This year, Tyler Fortier will release three albums. Actually, if you include the live disc he's preparing, he'll actually have four full-length discs coming out before we hit 2012. In an age when bands are considered to be working at a hectic pace if they put out one album every two years, this is almost hard to believe.
What's even more incredible is that Fortier is commonly out on the road for tours that include as many as 40 dates, but still manages to find time to write, record and produce all of his songs. And he doesn't just write the dozen or so songs that appear on these discs - he'll often pen 30 or more tracks for a record, the majority of which are tossed aside with only the best cuts appearing on the album.
For reasons only he probably knows, the Eugene-based songwriter (whose parents live here in Bend) seems to feel a need to defend, no matter how unnecessary, his prolific output.
"I know it seems crazy to put out three albums in a year, but I'm not throwing out shit. It's stuff I'm really proud of," says Fortier, checking in from Eugene where he, just a week prior, had released his latest album, Fear of the Unknown, a 13-track collection of Fortier's wide-range of indie rock, Americana, blues and a host of other influences that make it tough for him to even describe his own sound.
"I still haven't found a way to comfortably talk about my work. It's hard to describe," says Fortier.
But he doesn't mind a few comparisons. When I tell him that I could hear some Bruce Springsteen on a few tracks on Fear of the Unknown that tell easy-to-visualize stories, like "Sing For Our Fellowman," Fortier agrees.
"I actually think Springsteen is one of my biggest influences and it comes out sometimes," he says, "I definitely wanted to capture an E. Street Band sort of feel. Maybe some Arcade Fire in there, too."
He'll be playing this weekend at the Silver Moon, accompanied by his extra-solid backing band, to celebrate the new record for his fans on this side of the mountains, much like he did at Eugene's Sam Bond's Garage last week. Except that party had a double meaning - it was also Fortier's 26th birthday and he gave himself the gift of yet another new record.
This sort of output isn't new to Fortier. He's been working like this for his entire career, which - even at a young age - saw him cranking out full-length records. Between 2006 and 2010, he released four excellent records, the last of which, This Love is Fleeting, was a huge step forward for the songwriter. Earlier this year, in between touring and plotting the recording of Fear of the Unknown, Fortier got back to his roots. He spent a couple weeks holed up in a garage, armed with his instruments and the old eight-track recording system that he used before his production process expanded for the last few records. That record - although minimalistic in nature - was a conceptually complex album featuring both historically based and fictional songs about the 19th century American West. He gave the collection an appropriately dusty title, And They Rode Like Wildfire Snaking Through the Hills 'Neath the Scarlet Sun.
With Fear of the Unknown, Fortier - who studied sociology during his time at the University of Oregon - looked at the state of our current society and how he feels we're becoming increasingly isolated, opting for our technologies rather than human contact. ("I'm worried about how society functions as a whole. There's this weird tension and it causes a lot of anxiety," he says.)
Later this year, we'll hear even more from Fortier with the upcoming Bang on Time, the next record he's currently plotting with three dozen or so songs already in the hopper. So how is Fortier handling his big, three-album year? He has to be at least a little worn down, right?
"For this year, I just felt like I had so much to get out. I don't know if that was such a great idea because sometimes I feel scatterbrained," he says, "I don't know if people get it and I don't know if I get it."
Don't worry, Tyler. We get it.
9pm Saturday, Silver Moon Brewing Co. 24 NW Greenwood Ave. $7. Give a listen to Fortier's new music at tylerfortier.squarespace.com.