Mama Bird Recording Co.’s 2nd Annual Winter Wassail – Tickets – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – December 20th, 2018

Mama Bird Recording Co.'s 2nd Annual Winter Wassail

The beloved Portland label's annual party, with a host of stellar songwriters

Mama Bird Recording Co.'s 2nd Annual Winter Wassail

Barna Howard, Beautiful Dudes, Birger Olsen, Denver, Faustina Masigat, Matt Dorrien, NICK DELFFS, Ryan Oxford, Taylor Kingman, Vikesh Kapoor, Widower, Mama Bird DJs

Thu, December 20, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$10 ADV / $12 DOS

This event is 21 and over

Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seating

Mama Bird
On the eve of the winter solstice, join Portland record label Mama Bird Recording Co. in celebrating the warmth and fellowship necessary to get us through the coming months. The evening will feature performances and collaborations from over half of the label's artists. Lineup coming soon!
Barna Howard
Barna Howard
Barna Howard was born and raised in a quintessential Midwest town. His youth in Eureka, Missouri was pure Americana – the sort of childhood that inspired E.T.-era Spielberg – baseball cards in his bicycle spokes, flying freely down Main Street and through neighbors' backyards.

However, much of Barna’s story is not unique to his hometown, and, like most of small town America, Eureka has lost some of that charm over time. Main Street has changed, kids don’t run around quite so carelessly, and in an almost laughably cruel twist, his childhood home was knocked down in favor of a Walmart parking lot.

After high school, Howard moved north to study animation in one cold and windy city and then east for love in another. Years later, he blindly followed two friends to the Northwest, crossing the Rockies for the first time, in search of inspiration, opportunity and a fresh start.

Barna’s self-titled debut chronicled these moves as he struggled with the contrast between his small town upbringing and these big city wanderings. The album was met with critical acclaim and underground success, partly thanks to an opportunely placed song in the hit indie film, Drinking Buddies. One critic even likened him to some “lost genius of the 60’s.”

The songs on Barna Howard’s second album, Quite A Feelin’, ruminate on his relationship with home. Now entrenched in Portland, Oregon, many of the album’s tracks immortalize and reflect on the Eureka he once knew, while others focus on the relationships that define his new home out west. Small town life has long been celebrated in country and folk music, but Barna’s knack for capturing his own deeply personal nostalgia resonates in a rarely universal way.

Quite A Feelin’ was produced by Adam Selzer at Type Foundry Studio in Portland. The album will be available on LP, CD and digital download on May 18th by Mama Bird Recording Co. (US/World) and Loose Music (Europe).
Beautiful Dudes
Birger Olsen
Birger Olsen
For fans of Portland’s country supergroup Denver, Birger Olsen is known as the one with that voice. His vocal singularity has an undeniable power. His strikingly low delivery is leisurely yet precise, while his straightforward lyrics hold a subtle humor often laced in sweet sentiments, not unlike Randy Newman, Lyle Lovett and John Prine.

Over a century ago, Olsen’s maternal relatives settled in the arid-yet-vibrant eastern Oregon land between the Wallowa Mountains and the Snake River. Growing up on Bainbridge Island, just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, visits to this wide open country fascinated him. It was the calm of the land, its shrinking towns and humble people that inspired much of the songwriting on his debut album The Lights Just Buzz.

Produced by Dolorean’s Ben Nugent, The Lights Just Buzz captures a rich stillness, away from the chaos of contemporary times, where only the necessities exist. As expected, Olsen’s vocals are featured heavily, but the album’s steady force is the warm tone and easy pace of his guitar. His bluesy Ry Cooder-inspired style weaves its way through layers of velvety organs, soulful trumpets and lonesome harmonica.

While a few of the album’s tracks have enough whiskey-soaked swagger to stir up the fine layer of dust on the grange hall dance floor, it's the introspective numbers that lend this record its biggest sense of home. These are jukebox worthy ballads that celebrate the way that just the right amount of quiet and loneliness can bring people together -- even if just for another Rainier.

