On a week of Thanksgiving, we are most certainly feeling thankful for those of you who stopped by the site every Tuesday to see what band we’d be sharing each week and where at Doe Bay they’d be singing. We loved reading your comments and seeing you share the Sessions, every Tuesday was a little like watching a friend unwrap a present you couldn’t wait for them to open.
With Pickwick singing down the sun yesterday (and our most watched video on day one EVER!) the 2011 Doe Bay sessions have officially come to an end and the Sound on the Sound video crew is starting to think ahead to 2012′s sessions and new video series. But not without one last celebration … a special screening of the Doe Bay Sessions on the big screen at Columbia City Theater on December 11th. Not only will you get to see your favorite sessions like you’ve never seen them before, we’ll also be debuting some new never before seen sessions from 2011 and a few of our favorite Doe Bay Session alumnus will reprise their sessions on stage. Plus, we have some other fun surprises in the works.
All proceeds from the evening, which we’re asking for a $5 donation, will go to funding 2012′s Doe Bay Sessions and maybe paying our incredible crew (Tyler Kalberg behind the camera, Chris Proff behind the mic and Claire Yucker corraling everyone) a tiny bit for all their incredible hard work and dedication. Without them, the Doe Bay Sessions would just be a dream. If you’ve enjoyed the sessions, we’d love to see you and say thanks for watching on Sunday December 11th.
p.s. Out-of-State Doe Bay Session fans, we’re SO excited (and mind-blown) you want to donate to help fund next year’s Sessions. We’re in the process of setting up a pay-pal so you can and we’ll share that info here shortly.
The Head and The Heart & the Doe Bay All-Star Choir
Last night 300 lucky Doe Bay ticket holders were told who they’d be seeing on Orcas Island in August and the last name announced was of this year’s headliners, The Head and The Heart. As the evening’s emcee Hannah Levin pointed out, the band is currently on their way to play Bonnaroo, a festival attended by 80,000 people, while this August Doe Bay Fest attendees will get to see the band with 800 friends.
Last year, as the sun set on the festival and the San Juans, we were lucky to be treated to a performance by The Head and The Heart and an All-Star chorus of Doe Bay guests including Drew Grow & the Pastors Wives and Kelli Schaefer, with about 20 people and we’re so excited to have one last video to share with you from that meant-to-be moment.
We’ll be sharing two more Doe Bay bonus sessions in the coming weeks from Hey Marseilles and Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives, as we prepare to shoot another round of sessions this August!
Hey Marseilles at the picnic table ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Hey Marseilles weren’t just at Doe Bay to play another music festival. They’d made the trip up to the Islands for a second year in a row looking to double down on the fun they had last year, hopefully minus any broken limbs. Throughout the weekend one might see any one of these gentlemen throwing a frisbee, frolicking in the ocean, rushing headfirst down a slip n’ slide, or just enjoying the company of their fellow local musicians. For a band who’s spent plenty of time this year cooped up in a van, Hey Marseilles surely took advantage of the moment to maximize their relaxation. With the rest of the band leaving Seattle a day earlier than him for just that reason, frontman Matt Bishop was able to dispense with the band van entirely, opting to cruise the windy island roads on his scooter. I’ll bet he had no trouble getting right on the ferry with that ride!
As the festival went on, our picnic table at Doe Bay gradually earned a spot as a shadow stage and green room, only advertising the presence of something happening in the area to those passing by on the trail while that something was happening. In the case of Hey Marseilles, the picnic table became a literal stage, the center of gravity for three sublime songs from the band and an effort to squeeze all that we could out of our ‘mobile’ 8-track recording setup. Sans amplification with the full array of accordion, strings and a trumpet in hand, two of those songs are presented above, an old favorite and a brand new song, with “Rio” in particular the capturing the full spirit of the festival and the place. In a way, for four days, we’d made Doe Bay into our own northern beach paradise, one we’d have no trouble getting lost in for a while.
Saturday October 30th Hey Marseilles will be celebrating Halloween a day early at the Columbia City Theater with Fences. Tickets are $12 in advance.
Curtains for You at Coot’s Corner ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
All anyone can hope for is for their first time to be special and sweet.
That was certainly the case for us when it came to the first Doe Bay Session, which we filmed with the Gervais brothers of Curtains for You. Despite a comedy of errors that befell us before filming (our brand new generator broke before powering anything, then just as we were to start filming a marching band started serenading the Doe Bay grounds) Curtains for You rolled with the punches like pros, and their laid-back, easy-going attitude told us “everything is going to be okay,” even when we felt like the project was crumbling before our eyes.
What came from that comedy of errors and our first attempt at the Doe Bay Sessions is a sweet two-song set from some of Seattle’s cleverest pop-lyricists. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to get it just right on the first try and we think, thanks to Curtains for You, we were very lucky.
