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What The Rogue Valley Sounds Like: Messenger’s Third Annual Music Sampler

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The Shaky Harlots

For the past three years, the Messenger has gathered songs from local musicians and presented them as a compilation. It is part of our mission to try and build “community.”

This year, we are including 22 different tracks from 22 different musicians. It is a collection as varied as southern Oregon—the expected folk and bluegrass, but also the more urbane hip hop and electronica, as well as some songs that seems to give insights into the performers lifestyles, from head-banging to surfing instrumentals. It truly is a fun collection, and one that rolls out like a finely-tuned soundtrack for the Rogue Valley.

Not surprisingly, we include a track from The Giantess, a bluesy duo that was voted “bestie” band by you-all, our readers; and, we have a fun track from The Brothers Reed—and we also were introduced to a number of new musicians through our open call.

We were pleased to have a student from Ashland High, Sonny Williams submit a track, #6 on the collection, “Buzz Cut Buzz Kill.” He told us, “I’ve been making music since I could walk/talk but really started picking up the craft of playing instruments as the age of 8 rolled around. I learned ukulele and then guitar but singing has always been a natural thing that I’ve loved and enjoyed.”

We also heard from, oh Mr. Rodgers would say, the people of our neighborhood. Kira Lesley works at the Southern Oregon Historical Society, so perhaps it is no surprise seems she is a fan and explorer of mid-century folk. “I fell in love with folk music when I heard Joan Baez singing ‘Silver Dagger’ on one of my mom’s Bob Dylan bootleg series CDs,” she explains. “It was so beautiful, and the melody was so striking, that I had to go look it up and I spent the next few years learning more and more about the mid-century folk revival.”

Her track is #8 on the Music Sampler, “Baby Don’t You Call Me Baby (When I’m Mad At You)).

“I was a huge Loretta Lynn fan—still am—and I love that tradition of sassy, spunky women of country. In its origin, I think, country music was about struggles and hardship and loss. But they always had some great quip or simile or wordplay thrown in. I’m trying to carry on that tradition.”

The Messenger Music Sampler will be available on May 18 at Walkabout Brewing Co., 6 – 9:30 pm. $12. The show includes live performances from Shaky Harlots (track #2, Breakdown), JAYA (track #5, “called/or/uncalled”) and Justin Gordon (track #7, “Cabin Life”).

The Music Sampler also will available for download at RogueValleyMessenger.com, $10. All proceeds fund the Messenger’s coverage of local music.


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