. We needed to learn to play our instruments in a style we were still developing. We needed to open our ears and hearts to each other so the music could grow.
"Defining and refining our sound is an ongoing process that propels us forward. We now have a common vision of our sound, and it continues to grow in width and depth as we each change and grow as musicians. This discovery process keeps us 'in the same boat' --- this and the fact that we love to sing!"
The people behind "Misty River" represent some of the most talented musicians in the Pacific Northwest. By chance, to have them all together in the same band, is nothing short of a miracle. This is reflected in their unique brand of music, which represents the merging of Folk, Country, and Bluegrass to give us our Nation's music --- Americana --- which represents what the United States is all about; the blending of cultures.
Chris Kokesh plays fiddle and guitar for "Misty River" , besides sharing the vocals. Originally from Oklahoma, her absolutely great fiddle -playing makes her a real stand-out both in the recording studio and on stage. She started on the violin at the age of two, and performed with orchestras and chamber groups while in high school. And, while majoring in biology at Pomona College in Southern California, she discovered that she could sing, and sang with two different a capella groups and a choir, while she earned her Bachelor of Science degree.
Kokesh moved to Portland in 1996, following a friend out from college. She got into the music scene by working at Galloways, an Irish pub. When the band "Darby O'Gill's" performed there, they heard that she could sing and got her on the stage. She sang "Danny Boy" and "Red is the Rose" . The audience loved her, which lead to her joining a music group.
Today, not only does Kokesh perform with "Misty River" and has this group as her main focus, she also finds the time to perform with two other bands. She plays the fiddle in "Finvarra", a contemporary Celtic band, and in a Roots-Rock band known as "John Henry".
Dana Abel is featured on vocals, accordian, and guitar, adding a special quality to the music of "Misty River". She began her musical career on the piano, and has studied music for over 20 years. She grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where she also mastered the accordian, guitar, and trombone. She attended Stanford University where she received a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering.
Abel is also a songwriter. Several of her original songs are performed by "Misty River". She also spends a lot of time arranging music for the band, taking tunes and changing them to their own.
Laura Quigley is featured on vocals, bass, and guitar, as well as playing a variety of rhythm instruments such as maroccas, tambourine, woodblock, and a host of shakers. A lifetime singer --- thanks to her mom, Carol (who is also a member of "Misty River"), who she grew-up harmonizing with --- she learned just what she could do with her voice.
Quigley grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and received years of voice training while in high school and college in Lane Community College and University of Oregon. She also studied theatre and music at Portland State University.
On stage, Quigley is a standout in "Misty River". Standing alongside her as a consistent companion is an upright acoustic bass, which is a unique contrast to her crystal soprano voice.
Carol Harley is the elder member of "Misty River", and brings a rich wealth of talent and experience to the group. She is featured on vocals, rhythm guitar, and "clawhammer-style" banjo, as well as handling the band's promotions.
When Harley grew up in Bend, Oregon, she led "The Little Women", a folk group. While earning a Master's degree at the University of Oregon in education in the 1970's, she was a member of "The Sterling Generation". She taught fifth grade, specializing in science and computers in public and private schools in Eugene, Oregon, as well as teaching private guitar and voice lessons.
Harley is referred as the "anchor" to the music of "Misty River". She has a rich alto voice and, coupled with her expertise on the guitar, she provides an important foundation for the band that has allowed them to experiment and find their way through their differing musical styles and influences to give them their own special sound.
When "Misty River" first came together back in 1997, they were not the band with the incredible sound that they have today. It has been a journey, to say the least, that has lead them to become this dynamic acoustic quartet of today.
When they started out, even the instruments they played were different. In fact, one could say they just dusted off whatever they had and climbed onto the stage, performing some of their favorite songs to whomever would care to listen to this foursome who had no idea where they were going.
