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The best kept secret in music


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pilgrim's feet: every stop along the way
pilgrim's feet: perspective
jamestown: broken down and beautiful


Feeling a bit camera shy


From the sleepy sprawl of the Pacific Northwest comes jamestown, a foursome whose melodic pop-rock songs and harmony soaked vocals resonate with sprawling tapestries and tales of hopefulness and heartache.

Formed in 2004 by Scott Castle (guitars, vocals, etc.) and Jamie Sullivan (lead vocal), the two recruited their former band mates Tyson Jones (drums, percussion) and Brian Early (guitar, vocals) to undertake a self-manned recording project that led to the genesis of jamestown. As the band pilgrim’s feet, the foursome had already earned a loyal grassroots following through impressive Portland area gigs and logged a remarkable amount of time writing music together and perfecting their craft (Jamie and Brian have been playing together for over ten years).

With the lineup secure, all the band needed was a name. When asked where the band got the name jamestown, lead singer and primary lyricist Jamie Sullivan explains that “not only is the name a lyric from one of our songs (the folk tinged pop ballad the ghost of jamestown), but it is a metaphor for the opportunities that wash in and out of our lives; the paths that we all take and how they sometimes cross. Sometimes it leads to brokenness and regret; other times to restoration and redemption. I’ll bet there are more jamestowns than you think throughout this country of ours. Just off the top of my head I can tell you of one in New York, California, and North Dakota. It’s a very common name for a town, just as the album we’ve written weaves an allegorical tale of every human’s common struggle of balancing between “broken down and beautiful” (the title track of their debut album).

“there is power in the weakness of a child / there is healing in the pain / there is beauty in redemption / just like the beauty on your face / there are things I can’t remember / but there are some things that remain / there is beauty in the tired and poor and huddled masses / there is beauty” –taken from the title track broken down and beautiful

At first listen the album broken down and beautiful conjures up the glory days of the acoustic/electric, intensely melodic pop rock of such 90s staples as Toad the Wet Sprocket and the raw splendor of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Modern day comparisons include the melodic, soul searching pen and voice of Glen Phillips combined with the guitar playfulness of John Mayer and chemistry of Jars of Clay or Wilco. The opening track tonight, with it’s harmonies a la The Cars, slowly builds to a raw, roaring guitar climax accompanied by the lone cello of fellow musician Ryan (a breath of fresh air considering the over-orchestrated, over-produced albums that are a dime a dozen these days). Set the cruise control, roll down the window and get ready for an infectious ride through a sophisticated, emotional blend of acoustic and electric guitars, a sprinkling of cello and mandolin, and the gentle-yet-insistent rhythms that serve as a backdrop for Sullivan’s soul-baring, achingly beautiful vocals. CAUTION: you may find yourself humming Castle’s hook laden guitar solos for days to come upon your first listen to jamestown. There is no known cure at this time. May cause uncontrollable repeated listens.

Considering the foursome’s comparisons to Toad the Wet Sprocket (the band even recorded a tribute song titled “hey bullfrog” about a road trip to see the band on their final tour) and the quality of songwriting involved it is no surprise that this band has become a grassroots underdog on the buzzing Pacific Northwest music scene. Having become a crowd favorite (as pilgrim’s feet) playing to standing room only crowds at the trendy Portal Café in Vancouver, WA, the band is also no stranger to rousing the crowds of over a thousand at festivals throughout the Northwest. This band has a raw, tight stage show that will humble the toughest critic. Jamestown can wow the crowds at the Portland Saturday Market with a jangly, rock and roll hoedown with the best of ‘em just as much as they can romance the small, intimate coffeehouse scene with their stripped-down, story telling melodies. It’s this unique, yet familiar as a morning cup of coffee sound that will soon be a force to be reckoned with on the Portland music scene.