The Tavernacle Choir
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The Tavernacle Choir

Band Rock Acoustic


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"Dynamic vocal group The TAVERNacle Choir creates soaring harmonies"

The TAVERNacle Choir at The Gotham Tavern

By: Kurt "Swingcat" Johnson

Harmonies that soar, intricate vocal interplays, all backed with solid acoustic and electric guitar accompaniments are what you experience when you take in a show by Portland's dynamic vocal group The TAVERNacle Choir.

The band is rhythm guitarist and vocalist Steve Rodin; Kevin Eastes on fretless electric bass; and lead guitarist Ray Beran. All three have many years of musical experience playing in many bands both in and out of the Portland area over their careers. They've now come together to produce a vocal trio that creates soaring harmonies and intricate musical arrangements to bring the listener clever and fresh takes on many classic rock favorites. In addition, they are solid songwriters in their own right and mix their own originals into their live performances.

The trio has compiled a demo CD of original material. They primarily appear in smaller, upscale taverns where their music and sound can be more fully appreciated with the more intimate setting that such venues provide. On this visit, they performed at the Gotham Tavern, located at the intersection of North Albina and Interstate Ave. across the road from the Albina railroad yard.

The Gotham Tavern is an upscale establishment offering fine dining entrées, along with a lunch menu. The interior is cozy, with an intriguing and provocative wood beam dividing wall, creating a semi-industrial look. There also are secluded and intimate nooks and booths for more private parties. It's a most excellent place to relax and enjoy top-flight duo and trio live acts. The food is excellent and this writer was particularly impressed with the bourbon pork entrée, chased with a deliciously decadent slice of cheesecake. It hit the spot BIG-TIME! The wait staff was prompt and friendly and the place was impeccably clean. Add to this the pleasing sounds of the band and it was the exact winning combination for a relaxing night out.

The band was laying down intriguing arrangements of such favorites as Sweet Home Chicago and White Bird.

Each member of the band brings something unique to the group's sound. Guitarist and vocalist Ray Beran explains his role; "Primarily, I play lead guitar and play some rhythm guitar and hand percussion. Vocally, we split the lead and I sing back-up. I bring the ability to add some strong vocal ranging and harmonics." He mentions how he met the other bandmembers; "These guys have been playing together for a couple of years. I was dong a solo gig and met Steve and he invited me to come along and everything just clicked musically."

On the fretless electric bass is Kevin Eastes. The fretless gives a regular electric bass some of the sound an acoustic upright bass. The sound is particularly well-suited to the trio and partial acoustic format that the band uses. Eastes talks about his role, "I play fretless bass. It's very expressive and it's more challenging. You have to listen. There's no frets." He further explained that it's a very uncommon instrument and not frequently seen. But that only adds to the enjoyment he gets from playing fretless.

The band's behind-the-scenes guy is Steve Rodin. Along with vocals and playing rhythm guitar, Rodin handles all the band's booking, promotion and A&R duties. He talks about how the band came together; "I'm kind of the founding father of any group I've been in. It's kind of an intangible trait. I'm not as schooled in music as the others are, but I've got an inner sense of how things should be, musically and organizationally. Most musicians love being in the music business but they hate the business of music. They want to play music and become famous without understanding how much hard work it really takes. I'm a hard worker and Kevin and Ray recognized it. I do the booking for the Gotham Tavern. I expanded the booking from two days in October to five nights a week successfully. The Gotham is booked solid through June. Our mixture of talent is such that our areas of expertise drew us together. The biggest thing we've discovered is how well we get along together. Groups break-up because they have conflicts they are afraid to talk about. We talk about things. We're all intelligent and mature people who are not afraid to communicate at an honest level. I can't tell you how excited I am about the potential of this group. We really feel the sky is the limit. One of our goals is to be one of the most recognized groups in the Northwest."

With a unique sound and approach, you can expect to see this band performing at more and more of the upscale venues around the Portland area. You can see more of the TAVERNacle Choir at their website at www.sonicbids/thetavernaclechoir. Also see ad and Bandstand this issue. - Positively Entertainment

"Steve Rodin Writes, Performs, Delights Audiences"

by Linda Phillips

Steve Rodin is delighting audiences once again and justly so because everything is better the second time around. For years, there was something missing for Rodin that left an empty feeling buried beneath
all of life's triumphant moments. All of the wonderful ups and downs of this roller coaster ride were filled with a sense of achievement and satisfaction; but ultimately there was more he wanted to share. It took a lot of living to realize Rodin had given up on the very thing he was longing to share, his talent. Telling stories of life with his song was as delicious as biting into a freshly picked, ripe peach and letting the juice run down your chin.
Rodin is fun, sensitive and idealistic with his lyrics of life's experiences that finally reunited him to his lost love, his guitar.
Rodin was born and raised in Los Angeles, but hit the road running to our fair city of Portland when he was 21. The reason was obvious;
it must have been for a woman. The sentimental words echo that in the song The Wonder of You, as he sang to the room filled with fans at The Happen-N-Place. His words tell his story of a love affair that was only a dream and then a love rediscovered with a familiar sweetness but with a new excitement.
In the song Independent Man, he shares his coming of age in a time of reflection, while free and alone. Each of these tunes holds a message with wonderfully chosen melodies.
Rodin has a great sense of humor; you will relate in his original material like Sen-nilla-tea. You may have even sipped it yourself and if so, take two aspirin, call him in the morning. The styles he is capable of playing are as diverse as his writing and it's clear he is a gifted
musician. You will also love the fresh twists he adds in his chord-voicing on copy tunes he does like Angel from Montgomery and the rock-a-billy rhythm he plays on the old standard Fever.
Rodin has a CD out now called Together Again for the First Time that he recorded with then partner Phil Berglund in R&B Blues. Since then, he has added more than 30 new tunes to his original repertoire and is recording his second CD that will be released soon.
You'll find the fact that Rodin is a great promoter for both himself and other new musicians, all while driving bus for TriMet full time, playing gigs and writing amazing songs. When you have the chance to catch a show, you will also find Rodin always likes opening the show with another act, preferably new, original and very talented.
Last summer, he and some fellow musicians played for 2500 people at the annual TriMet picnic hosted at Oaks Park. It was said to have been a successful blast! You can get in on some of the fun one Wednesday night a month at Mississippi Pizza when Rodin has a show starting at 6:30 where he involves lots of his musician friends.
Thank goodness for musicians like Rodin, who follow their true passions with the grace and ease that only comes from living through lots of life's experiences. This songwriter musician is a positive, talented man who will continue to please crowds and enjoy his art, along with the recognition for a long time to come. (See ad & Bandstand for schedule.)

