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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tonight in Music: The Great Big Fais Do Do, Shannon and the Clams, Mary Gauthier

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM


THE GREAT BIG FAIS DO DO: DIRK POWELL AND THE STUMPTOWN ACES, THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS
(The Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) The Great Big Fais Do Do is a Cajun, country, and honky-tonk music fest that'll get your cowboy boots a-stompin'. Organized by local roots-music figurehead Caleb Klauder, the three-day to-do kicks off tonight with a visit from exceptional Minnesota twangers the Cactus Blossoms, plus some Cajun dancehall music from Dirk Powell and the Stumptown Aces. Laissez les bon temps rouler! NED LANNAMANN


SHANNON AND THE CLAMS
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Bay Area darlings Shannon and the Clams are one of the only garage revival acts with a substantial shelf life. Their latest record, Dreams in the Rat House, is the group's meatiest collection of songs yet. Standouts include the genuinely touching elegy to a dead dog, "Ozma," and the glorious, girl-group pastiche "If I Could Count." To utilize a cliché, they truly do sound like artifacts from a bygone era. MORGAN TROPER


MARY GAUTHIER, ELIZA GILKYSON, LYNN MILES
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Humongous fucking shoutout to Mary Gauthier. The Nashville-based troubadour is one of the realest in the game. I got turned on to Gauthier on while listening to WDVX, a marvelous community FM station from East Tennessee. The tune was a live rendition of "Last of the Hobo Kings," a wistful yarn depicting the American frontier's closing in on the noble drifter. Gauthier introduced it as a story song, and it is, with its verses talked, full of florid, rhythmic language. "Hobo" is backed by a pretty, barebones rock groove and a scraping violin, not unlike the Velvet Underground at their prettiest and most minimal. After Gauthier's name registered on my radar, it started blipping everywhere. She wrote songs with returning Iraq War veterans. Her treatise on songwriting, "A letter to a young songwriter," is inspiringly honest about the loneliness of a life in the arts. (My favorite bit—a tragic truth: "Solitude courts the muse.") Indeed, Gauthier is the real deal. And though at first glance the 52-year-old may not appear it, she's cooler than every hip, 20-something dilettante in this town put together. ANDREW R TONRY


WORLD PARTY, GABRIEL KELLY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Celebrating the work of Karl Wallinger, who has released five LPs of material under the name World Party, would be easy enough, considering the fine pop gems that appear on those albums. But the Welsh singer/songwriter deserves mad respect for surviving a potentially fatal brain aneurysm that knocked out his peripheral vision and laid him up for five years. Since then, Wallinger has been touring in dribs and drabs, doing small runs of dates in the US and Europe and proving that time has not dulled the brilliance of pop songs like "Way Down Now" and "She's the One." ROBERT HAM


GABRIEL KAHANE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Building on the promise of earlier studio efforts, New York songwriter Gabriel Kahane's new record, The Ambassador, breathes new life into the concept album. Kahane famously wrote a cycle of songs based on actual Craigslist ads in 2006, dubbed Craigslistlieder. With The Ambassador, Kahane pays homage to Los Angeles by spinning tales of decadence, love, and greed throughout the city over periods of time from the 1940s to the present, with each song titled after a specific address in LA. Kahane's chameleonic abilities suit the recording well, enabling him to duck in and out of character, creating a quilt-like warmth of stories that have the power to move you. RYAN J. PRADO

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