In the beginning Quigley didn't the bass, but played the tambourine, and occasionally the guitar. Not wanting to dance around the stage holding a microphone, she took up the stand-up bass and started taking lessons from Glen Moore and other famous and great Bluegrass bass players.
Harley had an old acoustic-electric guitar and a Morton Classical. These were left over from her previous stints with groups from the 1970's, and was all she had to work with. But, since their music wasn't that serious back then, they would do.
Kokesh, the brilliant fiddle player of "Misty River" who creates some absolutely captivating sounds on stage, was a far-cry different in the beginning than what she is today. She was a trained classical violinist who just started to dabble in the unfamiliar territory of Folk music. Hesitant and nervous, she had to find her way and conquer the Bluegrass sound.
Abel, who is known as one of the best accordion players in the Northwest, never touched one until performances with "Misty River" got serious. In fact, she started out playing a rather old Casio keyboard. After a time, she wanted to add a different sound to the band and remembered that he dad had a couple of accordions in his garage in Eugene, Oregon. That was when she introduced the accordion to their sound and hasn't set it down since.
The music that "Misty River" has created goes beyond just the sheer talent of its members. It is also their differing musical backgrounds, which includes Classical, Jazz, Folk, and Rock, which has been able to influence their sound.
However, the Bluegrass influence that has emerged as a near-dominant factor in the music of "Misty River", didn't come about until four and a half years ago. That's when they suddenly discovered the songs and talents of the unforgettable Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, and Flatt & Scruggs.
The end result of this mixture of music types and the individual talents and styles of the members of "Misty River", is a special sound that most people can identify with. It not only bridges gaps, but it leaps great boundaries, allowing their songs to become appreciated by a wide variety of audiences.
But the "key" ingredient to the sound of "Misty River" actually has nothing to do with the type of music they perform or the instrument they play. According to Harley, it is how each of the band members look and interact with one another.
"We love and respect each other," explained Harley. "Everyone has a voice and an equal role. We don't have a manager; each of the band members make all of the decisions together."
The music of "Misty River" is steadfastly becoming known throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their performances in parks, historical venues, state and county fairs, bookstores, pubs, and coffeehouses has steadily been introducing audiences to some incredibly great music performed only the way this foursome can.
Around the Northwest, "Misty River" has also become a common sight at festivals. Performances include: the Willamette Valley Folk Festival in Eugene, Oregon, Wintergrass in Tacoma, Washington, the Sisters Folk Festival in Sisters, Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge Bluegrass Festival in Stevenson, Washington, the Oregon Folklife Festival in Corvallis, Oregon, the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, Washington, the Oregon Bluegrass and Cowboy Festival in Hood River, Oregon, the Whistlestop Festival in Toppenish, Washington, and Winterfolk in Portland, Oregon, not forgetting the grand opening for the New Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon, the Portland Rose Festival in Portland, Oregon, the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth, Washington, and the Timberline Lodge Wine and Craft Festival at Timberline, Oregon, has placed them on the "must-see list" by anyone who wants to be refreshed and uplifted by a band who knows how to entertain with a special brand of Americana that can only be called "the People's own music".
However, the music of "Misty River" is unrestricted, and the last few years has begun to break-out out of the Pacific Northwest to the ever-expanding landscape beyond. Out-of-state, some of the gatherings they have performed at include the following: the San Francisco Free Folk Festival in San Francisco, California; the Black Walnut Festival in Stockton, Missouri; Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas; Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colorado; the Strawberry Music Festival in Sonora, California; the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in Guthrie, Oklahoma; and the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest & Festival in Weiser, Idaho, as well as did a private showcase at the Bluegrass Music Association's Conference and Fan Festival in Louisville, Kentucky (1999 and 2000).
Around the country, "Misty River" has also performed at a number of other venues outside of the Folk and Bluegrass festivals. These include: the Poncan Theater in Ponca City, Oklahoma; the Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri; and the Espresso Garden in San Jose, California.
