If one of your new year’s resolutions was to listen to more local music, you will have your work cut out for you in 2019. If it wasn’t, well, here are six reasons to change that resolution.
Maxwell Friedman Group
Release date: February
Fifteen-year-old keyboard prodigy and Hammond artist Maxwell Friedman launched his eponymous neo-jazz-soul-funk-fusion quartet early last year. After high-profile gigs with Five Alarm Funk, Ural Thomas & The Pain and Kung Fu and sets at 4 Peaks Music Festival and Bend Roots Revival, the band, which also features guitarist Gabe Johnson, drummer Connor Streeter and bassist Mark Karwan, is prepping its debut live album.
The set will feature nine songs — seven composed by Friedman — recorded Nov. 23 at the band’s show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. Matthew Fletcher of Central Oregon Recording engineered the audio, and video of the performances captured by Brett Barnett of Future Filmworks will be released online, Friedman said.
“It features a lot of great improvisation and chemistry between the band members,” he said. “We were playing in a really special space that’s really intimate. My parents got married there, the Father Luke’s Room. It has this really unique sound and everyone can hear each other great. … It was a great experience between the band and the audience and I’m glad that we captured it.”
Release date: spring, TBA
This Bend power-pop supergroup made an auspicious live debut at the 2017 Bend Roots Revival and spent 2018 shoring up its fan base with gigs at Volcanic Theatre Pub, Spoken Moto, a headlining slot at the 2018 Powder Palooza and more. Between gigs, the band worked on a full-length follow-up to 2017’s three-song EP “War of Love.”
Basic tracks for “Rainmaker” were recorded live with engineer Dayne Wood at The Firing Room (where Larry and His Flask, Cosmonautical, The Roof Rabbits and more recorded recent releases), with vocals and other bells and whistles overdubbed later.
“We’ve been playing together for over a year now, and we tend to really rehearse a lot before we play live,” Moon said. “And going into the studio, we definitely did a lot of preproduction. We went in prepared, and it was almost like a pleasant surprise to all of us — like, wow, we just did that in two takes, OK, perfect. It’s not gonna get any better than that.”
A single, “Headlong,” dropped in December. Moon and the rest of the band — bassist Pete Ficht, drummer Dan Paggi and guitarist Graham Boostrom — will play their next gig opening for The Mother Hips at Volcanic Theatre Pub on Jan. 30.
Jess Ryan Band
Release date: summer, TBA
Singer-songwriter Jess Ryan and her eponymous band — lead guitarist James Hutchens, bassist Joshua Hernandez, drummer Patrick Bedard and saxophonist Andrew Lyons — have spent the last three-plus years playing around Central Oregon, opening for The Brevet, The Damn Truth and Polecat last year and honing their psych-rock/roots/soul sound. That work will culminate in a debut album to be recorded in the next few months in Bend (the band was still weighing studio options at press time).
The 10 songs slated for the record showcase the band’s varied influences and evolving songwriting, Ryan said.
“It’s going to be an interesting album because there are so many different sounds,” Ryan said. “… We’re like, what are our favorite songs? What songs do the audience tend to enjoy when we’re playing live? Which songs reflect the dynamic range of the band?”
A GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign for the recording launched in October and is still active at gofundme.com/jess-ryan-band-debut-album.
Doc Ryan & The Wychus Creek Band
Release date: fall, TBA
Longtime Bend musician, orthopedic surgeon and Texas transplant Michael “Doc” Ryan will take a different approach to recording his third studio album, which will be the first credited to Doc Ryan and The Wychus Creek Band. He plans to record the album, the follow-up to 2016’s “The Night We Danced,” mostly live in-studio to showcase his core band of the last five-plus years (bassist Joe Leonardi, percussionist Bill Kelleher, keyboardist/accordionist Gary Gallagher, lead guitarist Mark Hatcher and vocalist Eve Harry).
Recording details are still up in the air save for one song: a cover of the spiritual “Sinner Man,” made popular by Nina Simone in 1965, which will be recorded and filmed by Barnett of Future Filmworks at SoundSmith Studios.
“‘Sinner Man’ just came to me through a friend of a friend (who said), ‘You guys should look at this song,’ and I started working it out,” Ryan said. “… We brought that more towards what we do, which is an American roots style. The rest of the album is similar. I just try and take elements of blues or folk or rock music that get into my wheelhouse, and then make it so it maybe comes out right for me. I can’t really pretend to be something else.”
Title: “What Comes After”
Release date: TBA
Rapper, poet, visual artist and Bend’s first creative laureate Jason Graham — better known as Mosley Wotta — seems to be everywhere in Central Oregon, from his hosting duties at The Lot’s Wednesday open mic nights to his busy performing schedule with longtime collaborator, guitarist/producer Colten Tyler “Collothen” Williams. But he’s kept quiet recording-wise: With the exception of some side projects, Wotta released his last album, “Kinkonk,” in 2012.
That’s set to change this year with “What Comes After,” which was produced by Collothen. Wotta, who recently won an Oregon Arts Commission fellowship, wouldn’t reveal details about where and when the album was recorded, but he called the set “technically the best album we’ve ever put out.”
“I have been so excited,” he said. “Colten’s production has gotten better. … I’m excited about my contribution to it, and it feels like it’s really our sound and all these things are coming together.”
In 2016, long-running Central Oregon trio Patrimony was busier than ever, releasing two albums (of a planned trilogy titled “Through the Ether”) and relocating to Nashville. But shortly after the move, the band split up, with guitarist/vocalist Trevor Martell and drummer Jason Allenby continuing on first as AKA Faceless, then as MASQ, while bassist Wyatt Phillipi returned home.
The hiatus will end up being short-lived: Patrimony will reunite for a show marking its nine-year anniversary as a band at Volcanic Theatre Pub on Feb. 9. Martell, who is in Southern California after traveling in the South last year, said the band has at least nine other shows booked throughout the Pacific Northwest.
A new album to complete the “Through the Ether” trilogy (following “Prologue” and “Elan Vital”) is also in the works.
“Jason and I, before I moved, we came up with a bunch of ideas,” Martell said. “So we started sending those to Wyatt and he would play different lines to them or say, ‘What about changing a lyric here?’ It’s the first time ever for any of us where we’ve been writing apart, which is a very, whole different aspect, and I’m really stoked to see where it goes.”