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Feb 11th
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Flowering in the Attic

music_feat_LochLomondLoch Lomond emerged out of unexpected places

Ritchie Young didn’t get out much over the summer between his junior and senior years in high school. He was grounded. Young’s father put the rambunctious adolescent on house arrest after he hospitalized a friend—a nail-gun fight gone awry, Young explains with a chuckle.

The singer songwriter of the Portland-based, chamber pop ensemble Loch Lomond can laugh about it now. His friend has long since recovered and they still talk to this day.  He recalls how stir-craziness drove him to the attic of his central Oregon home that summer. It was there that he was met with two very distinct instruments: his father’s old rifle and a guitar.

“I had this weird feeling that it was time for me to decide what kind of person I was going to be,” Young says. “I picked up the guitar and I’ve been playing almost every day since.”

Young worked his way through a Neil Young tablature book, which he found next to the fateful guitar, and eventually found himself playing with The Standard, a Portland indie rock outfit. He left the band in the early 2000s to pursue his interest in creating a more eclectic sound.

“It was just drums, bass and guitar,” he says remembering his qualms with the group back then. “It was just this rock thing that I really loathed for a while. I wanted to make music that was layered, where no one was trying to overplay another member.”

Loch Lomond started out as a solo project in 2003, and according to Young, the moniker is only linked to Santa Cruz’s reservoir through chance. He found the name scrawled across an old reel-to-reel tape used during his first solo sessions.

“We had no clue,” Young says, until the band played Santa Cruz a few years ago and fans kept asking about it. “It was weird, but cool. Just a total coincidence.”

The sound that Young has developed since recalls The Velvet Underground and Nico and Pet Sounds. It is a sound that has seen a resurgence of late, as new groups such as Fleet Foxes and Devendra Banhart turn down their amps and often unplug completely (Loch Lomond doesn’t use any amplification in rehearsals)—embracing soft vocal harmonies, mandolins, strings, xylophones and a wider variety of instrumentation than has been commonly seen in popular rock music of the last three decades.

“I totally think music goes in cycles,” Young says. “This (style) will die and then it will come back again in 20 or 30 years.”

Young is certainly not immune to the cyclical nature of music. He says that recently he has shaken his aversion to the rock arrangements he was playing in The Standard. In fact, “Ghost of an Earthworm,” the lead track from Loch Lomond’s latest EP, Night Bats, is noticeably devoid of the diverse instruments that usually pepper the group’s recordings.

“We decided to do something we hadn’t done in a while,” Young says. Loch Lomond wrote, recorded and mastered Night Bats in 20 days, consciously scaling back the variety of instruments they usually use. Little Me Will Start a Storm, the group’s forthcoming LP set to be released this spring, will see a return to a wider scope of accompaniment.

As for playing on this latest tour that hits The Brookdale Lodge this week, Young says he’s excited to get back out on the road with the new material. He says that touring earlier this year with The Decemberists and Blitzen Trapper prompted the band to amp up its live show.


Loch Lomond performs at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale. Tickets are $12 in advance. For more information, call 338-1300 or go to folkyeah.com.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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