The audiences of "Misty River" have also been expanded through their music's exposure on both radio and television. These include on National Public Radio's nationally syndicated "River City Folk" with Tom May, Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Oregon Art Beat", and KOIN' Television's 2001 Christmas special.
The recording projects of "Misty River" represent the best of Americana. Both projects are superbly outstanding and well-representative of this band's impressive brand of music. "Rising", released in June of 2000, and "Misty River Live at the Backgate Stage" (December of 2001) should be in everyone's CD collection.
"Rising" is the first CD released by "Misty River". It features not only this all-female acoustic quartet, but also some talented guest artists. These include: John Reischman on mandolin; Glen Moore on arco bass; Dale Adkins on guitar; and Bill Storks on dobro.
This CD project represents a wonderful collection of the band's orginal songs (like "Only Love", "Mother, Mother", "Real As A Dream", and "This American Dream"), traditionals (such as "The Trees They Do Grow High" and "Little Sadie"), and Folk favorites (such as "The Last Thing On My Mind" and "If I Needed You"). This inspiring CD demonstrates that
"Misty River" is as comfortable in the recording studio as they are on stage in front of a live audience.
The originals featured on "Rising" clearly demonstrate that "Misty River" is not a group who relies solely on copy tunes, but one that can easily perform its own songs due to the quality of talent that the band has been blessed with. "Only Love", "Mother, Mother", and "Real As A Dream" all were written by Kokesh, which demonstrates the depth that this songwriter-performer has. "This American Dream", beautiful and thought-provoking, was written by Abel. An additional song, "Obligatory Waltz", a great instrumental by Dale Adkins, the CD's producer, was also included in this recording project.
"Misty River Live at the Backgate Stage" is a 17-song CD that is packed-full of traditional tunes, including one original by Kokesh called "Misty River". This project is dynamite and features some of the best tunes performed by this band.
This is a CD treasure that was recorded live on December 5th and 6th at Artichoke Music's Backgate Stage in Portland, Oregon. It is not only great, but it is for everyone, including those who didn't previously like or appreciate Americana music, because they certainly will after listening to this great collection of songs.
This latest recording project came about after numerous requests from audiences who wanted a CD featuring some of the favorite traditional and Folk songs that "Misty River" had been performing the last four years. So they teamed up with Billy Oskay of Bed Red Studio who worked as co-producer, and Bob Stark of Kung Fu Bakery who recorded and mixed this impressive collection of tunes.
"Misty River", today, represents music that is as good as it gets.
And, although they'll just keep getting better and better, they'll just keep raising the bar of entertainment that the most discriminating audiences are looking for. Talent, sheer determination, and never forgetting to have a good time are three "key" ingredients that helps to set this Americana band apart from others. But, in the end, most importantly, it is the musical and individual relationships between its members when they are on stage or in the recording studio that sets this group of creative individuals apart and gives them the creative edge over others.
"Rising" (2000), Misty River's first CD, is available at The Water Tower Books and Annie Bloom's Books in Southwest Portland, and Borders Books in Beaverton. "Misty River Live at the Backgate Stage" (2001) will be available at these locations beginning February 11th.
Two CD release concerts are scheduled for the release of "Misty River Live at the Backgate Stage" in February. The first is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 3rd, at the McMenamin's Kennedy School (5736 N.E. 33rd Avenue in Portland, Oregon. The second is Friday, February 8th, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Old Liberty Theatre, 113 N. Main in Ridgefield, Washington. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5.00 or at the door for $6.00.
"Misty River Live at the Backgate Stage" and "Rising", will also be available by mail or on-line at the band's website for $17 (which includes shipping). Send check or money order to: Misty River Band (Attention Carol Harley), 1111-B NW 131st Way, Vancouver, Washington 98685.
For booking engagements for "Misty River" or for a performance shedule, you can reach Hartley at 1-360-576-7676 or email her at MistyBand@aol.com. Additional information, performance schedule,reviews, recording project updates, and a whole lot more is available on the band's informative website: www.mistyriverband.com.
