Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Special Guests
Thu · April 27, 2017
Tickets at the Door
This event is 18 and over
All patrons must have a valid form of identification present, regardless of age, at the time of entry for all 18+ and 21+ shows and events.
No backpacks, large bags or large purses allowed. Maximum Size 4.5″ x 6.5"
No professional audio/visual or any digital recording equipment will be allowed into the venue, without prior permission and arrangements. You must be on the artist photo pass list in order to enter with cameras with detachable lenses.https://www.thesocial.org/event/1397765/
So, 10 years later, while much has changed, many things aren’t so different now. For instance, Ounsworth has spent all of 2014 thus far crisscrossing the United States playing living room shows. He still needs that direct connection with fans; it validates his vision of how art should work and confirms his belief in the music.
Before taking to the road, Ounsworth poured himself into the making of Only Run. Like the band’s fateful first album, it’s an artist’s singular vision. Once again, Ounsworth crafted the songs himself before bringing them to the studio for completion and the album is further proof that CYHSY thrives because of a strong sense of identity. Fostered from his love of uncompromising songwriters (e.g. John Cale, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Tom Waits), Ounsworth believes in an artist’s creative control. “Some people seem surprised when you shift gears aesthetically between records, but to me that’s the point,” he says. “We have a responsibility as musicians to take chances.” Ounsworth continues, “There is a reason I have all of Tom Waits’ albums, for example. I believe in him.”
Only Run aims to loosely document Ounsworth’s observations of his life in music over the last 10 years. “Lately, I’ve been assaulted by news, both distant and near, that suggests a certain sense of frustration,” he says. “But Clap Your Hands Say Yeah—the entire concept of the band, the name itself—is about balancing optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. I’m coming around to this myself — finding that renewed sense of optimism.”
Those words by Rainier Marie Rilke followed Laura Gibson as she boarded a train in the summer of 2014, the Empire Builder line that took her from Portland toward New York City. Ahead was an MFA program in creative writing and uncertainty; behind was a boyfriend, a close-knit family and music community, a city that fanned her songwriting and her life. It was a story that she had already written traded for countless blank pages. The train wheels scraped against the rails, shearing off a layer of dust, a rolling tabula rasa.
Back in Portland she had already started writing a new batch of songs, recording demos with engineer John Askew (The Dodos, Neko Case). She planned to finish in New York, but her entrance to the city was bumpy. Securing a fifth-floor apartment in the East Village, Gibson continued work on the new songs and began her
program at Hunter College, even as her long distance relationship started to suffer. Shortly after she arrived, she broke her foot, effectively barring her in the apartment while it healed. The songs she had begun to write and record in Portland began to feel more important, a way of understanding her situation. A new record was taking shape.
I changed my name the day I left
I cut my hair, I hemmed my dress
I was damn sure about it
You were playing piano in an empty room
Ringless finger, a calloused thumb
Damn sure about it, we were damn sure about it
On breaks from school, Gibson returned to Portland to continue recording in Askew's studio, and with violinist/composer Peter Broderick on the Oregon Coast. Her rhythms were emerging in the studio, and in New York she was getting settled. A fire changed all that. On March 26, 2015, Gibson's East Village apartment building was consumed by a gas explosion and burned to the ground. Two people lost their lives, more were injured, and most were displaced. Gibson escaped unharmed, but in the wreckage was every piece of the life that she brought with her: the notebooks filled with lyrics, her instruments, including the guitar she had played on every album, every ID card
and piece of paper that detailed who she was. She bounced around. She slept on couches. Friends and fans and fellow musicians near and far supported her with guest beds, financial assistance, and encouragement. In the midst of trauma and recovery, the very act of
writing and re-writing her lost lyrics connected her to who she was, and where she was going.
We are not alone and we are more alone than we've ever been
So hurry up and lose me, hurry up and find me again
As the songwriting came together, the music and recordings did too, as Gibson gathered a band of her closest friends and most admired peers: Dave Depper (Death Cab for Cutie, Menomena) took up guitar and bass, building ambient loops. Drummer Daniel Hunt (Neko Case) layered percussion, and Broderick added stringsections and sang with a sensitivity to match Gibson's own silver voice. Contributors like Nate Query of The Decemberists and the singer/songwriter Alela Diane rounded out the studio time. Sharing the role of producer,
Gibson and Askew pushed forward. What emerged is Gibson's most personal record to date.
It is impossible to miss the effects of Gibson's fiction studies on her songs. She writes with the narrative precision and imagery of Marilynn Robinson or Rilke, circling simple truth with powerful images, never
sacrificing style for clarity or vice versa. On title track "Empire Builder" Gibson keeps a spare arrangement that makes uncommon use of space as the keys and guitar shimmer and flow, punctuating on the downbeats as she sings,
But you never liked it when I play dead
And you wondered why my love songs were always the grieving kind
Why I wander off to search for my reflection in the crowd
It is an album about womanhood; about looking your own ambition in the face and wondering whose eyes are staring back ("Not Harmless"), about the crushing certainty that nothing is certain ("Damn Sure").
Gibson reflects, "This time around I didn't wanted to settle for abstract phrases or leave things open to poetic interpretation. I fought harder to make the story clear, and I guess by story, I mean my own." A narrative made of a hundred moving parts, Empire Builder is suspended in the intricate moment between loss and recovery, a map to go forward, with pins in all the places we've left, and more in the places we've yet to go.
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