Grand Lake Islands is a hazy folk collective led by Portland-based songwriter Erik Emanuelson. Emanuelson’s expressive tenor recalls Nashville Skyline era Dylan and delivers lyrics soaked in metaphors and stark emotional landscapes. Their debut album, “Song from Far” was written following a sea change in Emanuelson’s life. The record echoes themes of uncertainty and isolation, yet Grand Lake Islands balances this heaviness with a sense of carefree lightness. The songs break into wide-open, mystic country-folk grooves before being swallowed by interludes of dark, aerial, nearly distorted tones. With one eye to the darkness drifting over one horizon and one eye on the light coming over the other, “Song From Far” is a snapshot of a sky in motion.
From a young age, Kevin Lee Florence was always singing - first in church, and then inadvertently around the house. It wasn’t until his early twenties, however, that Florence picked up the guitar and immersed himself in Neil Young, Damien Jurado, Paul Simon, and a host of other folk legends, despite being raised in an community that disparaged folk music. He found inspiration in his father’s vinyl collection and an inborn penchant for writing poetry, and gradually set about turning his passion into something viable.
Snowblind Traveler, Long Island born songwriter Matt Dorrien, plays the song of the common man. His music is inspired by the rolling expanse of middle America, the fog and lichen draped cathedral of redwoods of the northwest, the lulling whisper of a New England blizzard, the sorely disappointed, the dearly loved, the true and honest, those who are lost and forgotten, the living, dead, and eternal. For those who have ever slept under a blanket of Big Sur stars and drank whiskey until you forgot your own name: This is for you.