Party of Two
The guitar and vocal duo known as “Party of Two” represents not just great music, but music at its finest. For the past 19 years, Portlanders Eva Savicki and Sue Smith have combined their talents and performed in a wide variety of venues ranging from weddings to private parties and corporate events, to the Cascade Geographic Society’s “Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days”, “Mount Hood Salmon & Mushroom Festival”, and “Christmas Along the Barlow Trail”.
“Party of Two” never seems to pass up an opportunity to get up on a stage and share their talent. The results have been overwhelming. The audience, after being captivated by their angelic-like vocals that reflect the dynamics of their songs, often times does not want them to stop performing.
The songs performed by “Party of Two” seems to span the ages. They run the gamut from Rock to Pop, to Folk and Country. Their tunes are gleaned from the pioneer period to the 1940Ős, and into contemporary times. And, always, their music is heartfelt and fun.
The guitar-magic of Savicki provides the only musical accompaniment for “Party of Two”. And, this is more than adequate. The duoŐs sound is full and rich, with Smith and Savicki obviously having a great time creating their brand of music. The years they have shared together as friends and as musical partners is reflected in this CD as they take the listener on a casual musical stroll that most will not easily forget.
“Party of Two” takes cover tunes that most people know, but changes them, sometimes very dramatically, and the results are spectacular. Savicki and Smith re-arrange the songs into their own unique style, which makes them seem like fresh, new ones, which they essentially are.
Just recently, Savicki and Smith stepped down from the stage and into the recording studio. Under the guidance of engineer-musician Brent Rogers, the duo had one goal when they stepped into the studio of Sound Impressions: transition what they do best during their performances in front of a live audience into a CD. When the two emerged, the project produced seven songs that they were always getting requests for.
Savicki and Smith’s passion for performing music and their determination to have a great time while doing so, is clearly reflected in their CD. The recording project was an obvious success.
The seven featured songs on the CD are performed like “Party of Two” would do so live on stage. “Have We Forgotten What Love Is”, “Amazed”, “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “The Rose”, “Amazing Grace”, “Seagull”, and “Give A Little Bit” are great and should be a favorite collection for anyone seeking a good, healthy dose of beautiful tunes.
The “Party of Two” CD is available from the stage at any of the duos performances for $10. Or, you can order it by mail for $12, through Party of Two Productions at 14111 S.E. Taylor Street, Portland, Oregon 97233.
“Party of Two” is also available for bookings, whether\ for weddings and wedding receptions, parties, festivals, or concerts. For further information, call Party of Two Productions at (503) 252-0051.
Jay Purvis: "Downtown"
Jay Purvis, of Portland, Oregon, has created an easy-listening CD that blends multiple styles of music that people will easily identify with. Yet, the lyrics and music are his own, making this recording project a special one that should easily fit into just about anyone's collection who wants to hoard some darn good tunes.
"Downtown", the latest release by Purvis, is a ten-song, all-original CD that is comprised of music that can fit a lot of venues. Clearly, the tunes featured on this recording establish this Indiana-born musician as a singer-songwriter who is comfortable with his craft. This CD was to be released last September, but with the September 11th terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., Purvis decided to postpone it. Things had gone crazy and because his music was sp positive, it really needed to be delayed during this negative period of time.
The songs featured on "Downtown" by this singer-songwriter are tried and proven creations he has performed before his live audiences. From "Live Your Life For You" to "Downtown", to "Touching You", "Lovin' Things", "Swampland In Georgia", to "Pony Express" and "I'm In Love With You", to "Downtown", the title track, this is a refreshing collection of songs. The music of Purvis is inspired by some great musicians and guitarists, as well as his own life experiences. These include legends such as Blues artists Big Joe Turner, Duke Ellington, and Steve Ray Vaughn; Rock artists like Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, "The Yardbirds", and even the "Buffalo Springfield"; and Jazz guitarists Howard Roberts and Tal Farlow. Naturally, there was also Jimmy Hendrix, who created another experience for Purvis and his music. This master guitarist had a wildness in his performances and this freedom of thought in guitar-playing, where you didn't follow any rules.
