Timber!, Or How The Pacific Northwest Won My Heart

I landed at O’Hare Airport last night after 11 days of jaunting around Oregon, Montana, and Washington State – with a very special two night stop in Carnation, WA for the very first Timber! Music Festival.

Timber! was put on by the wonderful people at Artist Home, the same folks responsible for the magic that is Doe Bay Fest. It featured a slew of talented artists from the Pacific Northwest, and was built on the same principles as Doe Bay: community, kindness, and a respect for music.

When we arrived at the beautiful Tolt MacDonald Park,, less than an hour outside of Seattle, the first thing I noticed was the sense of calm. This was no Bonnaroo, no Lollapalooza. There were no corporations, they hadn’t packed everyone in like a sardine. This was a beautiful County Park, wide open spaces, and a pair of quiet stages brimming with talent.

To get to the stages from the camping area, we crossed a beautiful suspension bridge into the park area itself.

Photo by Jason Neuerberg

Photo by Jason Neuerberg

Our group of four crossed over, exploring the merchandise, and wandering over to the Campfire Stage, where the incredibly talented Andrew Joslyn and the Passenger String Quartet started the weekend off in about the best way possible. Their blend of covers, original compositions, and contemporary pieces washed over us as we sipped our first beers, laid down in the grass, and enjoyed the breeze gently rolling off the river.

Passenger String Quartet

Photo by Beth Crook

We lazed around this stage for most of the day, relaxing as we listened to fantastic performances from S and Avians Alight, then meandered around the grounds, checking out the main stage area then changing into evening clothes (it got chilly!) to prepare for my most anticipated set of the evening, the incredibly talented Bryan John Appleby. He commanded the campfire stage, quelling chatter from the beer garden with his soul-searching voice and beautiful songwriting. His cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence silenced the crowd as the stars glistened over head.

Thanks to Kelly Alexander for this incredible video:

After basking under the stars briefly, we wandered back to our tents, and in a delightfully impromptu twist, we found ourselves wandering the grounds, my friend Chris playing his banjo, with some new friends in tow (playing a drum and another banjo). We wandered the darkness until we stumble upon a midnight jam around a lantern tucked behind some bushes. Lucky for us, this wasn’t an ordinary jam session – it was Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, and they were happy to have a couple of banjos jamming along. I can’t say enough about how nice these guys were, and how electrifyingly talented they are. If you get a chance, put on some dancing shoes and check them out. Trust me. Check out this song and buy this album. Do it!

My girlfriend and I wandered away from the jam session after an exhilarating 45 minutes, and as we stumbled through the dark back to camp, I heard a familiar voice arcing over the trees of the park. We ran up the hills, to a campfire outside of one of the yurts, to find none other than Matt and Aubrey of the unbelievably talented band The Local Strangers playing a set around the campfire. Even as I type this, I struggle to believe the incredible amount of things we witnessed in such a short time. And this was only the first day!

We woke up early on Saturday, wandered around, hung out with neighbors and new friends, and then wandered down to the Main Stage where the day was starting off. After a fantastic set from Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, we walked behind the stage to take a swim in the river while we listened to Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers. We swam around, listening to the fantastic set, and ran into some of the artists who had played the day before taking a swim. It felt like a really special opportunity.

We stayed at the Main Stage for the next four sets, and man oh man, was there some incredible music played. We witnessed a stunning early afternoon set from the fabulous Lemolo, who played for an absolutely entrancing 45 minutes. They’re a band that everyone should be listening to. Seriously.


Photo By Beth Crook

We then found ourselves dancing, jumping, and hollering along with infectious drum-filled choruses of Kithkin, and the catchy pop-folk of Ivan and Alyosha. Both of these bands also fall under the category of not to be missed.

After Ivan and Alyosha finished, we felt the need to take a break. While wandering through the field near the quiet camping area – we stumbled upon Noah Gundersen filming a session of his song ‘Dying Now’. We settled into the grass and watched him play the song a few times, just incredibly grateful for that twist of fate.