The Lights Just Buzz will be available June 17th on LP (45rpm), digital download and streaming from Mama Bird Recording Co.
Denver
Denver
Sharing vocal and songwriting duties, Birger Olsen, Mike Elias and Tom Bevitori are the heart of Denver, while the rest of the line-up has long included several of Portland’s finest players. Currently, the band consists of drummer Sean MacNeil, bassist Billy Slater (Grails) and the legendary Lewi Longmire on lead guitar. Past and future editions include Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley and Michael Van Pelt, Ben Nugent (Dolorean), Ryan Spellman (Quiet Life), Ray Raposa (Castanets), Tom Menig and many others.

Paste praised their self-titled debut’s “perfect tunes,” while KEXP hosted a live session and proclaimed, “sweet harmonies and tight arrangements abound.” Statements like these become all the more relevant with last year’s release of Rowdy Love, as Denver teamed up with Earley and Adam Selzer (M. Ward, Norfolk & Western, Alialujah Choir) for their first trip to a proper studio. Recorded live in just two days at Selzer’s Type Foundry Studio, Rowdy Love certainly showcases all the endless chops at Denver’s disposal.

The record’s true focus, however, lies in the rare way Olsen, Elias and Bevitori’s distinct voices co-exist. There’s a natural melding of styles that evolved from afternoons on Olsen’s back porch, late night’s around Elias’ fire pit, and every last time they’ve nailed “The Weight” harmonies at the old Triple Nickel’s karaoke nights. Denver’s three songwriters may come to the process with varying style and influences, but Denver’s songwriting is universally honest and bare, whiskey-fueled, sweat-soaked, and steeped in working class life. Some might call it country. Some might call it rock. Some might call it a few drunks on a stage. Either way, bullshit and irony have no home here.
Faustina Masigat
Faustina Masigat
Frustrated by academia and emotionally raw from a breakup, Faustina Masigat stepped away from her peers in her mid-twenties. She had come to realize that her personal and artistic maturation had been stifled by her relationships and her overly angular traditional musical schooling. She knew she needed to spend more time alone, committed to a process of unlearning, before she could move forward. As she peeled back the rigid layers of her youth, she began to write the songs that, a few years later, would make up her debut record. Seeking honesty over perfection, her approach to composition became much more intuitive; seated in the natural expression of not only her emotional life, but also that of a spiritual life, an expression of her own femininity, and a means of self improvement through self reflection. She became obsessed with the old, forgotten, second-hand guitars she would find in the “As Is” section of local music shops, believing that magic and songs still lived in the beat-up wood. One album track, “Willie Nelson”, manifested, fully formed, from one of these guitars - an ancient, labeless individual that she called “Red”.

The songwriting on her self-titled debut is all at once heartbreaking, intelligent, meditative and elegant - centered around a voice that is difficult to attach genre to. There is a quiet intensity running through the world that Faustina creates: sweet and heavy, a touch of angst, brutally honest, smoldering. The album is understated, arranged as to allow Faustina’s effortless rapport with pedal steel player Tucker Jackson (The Minus 5, The Delines) to shine clearest. It’s a spacious and lush debut, with all of her vulnerabilities laid bare in songs hemmed together with fragile intimacy.

Faustina Masigat is out now on Mama Bird Recording Co. It was recorded by Rian Lewis, mixed by Ben Nugent and mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk, all in Portland, Oregon.
Matt Dorrien
Matt Dorrien
Matt Dorrien is a songwriter currently living in Portland, Oregon. Having self-released two albums under the moniker Snowblind Traveler, he now looks forward to the premiere of his most personal album to date, to be released under his own name early next year on the Portland-based label Mama Bird Recording Co. His music has been described as timeless and heartbreaking, and his songs reminiscent of the work of artists like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Carole King: a tribute to the golden age of songwriting.
NICK DELFFS
NICK DELFFS
Nick Delffs is a seeker. He’d never identify himself that way. He’s unassuming and self-effacing, careful to discuss song meanings and biographical details without indulgence or melodrama. Delffs cut his teeth playing basement shows in Portland a dozen years ago, just before that city’s cover was irreversibly blown. It was a time when being musically ambitious meant impressing other local musicians. You were a joke, in that world, if you proclaimed yourself an artist or promoted your band with any zeal. So Delffs would probably find “seeker” a rather grandiose title.

