Vancouver band is a good bet
The stage at Spirit Mountain Casino’s Mountain View Sports Bar is normally booked with country singers and rock cover bands. Of course, the Friday and Saturday shows are less a sought-after music experience than a background to the lights and sounds of a casino weekend night.
Lincoln’s Beard, however, is worth the drive out to Grand Ronde for those seeking a good show this weekend.
The band hails from Vancouver, Wash., and is arguably the best of the city’s underrated music scene (overshadowed, of course, by Portland). They play often around Portland, and last year toured the Pacific Northwest, but wear the Vancouver badge proudly.
The group started playing in 2006 as an alternative bluegrass band. It moved more toward indie rock with each new release, and lately has settled into an alt-folk groove with a recent lineup change.
Lincoln’s Beard is one of those bands where individuals talented in their own right come together for a wholly different sound.
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Kris Chrisopulos fronted a grunge group before forming the band with Bethel Dwayne Spence (bass, banjo) and former member Tyler Morgan. Crisopulos’ unique crooning set against smooth folk rock helps the band stand apart. Any fan of Eddie Vedder’s ventures into folk will approve.
Aram Arslanian (electric guitar, lap steel) and Abe Holderman (drums) round out Lincoln’s Beard’s lineup. Arslanian, the elder statesman of Lincoln’s Beard, is from Boston and arrived in Vancouver with his wife, Sarah (lead singer of Ladytown), via Los Angeles. His 1997 debut album “East of Western” earned him praise in the adult alternative radio audience. This year, he released “Electric Junk,” the second album as his rock ‘n’ folk-pop project, Orphan Train.
Spence also has an intriguing solo career, with recordings that hold true to the heart of underground singer/songwriters — intimate, lo-fi and darn hard to find. He is wrapping up his third self-released album.
Altogether, the group appeals to fans of Wilco, Gram Parsons and Uncle Tupelo.
I’ve had the pleasure to follow the music of Lincoln’s Beard from the group’s beginnings. The band headlined a music festival I threw together in 2011, CouvFestNW, and is becoming an act that draws attention from every corner of the Pacific Northwest.
I recommend catching a Lincoln’s Beard show at a venue that’s more about the music (they often play the Secret Society in Portland, and discussions of a night at the Wildwood in Willamina are under way). But I can attest that watching a good band surrounded by traffic from the casino night club and gaming machines has its own unique appeal.
Lincoln’s Beard plays Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, visit www.lincolnsbeard.com.
Ossie Bladine can be reached at email@example.com.