Saturday, October 18, 2008

Svens - The Blacksmith

The Svens, an "instrumental cowboy surf poetry" band from Corvallis, Oregon, will set sail once again on Saturday November 15, 2008 at Bombs Away Cafe starting at 9 pm for what should be another unique and spirited set of music.

The Svens' sound draws heavily from the surf bands of the early 1960's and ranges from rambunctious to romantic; the cowboy poetry, recited by Viking, is delivered at intervals with just a hint of his Texan cadence. There's really no group quite like The Svens, at least that I've seen or heard.

I confess, the idea of cowboy poetry and surf music seemed to me a bit, well, incongruent at first. But an ice cream and ketchup mash-up The Svens are not! After seeing their live show and listening to their new recording, The Blacksmith, it's clear that we're talking a peanut butter and chocolate combo here - two very great tastes indeed!

Viking (who hails from the Austin, Texas scene and has been involved in several different groups now that he's settled in Corvallis with his family: The Blowholes, XTET, to name a couple) and the rest of The Svens are definitely on to something...come hear and see for yourself!

Finally, here's a clip of The Svens covering my tune "Swedish Beach Party" - originally written for The Blowholes. You can also hear a little bit of the cowboy poetry in the track too.

Swedish Beach Party

DISCLAIMER: I'll be a "featured artist" with The Svens at their November 15 Bombs Away gig. But you won't be hearing me on Trumpet/Flugelhorn - I'll be using my Svens handle - "Saxy Sven" - and blowing some surfin' cool Tenor Sax riffs on a few numbers....that will be something new!

Rob Birdwell

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sideways Portal - October Outings and Beyond!

Here we are - don't we look "sideways" - this pose was John's idea. I like it. After the glam photo shoot we went on to play our gig at the Calapooia Brewing Company in Albany - good sounds and fun!

Our trio of dates at Sunnyside Up were canceled for October (we'll try again in November) but there's plenty more Portal - yes, siree, you betcha' Joe...we've got some great shows coming up:

Friday, October 17th
: Sahalie Wine Cellar
8pm - 11pm
This will be a special occasion as Sahalie will be closing up shop at the end of October. I salute them and the many opportunities they gave to perform in their fine venue - acoustically awesome. Great food, wine and atmosphere. The scene will be missed. We'll do our best to play them out right and on to new adventures.

Thursday, October 30th: Oregon State University - Music a la Carte series. Memorial Union Building. 12 noon to 1pm. This should be a very nice setting and we're excited about the opportunity to showcase our sound and be part of such a fantastic series.

Friday, November 7: Magic Barrel - a reading to fight hunger. Majestic Theatre, Corvallis. We're excited to be part of this great cause. We'll be performing a tone poem of our collaborative creation.

Sideways Portal now has a...(drum roll please)...MySpace artist site. Alright, so everyone and their dog has a MySpace site.'s the link:

Other music/gig news: Laying down some liberal horn tracks on a couple of Neal Gladstone's new offerings. (Coming soon Neal - really!)

I'll be a sideman with Viking and the Svens - playing on tenor sax believe it or not! The Svens are a cowboy poetry surf band. I don't think there's anything quite like them in the whole world...or at least Corvallis. The gig is in November 2008 at Bombs Away Cafe. I'll write more on that soon and comment on their latest CD release project, which is pretty cool! More later...


P.S.: don't!