“It had always been my dream to do a living room album, mostly live, with all my friends. I figured now was the time,” explains Portland-based troubadour John Craigie of his soon-to-be self-released new record, No Rain, No Rose, due out on January 27.
“I really wanted to write a response to Portland after living here for a couple of years. All the songs that had been written in my time here. When it came time to hire musicians I thought about getting mostly Portland musicians to add to that vibe. People who were in that same boat,” he says.
Craigie gathered a who’s who of folk-leaning area artists in his Victorian home, including Shook Twins, Kat Fountain, Brad Parsons, Jay Cobb Anderson and Tyler Thompson of Fruition, Niko Daoussis, Justin Landis, Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival, John Nuhn, Bart Budwig, and Gregory Alan Isakov.
As his first record written and recorded in town (but his 10th studio recording overall), the album’s title also reflects his Stumptown experience as Craigie continues his proclivity for weaving humor and social commentary into his deftly crafted, earnest songwriting. As the old Buddhist saying goes: “‘No Mud, No Lotus,’ which basically means, you need the bad things to make the good things,” Craigie tells. He adapted this proverb to fit his adopted “rainy city of roses,” he says.
For Craigie, Portland is all about “new beginnings.” “Virgin Guitar,” the opening song on No Rain, No Rose, came to be after “I was given a guitar by a local Portland luthier,” he says. “When he gave it to me I realized that this was the first time I’d had a guitar that no one had written a song on. ‘Virgin Guitar’ was the first song I wrote on it. It sums up the meaning behind the title of the album.”