Few Americana bands in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., inspire the kind of loyalty displayed here last weekend by the fans of Sassparilla, the beloved folk-punk combo that went from busking in the streets to packing the biggest rooms in town in a blurr-like, 10-year run.
Playing their first show in nine months, Sassparilla returned to action in front of a sold-out Doug Fir Lounge on Friday night, bringing their high-energy high-wire act to an adoring throng that has remained loyal to the band while they’ve been taking time off to figure their next big move.
That’s why we were thrilled that the good folks of Sassparilla, led by front man Kevin Blackwell, took the time to visit The Helm for an interview and performance as guests for Episode #56 of That Much Further West Podcast.
During the interview, Kevin spoke about his recent move from Portland to suburban Milwaukie, Wisconsin, and how life in the Midwest is treating him and his family well. He also reflected on the blessings of his Portland experience, especially the relationship the band has built with its fans and also its record label, Portland-based Fluff & Gravy Records.
Most of the band — including the father-son team of Ross Macdonald (harmonica) and Colin Macdonald (wash tub bass), and multi-instrumentalist and singer Naima — joined Kevin for the performance of two brand-new Sassparilla songs. Ace guitarist Jamie Stillwell supplemented the band with some world-class picking on her resonator guitar.
Inspired by the presence of Sassparilla, co-host Eric Kotila picked out some songs to share by bands he feels would fit well on a bill with Sassparilla, whose fast-paced style and acoustic leanings typify a kind of Americana we love and often share on the show. We also share a few songs by a pair of ladies emerging in the alt-country scene, Lera Lynn and Ashley Monroe, and co-host Mike Lee celebrated a fun rock show he recently attended by playing a song by The Eagles of Death Metal.
It’s all right here on Episode #56. So sit back, relax and prepare to do some toe-tapping with the fun-loving gang from Sassparilla. All you have to do is press play.
Here’s the songlist:
Anchor’s The Way, The Calamity Cubes
Long Way Home, Jayke Orvis
7 Devils, The Goddamn Gallows
Another Kind, McDougall
Mutiny (Live In The Helm), Sassparilla
Those Poor Darlings (Live In The Helm), Sassparilla
Rebel Flags, Ron Rogers & The Wailing Wind
Jimmy Carter, Blue Mountain
Standing On The Moon, Lera Lynn
If The Devil Don’t Want Me, Ashley Monroe
So Easy, The Eagles of Death Metal
We’re Getting Closer To The Grave Each Day, Michael Dean Damron
Nobody Gives A Damn About Songs Anymore, John Moreland