Some singer-songwriters carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Others just pretend to. I don’t know Matt Dorien, better known as Snowblind Traveler, personally, so I can’t legitimately confirm whether the world is or isn’t resting on his shoulders, but it sure as hell sounds like it. Full of haunting melodies, minimalist instrumentation and vocals always sounding like they’re searching for a sliver of hope to grasp onto, his latest release Confederate Burial is a worthy addition to the canon of the Great Modern Folk Scene. It certainly has all the right themes running through it – death, vengeance, longing, a potent appreciation of the natural world, etc.
Originally from San Francisco but now based in Portland (I’m gonna take a wild guess and assume it was because of astronomical rent rates), the singer returns to the Bay with the also Portland-based indie-folk act Grand Lake Islands. I know he has to be at least a little nostalgic for the city, especially after writing a song so achingly pretty as “San Francisco Shanghai.” Yes, the lyrics may be about getting kidnapped and forced to serve as a sailor, but that mournful melody was undoubtedly inspired by the city’s forgotten alleyways, creeping fog and shady past.
Snowblind Traveler, Grand Lake Islands
October 3, 2014
8pm, free, all ages