PORT TOWNSEND — Concerts next week at the Palindrome in Port Townsend will feature two twosomes, a well-known husband-and-wife team as well as a study in contrasts with a newcomer and a music icon.
Both the Wednesday and Thursday concerts at the facility at Eaglemont Cidery, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road will be at 7:30 p.m., cost $20 for admission, feature unique songs and are hosted by Rainshadow Recording as part of a collaboration with Matt Miner, former producer of the Northwind Songs concert series held at Northwind Arts Center before the pandemic.
Proof of vaccination is required for entry.
On Wednesday, the husband-and-wife duo Ordinary Elephant, made up of Pete and Crystal Damore, will sing songs that “let the listener know they are not alone in the world,” according to a press release.
The International Folk Music Awards named Ordinary Elephant the 2017 Artist of the Year. The Associated Press called the couple’s latest album, Honest, “one of the best Americana albums of the year.”
“Keep kind all that rises from your chest to your tongue. Don’t ever let your words undo the work you’ve done,” sings Crystal on “Worth the Weight,” a song from Honest.
“In the song, it’s a two-line enjoinder from an adult to a kid. In life, though, it’s a mission statement for ourselves as much as for others,” according to the release.
To make music, both had to set aside work they had done before. Crystal was a veterinary cardiologist and Pete was a computer programmer.
They met at an open mic in College Station, Texas, in 2009 and soon moved to Houston together. For while, they performed while continuing full-time jobs. She performed acoustic guitar and the lead vocals while he played a clawhammer banjo and sang harmony vocals .
Eventually, they threw all caution to the wind and hit the road in an RV. That wasn’t easy for Crystal.
“It took a lot of time — and help from Pete — for me to get to the point that I was okay with leaving the career I spent my whole life in school working toward, to the degree that I was leaving it,” she said, adding she had to work “to be okay with the fact that it may not be what other people want, but it was what I needed, and that was the important part.”
Ordinary Elephant’s songs emphasize what it means to follow your heart and eschew others’ expectations.
They point out that the “safe” route can be anything but safe, as they do in “Rust Right Through.”
Pete grew up in Austin, Texas, in a big Italian family who gathered for big Italian meals, and he’s quick to admit that we all live in bubbles of our own making or choosing.
“I can only imagine growing up in a toxic environment,” he said. “Without the perspective gained from travel and experiencing other cultures, it’s nearly impossible to realize how toxic your world actually is. I can’t fault anybody not overcoming. I’m not in their shoes. I know I can’t change them by telling them they’re wrong, but I do know that people can change when they see new things.”
For tickets, go to https://ordinaryelephant .brownpapertickets.com or buy at the door.
Howe, singing Thursday night with Freebo, is considered a rising voice in modern folk.
The singer-songwriter, originally from Boston and now living in Los Angeles, released her debut album, Visions, last May.
Produced by Freebo and recorded in Bakersfield, Calif., Visions features new originals alongside Alice’s interpretations of songs from her family’s vast record collection.
Freebo is a folk, rock and blues icon who recorded and toured for over 40 years with many of the great artists of our time — such as Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, John Mayall, Ringo Starr, Dr. John and Neil Young.
A multi-award winner and finalist in numerous songwriting contests, Freebo was recognized as the ‘Best Folk Artist 2007’ by the Los Angeles Music Awards. In addition, he has appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, The Midnight Special, and in concert with the legendary Spinal Tap.
“When these two get together, prepare yourself for an extraordinary evening of song and smiles, and maybe a tear or two,” said Ron Olesko, Folk Music Notebook, WFDU-FM.
“Powerful songwriting combined with mesmerizing vocals, outstanding musicianship and a palpable camaraderie make for an experience unsurpassed on the contemporary acoustic scene.”
For tickets, go to https://alice-freebo.brownpapertickets.com or buy at the door.
The concerts are sponsored by Strait Floors. Media sponsor is KPTZ Radio.