The Portland, Oregon-based Shoegazer-Country band is celebrating the release of a third, and first nationally distributed, full-length album, New England.
A TUG OF PORTLAND vs PORTLAND IN NEW ENGLAND
Fronted by singer-songwriter Nate Wallace, Hearts of Oak has been described as “a singer-songwriter with a druggy, psychedelic backing band”. Originally from Maine (and there’s our New England connection), Nate found his way to OUR Portland in the late 90’s and through many songwriter projects with friends, eventually founded Hearts of Oak.
A Deer Lodge Runs Through It
Projects can take many roads on the way to completion. This one took a road less traveled. Not surprising that the whole thing took place in one of our most unique recording studios, Deer Lodge. More than a studio, it is a live venue, a bar, and a record label. And probably a few more things. Deer Lodge’s Ezra Meredith produced and engineered the album and is also the band’s guitarist. And instead of micromanaging his songs and ideas in the studio, Nate changed it up. He says “I always write by myself and usually bring songs to record all finished …but, this time, I was open to ideas and willing to change a song for the sake of the recording.” The result is, that Nate heard his own songs as a completely new to him thing when they were done. Breathtaking, right? Hearts of Oak lineup also includes a rhythm section of J Lever on drums and Keith Richard McCarthy on bass, as well as Ezra’s brother Joel Meredith on pedal steel.
The sound of New England is sometimes delicate in its picking, strumming and aching pedal steel, and then rocks out unexpectedly. The one through line I hear? An admitted theme of love, loss, and longing. Nate says, “Whether it’s nostalgia or just the family getting older, sometimes I just see myself there, even though I love it here in Oregon. It’s Portland vs. Portland, I guess”. The idea that some of the tracks drip with this nostalgic longing, that permeating vibe, seems ironic to me. I met up with Nate last week in his hot Dodge Caravan, because our appointed meet place was busy setting up for a lunch crowd and was way too noisy. I noticed immediately that he has a very quick and funny wit. I guess he can channel the darker side through his songwriting. A gift! Enjoy the conversation and grab the info on the album release celebration and other upcoming shows, below.
ALBUM RELEASE CELEBRATION AT DOUG FIR
This video is from a Dante’s show earlier this year.