Yet, perhaps the greatest influence to Purvis and his career has been the members of a trio of workingclass musicians known as "Paul Butterfield Blues Band". Their unique style created a sound that still reigns amongst musicians today, although there is little acknowledgement. Paul Butterfield, along with Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield, created music that clearly has affected Purvis and his songwriting, if only subtly.
So just what type of music does Purvis play? Well this is very difficult to "pigeon-hole". And, as he recently explained it: "I spent the last two to three months trying to get someone to help me define it," said Purvis. "Unfortunately I'm still trying to figure it out." Yet, Purvis has come up with a definition for his style of music. He refers to it as "Alternative Rock just left of mainstream". It comprises a sound that has a lot of influences that range from Blues to Jazz, to even Latin and, of course, Rock. Purvis also calls the songs that he writes "Tropical Blues Rock". But, his tunes are not those that you can easily define. They are unique, to say the least, and that's because of the interesting sound, such as what you can hear on "Downtown".
"My music have a Blues feeling to it, but it's not really Blues," explained Purvis of his "Downtown" CD. "They have a tropical flair, and that's probably because a lot of the songs were written in a tropical area --- Florida." Yet, the true signature sound that Purvis has created --- or should I say captured? --- in his original songs, is the ability to allow people to identify with the songs. For example, on his "Downtown" CD you can hear the influence of a variety of styles. These range from Santana's guitar work on some tunes, to Rock, Blues, and jazz on others, and even a Latin flair on still others.
On Purvis's "Downtown" CD the guitar-work is outstanding. In fact, you really don't need lyrics since the music, itself, speaks to you. This is what his goal has been all along, to create something so unique.
"It's almost like you can hear the words coming out of the guitar," explained Purvis. "It's what I've been striving for through my music."
Reflecting back, Purvis said that the "Downtown" CD was not created with any intention to blend so many different sounds. Instead, it was something that just happened, due to his musical background. "Without realizing it, the songs and their sound came together in this manner because, in the past, I have played for so many different types of people," explained Purvis. "And, when you have to entertain so many special places, you have differing audiences. That's what comes through in the 'Downtown' CD."
Purvis's involvement in music has been a lifelong experience. It has been a struggle that has forced him to pay his dues over and over again, as he proves himself to audience after audience. The singer-songwriter was born James Andrew Purvis, but early-on people just started calling him "Jay". The nick-name stuck, and this is what he used as his stage-name ever since he began performing professionally when he was in high school. In 1956, in Goshen, Indiana, at just six years old, Purvis got into music and wanted to learn how to play guitar. However, because his hands were so small and could not fit around the neck of the instrument, he started out on a Hawaiian Steel Guitar because he could slide his fingers up and down. By the time he was seven, he was performing for Parent Teacher Association meetings.
After Purvis stopped taking music lessons for a few years, when he was almost 13 years old, he decided to brush-up" a bit on his guitar-playing. After just a couple of weeks of lessons, things started happening real fast. He had advance so rapidly with this instrument that he became a guitar teacher. From late 1962 to 1968, he was instructing 40 to 50 students a week during the Winter, when bad weather tended to drive a lot of folks indoors.
Purvis began his songwriting career in 1964. His first song, called "The First Song", was Jazz oriented. Then things just sort of took off for him, and he was hooked creating his own music and writing his own lyrics. In the 1960's Purvis performed with one of the more popular Top 40 bands in the Mid-West. Rock was the sound of the times and he became part of this musical culture that was influencing not only this country, but the entire world. From 1964 to 1969, he performed lead guitar for "The Dukes", who cut three or four singles with small labels around Indiana. He was the youngest member of the band, about ten years behind the rest, who were all married and some even had children.
