Kelly Brightwell CD Release with Rob Stroup and The Blame, Alexa Wiley
116 NE Russell
Portland, OR, 97212
This event is 21 and over
Welcome back Kelly Brightwell. Welcome home, might be a better way to put it.
It’s been ten years since her last album, and three years since she gave up her solo career to give birth to and raise her daughter Carissa.
Hearts and Home, her new album, is the product of years of soul-searching, growing as a person and as a musician, and reflects what only time can provide… maturity.
She explains, “I made a conscious decision to take a break, to lay things down, knowing that I’d pick them back up again. I would actually call my time away more of a transformation. “After the birth of my daughter, I knew that there would be an interruption to my usual rhythms. And I was anticipating a certain amount of change to come with motherhood. But I was completely unprepared for the personal upheaval that followed! It took me a while to get even a little ground under my feet, and to realize what I would realistically be capable of, at least for a while. Essentially, I had to let go of the way I’d been doing things my whole life -- from the way I take care of myself physically and emotionally, to the way I make meaning.”
“The music on this album is a living reflection of the warmth,
intellect, intensity and light that pours from within her,”
-- Oregon Music News’ Tom D’Antoni.
She puts it this way, “These songs are touchstones for me, and maybe they can be signposts for others who come this way... It’s about living your truth, claiming your heart and finding your home. The album has a trajectory that begins when you realize that you’ve been untethered and disillusioned. It winds its way through breakdowns and breakups, regrets and reaching out. And it ends with the notion that, despite all your attempts to leave, you’re already home.
“The songs on the album were taken from everything I’ve written since my last CD was released, almost 10 years ago. So in some ways, Hearts and Home is kind of a map of changes -- life changes as well as artistic changes.”
During her break from performing as a solo artist, she kept one foot in the water, “In the absence of an active creative process of my own, I found ways to keep things flowing by collaborating with others: I began playing and singing with other musicians, performing live as well as recording vocals in the studio; I showed up regularly for open mics; I honed the edges of my existing material; I attended workshops and song camps, even if I slept the whole time; and I improvised songs for my daughter on a daily basis.”
The songs were there, but how to bring them to life? She chose producer/engineer Rob Stroup and his 8 Ball Studio. “I was so impressed by the soundscapes he creates,” she says, “The texture and feeling he is able to capture. And I knew that I wanted to work with a producer this time, someone who would be able to help craft the recording and take the songs to a new level.
“I’m working with my own band now, but at the time I was a solo singer/songwriter. Working with Rob and his players was like having an instant band -- just add water! I was able to place my songs in their hands, and trust that their experience working together in a creative relationship would translate into something greater than I alone could put together, something that held its own, with a deep sonic and emotional integrity, and with human fingerprints all over it... ”
Rob Stroup and The Blame
It wouldn't be hard to imagine the members of Rob Stroup and the Blame kicking a tin can down a dirt road on a hot summer day. This Portland-based, roots-rock / Americana quartet is armed with compelling, kinetic songs that pull the listener into their tapestry of dusty, rolling plains; bittersweet relationships; and poignant introspection. Led by founder Rob Stroup, these musicians have the spirits and talent of much older souls, invoking sounds reminiscent of Bob Dylan and JJ Cale.
Stroup, now a veteran of the music industry, got an early start in fame with his first band, The Baseboard Heaters. His continued song-writing craft has consistently picked up steam, and his music has reached the airwaves in many forms—including radio rotation, commercials, and even an NBC sitcom.
The whole band has spent their entire collective lives immersed in music. And although each member has his own success story of bands past, it wasn't until Stroup brought them together that the musical-synergy of The Blame elevated them to their current vantage point.
On the heels of their successful debut album, "Glass Ceilings," Rob Stroup and the Blame have been greatly expanding their horizons, playing to larger audiences and creeping up the indie charts (for instance, they are currently number 7 out of over 500 bands on ReverberNation).
So, if you happen to see them walking down that dirt road... No, they don't need a ride. These guys know exactly where they're going.
Solo or with her solid band, Alexa has the stage presence and attitude that says “Sit up and listen!” And the reward for doing so is an ear, head and heart full of memorable songs that will matter to you long after she leaves the stage.
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