Let me first begin by introducing myself, as well as prefacing this blog with the fact that I, in no way shape or form, claim to be an expert on music. However, I have been a lifelong music junkie and student of the arts, so please take my humble opinions for whatever they are worth:
My name is Jay Rapp and I am the lead vocalist for the band Black Ink Breakdown. I have been rooted in this Valley since I was a very young little punk, and the local music scene is something I have always been heavily embedded in. What I thought I would do with this blog is talk a little about some very cool things that have been going on with Low ʻOʼ Music and share some of my favorite local bands and must see LIVE shows.
Let me start with my terribly vague synopsis of the shifts I’ve seen in regards to our local music community. Growing up in this Valley through the late 80ʼs and early 90ʼs, I was blessed to be surrounded by some amazing bands and some very killer genres of music. I won’t lie, I am influenced by a variety of musical styles from Country to Punk, but my soul yearns for the 90ʼs Alternative Movement. During this time, I was a young Grunge wannabe who would jump at any chance I could get to grab a mic or plug in my guitar with whoever would let me. The memories I still carry with me today, are all related to the fact that there were no shortage of bands or artists willing to let me jam with them. There was this sense of family among the musicians of this Valley and a willingness to help their fellow musicians. Was I most likely being humored the majority of the time? Probably. However, it didn’t matter. People always made me feel good about my music and this is what drove me to work harder. Somewhere along the way, the local scene seemed to lose track of that sense of family. That being said, I don’t like to focus on or talk about the negative aspects of things, so I will jump ahead to what’s going on today!
Over the last few years, there has been an overwhelming sense of brotherhood/sisterhood in the Low of. Gone are the days of bands acting like they are part of a competition instead of being a part of a lifestyle. There seems to be an eagerness to help out fellow musicians, and this has sparked a thriving music scene! Bands are helping other bands get booked. Musicians are hosting open mic nights for anyone that may not get a lot of “stage time” or may not have a full band. Money has seemed to come secondary to what is “best for the show”. Speaking from a perspective of a working musician, this shift in the wind is a blessing to the health of our local music!
There are so many local bands and musicians that I love, that this blog could very easily turn into a novella. I’ll just focus on some of my favorites. The bands listed are in no specific order…
First, let’s talk about the epic-ness that is Olʼ Mountʼn Due. Winner of Southern Oregon’s Last Band Standing 2013, these guys are tearing it up! If you have been hiding under a rock and have yet to see them live, you’re missing out! Steve Howell, Jon Miner, Larry Gross and Rex Bufalino anchor this incredible Black Grass style of music that is unique and new. It leaves me constantly wanting more! If you’re lucky, you’ll be at a show where you’ll get to see guest appearances by the amazing Julie Jankowski (former lead vocalist of Stereotyped) and/or the beautifully talented Miss Chari Weatherford tearing up the washboard like nobody’s business! I have never been to an Olʼ Mountʼn Due show where my foot wasn’t stompinʼ the entire time!
Another can’t miss band is The Legendary Goodtimes. Matty Jameson, Mark Anderson and David Moore bring a Classic Rock, Blues infused kick ass good time to any stage I’ve ever seen them on. Talk about some of the nicest guys you could ever meet! This bands love for their fans and fellow musicians is second to none. LGT has been adding some brand new originals to their sets lately and I can’t get enough! We can’t wait to share the stage again with a few Legendary/Black Ink shows booked for 2014.
Next we have SIP (Survive In Peace). These guys are our brothers from other Motherʼs. Ben Abben, Tim Keller and Jake Shields take me back to that 90ʼs Grunge that I love so much. There is never a shortage of energy on stage when SIP is in the building. Here is yet another band that understands and embraces the sense of family among our fellow musicians. Hit these guys up after a show and they’ll have you laughing all night long! Always a must see show in my opinion!
The next band you have to check out is another one of my personal favs, Buckle Rash. Holy smokes do these guys put on a show! Their style is Reggae meets Ska meets Blues meets just downright bitchinʼ! Ronnie Reed and the boys are guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Good luck trying to find a spot on the dance floor when theyget jamminʼ. You better get there early!
A recent band I saw down at Pizza Schmizza in Eagle Point instantly made me a huge fan! The Fret Drifters are a band you don’t want to miss! These guys are getting ready to explode, so go see them before you can’t afford the ticket! It takes a lot to really “wow” me with a show anymore, but these guys did exactly that. Their guitars arepurely extensions of their own arms and it is amazing to watch! I could go on and on about bands I love and bands you should check out like: Surviving The Siege, IRL, Machine, Delta Halos, Catfish Black, AKA, But I have a day job…
I would just like to personally thank all of the above musicians/bands for contributing their love to our craft and to our local music scene. It is so refreshing to be a part of such camaraderie and brotherhood. I can’t wait to see as many shows as I am able in 2014 and play as much music as possible! LOVE WINS!
Black Ink Breakdown