Claes Almroth: Next to lutefisk, Sweden’s most popular export.

If music is the universal language, it probably explains how a nice Swedish boy grew up to have his very own rockin’ Blues band.

Claes (pronounced KLAWS) Almroth was born in Sweden and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s and 70’s, where Psychedelic and Blues were part of the San Francisco Sound. Says Claes, “I grew up listening to the Blues and had an older brother who turned me on to a lot of great music.”

Claes Almroth

It’s pronounced KLAWS, thank you.

Fast forward to the early 90’s when Claes moved north, making his home in Portland and forming The Claes Almroth Trio. The band has been performing as a group for the past 5 years. In addition to Claes, who plays keys, harmonica, and vocals and writes music, the band also includes J. Michael Kearsey -bass and vocals; and Houston Bolles – vocals and electric guitar. Houston tags out with Whitney Draper when the band plays at Mock Crest Tavern.

Claes Almroth Trio

J. Michael Kersey, Houston Bolles and Claes Almroth of the Claes Almroth Trio.

“One thing that is different about us,” says Claes, “is that we don’t have a drummer. So the challenge for us to to make Blues and Rock without a percussionist. With three singers in the band, we think we’re making it work out pretty well.”

That, as they say, is an understatement. The band has a very loyal following, filling out the Yukon and Mock Crest whenever they perform.

Claes and his bandmates have a warm spot in the hearts for Mock Crest and the Yukon. “Jon and Rainer are really fair to the musicians,” says Claes, “and the staff is great at both venues. The Yukon crowd seems to be growing each month, and it’s really exciting to be a part of that.”

Followers of the band will be happy to hear that Claes and his bandmates are the process of building a recording studio. “We’ll have a recording coming out soon,” says Claes, “which will be a first for the Claes Almroth Trio.”

If you can’t wait until then, you can catch a listen of the band here.

Music runs in the Almroth family. Claes has two daughters who are musicians. One, who lives in Sweden, has her own Punk band, and has toured worldwide throughout South America and China.

Like I said, music is the universal language.

 

Ten Spiders crawl into a pub. How many legs do you see?

One of the most unusual band names you will ever come across is Ten Spiders. And when you see a name like that, you have to believe there must be a story behind it. You would be right.

The band’s lead vocalist, Rossi Cahill explains the story this way… 

“We actually had several different band names,” says Rossi, “and we learned somewhere along the way that a person has to hear a brand name about 17 times before it finally sticks in their head. So we wanted to give people something they would remember right away. That’s when our brother-in-law — who is a wealth of useless information — happened to mention that over an average lifespan, you will eat ten spiders in your sleep. So we thought, hmm.…”

While the thought of eating spiders in your sleep is a bit hard to digest, it did make for a memorable band name, and the name Ten Spiders has stuck ever since.

Ten Spiders

Steve Cahill, Rossi Cahill, Amos Hart & Harrison Games of Ten Spiders.

Ten Spiders describes themselves a a folk rock band with a funky edge. “We were heavily influenced by the Philly live music scene of the late 90’s and early 2000’s,” says Rossi. “We originally started out as an acoustic trio, but have kind of evolved into a roots rock jam.”

Catch Ten Spiders on YouTube

To say the band is well traveled is an understatement. The band has played in over 800 gigs in 10 different states, and still has the travel bug. “We’re planning a couple of tours this June, including Southern Oregon and the East Coast,” says Rossi.

So, how does a band from the City of Brotherly Love end up in the City of Roses? “As Rossi explains it, “Someone gave us a Volkswagen van and we took it on a trip for 2 1/2 months out West. That’s when we discovered Portland and fell in love with the place.”

Rossi Cahill, Ten Spiders

Rossi Cahill – lead vocalist, song writer, and one mean banjo picker.

The band has a special place in its heart for Mock Crest and Yukon Tavern. “We’ve always liked smaller venues,” says Rossi. “What we like about Mock Crest and the Yukon is that we are in with a whole number of great bands, so neighborhood locals know they will always have a good time when they drop in. Plus, when you get people in a small room, something magical happens between the band and the audience. You can’t get that kind of energy in a larger venue.”

