Jake Payne and Dixie Creek
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Jake Payne and Dixie Creek

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"Fare Thee Well"

Listening to country music can be sad, and listening to a talented band that is splitting up and moving on is very sad indeed. But, as many great songs tell us, things change, the open road calls and people have to follow their dreams, etc. etc. Besides, Jake Payne and Dixie Creek members Jake Payne, Kevin Van Walk and Scott Eastburn will carry on the roots-rock legacy they began in Corvallis when they make their way to Austin, Tex., later this month to explore the greenest pastures the U.S. has to offer in the world of alternative country. Eastburn sees the move as an exciting new beginning.

"It's pretty sad because we all get along pretty well [lead guitarist Xion Zoa and bassist Selena Goltra will remain in Oregon], but we are going to continue what we've been doing here. It's a bigger town, almost 1,500 venues. Every restaurant and coffee shop has live music. Our goal is to play professionally, and it's possible to do that here, but it requires a lot more traveling and more of a 'breaking in' period."

Payne has already scoped the Austin scene as a touring bass player for country singer Pauline Reese. It was a time in his life, says Eastburn, which helped him evaluate what he truly valued about his career and served as the inspiration for many of the tracks on their upcoming release, What the Folk is Roots Music?

"It is mostly songs that Jake wrote while touring. He moved back out here with the thought of wanting to do his own music. It's very folky with a touch of bluegrass. The mandolin, the stand up bass, the instrumentation adds a lot of different colors. We have enough material to record a second album, but that will be a lot more roots rock, Americana."

Although Payne and company are moving on, Eastburn hopes they will reunite to pick and strum at a few festivals this summer, and encourages fans new and old to come out and see their CD release and send off show with The Deep Woods Band at 10 pm Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Fox and Firkin in Corvallis. $3. — Adrienne van der Valk
- Adriene Van Der Walk


"Bitter Sweet Farewell"

Jake Payne and Dixie Creek's fusion of friends brings new CD

On a recent evening at Dixie Creek Saloon in Tangent, the crowd pays little mind to the cowboy on stage singing his heart out. A sign hangs over the smoky bar announcing that "Whiners will be fined $10" and "If you're not here, you tell her."

This is the where Jake Payne and Dixie Creek honed their stage presence. And it's just the way Payne likes it.

"I've been playing music since I was pretty young, and I still like the smoky bar room atmosphere. I still love the redneck drunk who is yelling at you to play some Skynyrd," said Payne, who used to live in an apartment above the bar.

His eclectic group of musicians used to practice there and took the establishment as their namesake.

"I don't want to say captive audience, but we certainly have a monopoly on the nightlife in Tangent," laughs the saloon's music coordinator, Dan Dunkin.

Still, the bar has become a local clearinghouse for new talent, according to Dunkin, not the least of which is the skilled musicians of Jake Payne and Dixie Creek.

The band includes Payne on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Xion Zoa on lead guitar and steel guitar, Scott Eastburn on mandolin, Kevin VanWalk on percussion and Selena Goltra on upright and electric bass.

Zoa is from Austin, Texas, and Goltra from Eureka, Calif. The rest of the members are homegrown in the mid-valley. Most all of them hold down day jobs in addition to being musicians.

"We work hard, but we find time to make music because we love it, and we're all good friends," said Goltra, who at 23, is the band's youngest member and the only female.

The four guys, all 30-somethings, got together to play music first, meeting through friends of friends. Goltra was the wild card. She met Payne when he went through the drive-through window at the bank where she works in Albany. She struck up a conversation after seeing a music case in his car. Some time later he came back out of the blue and invited her to play with the group.

As a five-some, they've found great synergy.

Payne writes most of the group's lyrics, but they all get together to flesh out new songs, trying out rifts and harmonies as a group.

Often, words are put with the fresh melodies almost immediately. "I've got some notes," concedes Payne. "It's a suitcase, really."

