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May 28th, 2014 MATTHEW SINGER | Music Stories
 

Quitting Time

As he prepares to put Dolorean to rest, songwriter Al James reflects on a decade of touring the world, being the opening band and missing Portland.

music_4030(delorean)Al James (center) and Dolorean. - IMAGE: Sarah Jurado
All things must pass, though some things stick around longer than others. In an ephemeral music scene like Portland’s, Dolorean has been a symbol of longevity. Through 12 years and five albums, frontman Al James brought his drizzly, thoughtful folk rock out of the Pacific Northwest and around the world, making him a peer of some of the best songwriters in contemporary Americana.


Alas, even the best bands—those that choose to go out with their dignity intact, at least—eventually reach the end of the trail. This week’s show at Mississippi Studios will be Dolorean’s last. To commemorate what’s certainly the passing of an era for Portland music, we asked James to pick four photos that, for him, sum up the band’s career.

All photos courtesy of Al James.

1. “Throughout our career Dolorean was lucky enough to tour with many of my favorite songwriters: Damien Jurado [pictured], Richard Buckner, Eric Bachmann, Willy Vlautin and others. Damien took us out on the road lots of times in the U.S. and Europe. At some point in every tour, we would all just snap and turn into loons because we wanted to get home so badly. I wrote ‘Heather Remind Me How This Ends’ about it.” 

2. “Dolorean has always had a cast of great musicians that would pinch hit for different tours. I loved playing with Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley, Eyelids) and Barton Carroll and Dov Friedman from Crooked Fingers. In 2007, we had a 40-day U.S. tour opening for Kristin Hersh, and her fans absolutely despised us. We had a blast every night.”

3. “We’re in Paris here in 2011, before a sold-out gig with our pals, Deer Tick. Fargo is a little shop and label that released our last full-length, The Unfazed, in Europe. Jesse Bates, aka ‘the Ozark,’ is an honorary Dolorean member who joined us on that tour playing bass.”

4. “This was a typical Spanish crowd for us: drunk, smiling, energetic, encouraging. We had great turnouts in Spain, played some awesome festivals and made a ton of friends. Spain, Holland, Belgium, the U.K. and Scandinavia were very good to Dolorean. We loved playing overseas. People just dug us over there for some reason.” 


SEE IT: Dolorean plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Barton Carroll and Meridian, on Saturday, May 31. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.

 
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