Marty O’Reilly learned about life on the road — to expect the unexpected, to roll with the punches, to make lemonade out of lemons, etc. — during his very first tour with his band The Old Soul Orchestra in 2014.
Specifically, it was our fair burg of Bend that provided O’Reilly and his band mates a lesson or two.
“We were supposed to play somewhere — I forget what it was called — but we found out when we got there that the business had closed a few weeks prior and no one had told us,” O’Reilly said in a telephone interview. “So we went on a mission to just find a gig. Any gig. And we just started walking around.”
The crew wandered into a well-known local brewery and were told to scram before settling down to busk outside what was then Crow’s Feet Commons at the top of Drake Park. Before long, someone inside the shop invited the band in to play an actual show, with a roof and walls and everything. One thing led to another, and by the end of the evening, the band had played a staff party at a ski shop and a house party, all “booked” entirely through word of mouth and hustle.
“We started out with a canceled gig and somehow managed to play four different places that night,” O’Reilly said. “It ended up being a blast, and we made a lot of friends.”
Those connections have been bringing O’Reilly’s Old Soul Orchestra back to town ever since, including a show at Silver Moon Brewing on Wednesday (see “If you go”). This time, the band is performing behind its brand new album, “Signal Fires,” which will be released on Friday.
“Signal Fires” is the most mature album yet from O’Reilly and his band, which formed on the central coast of California in the early 2000s. It retains the group’s signature sound — a hazy, rough-hewn blend of folk-rock, psychedelic blues, West Coast soul and cosmic vibes — while exploring lyrical themes of growing up, the passage of time, value of memories and the warm glow of nostalgia for simpler times.
O’Reilly started writing the songs on “Signal Fires” shortly after finishing the band’s previous album, “Stereoscope,” way back in 2017. They were constructed in the studio and slated for a 2020 release, but when COVID-19 came along, the band decided to keep working on them.
“We just spent a bunch of time in post-production making exactly the album we wanted to make,” O’Reilly said. “I got to do stuff I’ve always wanted to do and to pursue some of the weirder ideas that we’ve left behind in the past.”
He’s talking about the album’s sonic qualities. Thematically, O’Reilly’s songs have grown up right alongside him, he said, and the same could be said for The Old Soul Orchestra’s approach to touring.
“These songs grew out of meeting my soulmate and getting married and wanting more out of life,” said O’Reilly, who did this interview with a newborn baby on his shoulder. “Now, if we’re going to go out and play some shows, I better have a damn good reason to leave my wife and kid at home.”