No Keys/ No Gold
In an era when every independent band in the country seems to be moving to Portland, Oregon, it's easy to forget that the city has always had a homegrown sound all it's own. Portland native Gavin Wahl-Stephens grew up at the city's blues festivals, grooving at independent gigs and ripping solos over old B.B. King tapes in his Southeast basement. After moonlighting as a reggae guitarist and getting his solo start at blues jams in Pabst-soaked taverns, Gavin became a mainstay in town with the release of his self-titled debut album in 2007. Maturing into a tight progressive blues and Americana outfit with distinctly Northwest quirks, his band has won accolades for it's honest sound and roaring live shows, and Gavin has also been touted for personal lyrics that focus on the unavoidable feelings of perpetual motion. 'I'm trying to find the laid-back groove of The Band,' he explains, 'but when it's time to kick down the door we're going for something like Dylan live in '66.' Inheritor of the roots-rock tradition and an angular interpreter of American standards, Gavin produces a sound that moves between accessible folk and atmospheric jams -- call it dark, dynamic.