'Dying Now' Session

‘Dying Now’ Session

We found our way back to camp, changed into clothes for the evening, and headed down to ┬áthe campfire stage to catch the final two sets of Timber! The first, a stunning set from Boston transplant Vikesh Kapoor, performing with the Passenger String Quartet. His careful, contemplative brand of folk whistled through the air, sending shivers up all of our spines. That paved the way for the last, and most memorable set of the fest. Noah Gundersen, performing with a full band. He wove his way through songs new and old, and performed maybe the most heartbreaking rendition of the Joni Mitchell song ‘A Case of You’ that I’ve ever heard. Thinking back on the weekend now, Noah’s set still renders me a little speechless. Here’s another video from Kelly Alexander – this one of Noah performing his track ‘Fire’.

As I struggle to find a way to get back into the spirit of work, and Chicago, I needed to write this just to express my incredible gratitude for having had the opportunity to experience such a perfect, perfect music festival.

Our Timber! Family

Our Timber! Family


and everything i saw/came bursting into life

I don’t think I’ve posted a Take Away show since that fantastic set of Kodaline songs earlier this year.

Well, I couldn’t wait to share this one as soon as I saw it. Shot in an abandoned disco in Paris, Paul Thomas Saunders fills the entire room with an unfathomably haunting voice, and incredible, piercing lyrics.

we were just young blood/
waiting for a fight…/
the broken and unloved/
huddled side by side…



Also, don’t forget – our next house show is with Small Houses and Ty Maxon. Don’t miss it! August 17 at 914 N. California. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

Monday Funday

Outside of keeping you fine folks in the loop about house shows and other events of note, I haven’t laid out a particularly exciting post in a while. Sorry about that.

When I woke up today, my heart was very heavy. Some days do that. Some more than other. A slow commute to work, black-gray clouds, and a relentless rain didn’t help the situation much at all. So what did I do? I pulled out my phone, grabbed my iPod, uncoiled my headphones, and went to the tunes and videos that have kept me sane through the chaos of the year.

So I thought I’d sit down and put some of those out there into this little space, in the hopes that they might lift up your Monday evening in a way that was so damn necessary for me today. WIthour further ado –

I’ve been obsessed with Courtney Marie Andrews lately. She’s all kinds of powerful, and this video is no exception. It’s so hauntingly reminiscent of a young Joan Baez, her heart heavy and her eyes brimming with tears. Goosebumps. Wow.


I also can’t stop listening to Dessa’s new album. She might be every ounce of everything I love about the possibilities of hip-hop as an art form. She broke down a song off that new album into an acoustic living room session. ‘Call Off Your Ghost’:


I’m not sure how long this will last online, but I’m madly in love with The National, and this is the whole performance from Bonnaroo this year. Get it while it’s still up…


Adam over at Songs For The Day put this song up today, and I can’t stop listening. Seryn – ‘Ivory Black’


Something about this song from Cloud Cult taps into the adult version of all of the fears and the amazement I possessed in high school. I can’t stop playing it. Thanks to Bailey for this one.


Some exciting announcements over the next couple of weeks – so keep your eyes peeled. And if you haven’t seen yet – I’m posting stuff over on Facebook as well, so come visit me and like it for more frequent updates!


Love y’all!

Another Day, Another House Show

I know it was just yesterday that I posted a thank you to all of those involved with my first house show, but today seemed as good a day as any to announce the next.

Small Houses

I’m thrilled to announce that on August 17th, Music Means Family will welcome Ty Maxon and Small Houses to the gallery at 914 N. California. Both of these songwriters are stunning, and I guarantee you’ll regret missing a balmy August evening with these two serenading you.

Watch these videos, then send an e-mail on over to me at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com. Remember, there’s no admission, but donations are highly encouraged, as it’s the only way we can keep putting on these shows.

I really can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this one – I hope you are too!



I really can’t wait to see you there.

there’s a light bulb’s burning glow in linoleum/Sunday stays later than most…

This Sunday, Music Means Family presented its very first concert, in the intimate gallery space at 914 N. California.

The evening...

The evening…

The beautiful summer eve washed over us with an incredible performance by the talented Shane Leonard of Kalispell and Field Report, with a beautiful opening set by Brendan Losch. Wine was drank, whiskey was sipped, and all of the people gathered were swept up in it all.


No words for this...

No words for this…

I can’t thank Shane and Brendan enough. They are stunning songwriters and unbelievable musicians. It really was an evening I won’t soon forget.

We’ll be doing more and more of these as the year goes on. I can’t wait to see you there.

Listen to this one from Shane, and have a wonderful night.