But Nick Delffs is, in fact, a seeker. He’s an old-school rustler of the human condition; a tireless navigator of social and spiritual landscapes; a genuinely curious and wide-eyed, mankind-enthusiast. Soon after meeting him, one gets the impression that Delffs could be dropped in some far corner of the Earth and he’d not only survive, but he’d make a lot of friends—maybe even start a new band. In both casual conversation and his songwriting, Delffs gravitates to the universal. That’s his search. His life’s work is in the identification and removal of our shared illusions. And that is, largely, what Delffs writes songs about. Songs come to him when he’s “feeling detached from the world but totally in love with it at the same time,” he says. “Mostly they come when I am patient and I don't need them or care about them too much.”

They happen to be pretty catchy songs. Delffs first emerged in 2003 as the frontman for the seminal Portland band The Shaky Hands, known for their jangly, pulsing and introspective songs and their high-energy live shows. The band would sign to the venerable Kill Rock Stars imprint and tour internationally with bands like The Shins and Meat Puppets.

The Shaky Hands went on hiatus in 2011, and the changes came fast and furious for Delffs. He released a stripped-down, self-titled EP as Death Songs. He became a father. He relocated to Idaho. He took odd jobs and worked as a landscaper. All the while, he was strengthening his musical chops by collaborating with artists like Luz Elena Mendoza (Y La Bamba) and Ali Clarys—both of whom play important roles on his new LP, Redesign.

Living in Boise, Delffs remained a beloved figure throughout the Northwest—traveling often and moonlighting in friends’ touring bands. Slowly, through collaboration and time off, the pressure of being a full-time songwriter subsided and a thrilling new confidence emerged in Delffs’ own work.

“I like to disassociate myself with being a songwriter,” he says. “I like to forget I even do it. In the past that would have freaked me out, but I have a healthier relationship with my songs now. It’s less codependent.”

Redesign is the first full-length album Delffs has ever released under his own name. He first shed the Death Songs moniker in 2015, when he unceremoniously dropped a four-track EP of fantastic story-songs simply titled Home Recordings, and last year Mama Bird released Delffs’ reworking of the traditional English Christmas carol, “As I Sat on a Sunny Bank”. But Redesign is a self-contained universe of songs that play with themes that, on the surface, seem at odds with one another: longing for nature (“Somewhere Wild”, an ode to off-the-grid living) and learning to take responsibility (“Song for Aja”, a sweet and percussive tune about Delffs’ now six-year-old son that recalls Cat Stevens and Paul Simon). Musically, these themes are stitched together by the album’s warm, organic production and Delffs’ playing—he’s behind every instrument on the record—but Delffs also connects those seemingly disparate dots under the heading of Redesign. Heading into wilderness provides the insight for dealing with life’s heaviness; the responsibility of being a parent is also an opportunity for endless imaginative self-exploration.

The title track, “Redesign,” was written during a rafting trip in Eastern Oregon. “I couldn't go for the full three days, so I went for one day and hiked back to my car alone,” Delffs says. “It took maybe nine hours, and I had no shoes, and there were rattlesnakes. I took naps, I sang in caves. I felt like I let a lot of things go on that walk.”

A redesign means “to change out the parts of yourself that don't work, or don't serve anyone,” Delffs explains. “And if you are changing and growing, your relationships have to as well. It seems like redesigning our relationship with the world—and staying open to change and curious about the future—is more important now than ever.”

This is what you can depend on from Nick Delffs. In a world of noise and madness, he will use his music to try and scratch at something human and real. Something helpful. Nick Delffs is a seeker. He shares his discoveries. Redesign is his greatest gift yet.

