The road more traveled
Portland band The Resolectrics proudly wears its 1960s and ’70s influences on its sleeve.
The concept for the band was conceived when Tate Peterson (aka Johnny Brenda — the bandmates all use pseudonyms) attended the 2009 Pickathon music festival in Happy Valley.
“I was pretty new to Portland and kind of looking for new ideas, new inspiration,” Peterson said.
The festival is an annual celebration of Americana, bluegrass, blues, country and other genres falling under the umbrella of American roots music. It was there that Peterson got the idea to start a band that would play original music inspired by pioneers like The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Booker T and the MGs and many more — a style the group labels “rhythm, rock ‘n’ soul.”
After the festival, Peterson tapped keyboardist Ben Morse (aka Rhumen Boord) and drummer John Becher (aka Les Ismoore).
“I knew it was the right style of music and they were the right guys,” Peterson said. “We were inspired from the beginning. We came in with ideas of who we were listening to.” The band eventually picked up a fourth member in bass guitarist Andrew Stern (aka Peter Doubt).
Peterson said much of the material recorded for the band’s debut album, “High Water,” was developed in those early jam sessions. “Newspaper” was the first song the band wrote together — “One of our inspirations is music like The Beatles and The Band, where everybody collaborates,” he said.
Starting with its Rolling Stones-inspired title track, “High Water,” recorded over a year ago but just released in February, is a 10-song stream of AM pop.
The album is chock-full of nods to memorable riffs, acts and moments. “Newspaper” plays out like Question Mark and the Mysterians’ “96 tears,” but with a touch of bayou flavor a la CCR. The Beatles’ riff from “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” bookends “Money Back,” while a loungy version of Joe Cocker seems to carry the song. “Perky Bee” is an American Graffiti throwback, and “Headphones” is a must listen for any Harry Nilsson fan.
I actually had to search if “Headphones” was a cover, despite Peterson’s assertion that the songs are all originals. It sounds like it could land in the middle of “Nilsson Schmilsson” without anyone noticing.
The album was recorded “pretty much live” in the studio on a shoestring budget, Peterson said. The band celebrated its release at Mississippi Studios, along with the band Steelhead, who Peterson plays guitar for. The band plays nearly every week around Oregon, and is looking toward a short tour in June to support “High Water.”
The Resolectrics, regulars at McMenamins Hotel Oregon, return to the venue Friday, March 29, beginning at 7 p.m.
To listen to a stream of “High Water,” go to resolectrics.bandcamp.com. For more information, visit the band on Facebook or Reverbnation.
Ossie Bladine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.