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July 30th, 2008 JEFF ROSENBERG | Music Stories
 

Pickathon, Friday-Sunday Aug. 1-3

WW “picks” the best of the 10th annual Pickathon roots festival.

     
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SAMANTHA CRAIN

[ROOTS] Portland’s “little roots-music festival that could,” Pickathon, turns 10 this year. Cozily settled into its dream home, Happy Valley’s convenient and beautiful Pendarvis Farm, the event continues to grow in stature and success. You may be familiar with the bigger names on the bill (like reunited Austin punkgrass legends Bad Livers, featuring noted NW transplant Danny Barnes), as well as the talented locals invited to play, so we decided to spotlight a few lesser-known acts you might want to check out between walks in the woods and trips to the beer garden.

For those who noticed, Paleface may be remembered as the early-’90s Donovan to (his former flatmate) Beck’s anti-folk Dylan. There are those who claim that Paleface influenced his former flatmate Beck as much as vice versa. And if you like your Beck more One Foot in the Grave than Midnite Vultures or Sea Change, Paleface is right up your alley.

Samantha Crain, a 21-year-old Choctaw from Oklahoma, applies the same tortured vowels and elided consonants that Jolie Holland and Holland’s former fellow Be Good Tanya, Frazey Ford, have made compulsory for contemporary female folkies. Crain makes songs with a spooky, between-worlds vibe unique enough to disregard her baby talk vocal tics.

Ohioan Jessica Lee Mayfield’s dark alt-folk might cast a soft shadow on an otherwise sunny day, but Mayfield’s sweet alto—which sounds somewhat like a clarinet—redeems the cloud cover. On the other end of the mood spectrum, longtime lovable Eugene funny-folkster Tom Heinl brings songs from a forthcoming new album and, hopefully, a version of all-time classic, “Ingrown Nail (on the Oregon Trail).” Duluth’s Trampled By Turtles gave perhaps the most delightful performances at last year’s ’thon, so it’s no surprise the group’s been invited back to share more of its good-natured jam-grass. I’ll let you make up your own minds about Tennessee’s popular Everybodyfields, whose appeal remains mysterious to me. The appeal of this supremely laid-back but well-put-together festival, though, is clearer than ever.


SEE: Pickathon takes place at Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen Road, Happy Valley. All day Friday-Sunday Aug. 1-3. One day tickets $65-$75 plus parking; full weekend tickets $180. All ages. See pickathon.com for details.
 
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