Redesign will be released on July 21st from Mama Bird Recording Co.
Ryan Oxford
Growing up in rural Ohio, Ryan Oxford never really experienced any sort of formative music subculture. His friends back then were more likely to drive a tractor to school than to host house shows. He’d watch MTV’s 120 Minutes, but rarely connected with anything he heard. Instead, his interest grew independently from more personal experiences.
He remembers being strangely drawn to the smell of the old RCA turntable in the attic of his grandparents’ duplex. There was also the deep admiration he felt watching his dad embarrass his sister with shameless air guitar solos to Bowie’s “Five Years”. Perhaps that performance inspired his own debut - at age six, dancing to “These Boots Are Made for Walking” in front of his mom’s full-length mirror with an audience he didn’t exactly know was there.
As Oxford got older and moved away from home, this interest became an obsession. His self-education started in Akron, listening to salvaged, broken and moldy 45s at Jimi Imij’s unofficial Ohio Historical Music Society. From there, inspired by reading about how Brian Wilson stayed in the studio to write and record Pet Sounds while the rest of the Beach Boys were touring, he spent his entire tax return on an 8-track tape machine and taught himself the only way he knew how - by making mistake after mistake. Ten years later, Oxford’s a producer, composer and songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He lives in a loft above his studio, Color Therapy Recording, where he recorded, produced and mixed his debut album.
Fa Fa Fa Fired is a long time coming for Oxford, a testament to his determined, singular path. It’s full of twangy guitars, sassy backing vocals and the sweet hiss of reel-to-reel tape that he still can’t shake. The songs are playful, charming, melancholy and honest. They’re mostly about being dumb and in love and sometimes just about being dumb. The album was recorded with help from Dominik Schmidt and features Christian Blunda (Mean Jeans, Patsy's Rats), Nick Dewitt (Pretty Girls Make Graves), Scott Hartlaub (Jessica Lea Mayfield) and Arjan Miranda (Black Mountain, Strand of Oaks).
Fa Fa Fa Fired will be released by Mama Bird Recording Co. on January 27th.
Taylor Kingman
Taylor Kingman
Taylor Kingman makes music that resets the clocks. You know the feeling of standing beneath a trestle on a hard day, a can of cheap beer, flicking a lighter and dreaming up wild ideas until a heavy train comes thundering overhead and you scream and scream until your voice gives out and you feel lighter? That’s the thing that lives deep in Taylor’s songs. There’s something so rubbed-raw honest and drunken-truth about them. You can’t help but be transfixed and transformed.

Born in Portland, OR and raised in Marion County, Taylor picked up a guitar and started writing at 12. In high school, he formed The Hill Dogs, a raucous, powerful band that hit hard beneath his explosive lyrics. After graduating, he wrote like a madman, played out heavily with the band, and taught guitar on the side.

In 2015, Taylor packed up and headed to Portland where he played anywhere and everywhere with The Hill Dogs until he blew out his voice and had to halt the band. The restrictions of his healing vocal chords gave way to a deluge of new writing. Taylor joined multiple projects around the city with some of Portland’s finest and recorded his debut solo album Wannabe at the great Mike Coykendall’s studio, due out November 17th on Mama Bird Recording Co. He recently formed ‘TK and the Holy Know Nothings’ with Lewi Longmire, Jay Cobb Anderson, Tyler Thompson, and Josh Simon as a vehicle for a growing ocean of new material.

Of writing songs, Taylor says, “Each word is a world waiting to swallow me whole. I get drunk off the pitter patter poetry of lines that root me to the cold, unforgiving ground, all at once, drowning me in the violent beautiful futility of humanity, yet, also, set fire to my eyes, sending me swirling and whirling, floating blind and thoughtless through the maze of the mind. I want the words to explode bloody in all their truth, for better or worse. Vivid images dripping with feeling bursting like lightbulbs in the back of the head.” Enough said. Train thundering. Sparks raining down.

​-Anna Tivel​
Vikesh Kapoor
Vikesh Kapoor
Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Vikesh Kapoor released his debut album “The Ballad of Willy Robbins,” in 2013. Critically acclaimed, the album was awarded one of the Best Albums of the Year by Rough Trade and one of the Best Acoustic Albums of the past 5 years by The Oregonian. He was invited to perform at Howard Zinn’s memorial service and has performed across the United States and Europe. Kapoor is currently working on his second LP.
Widower
Widower
New Jersey native, Seattle staple, and most recently, Los Angeles rambler, Kevin Large has been making music under the WIDOWER moniker for nearly a decade. Large's lyrically driven songwriting is reminiscent of Petty's more mellow moments. There's a cinematic sentiment to these songs, like a car scene from a Cameron Crowe film, full-up with our hopeless romantic hero's fresh heartbreak. Perhaps, it's raining.