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Jenny Don't & The Spurs (l to r): Sam Henry, Jenny Don't, Kelly Halliburton and Christopher March.
Jenny Don't & The Spurs (l to r): Sam Henry, Jenny Don't, Kelly Halliburton and Christopher March.

Jenny Don't & The Spurs rocking out with new album, summer tour dates

By Phil Favorite// Portland cowpunk combo overcomes obstacles to record, release 'Fire On The Ridge' on Portland's Fluff & Gravy Records; catch them at the Jackalope Jamboree in Pendleton

If it's true that good things come to those who wait, count Jenny Don't & The Spurs as living proof.

The Portland-based alt-country rockers had their collective patience tested profoundly over the past couple of years, overcoming a series of obstacles and finally waiting out the global pandemic to emerge with Fire On The Ridge, their third full-length album and first on local imprint Fluff & Gravy Records. Not only that, but the band recently signed on to hit the road in support of rising country star Charley Crockett for a month-long tour that will take them through Texas and the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain states throughout July.

The new record hits the streets today and the band will be celebrating with a handful of regional shows in the next few weeks, including a secret show in Portland on Saturday, July 12.

"It's been a weird time, and I think our story kind of reflects that," said Spurs bass player Kelly Halliburton, summing up the series of events that conspired to keep the hard-touring band in a holding pattern for most of the last two years.

The saga started around the time of the first recording sessions for Fire On The Ridge, when singer Jenny Don't started having trouble with her voice. The band powered through the sessions but soon realized the new recordings weren't up to snuff. While on tour in subsequent weeks, the new songs were gaining energy and polish through road-testing, but the singer's voice troubles weren't subsiding.

Then came the news that the original recording session had been lost to a technical glitch. The band took it as a sign, pulled together and committed to getting better versions of the new material. But first, they needed to take some time off to help the singer get her voice back.

"It was about a year of dealing with it even before we went back to record," Don't said. "I started getting really hoarse after bar shifts, and I thought I was just really tired, but it wasn't going away. I went to the doctor and they said I had a callus forming on my vocal cord."

When non-surgical treatments failed to alleviate the problem, Don't committed to surgery and the proper rest and recovery time needed to get back her voice back to full strength. Meanwhile, the band cooled its heels, anxiously waiting to return to the studio and road.

Following a 12-week post-surgical recovery time, the band headed back into the studio and "re-recorded everything," Halliburton said, "and it reflected all the changes the material had undergone.

"You write a song in the practice room and it's one thing, but if you go out and play it every night for a month and a half, it's going to become a different sort of animal. And that's pretty much what happened."

With the songs newly recorded and Jenny's voice fully recovered, the band geared up to roll out the new product and take the show on the road. Then suddenly came another big hurdle — the pandemic-related shutdown. The band worked remotely with mixing engineer Juniana Lanning of Fluff & Gravy to finish the record — "a lot of emailing back and forth," Don't said — but in light of the pandemic and the wave of social justice protests occurring throughout last year, they decided to push the release date back.

"We wanted to be able to tour behind it, so it just made sense to wait," Don't said. "We're just looking forward to being active again and getting out there."

The band already had a handful of shows lined up, including a performance at the Jackalope Jamboree in Pendleton the last weekend of June and a scheduled short run through California in August. Then suddenly came the offer to open for Crockett in July. And just like that, the Spurs' summer touring schedule was full.

"We're stoked," Halliburton said. "It just kind of dropped in our laps last week, and it's probably about the shortest notice that we've had for going on tour. But after the last year and a half of relative inactivity, we're ready to go." 

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