Here to usher in the new year in sweet, soulful style are Samuel Eisen-Meyers & The Joyful Noise alongside a bounty of local singer-songwriters including Haley Johnsen, Margaret Wehr, Clara Baker and Craig Irby Jr. And as we enter this new year, it’s time to turn over a new leaf, celebrating new endeavors and undertakings as we continue down our paths of creativity, development and growth.
For Eisen-Meyers, Sunday, January 6 will see him and his band The Joyful Noise celebrate the release of his debut EP, The Heart of the Soul Pt. 1. And joining him on that Doug Fir stage will be a songwriters circle featuring the phenomenal talents of Johnsen, Baker (also of Five Letter Word), Wehr (also of Moorea Masa and Y La Bamba), Irby Jr. and Amenta Abioto. Honing their creative energies and preparing to turn a new page, Eisen-Meyers was able to gather four-fifths of his bill into Blue Heron Studio with engineer Gene Forte on December 28 to record their take on a New Year’s classic: “Auld Lang Syne.”
“As each musician is involved in writing and performing their own style of music with their own genre influences, this cover song seemed like a good middle ground to collaborate and add a little bit of our own flavor,” Eisen-Meyers tells of the recording process. “Also, having it be right around New Year’s seemed to be very fitting. Both Haley and Clara suggested it, so it felt right!
“It was a very natural and organic process,” he continues. “We had around a three-hour window to all be together in the studio to figure out what to do. Everyone was equally involved and contributed themselves and their voice in the short window of time we had to come up with a simple arrangement. There was no, ‘You do this, you do that...’ It all just fell into place pretty quickly, then we hit record and chose the best take. We started off with a little prayer at the beginning to honor where we were all at, and to let the energy flow. When you get that many talented people in one room, it’s hard to go in the wrong direction. It was recorded live by Gene Forte at Blue Heron Studio and video taped by Todd Gee. We were missing Sam Arnold, who plays bass in The Joyful Noise, and Amenta Abioto, who is a featured artist in the songwriters circle on January 6.”
All in all, The Joyful Noise we hear here includes Eisen-Meyers on vocals and electric guitar, Charlie Brown on talk box, Alex Milsted on piano, and Cory Limuaco on drums while featuring Portland songwriters Wehr and Baker both on vocals and violin, Johnsen on vocals and acoustic guitar, and Irby Jr. on vocals.
This little New Year’s present is also the first offering of what’s set to become a monthly series in 2019. In 2017 and ’18, we collaborated with local music makers to create two volumes of Our City, Our Sounds: A #PDXmusic Compilation, which captured a slice of unreleased local music on vinyl (thanks to Vinyl On Demand). In 2019, we’re partnering with Blue Heron Studio to further document the sounds of our scene by helping local artists produce and release a new song each month.