On Friday, July 28 at the Doug Fir, Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners will play their final show, and, apropos, the band's going-away present is a new, "unintentionally named but fitting" single titled "Changin'"—a feel-good pop song with a summery swing.
"I wrote 'Changin'' in the fall of 2016. At the time I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye and early Ray Charles," bandleader Jacob Miller tells. "While I was writing, it was intended to be an easygoing, fun song about a relationship on the rocks. Though the band's split was not under consideration during the time spent writing, it seems an ideal fit for the last song to release before the transition to new musical projects for all the band members."
"After our last show, each member will move forward to their next musical venture," Miller continues. "Nate Lown leads Portland's four-piece art wave band Star Club, singing and playing guitar. Cary Miga is songwriter and bassist for local soul group Amirah. Ben Hampton also plays the drum kit in Amirah alongside Cary Miga and some other great PDX players. Leon Cotter will continue tearing up the saxophone, occasionally touring with The California Honeydrops and pursuing his duo with Rebecca Conner. James Ramey is not currently playing in other groups, but will continue to play in Portland and the PNW."
Recorded at Portland's B-Side Studios this past spring, "Raymond Richards [Edward Sharpe, Local Natives, The Parson Red Heads] tracked, mixed and produced the song," Miller says. "He has a wonderful knowledge of old-school studio tricks that he was able to apply to this upbeat summertime track."
As for Miller's future: "I plan on pursuing my own music once again, simply under Jacob Miller. Before I formed JMBCC, I traveled the states for two or so years alone, writing and working random jobs in random towns. Those experiences meant a lot to me and inspired me to form the group."
Miller also married Joy Pearson (of Lenore.) in April and has recently "found myself in a new chapter of music writing and appreciation," he says. "I've given almost six years of my life to the Crooners, and it feels good to know I'm ready to move on to something different. Upon the change, I have written a heap of new music which leans toward guitar-driven singer-songwriter (think Blake Mills, Margaret Glaspy, etc.). I look forward to releasing new material under my name this fall."
But before that can happen, the Crooners will show off "Changin'," a track that was intended "to show our fans the new material we've been playing and writing," Miller says. "If you've heard our past recorded music, it is very apparent how different this new sound is. It is bittersweet to have it be the last song we release, but each member is really proud of how it turned out."
Lucky for us Portlanders, Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners' final song will also be memorialized on this year's PDX Pop Now! compilation, and their Doug Fir live finale will be "a true celebration of the lifespan this band has had," Miller says. "It has been an incredible five-year run, with several lineup and style changes. We'll have a large horn section, some past members of the band perform, and a few unnamed special guests I'm personally excited about. If you've ever seen us perform live, you know we have a lot of fun on stage."