In addition to Rossi, the band also includes husband Steve on electric bass and acoustic guitar; Harrison Games on drums’ and Amos Hart on keyboards.

You can get a free listen of Ten Spiders on their official website  as well as on Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp. Also, be sure to check out future band gigs at the Yukon and our sister pub Mock Crest Tavern.  And be sure to catch their next performance at Mock Crest early next month, Friday, March 6.

As for keeping spiders out of your mouth while you are sleeping, you might want to take up snoring.

What the heck is Swamp Rock?

One of the most celebrated groups performing at The Yukon and Mock Crest these days is The Tracey Fordice Band. The band, which is composed of Tracey Fordice on piano, Randy Yearout on guitars, mandolin and harmonica, Johnnie Corrie on drums and harmonica, and Todd Ommert on bass guitar.

The Tracey Fordice Band

The Tracey Fordice Band has been been a mainstay on the Portland Blues scene for over 20 years.

The band is known for performing a variety of musical styles, including Rock, Blues, R&B, Country-Rock, Folk-Rock, Americana, Swamp Rock, as well as their own original tunes. Now then, if you’re like me, you probably needed a primer on Swamp Rock. So according to Randy, Swamp Rock is a genre that combines deep soul with raw country, gritty blues and a danceable beat. Bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doobie Brothers and John Fogerty should come to mind.

The band has been on top of the local Blues scene – and beyond – for years. They’ve won tons of music awards in the Blues category, including 

2014 Winner of Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award “Best New Blues Act” and the 2015 Nomination for Cascade Blues Association Contemporary Blues Act.

The band enjoys playing at The Yukon, despite its rather small “stage.” As Randy says, “The kind of music we play lends itself towards softer rock that doesn’t thrive on having a dance floor. We don’t have to get people dancing – we are more for listening. That said, we do get people dancing in the aisles.”

Randy Yearout and Tracey Fordice

Randy Yearout and Tracey Fordice of the Tracey Fordice Band

Besides being stellar multi-instrumentalists, members of the band are also great vocalists. Which means fans are in store for some great 3 part harmonies when the band performs.

Take a listen here.

To learn more about the band and upcoming gigs, follow them on their Facebook page.

Castletown brings a Celtic kick to Yukon Tavern.

One band that is fast becoming a Yukon favorite is Castletown, a high energy Celtic duo made up of Robert Richter and Heidi Beth Sadler. (If you’re a geography major, you’ve probably figured out that the band gets its name from the former capital of the Isle of Man off the coast of Ireland.)

Robert was a rocker about 12 years ago, when someone said “Try some of this Celtic stuff.” He did and the rest, as they say, is history.

Heidi is the fiddler in the band. She’s a Northwest native who has lent her playing and singing to a wide variety of musical styles for over 25 years.

Castletown
The Castletown due of Heidi Beth Sadler and Robert Richter.

The band performs classic Celtic tunes as well as their own original compositions. They also enjoy giving their Celtic touch to cover tunes in most every musical genre. “We’ve even rocked up Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 16 Tons”, says Robert. “It’s fun the see the expression on people’s faces as they realize they are hearing one of their favorite songs with a Celtic twist.”

Blending rock and jazz helps Castletown appeal to a wider audience, and has made them a local favorite on the local Portland music scene. In fact, Castletown has the distinction of being the first Celtic band to perform during KINK radio’s Summer Noon Tune series at Portland Pioneer Square.

Castletown has also perfumed at the Oregon State Fair, the Vancouver Recycled Arts Fair, the Portland Rose Festival, Gold Beach Brew and Arts Festival and the Astoria Seafood Festival – just to name a few. 

Castletown
Castletown performs for a wide range of audience. Some of their most appreciative audiences are seniors and those with special needs.

Still there’s something magical about playing in the local neighborhood bar. As Robert says, “We love playing venues like Mock and the Yukon. These smaller places fill up fast, and we we rarely see an empty seat in the house.”

So polish up your clogs and make sure to catch Castletown the next time they’re near you. North Portlanders can find Castletown at Yukon’s sister pub, Mock Crest Tavern, every third Thursday of the month. Or checkout their Facebook Events Calendar.

