In Portland, indie-pop groups composed of skinny-jeans-clad 23-year old boys seems to multiply exponentially, so it’s always refreshing to hear that some accomplished musicians are making music I might actually want to hear.
Black Prairie (love that name) is composed of three members of the Decemberists – Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee with two additional Portland musicians, Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld. Loosely described as an experimental bluegrass or folk outfit, they’ve been playing together since 2007, but recently signed with Sugar Hill Records and are preparing to release their first album Feast of the Hunter’s Moon this spring.
Having too many Decemberists in one place can get dangerously pretentious and esoteric, but based on the two tracks available on their MySpace page, I’m optimistic that Black Prairie will be turning out some quality, accessible, back-to-basics bluegrass and folk tunes with just the right amount of experimentation.
Northwesterners can check out a handful of live shows over the next few months and at Pickathon. Black Prairie will also be at SXSW.