Golden-voiced PDX songwriter with an easy, timeless sound releasing a new LP, 'This New Home'
Nick Delffs, Erisy Watt
3939 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR, 97227
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Wisconsin native Jacob Miller left his hometown for Portland, OR the summer of 2009 via Amtrak, bringing with him only a suitcase and an electric guitar. After one year in the city he left to travel North America, both to study and perform music while working on various farms and ranches between travels. Time spent as a farm hand in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina shaped his devotion to the finger-picking style of the region. Spending countless hours playing alongside vintage recordings and with local old-timers in the surrounding areas of Appalachia, Miller delved into the inner workings of the music’s style and history.
After 7 years leading a jazz sextet and performing both internationally and throughout North America, Miller now focuses his efforts on a different kind of songwriting and storytelling. Whether it be playing for 2500+ people at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall or for 14 people in a Midwest living room, Jacob's passion, voice and laid-back demeanor create an intimate connection with audiences far and wide.
With an affinity for minimalist pop and firm roots planted in American traditional music, Jacob Miller crafts a timeless sound unique to his voice, style and abilities.
2019 will see the release a debut album which displays his abilities as a performer, writer and composer. Recorded and performed entirely by Miller in a Portland home-turned-studio, songs and ideas come together to form an album that is honest and heartfelt.
Nick Delffs is a seeker. He’d never identify himself that way. He’s unassuming and self-effacing, careful to discuss song meanings and biographical details without indulgence or melodrama. Delffs cut his teeth playing basement shows in Portland a dozen years ago, just before that city’s cover was irreversibly blown. It was a time when being musically ambitious meant impressing other local musicians. You were a joke, in that world, if you proclaimed yourself an artist or promoted your band with any zeal. So Delffs would probably find “seeker” a rather grandiose title.
But Nick Delffs is, in fact, a seeker. He’s an old-school rustler of the human condition; a tireless navigator of social and spiritual landscapes; a genuinely curious and wide-eyed, mankind-enthusiast. Soon after meeting him, one gets the impression that Delffs could be dropped in some far corner of the Earth and he’d not only survive, but he’d make a lot of friends—maybe even start a new band. In both casual conversation and his songwriting, Delffs gravitates to the universal. That’s his search. His life’s work is in the identification and removal of our shared illusions. And that is, largely, what Delffs writes songs about. Songs come to him when he’s “feeling detached from the world but totally in love with it at the same time,” he says. “Mostly they come when I am patient and I don't need them or care about them too much.”
They happen to be pretty catchy songs. Delffs first emerged in 2003 as the frontman for the seminal Portland band The Shaky Hands, known for their jangly, pulsing and introspective songs and their high-energy live shows. The band would sign to the venerable Kill Rock Stars imprint and tour internationally with bands like The Shins and Meat Puppets.
The Shaky Hands went on hiatus in 2011, and the changes came fast and furious for Delffs. He released a stripped-down, self-titled EP as Death Songs. He became a father. He relocated to Idaho. He took odd jobs and worked as a landscaper. All the while, he was strengthening his musical chops by collaborating with artists like Luz Elena Mendoza (Y La Bamba) and Ali Clarys—both of whom play important roles on his new LP, Redesign.
Living in Boise, Delffs remained a beloved figure throughout the Northwest—traveling often and moonlighting in friends’ touring bands. Slowly, through collaboration and time off, the pressure of being a full-time songwriter subsided and a thrilling new confidence emerged in Delffs’ own work.
“I like to disassociate myself with being a songwriter,” he says. “I like to forget I even do it. In the past that would have freaked me out, but I have a healthier relationship with my songs now. It’s less codependent.”
Redesign is the first full-length album Delffs has ever released under his own name. He first shed the Death Songs moniker in 2015, when he unceremoniously dropped a four-track EP of fantastic story-songs simply titled Home Recordings, and last year Mama Bird released Delffs’ reworking of the traditional English Christmas carol, “As I Sat on a Sunny Bank”. But Redesign is a self-contained universe of songs that play with themes that, on the surface, seem at odds with one another: longing for nature (“Somewhere Wild”, an ode to off-the-grid living) and learning to take responsibility (“Song for Aja”, a sweet and percussive tune about Delffs’ now six-year-old son that recalls Cat Stevens and Paul Simon). Musically, these themes are stitched together by the album’s warm, organic production and Delffs’ playing—he’s behind every instrument on the record—but Delffs also connects those seemingly disparate dots under the heading of Redesign. Heading into wilderness provides the insight for dealing with life’s heaviness; the responsibility of being a parent is also an opportunity for endless imaginative self-exploration.
The title track, “Redesign,” was written during a rafting trip in Eastern Oregon. “I couldn't go for the full three days, so I went for one day and hiked back to my car alone,” Delffs says. “It took maybe nine hours, and I had no shoes, and there were rattlesnakes. I took naps, I sang in caves. I felt like I let a lot of things go on that walk.”
A redesign means “to change out the parts of yourself that don't work, or don't serve anyone,” Delffs explains. “And if you are changing and growing, your relationships have to as well. It seems like redesigning our relationship with the world—and staying open to change and curious about the future—is more important now than ever.”
This is what you can depend on from Nick Delffs. In a world of noise and madness, he will use his music to try and scratch at something human and real. Something helpful. Nick Delffs is a seeker. He shares his discoveries. Redesign is his greatest gift yet.
Redesign will be released on July 21st from Mama Bird Recording Co.
Erisy Watt is a Nashville-raised folk artist based in Portland, Oregon. Consistently referred to as “the next-in-line to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones, her music is an exercise in what contemporary folk today sounds like at its peak.” (No Depression)
Following the release of the first single off her debut record, Watt, alongside guitarist Jeremy Ferrara, wrapped up 2018 with a six-week long tour all across Europe. The full album, produced by Bart Budwig and recorded live at The Ok Theatre in Enterprise, Oregon is set to be released on July 26, 2019.
The independently funded and managed artist has made impressive strides in her career, earning praise most notably from CBS This Morning, Jam in the Van, and No Depression. She has also shared the stage with acclaimed artists Hurray for the Riff Raff, L.A. Salami, Mr. Little Jeans, Shook Twins, Kuinka, Dustbowl Revival, Marty O’Reilly, Royal Jelly Jive, T Sisters and Rainbow Girls.
Inspired by both her time spent studying and working along the central coast of California and on remote islands in Thailand and Indonesia, Watt’s live performance bursts with charm as she invites listeners to revel in the joys and freedom of wilder places with every sound, song, and story.
$12 ADV / $14 DOS
Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seating