Happy clogging!

Louis Armstrong lives on through Cherry Blossom Hot 4

One of the most popular bands to perform at the Yukon and her sister pub Mock Crest Tavern is Cherry Blossom Hot 4. 

The band is sometimes known as “The Church of Louis Armstrong.” According to the band’s founder, Richard Basi, it’s not just a promotional gimmick, but rather an homage to the great Satchmo himself. “We don’t just play his old songs,” says Richard. “We also mimmic the instrumentation and pitch of his music as closely as possible to re-create an authentic 1920’s-40’s jazz experience.”

Louis Armstrong

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong – patron saint of Cherry Blossom Hot 4

The band takes its name from the Cherry Blossom Theater in Kansas City, Missouri’s famed jazz district, where the legendary Count Bassie got his start. 

As Richard explains, “Our music has a well-established reputation for being music you can swing dance to, but it’s also incredible to just sit and listen to.” 

The fact that the Yukon is a bit small stage-wise poses no problem to the band. Says Richard, “One of the things we enjoy about playing at the Yukon is that the venue is so intimate. So the quieter we play, the better our music can be enjoyed.” 

The Yukon’s small stage is no hinderance to creativity either. As Richard explains, “The wonderful thing about jazz, is that it lends itself to lots of improvisation, so the creativity of the musicians in uninhibited.”

While the band is usually comprised of 9 members, there are times when the band has to be very minimal. That means minimal amplification, and – at times – using only one music stand. Talk about cozy!

Cherry Blossom Hot 4 Orchestra

Cherry Blossom Hot 4 in full swing

You can enjoy some of Cherry Blossom Hot 4’s music on their official website. But better yet, come catch them live the next time they’re at the Yukon. (Or, every second Friday at Mock Crest.)

 

 

Fiery fiddle and hot guitar heat up Yukon Tavern

There are bands that go through the motions of performing for a crowd, and then there is the Katie Jane Band. With their original arrangements of high-speed AmeriCeltic fiddle tunes and their own original songs of home, hearth and heart, this high-energy duo has fast become a Yukon Tavern favorite.

Mere seconds into their music, you will find yourself smiling and tapping your foot. The band features the pretty Katie Jane Lubiens, whose dancing feet and blazing fingers turn every performance into a party. If you’ve ever wondered what a blazing fiddle looks or sounds like, just watch and listen. She is accompanied (on multiple instruments) by her partner Adam Easley, who has been playing the guitar since he was 12 years old – and has the calluses on his fingertips to prove it. Together, this dynamic duo creates unmatched on-stage chemistry that is a pure joy to experience.

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Fiery Fiddle & Hot Guitar – signatures of the Katie Jane Band.

The Katie Jane Band has performed throughout the country, but have a special place in their heart for the Yukon. Says Katie, “We live in Portland, so it’s great to be able to share music in our own hometown. We love playing in local pubs so folks in the neighborhood can just walk in and enjoy some local live music.”

Katie is eager for everyone to enjoy a true Irish music experience and says, “Drinking whiskey while listening to Celtic music is practically mandatory.” (She recommends Jameson.) If you’re new to whiskey, you can enjoy a Yukon sampler of any three whiskeys for just just $12.

Winning scorable weights total 4 points

Katie says Jameson creates an authentic Irish music experience.

Beginning in November, the Katie Jane Band will be performing in The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart with the Artists Repertory Theater. The play revolves around Prudencia Hart, an academic scholar of traditional Scottish folklore with an intense dislike of pop culture. The play is a wild romp through karaoke mainstays and Scottish ballads – which is where the Katie Jane Band comes in. The play runs November 30 through January 5. Click here for ticket info.

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Portland locals Katie Jane Lubiens and Adam Easley
bring AmeriCeltic to the Yukon.

When they are not performing on stage, Katie and Adam are busy spreading the love of music to their students. Katie teaches a variety of music genres from classic to Irish fiddle to Klezmer to bluegrass, and Adam has been teaching violin and guitar for over 20 years. 

So come out and enjoy some “fiery fiddle and hot guitar” with the Katie Jane Band. No kilt required.