The Coal Age
Gig Seeker Pro

The Coal Age

Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



This band has no press


The Coal Age Demo CD:

The Onshore Life
--A moody, cinematic ballad that builds to a layered crescendo and ends with a group chorus.
(Violin, Keys, Bass, Banjo, Guitar, Drums, Vocals)

Sit Next to Me
--A raucous, kitchen-sink, indie-mountain-love-song.
(Banjo, Guitar, Tamborine, Drums, Harmonica, Vocals)

Stay Low
--A wrenching, spare reflection on partially-requited love.
(Keys, Lapsteel, Guitar, Vocal harmony)



The Coal Age sound is an aggregate of Americana and Northwest independent rock/folk styles. The songs are often haunting—spare and sometimes angular guitar is fleshed out with violin, banjo, lapsteel, mandolin, keys, and vocal harmonies. Coal Age songs have a timeless feel and offer the listener a narrative that is at times nostalgic and at times strikingly present.

It’s a sound that is rooted in the Northwest. Singer/songwriter Alec Lassen and drummer John Galipeau played for several years together in Portland-area indie-rock bands throughout the early and mid ‘00s. Both have some punk-rock in their history—which is sometimes noticeable in the structure of Coal Age songs, if not in the music itself. “I rarely write standard verse-chorus-verse songs,” says Lassen, “they can be boring to write and to listen to—in this band I think we’ve allowed ourselves some flexibility in how we write.”

Galipeau and Lassen met Taylor Kopp while experimenting with a Balkan-brass and accordion-inspired project. Says Lassen, “We were having fun, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t working. None of us really come from that background. We met Taylor because he plays tenor sax, but we couldn’t get it to fit. We knew right away we wanted to be in a band with Taylor, so we made him learn bass and banjo, which he did, in about two weeks.” Kopp has also taken on a significant vocal role in The Coal Age, and sings harmony on many songs.

The trio met Brian Goodwin at an early show. “Brian plays a ton of instruments—violin, lapsteel, mandolin, guitar, keys—I’m sure he plays others too, and he plays them all well— it’s completely unfair. And he’s always finding impossibly cheap instruments and amps on craigslist, which can me maddening. He was a natural fit for the band. When Brian joined he reinforced for us that the Americana sound is one direction we head in—and we try to keep that integrated with some punk edginess and with the mood and mystery of the independent aesthetic—which probably means something different to each one of us.”

The end result is a highly musical band. The stage at a Coal Age show is littered with instruments, and two songs rarely feature the same line-up. “We’ve actually had to limit ourselves a bit, because everyone in the band plays so many instruments. All of us have some background in music, starting at an early age. It’s a first for me,” says Lassen, “Because everyone plays guitar--well--and everyone has an ear for melody, it frees me up to concentrate on writing and vocal melody. At this point, if anyone brings in an idea for a song, we trust that we will be able to build on it and get it to a good place. That’s a great feeling, if you like to make music.”

Individual Bios

Singer/songwriter Alec Lassen grew up in a tiny town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. “My parents were back-to-the-land hippies from Berkeley—they moved up to the country to have their kids and make community. There were always people around playing music—my mom played guitar and sang in the style of Kate Wolf and Joan Baez—she also played Irish fiddle music with her friends. My dad was a guitar player and a music appreciator—all the good stuff—Dylan, the Stones, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Dire Straits—I went through my Beatles phase by the time I was 10—and I’ve had to defend this to my friends as a legitimate experience ever since. I know that a lot of my influences come from those early days. My childhood is full of memories of music parties and of the beauty of the Northern Sierras. I remember there being a lot of naked people around, too.”