Chris Pureka

It’s rare for an artist to bridge the divide between critical acclaim and dedicated fan engagement. Chris Pureka is a Portland-based singer-songwriter whose body of work has resonated deeply with these seemingly disparate milieus. Her bold vulnerability in processing the intimacies of her life in song has long appealed to those listeners who crave authenticity. Now, five years coming, she shares with us another powerful entry in her life’s work, her sixth release, the aptly titled, Back in the Ring.

Chris’s elegant emotionality as a vocalist, and her flair and immediacy as a lyricist have garnered her favorable comparisons to Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, and Patty Griffin. She’s earned accolades from such distinguished taste-making outlets as The New York Times, Paste, Magnet,, and The AllMusic Guide. She’s shared the stage with such diverse and esteemed artists as Dar Williams, The Lumineers, The Cowboy Junkies, Gregory Alan Isakov, Martin Sexton, and Ani DiFranco. Along the way, Chris has remained fiercely independent, selling nearly 50,000 albums through her own label, Sad Rabbit Records.

Chris’s journey in music mirrors her path toward self-discovery. At 16, writing songs became a way of journaling. “I was shy and introverted, and songwriting was a very personal process. I never had any intention of performing,” she shares. Post high school, she went on to complete a biology degree at Wesleyan University, and afterwards, worked in a microbiology research lab at Smith College. Meanwhile, she established a music career parallel to her biology work through touring and issuing a clutch of well-received indie releases. In 2006, when Chris found herself turning down too many opportunities as a musician, she shifted her priorities to become a full-time artist.

Her latest album, Back in the Ring, is Chris’s first studio full length since 2010’s critically acclaimed How I Learned to See in the Dark. “I’m not interested in releasing songs I can’t get behind or records I don’t love,” she says of the five-year span between albums. The title of her latest playfully suggests something of an artistic comeback, but it also references the album’s themes of relationship conflict and making the decision to fight back against dark inner demons.

“My music is the outward expression of the work I’m doing internally. What I do comes from my experiences, and I strive to express these experiences authentically. Speaking my truth, and being myself, is the way that I connect with people,” Chris confides. Her rise as an esteemed artist with captivating emotional integrity has been organic and always on her own terms. For someone who never had an intention of being a professional musician, it’s been a life of far-reaching changes and unexpected rewards.

Emy Reynolds Band

Emy Reynolds grew up in the small town of Ojai, nestled in the valley just off the coast of Southern California. Her story began in high school, after singing at Carnegie Hall and touring in Germany/Austria with her choir. She was hooked on singing and being on the road. Upon her return, she began writing and almost immediately performing at local venues. Emy became known for her rare low raspy vocal coupled with lyrics of timeless tales. As the winner of Battle of the Bands in Ojai, Emy opened for Brett Dennen and that is where she met, Piper Denney who was in a different band at the time, but soon joined Emy and started performing as a duo. From this event she also met John Adair, President of Emoto Music, a Santa Monica/ Chicago based music licensing company. Emoto had Emy sing on a commercial spot for a nation wide Chevy Traverse commercial. In fall of 2009, Holly Schmidt joined the band, making it a trio of alternative singer-songwriter folk with rich vocal harmonies. Together, they recorded their first EP, Ode to the Stubborn with a friend. With the December 2009 release of the EP, they went on their first West Coast tour reaching Bellingham, WA. In 2010, Emoto had the band perform intimate showcases at advertisement agencies in Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. In March 2010, as a result of Emy meeting Kasey Truman from Chop Shop Music at a Hotel Café show, her song, Tonight, was featured on Grey's Anatomy. Emy has been featured in a PSA covering Peter Gabriel's song, Mercy Street. Most recently, Best Day ever was in a Payless Commercial. Currently, the band is playing in Ojai, Ventura and LA. They have plans to record a full-length album and go on tour again soon.

Madison based singer & songwriter.

$10 adv / $12 dos

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