Wake up with Morning Ritual
Listening to “The Clear Blue Pearl,” the new album from Morning Ritual, is kind of like going to church.
The songs are mostly built around perfectly nuanced keyboard playing courtesy Ben Darwish, a Portland-based pianist with an adventurous spirit who is best known for his work in jazz.
The vocals are rich and reverberant, thanks to Darwish and his collaborators, Katelyn and Laurie Shook, aka twin-sister folk act the Shook Twins. At times they collectively sound like a choir; more often they have a sort of smooth, throwback jazz-pop vibe.
And “Pearl” is slow-paced and gorgeous, almost reverential in tone. It tells a story of a man and woman who set out to find the “clear blue pearl” after drought wreaks havoc on their land, and you’ll just have to listen to the whole thing at www.morningritual.bandcamp.com to hear the rest of the story.
On Saturday, Morning Ritual will play The Belfry in Sisters. They’re going to sound great in that old space. Local folk-pop singer-songwriter Anastacia will open the show.
Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Tower
Ah, Toad the Wet Sprocket. For a certain segment of the population, this Santa Barbara, Calif., band instantly evokes memories of a very specific time — a time likely simpler and more carefree, and certainly younger.
If you were, say, anywhere from in high school through college and into young adulthood in the ‘90s and you listened to pop music, MTV or the radio, Toad’s big hits were probably part of the soundtrack of your life. We’re talking “All I Want,” “Walk On the Ocean,” “Fall Down,” “Something’s Always Wrong” and “Come Down,” all fine three- to five-minute examples of easygoing, catchy, folksy pop-rock colored with varying shades of light and dark.
Truth be told, those tunes have aged better than a lot of their contemporaries. They’re no “Hey Jealousy,” but what is?
Don’t stay stuck in the past, though, because Toad isn’t. When the band hits the Tower Theatre on Wednesday, they’ll be playing their hits, but also songs from a new album “New Constellation,” their first collection of new material in more than a decade. It sounds like Toad the Wet Sprocket, and if you’ve gotten this far in this brief, then that’s a good thing.
Toad the Wet Sprocket; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, doors open 6:30 p.m.; $34-$39 plus fees, available through the venue; Tower Theatre, 835 N.W. Wall St., Bend; www.towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700.
Doo-wop groups on tap Saturday
Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Saturday night at the Tower Theatre, two groups that know the power of one song — The Tokens and The Diamonds — will get together for a night of doo-wop and classic rock ‘n’ roll.
The Tokens are best known for their hit recording of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 1961. And The Diamonds’ career launched into a new stratosphere with “Little Darlin’,” their 1957 blockbuster.
Do each of these groups have other things on their resumes? Of course they do. You don’t get to tour five decades after your biggest song without following it up with something. The Diamonds also scored hits with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Silhouettes” and “The Stroll,” among others. The Tokens turned their versions of “La Bamba,” “In the Midnight Hour” and “Don’t Worry Baby” into hits, and also produced records like The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” and “One Fine Day.”
Point is: If you like the vocal groups of the 1950s and ‘60s and the biggest songs of the era, you’ll want to find your way to the Tower Theatre on Saturday evening.
The Tokens and The Diamonds; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, doors open 6:30 p.m.; $40-$50 plus fees, available through the venue; Tower Theatre, 835 N.W. Wall St., Bend; www.towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700.
— Ben Salmon