Gregory Rawlins unveils “ELWHA”: Kicks off Western U.S. Tour
Perhaps the darkest hopeful album of the year, ELWHA is at once a bittersweet brood, wrought with contemplations of death, the life beyond (if any), love and longing—elements spun from Rawlins’s ever evolving lyricism that continues to prove poetry is alive and well in modern music.
The album will be released on May 16th with a tour kick-off show at Art Center at The Old Library in La Grande w/ guests Bitter Root.
Just eight months since the release of Oregon Slogan by Sons of Guns, this record is a full departure from the fast and sweaty realm of the band he’s co-fronted since 2004, aiming to pray rather than exclaim, or meditate rather than persuade. The result is forty minutes where you feel yourself looking in on the very personal life of a man barely afloat amid the sea of life’s curveballs. But instead of feeling bogged down by this artist’s dimly lit ballads and menacing melodies, an altogether opposite effect takes place and you find yourself supporting him every step of the way.
For those who are unfamiliar with Gregory Rawlins and are tickled by hybrid comparisons—his subject matter falls somewhere between the natural reverence of the incorruptible John Denver and the unsettling introspection of Leonard Cohen. His playing style bounces from quick, jangly Guthrie-like strumming to delicate alternating thumb finger picking that recalls the country/blues tinge of Jimmy Rogers or Leadbelly. And if his first two solo albums were any indication that Rawlins was working his stylistic kinks out, ELWHA is a fully-realized testament to the musician who at long last has arrived.
Generally sparse, occasionally psychedelic, and sometimes speckled with a rainbow of effects, the album’s eleven songs include accompaniment by La Grande musicians Wayne Marvin Callahan (who also produced the work), Jeff Grammer, Angela Hibbert, Tara Jennings, and former Grande Ronde Valley denizens Annie Eskelin and Bill Atwood. And while Rawlins’ characteristics obviously stand at the helm of ELWHA, the rest of the cast chimes in with their distinguishable personalities—causing anyone who’s enjoyed a show starring one or all of these entities in one or all of their projects (Test Audiences, The Black Bottle Trio, City of Animals, Elidila, Correspondence School) to greet this album with outstretched arms.
In 2008, Rawlins self-released The Amazing Circle of Boxes, his 19-track debut recorded between 2003-2007 during the interims of band activity in a series of bedrooms, basements, garages and warehouses. At times simple and meditative, at times erratic, spacey, distorted, abrasive and fused with a myriad of electronics/natural sounds, Rawlins auspiciously established himself as a pioneering force among NW purveyors of contemporary alternative and folk. The envelope of experimentation was pushed even further with 2010’s Fuggit, I’ll Bet a Hunnerd — a dust-covered, booze-draped daydream, centered around the concept of one’s struggle to embrace the magical and maddening affects of life in the Grande Ronde Valley– an area Rawlins has inhabited off-and-on for the past decade. Learn more about Gregory Rawlins and purchase his past works at www.lagrandemusic.com.
Check out this cut from the album and make sure to grab a copy of the complet album. Digital version of the album will be available for purchase on May 16th at http://www.lagrandemusic.com or attend a show and pick up a physical copy.
ELWHA: ALBUM RELEASE TOUR 2012
|La Grande, OR||Art Center at the Old Library||05/16/12||7:00pm|
|Richland, WA||Bookwalter Wines||05/17/12||7:30pm|
|Clarkston, WA||Hogan’s Place||05/18/12||8:00pm|
|Moscow, ID||John’s Alley||05/21/12||8:00pm|
|Spokane, WA||Brews on Washington||05/23/12||8:00pm|
|Wenatchee, WA||Cafe Mela||05/24/12||8:00pm|
|Leavenworth, WA||Der Hinterhof||05/25/12||7:30pm|
|Leavenworth, WA||Der Hinterhof||05/26/12||1:00pm|
|Bremerton, WA||Hi-Fidelity Lounge||05/26/12||8:00pm|
|Port Angeles, WA||The Next-door Gastro Pub||05/27/12||8:00pm|
|Tacoma, WA||The Mandolin Cafe||05/29/12||8:00pm|
|Union, WA||Robin Hood Pub||06/01/12||9:30pm|
|Seattle, WA||House Show (Seattle)||06/02/12||8:00pm|
|Pendleton, OR||Great Pacific||06/11/12||6:00pm|
|Bend, OR||The Horned Hand||06/12/12||8:00pm|
|Ashland, OR||Caldera Taphouse||06/14/12||8:00pm|
|Portland, OR||Alberta St. Pub||06/15/12||8:00pm|
|Hood River, OR||Trillium Cafe||06/16/12||8:00pm|
|Independence, OR||Rogue Hop Farm||06/17/12||3:00pm|
|San Francisco, CA||El Rio||06/19/12||7:00pm|
|Sacramento, CA||The Javalounge||06/21/12||8:00pm|
|Salt Lake City, UT||The Tin Angel Cafe||06/23/12||7:00pm|
|Helena, MT||Lewis and Clark Brewing||07/05/12||8:00pm|
|La Grande, OR||Mt. Emily Blues Festival||07/07/12||8:00pm|