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Oregon Anthems

Portland folk band The Weather Machine's music is roped to its rustic roots


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From the majestic coastline of Cannon Beach to the refreshing spray of Silver Falls and even the far-reaching 360-degree views from Pilot Butte, Portland-based pop folk band The Weather Machine visited all 185 Oregon State parks in making the music video for its ode to the Beaver State ,"Back O'er Oregon."

For Oregon native Slater Smith—who grew up in Sisters—it's an extensive look at the state that informs the rustic music his band creates and one a long time coming.

"I wrote 'Back O'er Oregon' when I was about to graduate from college and I was trying to decide whether to stay in Oregon or not," explained Smith during a filmed interview with 1859 Magazine. "I ultimately decided that after graduating that I needed to stay in Oregon. But the deal I sort of made with myself was that I needed to go see the whole state cause I had grown up here and lived my whole life here, but I still hadn't seen it all."

Despite not seeing all of Oregon until the making of that music video, the simplistic acoustics and cozy lyrics of The Weather Machine's debut, self-titled album has a perfect outdoorsy Oregon feel. And though the song "Back O'er Oregon" was ultimately the recipient of windy desert backdrops and crisp sunny coastal scenery, in truth, any song from the band's catalogue is just as ideal for such treatment.

There is a hearty pioneering aura to songs like "Some Mountaintop" and "Little Surrender" that mimic the kind of back-breaking labor long leveraged to survive a long Oregon winter ,and then crack the ground come spring to begin farming or head into the wilderness to start trapping.

Whether it's probing personal truths on "So, What Exactly Does it Say?" or parsing the excitement and unease tied to pursuing an uncharted future away from home on "Superfolk," Smith captures all the bravery of those early Pacific Northwest explorers and brings it forward to modern-day stories from his own life.

The Weather Machine with There Is No Mountain

8 pm. Fri., Jan. 31

The Belfry

302 E Main St., Sisters

Tickets $10 at bendticket.com

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...

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