"Jake's music is very honest," said VanWalk. "He literally does have a suitcase that is full of lyrics on yellowing paper. It's very autobiographical."

"Jake's a great storyteller," said Goltra, "I think that's what is really cool about his songs. You can kind of listen to them and get a sense of emotion. He gives us the freedom to put emotion with what we want to do rhythmically with the music."

"It's like the intimacy of a singer-songwriter, but with a whole band," said Eastburn, "There's a lot of give and take instrumentally."

"This is a pretty unique situation where we can all call each other friends outside of here, which is not always the case," said Eastburn.

And though they've been together for only about a year, they know each other as good friends should. They have a routine before shows.

"I drink and Kevin stretches," said Payne.

"We rub Xion's head for good luck." said Goltra.

"And, I usually tune for about an hour," said Eastburn.

And during shows, Payne almost always performs barefoot.

"I hate shoes," he said.

In a former life, Payne played with Fenceline and several Austin, Texas-based bands. Eastburn and VanWalk were members of the David Samuel Project and Goltra grew up playing classical music.

Because of their varied backgrounds, the band has element of blues, rock, folk, country and Americana.

Recently, the band moved its regular gig at the Dixie Creek Saloon across the river to Corvallis.

"I was pretty surprised at how well we've done in the college town," said Payne. "The college crowd kind of digs what we're doing."

I think people are intrigued with honesty," said VanWalk.

Three of the band's number, Payne, Eastburn and VanWalk, will depart for Austin, Texas, after their last show on Jan. 5 to search out new vistas of sound.

Their last concert will be bittersweet.

"I don't want to talk about it because I don't want to cry," said Payne.

Jake Payne and Dixie Creek, 10 p.m. Jan. 5, Fox & Firkin, $3. Release party for new CD "What the folk is roots music," $15 a copy. Deep Woods Band will open.

- Nancy Raskauskas


"Jake Payne and Dixie Creek on Good Day Austin"

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/good_day/live_music/042009_jake_payne_live_music - Fox 7


Discography

What the Folk is Roots Music?

Photos

Bio

If singer/songwriters possess a singular focus on expressing their innermost heart and soul with complete sincerity, then Oregon-based Jake Payne could be their spokesman.Originally a bassist, Payne has turned to an acoustic guitar and a small vintage suitcase crammed with crumbled papers whose surfaces are scrawled with lyrics reflecting his experience with dusty one-road towns, broken relationships, heartache and joy, and drunken frustration. Paynes credentials are the real deal having spent almost 3 years playing professionally in the roots music capital of the world, Austin, Texas. While playing with Traditional Country sweetheart Pauline Reese and with his own band Dixie Creek, Payne has shared the stage or opened for the likes of over two dozen country and Texas music luminaries including Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Tommy Alverson, Kevin Fowler, Johnny Lee, The Bellamy Brothers, the late Chris LeDoux, Pat Green, Mike Blakely, Freddy Powers, Rusty Wier, The Derailers, Texas Renegade, Hayes Carll, Paula Nelson and Monte Montgomery. In additon to these musical opportunities, Payne's time in the Lonestar State allowed him the opportunity to expand his knowledge of the music business, develop industry relationships and sharpen his musical craft. In the end, however, Payne and multi-instrumentalist Scott Eastburn, decided to pack it up and head back to Oregon. Paynes music is powerfully simple in its colors, tones and emotions. Convenient classification of Americana/Roots Music aside, Paynes music knows no boundaries and he does not dedicate his craft to any particular people, social class, or agenda. During his first stay in Texas, Payne experienced a visit which only served to encourage his musical motivations. He was visiting with Merle Haggard in the country music legend's tour bus. Haggard was asked what kind of advice he had for aspiring musicians. "Haggard looked me in the eye and said "If you love what you are doing then dont ever stop" With that kind of affirmation, Jake Payne will answer the call in his heart and soul and you can rest assured it will be the real deal.