The night they were hoping to arrive on Orcas Island, Ravenna Woods fell victim to the summer time San Juan ferry system. Waiting on standby for the last boat of the night, they were turned away from the dock after midnight to find a motel in Anacortes and return for the earliest morning ferry. The following afternoon, more than a few minutes apart, Chris, Brantley and Matt trickled down the trail for their Doe Bay Session, still waking up from the various quiet places in the shade they’d found to nap and forget about the main-land and lumpy motel pillows. Happily, Doe Bay has many places just for that.
Finally assembled and with the sleep wiped from their eyes, the threesome proceeded to beat on trees and kick up a furious dust cloud, their ooh-oh-oh’s echoing around the inlet. Like few other bands involved with this project, Ravenna Woods seem to be aware of the pulse and rhythms of nature, taking full advantage of the tree-verb and stump drums, making for one of our favorite filmings of the festival.
“Sometimes I am amazed. Sometimes I do forget. What a gift to be free. What a gift to be me. To hear music from the next room, to hear music from the next room…”
If any words or lyrics sum up Sound on the Sound’s experience at Doe Bay or our lives in general, its those sung by Tomo Nakayama in a brand new song we were lucky enough to capture on film one sunny Sunday in August. (As well as one hell of a Tom Waits cover.)
And if you wondered whether you might find another “Raindrops” caliber song on the next Grand Hallway record, I submit this yet-to-be-titled song as a worthy successor.
A month ago The Head and The Heart stood on a cliff-side at sunset and sang this song to us, tonight (and tomorrow) they’ll sing the same song on the stage of The Paramount. We couldn’t be more proud or less surprised.
After their Paramount shows it will be rivers and roads between Seattle and the band. They’re heading out on a West Coast tour this Friday with Fences. For our readers outside of Seattle, check out the full tour schedule below.
My favorite part about writing is when I have to do very little of it. If you are one of the few that passes the time reading my words, I know you can agree wholeheartedly. This is one of those occasions. Let wordsmiths around the world rejoice.
When I did my “Doe Bay: A First Time Perspective” review, I made brief mention of Kelli Schaefer’s one song Doe Bay Session performance. It was compelling enough to wake me from my beach slumber and max out Chris Proff’s recording devices. Prior to Doe Bay, I’d only seen Kelli Schaefer join Drew Grow and the Pastor Wives on-stage at the Tractor. I never heard her sing one of her own songs by her lonesome before. I’d be lying if I told you I remembered what this song actually sounds like. Oddly enough, I remember where her fingers were on her guitar frets. Her gestures make music in my mind but there’s no audio otherwise. It was the power of her voice that woke me up. It is the power of her voice that is going to arrest your train of thought in a matter of moments. Don’t believe me? Push play. I dare you. But before you do, what are you doing right now? I’m not sure if you’re adequately prepared. Then again, are any of us ever prepared? I think we all know the answer to that one.
I try to avoid that which can only be realized in the flesh. It’s a shame. You really can’t say that about music artists nowadays. This woman right here, she’s a hurricane. She made me leave my favorite place on earth to be closer to something that humbled me in its authenticity. So, what are you doing on October 2nd? Seeing Kelli Schaefer at Columbia City Theater with Kaylee Cole and People Eating People? I think we both know the answer to that. I give you “Ghost of the Beast.”
Doe Bay is a place that brings out the best in people. You end up hugging people you may have just met and sharing whatever it is you might have to share with the person next to you. That The Head and The Heart, a band who engenders much the same response wherever they perform, were at such a festival, felt not just right, but a destiny fulfilled. Lots of bands make music, but only a few bands make music that naturally brings people together the way the Head & the Heart seem to do so effortlessly. Though only scheduled for a single Friday night set, the band could be seen singing songs at the campfire and guest-appearing on the stage for a host of other bands, before gathering once again on Saturday night to do an impromptu midnight set on the General Store porch in front of a crowd of hundreds. This extraordinary presence marked them out as the pied-pipers of the festival — any time their songs floated on the summer San Juan air, people followed.
After the festival had ended and as the sun set on our final night at Doe Bay a crowd gathered for the band as they played down the sun on the furthest point of Doe Bay. People emerged from their tents, came running down the trails and waved and sang along from departing boats. In a weekend that was as much about the community we created as the songs that were sung, no moment felt so poignantly demonstrative of that notion than the impromptu chorus of other Doe Bay performers that joined The Head and the Heart for their session. Like no other band at the festival, The Head and The Heart understood that in this place, the experience of making music with friends and making new friends through music was as important as the music itself.
Some moments feel meant to be. This moment on the cliffs, of a band on the brink of something big and backed by a community that loves, supports and connects to their songs as if they were their own was that moment for us. It was the culmination of four spectacular days of sessions and a wonderful wild ride this year with the band, but more importantly, it was a culmination and celebration of the community that The Head and The Heart had themselves built over those days. This video is a wonderful reminder of the community and bonds that will exist long after the band’s first Doe Bay is just a memory.
The sun may have been setting during their Doe Bay Session, but with just announced dates at The Paramount with Vampire Weekend this month and then the Showbox in November, it is clear that The Head and The Heart’s star is still rising.