Eugene Weekly : Music : 7.5.07

Soul Sister

Kristen Chandler

When Kristen Chandler relocated to Arizona last year, the Eugene music scene lost a performer of remarkable breadth and appeal. Livening up the jazz and R&B scenes with her youthful vigor and genre-bending creativity, Chandler provided a bright spot for audiences who might not be into the rock scene but still wanted to rock. Based on the sound of her new single, “Sweet Inside,” Chandler is continuing to keep the groove alive as she and her partner, Michael James Zimmerman, write and compose material for their next album. Chandler will be back in Eugene this week for the first time in a year, performing for one night only at Luna.

“Sweet Inside” is a great example of what Chandler does so well. She controls her clear, natural vocals with expert precision, bending notes to compliment the layered instrumentals but without oversinging. The lyrics touch on themes of individuality, spirituality, self-exploration and interconnectedness. “All that I am is what I am is what I hide,” she sings in the chorus. “All I possess is sacred, soft and sweet inside.” There is a Spearhead sound to the rhythm of this single, danceable and fun yet contemplative in its message.

Chandler will be performing with her band Thousand Gathered, a name that reflects “a life-giving force that is continuously changing and expanding,” chosen to reflect the rotation of the lineup depending on the timing and location of the gig. In addition to her new material, fans can expect to hear songs from her independently released 1996 album, bird.

Welcome Kristen Chandler back to Eugene at 9 pm Friday, July 5th, at Luna. 21+ show. $8 adv., $10 door. — Adrienne van der Valk


Buy a Ticket, Save a Tree

The Itals

Take the reggae beats of The Itals and mix in a quarter pint of Supertrout for flavor. Let it simmer for a few minutes, add two pounds of I-chele and T-Club and stir until the mix is of desirable harmony. Quickly add Firetrance and The Circle of Light for some heat, get it to a rolling boil for a few minutes and then, at the end, throw in a pinch of Woodknot and the Conjugal Visitors for some added kick. Pour the mixture into sterilized jars and seal. You now have a huge batch of Tayberry Jam to last you all winter long.

The Second Annual Tayberry Jam kicks off July 7 at the Tayberry Jam Amphitheater in Cottage Grove. This year-old concert hall is powered by a 3000 watt solar system, and its terraces overlook the southernmost end of the Willamette Valley. The farm is surrounded by forest, meadows, tayberries and an apple orchard.

Built by Noah and Anna Wemple, the amphitheater was modeled after some of the structures they had seen at festivals in the area and the ideas of Ed Wemple, Noah’s father. “Having this amphitheater has been a longtime family dream,” Noah says. “My father gave this property to my family, and he had always entertained the possibility of trying to have the Country Fair moved to this location. That never happened, but I have taken on my father’s dream of having a large annual festival here.”

Not just a clever name, the Tayberry Jam is named for the tayberries grown in the 10 acre orchard. Tayberries, sweet dark red berries that are a cross between a blackberry and raspberry, are a large part of the family’s livelihood; Noah says they’re used to make cider, wine and jam.

Along with tayberries, the family also has an apple orchard. In the past the family’s ancestors relied on timber for their income, but Noah wants to change that by replacing the selling of timber with sales from annual events, retreats and produce. His vision is to create a whole concept of “green” living.

“We have tried to create a beautiful event that will bring unity to the community,” he says . “We spotlight local musicians and show a respect for diversity by having a concert with bluegrass, reggae, fire dancing and a little rock and roll. Our motto is ‘Buy a Ticket, Save a Tree!’ “

The Tayberry Jam begins at noon Saturday, July 7 at the Tayberry Jam Amphitheater. Tickets are available at Kalapuya Books in Cottage Grove and Tsunami Books in Eugene. $30 single or 2 for $50. — Deanna Uutela




“Prokofiev is my favorite composer!” Richey Thompson says over the phone as he describes William Faustival, the relatively new theater/music troupe performing July 11 at Sam Bond’s Garage. With Thompson on keyboards and bass, Jeff Suchanek on drums, Joe Jiang on guitar, Max Hawks also on keyboards and bass and William Faust as the group’s “spokesperson,” the musical component of William Faustival weaves together a dramatic electro-pop soundtrack for the story of “Radaga and Akriel,” which is performed in pantomime by the theatrical component of the group (when space and availability allows).

Thompson, who was trained to play classical piano, says his musical upbringing translated perfectly into his affinity for both electronic music and dramatic song. “As soon as I got a keyboard, I discovered the wonderful world of electronic music.”

The musical element reflects the modern day sounds of popular electro-pop groups such as Junior Boys, but a linear storyline depicting the trials and tribulations of Akriel, an impetuous young boy, also follows the lyrics and mood of each song. According to Thompson, the “Radaga and Akriel” story spans 11 songs and documents Akriel’s interactions with Radaga, an older authority figure. He says that the group composed the story and the music simultaneously — sometimes creating music to fit a portion of the story they had already written, or, conversely, adding to the story based on a mood they had created through their music.

“Peter and the Wolf” for a new generation? Maybe. Thompson says the theatrical group is still tentative for the Sam Bond’s performance. One way or another, William Faustival will undoubtedly provide enough dramatics through their music and their presence to entertain all.

“The musicians aren’t the live focus,” Thompson says. “We all kind of wanted to give people something to look at — to create a link between the visual and the musical.” William Faustival and PALM play at 9 pm Wednesday, July 11, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+ show. $3. — Steven Sawada