- Positively Entertainment


Steve Rodin was a founding member of "R & B Blues" which released a CD title "Together Again... For The First Time" in 2006.
Ray Beran released a solo CD titled "Memory Years" in 2003. Both CD's are available at CD Baby, and almost all internet purveyors of music.
The Tavernacle Choir is currently back in studio recoding songs for a new CD release. Summer of 2008 is the expected date for the completed CD, although pre-release songs may appear on web sites from time to time.



The Tavernacle Choir is a dynamic trio consisting of Steve Rodin, Kevin Eastes and Ray Beran. They perform Baby Boomer Acoustic Rock with Tri-Monic Vocals.
This collaboration provides great original tunes, cherished cover favorites, awesome vocals, excellent musicianship and wonderful arrangements.


Steve Rodin is a self taught guitarist. Sitting around in Topanga Canyon with friends playing Grateful Dead, Eagles and Crosby Stills & Nash songs for hours, he grew to love the music of that era.

In early 1973, Steve moved from SoCal to Portland, Oregon. He began playing his hours of cover tunes in local coffee shops and taverns. After a few years he began to desire some of life's better things and went back to school. First, working in radio broadcasting and then in accounting and business administration. He put in 11 years as an accountant, then Steve began searching for something new.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and following operations on both wrists, he re-discovered his love for the guitar and performing and began pursuing the dream once again. Prior to the re-birth of his performing career, Steve played only cover tunes. But then inspiration hit. Now the author of almost 40 songs, Steve has been the acoustic rhythm guitarist and lead singer for a few groups, R & B Blues, Steve Rodin & Friends, The SKR Project and now lends his voice to THE TAVERNACLE CHOIR. Nine of his original songs are on the R & B Blues 2006 CD,
Together Again... For The First Time.


Kevin Eastes was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He began playing the guitar at age 11. He switched to bass at 18 and has played professionally for over 30 years. Shortly after he picked up the bass, Kevin started touring with a Top 40 dance band. At age twenty, he moved to Hollywood, California to study at the Bass Institute of Technology. At the time, Kevin didn't fully appreciate what was happening around him. He was learning from some of the best musicians in the world, yet did not realize it until much later.

After graduation, he returned to South Carolina, and got a house gig with Mike Bullman and the Burning Desires at one of the largest nightclubs in the South... The VIP Club in Spartanburg where
they opened for many top country artists. Once again, Kevin did not realize at the time how lucky he was to be sharing the stage with some of the best in country music.

Kevin always had an itch to travel when in Salt Lake City performed with Gigi Love at the 2002 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony. In his words, "That was....WOW!"

He finally settled in Portland about a year and a half ago as the bass player for various bands. Kevin began playing with Steve about fifteen months ago, just before R & B Blues broke up.


Ray Beran was singing at age three, and began learning the guitar at the tender age of four. Formal piano lessons were added at age seven, the clarinet at ten, and saxophone at 15. Ray's first musical compositions and lyrics appeared about age 11. Ray studied composition and musical performance through high school and college, only to take a corporate job upon leaving Portland State University in 1982. Like Steve, Ray's absence from performing lasted far too long. He's been performing around the Pacific Northwest since being liberated from the corporate world in January of 1997.

An accomplished songwriter, Beran's music is an infectious blend of acoustic guitar and vocals, drawing on a wide range of influences from many genres. His first CD, Memory Years, was released in 2002 to high praise and nationwide radio play. It is available on CD Baby, I Tunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Music and numerous other internet purveyors. In addition to his life as a writer and performer, Ray is also a Vocal Performance Instructor. Based at Billings Dance and Performing Arts Center in Beaverton, OR, Beran teaches both group and private lessons.

Ray's philosophy is "Music is the celebration of life
around us! It expresses the breadth of human emotion. To be able to share this celebration and expression through songs is to live a dream!"


Ray was playing at Taylor's On Main in Hillsboro. Steve, a man of many talents, met him on assignment to write an article for a local paper. Since he also did bookings for The Gotham Tavern in North Portland, Steve offered Ray a series of gigs there. One night, he dropped by The Gotham to say hello. Ray talked him into doing a few songs and the idea of the two joining forces was born.

Steve spoke to Kevin about forming a trio, but Kev was leaning toward expanding Steve Rodin & Friends into a full blown band. Steve, knowing the potential of performing with Ray, suggested they add Ray for vocal strength, diversity and song writing. In late 2007, Ray finally joined Steve Rodin & Friends for a gig and Kevin got to hear Ray for