- Rob Cullivan
- Portland Tribune - Features
What'd he say?
It's not always clear what Portland punk rockers The Decliners are singing about, except when they're slamming war or some other such thing. But it is clear that even when they mumble, they appeal both lyrically and sonically to anyone marginalized by a job, a lover, a family, the 1 percent and/or our fair city's ever-evolving composting plan. The Decliners write to-the-point rock 'n' roll, but get a little adventurous with their guitar effects, and are not afraid to add some wiggle and wave and inventive drumlines to their music, a refreshing change in a genre often marked by musically martial mentality and sharp aural edges. Eugene's irresistible speedway rockers The Underlings, fans of hot dogs and fun, and Portland's chorus-loving dare-you-to-pick-it-up punks The Anxieties share the bill.
The Decliners, The Underlings, The Anxieties, 9 p.m. Saturday, June 16, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. $5. Info: 503-223-0099, slabtownbar.net.
These people have done a lot
He's been married to Roseanne Cash, written songs for her and her daddy, Johnny Cash, not to mention Bob Seger, The Grateful Dead, Norah Jones, Van Morrison, Band Of Horses and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rodney Crowell has influenced both mainstream and alternative country music, and is touring with poet-author Mary Karr, the famous Syracuse University professor whose memoirs "Lit," "Cherry" and "The Liars' Club" were all bestsellers. Crowell and Karr have put an album titled "KIN," and will share stories and poetry along with their tunes. Opener Steuart Smith plays guitar with The Eagles, has backed Don Henley on his solo tours, and has jammed with Suzzy Roche, Shawn Colvin, Loudon Wainwright III and Vince Gill, among many others.
Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell, Steuart Smith, 8 p.m. Sunday, June 17, Aladdin Theatre, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $25 in advance, $30 day of show. Info: aladdin-theater.com.
This guitar kills indifference
Clearly influenced by everyone from Townes Van Zandt and Rusted Root to My Morning Jacket and Wilco, indie folk rockers River City Extension consists of six guys and two gals making a serious play for festival band of the decade, flavoring their sound with cello, trumpet, mandolin and banjo. Touring to support their second album, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger," River City Extension is led by singer-guitarist Joe Michelini, one of a generation of musicians who have come up the past decade, including The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons, continually injecting fresh energy into the folk rock movement.
River City Extension, 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, Backspace, 115 N.W. Fifth Ave. $10 in advance, $13 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-248-2900, backspace.bz.
Petal 'n' plush
Rose's Pawn Shop hails from L.A., but sounds like it got all growed up in Appalachia or maybe somewhere in Texas. Combining folk, bluegrass, country and rock, this rootsy band employs banjos, guitars, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, upright bass, and drums in the service of songs penned by Paul Givant, who has a voice made for radio if there ever was one. Most importantly, though, is how the band got its name -- Givant's scorned ex-girlfriend/former bandmate avenged herself by stealing the band's instruments and gear and attempting to unload them at a pawn shop. Really, is there any other reason you need to see them? If so, Portland's intelligent lush chamber rockers Buoy LaRue should persuade you.
Rose's Pawn Shop, Buoy LaRue, 9 p.m. Thursday, June 21, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $10. All ages. Info: 503.288-3895, mississippistudios.com.
Tasteless band name, tasty tunes
OK, this is clearly the week for a deluge of countrified music in Portland, so why not one more? How about Old 97s frontman and alt-country pioneer Rhett Miller, touring with The Serial Lady Killers. Miller knows how to write a gorgeous tune, and is another in a long line of country writers who know how to turn a phrase and flip a cliché so it sounds fresh and new. His latest album "The Dreamer" is just the kind of thing you need to hear in your car when you're driving through a late afternoon rain and rather enjoy the rhythm of the windshield blades.
Rhett Miller, The Spring Standards, 9 p.m. Thursday, June 21, Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. Info: 503-231-9663, dougfirlounge.com.