By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // Robbie Fulks, Shovels and Rope, John Mayall all come to town
After spending the last month watching baseball, I'm ready to jump back into some great shows. And what a weekend we have coming up. Folk, blues, Americana...a little something here for everyone.
Robbie Fulks kicks off the weekend in Hillsboro on Friday night. Fulks is straight-up Americana and is a masterful storyteller with his lyrics. He's at his best with what I like to call front porch music: You just want to grab a wicker chair, kick your feet up, and take in the sound. He just released "Upland Stories", another strong addition to his folksy sound.. Fulks appears as part of the 2016-17 Walters Concert Series at the Walters Culture Arts Center in Hillsboro.
Shovels and Rope is comprised of the South Carolina duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. The two have been making waves since their inaugural release in 2012, garnering praise in folk, rock, and Americana scenes alike. In 2013, they took home Best Emerging Artist at the Americana Music Awards. Their latest album is titled "Little Seeds" and builds upon their previous sound. What sets this album apart from previous work is the lofty material they tackle: Alzheimer's, death, and a mass shooting in Charleston. Don't let the deep material spook you off the music, though. Trent and Hearst tackle it with aplomb, with music that sticks in your head. They appear Saturday night at the Roseland Theater in Portland.
John Mayall was there at the start of the British blues scene with names like Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. These, and many other artists, cut their teeth in Mayall's band the Bluesbreakers. While Mayall never quite reached mega-superstardom, it is safe to say that, absent his influence, British music may very well have taken a radically different turn. His most recent release was 2015's "Find a Way To Care", which demonstrated that after 50+ years Mayall can still rock out on the blues. You can catch him at the Aladdin Theater on Monday night.