Yee-haw! The Gnome's finally got a reason to break out his cowboy hat. Why, you ask? Because he'll need it this Thursday, February 22, when Laura Veirs plays the Tractor in support of her fab new disc, The Triumphs & Travails of Orphan Mae. The local singer-songwriter isn't a straight-up country girl; her album's filled with modernistic touches such as sampled scratchy record sounds and electronic beats. But mostly, the songs stick to an old-time framework, with well-crafted narratives sung in a sincere voice, often augmented by Gillian Welch-like harmonies. Veirs' backing band on the disc feature some top local players, including Danny Barnes, Tucker Martine, Eyvind Kang, and Jon Hyde, whose own up-and-coming band, the creatively named Jon Hyde Band, headlines the Tractor show. But wait, that's not all. Another Tractor fixture, Evangeline, also have a new disc on the way. The five-piece's debut is a sharply played, spirited collection of rootsy rockers, anchored by Kevin Suggs' aching pedal steel and Jennifer Potter's supple vocals. As openers for the likes of Robbie Fulks and Richard Buckner,the band have been winning fans and are now ready to step out. Evangeline's CD release show will be at the Tractor March 23.
Mouthing off: Just before leaving on a nationwide tour Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla was spotted at the Crocodile rocking out to the Superdrag show. Superdrag, you may remember, are the power-pop maestros who had a hit with "Sucked Out" a few years back but have since been dropped by major label Elektra. A Gnome Gnotifier caught Death Cab's recent set in Los Angeles, where Walla stepped to the mic and asked, "Is there anybody from Elektra here?" After a silent pause, he added, "'Cause they dropped Superdrag, and I just want to know what they were thinking." Bravo!
Reunion Fever: Ryan Adams' Valentine's Day Eve show at the Century brought a surprise mini-Whiskeytown reunion when ex-member and current Seattle resident Phil Wandscher joined his old mate on stage for a couple of the band's songs. The two hadn't parted on the best of terms, so the collaboration was quite unexpected. And it gives hope that an even more unlikely reunion will take place this Saturday when two members of the defunct Bay Area band American Music Club will be in town on the same night. Mark Eitzel plays EMP Thursday, February 22, while a brisk 10-minute walk away at the Crocodile, Danny Pearson also has a solo gig. The Gnome hopes Eitzel is willing to take the stroll because not only could he jam with his ex-bandmate but he'd be in the same room as fellow morose-meister Mark Kozelek, who's headlining the Croc. Wouldn't that be fun? You betcha!