Eric Tollefson: There are not too many folks out there throwing their two cents into the pool of musical currency who can say that they hail from as far north as Juneau, Alaska. Although Eric Tollefson would tell you that he makes his home the idyllic town of Bend, Oregon these days, the 49th state native also takes a particular pride in his background. So, it’s not a surprise to know that Tollefson’s creative oeuvre has been well informed by where he’s from. Especially considering that his sophomore effort is aptly entitled The Polar Ends.
In 2009, Tollefson’s life had experienced a sea of change- he had now long since sold his home and had spent the past four years immersed in his songwriting. The self-imposed woodshedding yielded a well-received debut album, The Sum Of Parts, which his hometown paper, the Bend Bulletin put on their “Best of the Locals” list and quipped, “Tollefson’s songs are bluesy pop beauties, spilling... over with impressive guitar work and melodies that’ll follow you around for days.”
Some touring ensued on the heels of the release boasting shared stages with G Love and Special Sauce and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, among others.
Soon after Tollefson went back to the woodshed, and what followed was The Polar Ends, his sophomore effort—an equally impressive record, in fact, a step up and forward, not only in songwriting, but also in production quality and the inclusion of a handful of notable collaborators. "I wanted to work on a record with national players and producers, and know that it took all of what I had to create it."
Recorded largely in part at a remote studio atop densely forested rolling hills near Charlottesville, Virginia, Tollefson gathered a select group of musicians from both coasts in April of 2011 to turn his ideas into reality.
Surrounded by the thunderous rhythm section of Jay Foote and Brian Jones, guitarist Sam Kearney and producer/engineer Rob Evans, Eric created an eight-track album where pure rock 'n' roll sits comfortably alongside lovelorn laments, and where mournful strings, swooping guitars, ethereal background vocals and purposeful tape hiss all make perfect sense.
About 90 seconds into the first track on The Polar Ends, “Tollefson plainly sets the tone: “Love will come racing through your veins,” he sings in his resolute baritone. “Who would’ve thought it’s a poisonous thing?” (“Heart On A String”)
The rest of the record’s songs are a deep and satisfying exhale, as if Tollefson sings primarily to rid his ribcage of the sorrow, satisfaction and rich stories that simmer within it. His sound breathes the doleful spirit of the blues yet pulses with savvy pop sensibility, whether he’s transmitting it via a muscular electric groove or a gorgeous, gently plucked acoustic guitar.
Because Tollefson tends to traverse a plethora of musical styles, it was an appropriate decision to engage two producers: the aforementioned Evans, who helmed the album’s rockers, such as “Whose Love” and “Vultures,” and the Franchot Tone, who produced “Heart on a String” and “Before You Go,” a staggeringly beautiful heartbreaker pulling in master pedal steel player Eric Heywood, (Son Volt and Ray LaMontagne, among others). The song also stands as The Polar Ends first focus track, sporting a nifty video, which has just premiered.
Taken as a whole, The Polar Ends is more than the next album from a confident young singer-songwriter. It feels like a vibrant introduction to a vital new recording artist.
Parker Ainsworth: > Singer songwriter Parker Ainsworth brings the art of storytelling through music forth from a space that audiences can feel from the first chord. > Originally from Austin Tx, the SoCal resident followed I-10 toward the ocean and a new beginning in 2009, eventually coming to hang his hat on a sailboat docked at the edge of LA where he has been writing and growing as an artist ever since. Following the release of his most recent EP "Leave on the Lights", Parker took a journey to India that lasted roughly 4 and a half months. During this time he reflected on life, cultivated an abundance of new material, and played shows across the country including the 40th annual Bob Dylan Folk Festival in the state of Meghalaya. Freshly back from his adventures, P.A. is here to share his experiences with a confidence, humor and humility that is both touching and entertaining.
Dane Drewis: Dane Drewis’ 2010 solo debut “Rock and Soul” is both incendiary and nostalgic, combining the melodic feel of Motown and classic 70’s rock with a vocal style that is described as a mix of Bruno Mars, John Mayer, and Jack Johnson.
As the front man for Cuesta Drive for six years, Dane has developed a commanding stage presence and an exceptional ability to get a crowd on its feet. Born into a family of rock musicians, his guitar playing is reminiscent of the greats—Santana, Jimmy Page, and Stevie Ray Vaughn—with influences from later artists such as Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At once intimate and inclusive, Dane’s music has “…the power and hook to send half-smoked cigarettes hurling to the ground while their owners leave behind the hot summer night and dash into the bar to join the party” (Chico News & Review). His shows have been described as a “must-attend event” (Sac Press), and the melodies as “…original and unexpected, unlike anything else on the airwaves these days” (Evolution of Media).
After forming Cuesta Drive in college, Dane went on to write and compose three albums with the band before embarking on his solo project. His songs have been placed in ads for Google and YouTube as well as various film and TV spots. Led by Dane, “Rock and Soul” features the rest of the Drewis family—sisters Janel and Deena Drewis on backup vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussion, and his parents, Dale and Janet Drewis, on bass and vocal harmonies, respectively. The Dane Drewis band is currently touring to promote the new release with Dale Drewis on bass/vocals and Jason Weed on the drums.