MUSIC - Folk-jazz trio kicks off summer concert series

Forest Grove's internationally renowned saké maker, SakéOne, launches its six-performance summer concert series, 'Singer/Songwriters and Saké,' this Saturday, July 8.

The performances will be outside at the brewery's newly constructed Japanese-style gazebo. While taking in the music concert-goers will also be able to sample sakétinis and and a new summer treat: saké shaved ice with fruit flavors.

Some light snacks will be provided by Maggie's Buns, but SakéOne also encourages folks to bring picnic suppers to enjoy out on the lawn while taking in the show.

For its first venture into a concert series, the saké brewery chose the singer/songwriter theme to try to offer a new variation on the standard winery summer concert fare, said SakéOne spokesman Dewey Weddington. The concert series culls its lineup from talented artists who all live in the Portland area - and who write and perform their own material.

'We wanted to do something different and unique,' Weddington said.

The free series kicks off Saturday with the folk-jazz trio Myshkin's Ruby Warblers.

Myshkin is a prolific songwriter and relentless tourer. Since 1993, she has recorded seven full-length albums and two extended-play albums, all while performing live as many as 300 times a year.

Raised in the Midwest and the Netherlands by Dutch parents, Myshkin developed a cult following and earned critical praise in her adopted hometown of New Orleans before moving to Portland in 2002. The Ruby Warblers came together when Myshkin's partner, Sailor Banks, a multi-instrumentalist and electronic musician, joined her as bassist in 2004. Drummer Leila Chieko came aboard in 2005.

Myskin's melancholic, haunting voice, backed by understated acoustic guitar and jazzy rhythms, is tinged with just enough grit to evoke the whiskey-soaked characters she conjures in her lyrical narratives. Her songwriting maintains a delicate balance of storytelling, social commentary and dark humor. The protagonists of her hyper-literate ballads live in a world of dusty country landscapes and abandoned midnight city streets where love can only end in leaving town.

Since the group's critically-acclaimed 2004 full-length 'Corvidae,' Myshkin's work has taken an increasingly political tone. Her Web site describes the seven songs on her latest E.P., 'Sigh Semaphore,' as 'seven quiet, hard and gorgeous political songs about lying leaders, stolen resources and drowning cities.'

Five more shows are planned through September at the tasting room. While all the performances stick to the singer-songwriter theme, the range of influences and styles ricochets from the bluesy roots rock of John Bunzow (July 22) to the witty songwriting of Amanda Richards (Sept. 16), whose clever ballads cover everything from parody country to bossanova.

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