"The Dukes" performed gigs from Pennsylvania to Chicago, focusing primarily on teenage dances. However, they also opened for the "Four Seasons" and, at one concert, was the back-up band for Freddy Cannon, and were even once double-billed with "The Troggs". They had just begun recording with Columbia Records when the group unfortunately broke-up.
In the 1970's, Purvis found himself in Seattle, Washington, where he performed Rock with a variety of four-piece bands, such as "Stormcrow", "Diamond", and "Orion", as well as the "James Andrew Band" [which was his first and middle name that he was born with]. He also did a solo act with a back-up band. The focus was Classic Rock, as well as originals. Purvis moved to the State of Florida in the mid-1980's. Here, he performed on piano as a solo act. Next, he returned to the State of Washington and wound up in Tacoma for a couple months at "Shenanigan's Piano Bar", then headed for the Landmark Inn at Santa Maria, California, then to Day's Inn at Flagstaff, Arizona, and, finally, back to Florida. In February of 1996, Purvis found himself in Seaside, Oregon. He began performing as a solo act at "The Breakers", a lounge that was at the Best Western Hotel.
In August of that year, Purvis came to Portland, Oregon, to check out the music scene. He liked what he saw and heard and decided to give the "Rose City" a try, and stayed. Purvis's previous recording projects prior to "Downtown", were "Blues Maker" and "Melody Maker". Both CDs, like the current one, are unique and clearly reflect who this singer-songwriter is today, but also reveal more and more of his musical roots.
The "Blues Maker" CD is a ten-song album of Classic Blues", with one original written by Purvis. The tune, "I Lay Around Saturday Night", is about a musician being off on Saturday night, who should be working. This is an all-too-typical senario for a lot of people, and this is something that most musicians can identify with. "Melody Maker" features jazz, which is clearly part of the musical roots that Purvis reveals in his live performances and recording projects. Featured are seven instrumentals and two vocal tunes --- "It's You" and "Inspire Me". The majority of the songs are originals.
The songs on this CD came about after Purvis had been performing Jazz on the piano at a dinner club in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1985, 1986, and 1987, he had taken a hiatus from Rock and began rubbing shoulders with a different kind of crowd who wanted a different kind of music. And, wanting to break his evening up a bit and get away from those "ivory keys" that he had been entertaining his audiences with, he created some tunes that he could perform on his guitar. He wound up with some great stuff for a recording project which he took advantage of.
The future recording plans for Purvis are ambitious. He has written enough original songs for another two albums. However, first he is looking at bringing out a "jam-band" CD of his songs, which would feature long versions of his work that would be recorded live.
The music of Purvis that he has captured on his CDs can be heard live. He performs with the "Jay Purvis Band", which is a duo with Bob Blaidel on drums and Purvis on guitar and keyboards. There is also a "Jay Purvis Trio", which features Michael Beach on percussion along with Blaidel and Purvis.
Live, Purvis and his duo or trio, relishes to perform originals. However, they also perform over a hundred cover tunes featuring the songs of everyone from Eric Clapton to Hootie and the Blowfish, to Steely Dan to Greg Allman, to B.B. King and Stevie Wonder, to Robert Johnson, Garth Brooks, and The Eagles, not forgetting Dave Brubek, Elton John, Z.Z. Top, Blind Faith, Cream, and Jimmy Buffet, to even George Gerschwin.
All of the CDs of Purvis' music can be found at 29 different record outlets from Portland to Corvalis and Eugene, to Longview. This includes Everyday Music, Music Time, Sam Goody, 2nd Avenue records, CD/Game Exchange, Reverb, Q Is For Choir, Via La Revolution, and Budget Tapes & Records.
For additional information about Purvis and his recordings or about his band, either his duo or trio, give him a call at (503) 671-0573. In addition, for more background data or details about his career, you can check out his website for performance dates, new release dates for future recording projects, and more, by logging on to jaypurvis.com.