Can I have a CD with those fries?
Burgerville promotes local musical acts
It's your not-so-average night at Burgerville, 2975 N.E. Hogan Drive.
Just to the left of the refreshment and condiment station, Portland singer-songwriter Nick Peets belts out a tune to appreciative customers.
Meanwhile, in a booth waiting to take his turn at the mike is another Portland musician, Steve Wilkinson. In another booth, Jeff Harvey, chief executive officer and president of Burgerville, taps his fingers along to the music.
Burgerville recently launched BV Radio, an in-house and online radio station that showcases Northwest musicians, Harvey says, and the two guitar-playing singers are here to let people know about it.
Drawing on a music library 'five times larger than most radio stations,' visitors to Burgerville here in Gresham and elsewhere will hear music from such artists as Blind Pilot, Radiation City, Pancake Breakfast, Fernando and Chervona, among many others.
'There's a lot of music talent in this area,' Harvey says, noting Burgerville has long been associated with supporting the communities in which it operates. 'This is a way to bring that value to our own in-house music.'
The restaurant has committed more than 30 percent of its playlist to area musicians, he adds, a point seconded by Michael Roe, founder of io4Business, which is collaborating with Burgerville on BV Radio.
Roe, who's also in the restaurant enjoying the show, says he used to live in Nashville, and noted the musicians in the Portland-Gresham area have created a scene as vibrant, maybe even more so, than the one in Tennessee, not to mention such music towns as Austin, Texas.
'I was shocked by the quality of songwriters and the quality of performers here,' he says, noting BV Radio will play such area bands as The Decemberists, The Dandy Warhols, Viva Voce and Rob Stroup and The Blame.
Musicians won't be the only local focus for BV Radio. The station will also stream performances from Oregon Public Broadcasting's LiveWire! radio show and also hopes to simulcast Portland Timbers and Trail Blazers games eventually, the men say.
In addition to launching BV Radio, through the end of the year the restaurant chain is exclusively selling 'The Shaker Sessions,' a collection of roots rock Americana songs written by Rob Barteletti, 62, a retired teacher at Portland's Jesuit High School.
Barteletti is Roe's neighbor, which is how he hooked up Burgerville. Barteletti notes the album features such Northwest musicians as Wilkinson and Peets, one of his former students. Other performers include Storm Large, Pete Droge, Fernando Viciconte, Ian Moore, Mike Coykendall, Casey Neill, Bart Ferguson and Ken DeRouchie.
Barteletti credits Portland roots rocker Rob Stroup for putting the project together, and notes all proceeds will go to the Brian Grant Foundation, the organization run by the former Trail Blazers power forward, who has Parkinson's - as does Barteletti.
'Your muscles are firing constantly because of the lack of dopamine to control them,' he says of Parkinson's. On a good day, with medication, he shakes a lot, and on a bad day, 'you're rigid and kind of zombie like.'
Nonetheless, Barteletti maintains a sense of humor about his disease and is also upbeat about the new album. Writing it allowed him to meet a whole host of musicians in the area, he says.
'If there's a perk for this disease, that's one of the perks.'
• Local artists who would like to have their music considered for airplay on BV Radio can submit CDs to Burgerville, 109 West 17th St., Vancouver, Wash. 98660. For more information on 'The Shaker Sessions' and BV Radio, visit www.burgerville.com .