Old-Time music stirs souls of young men
by: contributed photo, contributed photo
Stephen “Sammy” Lind, left, and Caleb Klauder began playing music together in 2000 in Portland. Since then, they have performed traditional American Old-Time music all over the globe with their band, the Foghorn Stringband. The duo will perform Tuesday, Jan. 29, at McMenamins Edgefield.

Caleb Klauder and Stephen 'Sammy' Lind have a warning for all future travelers to Ireland - prepare to die.

'The hospitality in Ireland will kill you,' Klauder says. 'If it's not one guy keeping you up, it's one guy getting you up.'

The two Portland musicians should know - they've toured Ireland with their critically acclaimed acoustic group Foghorn Stringband, and lived through nights of jamming till 5 a.m. only to wake and eat breakfast at 8 a.m.

Klauder, 36, and Lind, 30, say Ireland can be a whirlwind of house parties and all night jam sessions. And drinking whiskey is not an option.

'It's great hospitality, but you've got to pace yourself,' Klauder says with a chuckle.

Klauder, a veteran of such area bands as Pig Iron and Calobo, plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and Lind plays fiddle, guitar and banjo.

In addition to playing with the Portland based Foghorn, the duo has played numerous Tuesday nights at McMenamins Edgefield and will play there again on Jan. 29 before embarking on a trip to Ireland, Denmark and Finland. In particular, Klauder says he can't wait to go back to Erin.

'We'd go to some house party, and they want to get to the tunes right away,' he says, conjuring up images of Irish folk preparing to fiddle and strum. 'I love the fact that every time we pulled out an American tune, they pulled out the original Irish tune (on which the American tune was based) right away.'

Indeed, the duo specialize in American Old-Time music, which has its roots in Ireland, Scotland and Africa, and which has migrated through the mountains, valleys and streams of Appalachia, the South and the Midwest, among other places.

There's a tight-knit but growing community of Portland-area people devoted to listening to and playing such Old-Time tunes, Klauder says.

'I think they speak to people on just a common level,' he says. 'They're not sort of artsy and ethereal.'

Singer-songwriters compose much of today's acoustic music, adds Lind, but Old-Time music is not about promoting the next American acoustic idol.

'The music is bigger than any one person,' he says. 'You're kind of bringing people in. We play at Edgefield and people are like 'Ah! My grandpa used to play the fiddle.' '

Lind, who's originally from Minneapolis, met Klauder through the band Pig Iron several years ago.

'At that time, there was not so many youngish people playing old time traditional music so it was pretty easy to meet.'

Lind had been playing mandolin since he was 19 and had paid his dues in various bands as a teenager.

He found himself drawn toward acoustic music, particular as played by such legendary performers as country music's Carter family. He liked that traditional music festivals were inclusive, with families coming to festivals featuring jam sessions and camping.

Klauder took to the fiddle after enrolling in a college elective course.

'I was just totally shocked and intrigued by it.'

Like Lind, he was fond of acoustic music, which he described as 'pretty awesome and pretty rocking.' Lind grew up on Orcas Island, Wash., hearing people sing such songs. Unlike many of his peers, he never quite cottoned to having to set up mountains of sound equipment to play out. It was easier to play an acoustic axe, he says.

'I think the idea of just you and this instrument and not all this gear was real attractive to me.'

He adds that traditional music seemed to suit his voice better than rock or pop.

'I started singing really differently,' he says. 'There was just some stylistic things that were just right for me to do.'

With the other members of Foghorn, the duo has earned numerous kudos and played all over the country and abroad. Klauder adds that's he's also promoting his new album 'DANGEROUS MEs and POISONOUS YOUs,' and will intersperse some of his own cuts with the traditional music he and his partner play.

He's always curious how people will compare his music to tunes from the past.

'If I don't announce it, and they can't tell what are the old-timey ones and which are mine, that's really fine.'


Who: Caleb Klauder and Sammy Lind

What: Old-Time music duo

Where: McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St. Troutdale

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29

How much: Free, 21 and older

For more information: Call 503-669-8610 or visit

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