Right before this past Sunday's 20th Portland Lounge Series, I had a strange realization: Adam Shearer
, frontman for local folk-rock outfit Weinland, played the first ever Portland Lounge Series, and he was about to play my last (more about that here
). I wondered—since that first PLS was also ex-WW
music editor Mark Baumgarten's last—if Shearer's got some sort of intrinsic closure-giving powers.
While that may still be undetermined, he did quit his day job last year, finish a tour just last week and close out what I heard was a stellar show the previous night playing with Norfolk & Western and A Weather at the Aladdin (how's that for a homecoming?). All of that, of course, made good fodder for an interview, and chat we did—on stage, as is the PLS way. Shearer went on to play a lovely set that included (here comes that knack for closing again) a finale of Elton John's "Rocket Man" featuring Weinland pianist/keyboardist Ian Lyles (pictured above, rocking the keys on a different date) on the Towne Lounge's rustic ol' ivories. He also let me pick quite a few numbers (what a guy!), and I was pleased to hear oldie/goodie "Young and Smart" as well as newer fave "Curse of the Sea." It was most rad.
was next to join me onstage. We talked about her time making music in Paris and Chicago, as well as her Portland roots. Family ties were a natural topic of discussion, as Short's photographer brother Faulkner was in the house, and she recounted childhood memories of listening to her father's record collection—noting an early love of the "Singing Brakeman" Jimmy Rodgers—when asked about influences. Though I remembered to ask Shearer about his cat's rock 'n' roll fantasy, I forgot to pose the sillier question I had planned for Short: Is her name and the existence of onetime-Cheers
actress Shelley Long mere coincidence? Guess we may never know. Regardless, she played a winning set of songs both new and old, and invited experimental guitar virtuoso Alexis Gideon onstage for a few tunes; he'd be the one adding all that kinda-ugly-in-an-really-good-way background noise to Short's charming country songs.
Finally, Cory Gray
, bandleader of local noise-rock-folk-awesome outfit Carcrashlander (of which Gideon's also a member), manned his keyboard and upped the volume ante for the evening. But first, we talked about the joys of touring—including Hamms and young fans rocking out, his high school-era opportunity to join the Cherry Poppin' Daddies (which he apparently now regrets ever telling me about) and how it feels to sing and play his own tunes for a change (rather than contribute keys and trumpet to all sorts of other bands around town: Norfolk & Western and Graves, for two). I tried to get the ex-Bijou cook to share some scramble-making secrets with us, too (his silly question of the night), but rather than name some holy trinity of ingredients, he simply said an amalgam of random fridge stuff is where it's at. Spoken like a true pro.
As always, a big thanks to everyone who came out, to our excellent musical guests, to Portland Radio Authority for putting the whole thing down on (digital) tape, and to the Towne Lounge and Pabst Blue Ribbon for helping to make this awesome thing happen every last Sunday of the month.
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Photos (from top to bottom): Weinland's Ian Lyles—who, at the time of Sunday night's show, was the sole remaining member of Weinland who'd yet to rediscover his chin by shaving off his "tour beard"—followed by a beard-less Adam Shearer, both taken from Weinland's MySpace; Shelley Short, shot by Maia Madison; and Cory Gray, taken from Carcrashlander's MySpace.