Two weekends ago, I had one of those rare, game-changing live music experiences, the kind when you're watching a band and your chest swells up big and red and raw like a great frigatebird during mating season and there's a lump in your throat and an ACME anvil could fall on the person next to you and you probably wouldn't even notice the blood spatter because HOLY FUCKING SHIT this band is amazing.
Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives comes out September 14
These are the sorts of experiences that turn people from casual listeners into lifelong music fans. But as you get older and rack up thousands of shows in your mental music arsenal, these moments become increasingly rare. And in 13 years of show-going, I've never felt this way about a performance from a band I wasn't familiar with until I saw Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives at Doe Bay. I felt a little like my dad might've the first time he saw Neil Young perform. The show came as a close second to Musicfest Northwest 2007, when I finally got to see the Silver Jews after years of (not so) patiently waiting for David Berman to get well enough emotionally to be able to tour.Anyhow, Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives come from Portland, and their frontman, Drew, doesn't consistently sound quite like any other vocalist I can think of (he has some Thom Yorke moments with all the vibrato), except maybe Neil Young, and that's more about presence and demeanor than anything else. There's also the little matter of the most rock-and-roll upright bass playing you've ever seen coupled with steel guitar.
It's a little scary to liken anyone to the Grand Poobah of folk rock in such a public forum, let alone a band that's about to put out its very first album, but that should about sum up my very strong and very real feelings about this band. Ever since I saw them at Doe Bay I have been preaching their gospel, and fortunately, now I can save (catch?) my breath because you can listen to the entire album online from now until September 14, when the album will be available via Amigo/Amiga. I recommend listening to "Friendly Fire," "Company" and "Bon Voyage Hymn" first.