Redwood Son new CD boasts dynamic versatility, pop vibe
Whether or not the name and music of Redwood Son has yet hit the big radar, this year’s “Best New Artist” of the Portland Music Awards heads for the summer with a rocket in their pocket destined to catch waves. Their 20-song double disc debut, The Lion’s Inside, boasts a dynamic versatility that crosses the borders of their West Coast Americana with hook-laden roots-rock and alternative country. All of this maintains an authentic universal “pop” vibe.
This was most evident at their “Double Album Release Party” at The Aladdin Theatre on June 11. From their first number, Good To Be A Kid (“when it’s Saturday night and it’s past your bedtime”), with Josh Malm alone on tall stool with guitar; to the full band song, Redwood Country; packing the dance area in front of the stage, they ‘owned’ music-goers at The Aladdin. It was obvious that this band has networked an adoring following of fans and music-lovers.
Redwood Son performed after three talented bands opened for them: Sarah Billings, Brad Mackeson and Jordan Harris. Billings is a stand-out singer, remindful of Bonnie Raitt but with her own unique style.
Billings changed costume for her last song complete with a neon green top (yes Mrs. Brown, people do hear with their eyes!).
Malm is the front man and brain-child of Redwood Son. Though making an initial mark under his previous moniker J*Malem, he birthed the concept of Redwood Son in 2009, searching for an honest sound, representative of his childhood in the California Redwoods. The first incarnation of the band was making its way towards this very album, while making a local presence when a catastrophe struck. On November 4, 2009, Redwood Son’s original drummer and Malm’s long-time friend Kipp Crawford, was killed in a tragic event that remains partly unsolved.
Though Redwood Son experienced a state of dismantle with uncertain destiny, Malm did not lose sight of their shared vision alongside the standing support of the group’s original guitarist, Chance Hayden. The project was resurrected in the Spring of 2010 to nobly move forward, recording their much-anticipated debut in Crawford’s honor.
The band’s core sound and early rawness is nostalgically captured on disc one, entitled Summer of ’77, produced with a warm analog approach by local engineer Rob Stroup at his 8-Ball Studios.
Redwood Son’s powerful, connective and sensitive delivery at The Aladdin Theatre was a soul-stirring recollection of their trials and tribulations. An unexpected treat was the 100s of complimentary albums they gave away to all who attended! As they continue to bring their musical messages to audiences everywhere, they are sure to always enjoy a New Beautiful Day. Visit ww.redwoodson.com for future playing dates.