“I like runic, Druidic, cave painting, ancient, preliterate, from a time back when you were speaking to the lightning god, the ice god, and the cold-rainwater god.” —Michael Heizer
It’s like burning a field in preparation for spring planting: punk. Anacortes-based BUFFET has released their first EP, and with it launched their new band into the world with a live show at the newly opened Kennelly Keys music shop in town. The turnout was impressive. The set was fast and tight, hitting all the tracks on the new EP.
Austin-based loner, wanderer, song-collector, explorer, experimenter, Afrolachian, curator of cultural inheritance, Ralph White is a man who would have amused the likes of Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” even as his versions of bluegrass cross boldly into the exposed and unprotected lands of punk. His tunings would have impressed the likes of Nick Drake. White lives and works outside of the small definitions that rule the rest of our lives. Just imagine what it must take, to let go that much, of all the structures and desires that bind us and keep us trapped in our limitations. Here he’s playing an in-store show at the exciting new space at The Business, two one-hour sets, unflagging in the summer heat, in Anacortes, WA; storytelling and camping and playing his unfolding songs up the West Coast, living close to the earth, traveling in light. The original riverman.
Time to expand your minds, people. Time to get in touch with your inner revivalist, and stretch them genres. Los Angeles and bluegrass. I know! Meet Rose’s Pawn Shop. You can almost feel the burn. And judging by the company this band keeps (simple folk like Jack White, Conor Oberst, Jamieson “Junior” Brown, and Flogging Molly—LA Irish punks, more stretching needed there, too, I’m afraid—you can do it!), there’s something coming in the air, something big and rootsy. Yes, there be a few urban legends already floating around about how this band got it’s name, but that’s not important right now. It’s not about who stole what, or where it got pawned, or not. What’s important right now is the sound and this band’s stage presence—they can punch holes right through the darkness. RPS is out on a mini tour for their current record, “Gravity Well” (Self Released, 2014). I caught up with them and did my stretching in Portland, Oregon, at Mississippi Studios.