Black Prairie
Thu, Nov 20, 7:30 - 9:30 pm
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute
By now, Black Prairie--Jenny Conlee-Drizos (accordion), Chris Funk (dobro), Nate Query (upright bass), Annalisa Tornfelt (violin, vocals) and Jon Neufeld (guitar)--has clearly outgrown its roots as a casual side project, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members--a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. Still, it's only become harder to describe what that style is. "I gave up a long time ago," guitarist Jon Neufeld says. When asked what kind of music Black Prairie plays, Neufeld usually just says "soft rock," and walks away.
Black Prairie's fourth full-length record Fortune is an unexpected departure--which is, strangely, exactly what everyone's come to expect from the band. "We're a much more fearless writing team now," says bassist Nate Query. The band that started as an informal collective has now materialized into its own, fully living thing. Getting together to write "Fortune" last fall after a busy year of touring and tackling smaller, unconventional songwriting projects, the band felt like they had a well-bred, spirited animal hitched up and waiting for them--a horse flaring its nostrils, ready to run--and they wanted to keep driving it through as many different landscapes as they could.
"It was the most collaborative and magical thing," Chris Funk says. Individual members brought in little strands of ideas, and the band collectively spooled them in like a loom and spun them into songs. Again and again, they found one person's chorus and someone else's verse slapping together like attractive magnets, or lines for a lyric flying out of all six mouths.
In a way, Fortune is also Black Prairie's most conventional record--thirteen, polished vocal tunes with (mostly) conventional pop song structures. On the other hand, there's a glaring eccentricity to "Fortune" that hits you right away: here is a band of accomplished acoustic musicians playing what are essentially rock songs, and sometimes with a pretty hard edge--it's a record, band members say, that's trying to channel not the spirit of Earl Scruggs or Jerry Douglas, but Led Zeppelin.
Band members trace the new, classic rock attitude that infuses "Fortune" back to New Year's Eve 2012. That's when Tornfelt sang Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same" at a gig with Black Prairie members and Portland musician Laura Veirs. "Annalisa tore the roof off it," Funk remembers, and having discovered a whole new, blaring dimension to their fiddle-player's voice--and with a longstanding love of classic rock between them--Black Prairie got excited to edge a little in that direction. The band started covering the Zeppelin tune on the road, and other covers followed, including "Carry On My Wayward Son". Inevitably that energy started inflecting the songs they were writing. Query says, "We're trying to avoid the kitschy factor of a string band playing classic rock--we're just trying to convey a joy of music and life."
Associate Events
Thursday Nov 20
6:00 pmPre-concert Dinner
Ticket/Venue Info
Black Prairie Ticket Prices
Seat LvlFull PriceDiscount Prices
10%  15%  20%  Stud. 
A23.00  20.75  19.75  18.50  11.50 
B23.00  20.75  19.75  18.50  11.50 
C19.00  17.25  16.25  15.25  9.50 
O19.00  17.25  16.25  15.25  9.50 
Jaqua Concert Hall
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts
285 E Broadway
Eugene, Oregon
541-434-7000
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The Shedd Ticket Office
541.434.7000
NHT 2014-15 Schedule
August, 2014
Fri 15Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
October, 2014
Fri 10Chris Smither
Wed 22Loudon Wainwright III
Fri 24Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas
November, 2014
Thu 06PROJECT Trio
Sat 15Makana
Thu 20Black Prairie
Fri 21Red Molly
December, 2014
Wed 10Mariachi Sol de México
January, 2015
Mon 12Blues Harmonica Blowout
February, 2015
Fri 06Marcia Ball
Wed 11Over The Rhine
Sat 14Chuck Redd Quartet
Thu 19Vijay Iyer Trio
Sat 21Honey Whiskey Trio
Tue 24Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
Sat 28Hapa
March, 2015
Wed 11Edgar Meyer
Sun 15Tweedy
April, 2015
Wed 01Charlie Musselwhite
Thu 09BoDeans
May, 2015
Fri 08Hanneke Cassel
Sat 09Nellie McKay
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts (The Shedd)
E. Broadway & High Street, Eugene | PO Box 1497, Eugene OR 97440-1497 | Phone 541.687.6526 | Tickets: 541.434.7000 | Email: info@theshedd.net
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