Stretching one’s show dollar

Not only is Palo Verde known to be among the best musical performances in Portland, but the artists have maintained that reputation for two years without stepping onto a stage and in front of a crowd.

This coming Monday is a show that nobody with a good head on their shoulders who can appreciate masterful musicianship should miss for their life—only being able to listen to this improv duo’s “spontaneous comp” music through headphones thus far seems almost unconstitutional. Not only is Palo Verde known to be among the best musical performances in Portland, but the artists have maintained that reputation for two years without stepping onto a stage and in front of a crowd.

Palo Verde consists of Lauren K. Newman (commonly referred to as LKN) on drums and vocals, supported by Terrica Kleinknecht, who serves as the melodic voice on guitar and vocals. However, a note to remember is that LKN is a one-woman band—she writes the lyrics and performs all of the music on her own albums, and very professionally I might add. The music of Palo Verde is self-described by LKN as: “mountainous, monolithic, angular, dissonance-like post-rock.”

Palo Verde’s first show in two years is going to be at Valentine’s on Nov. 22. Not only is it long awaited by many, it’s also an album release party for LKN’s new album, “Split.” The album is properly named “Split” because it is a split record with the group Knife the Symphony. The record is being released by Phratry Records, which is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The label belongs to Jerry Dirr, who also happens to be a member of the group splitting the record with Palo Verde.

According to LKN, “Jerry called me this past year and asked if I wanted to go in on a record with him, so I jumped the gun on it.”  LKN chose six songs for the upcoming album that were previously written by her over the period of July 2008 to October 2009.

Unexpected as it may seem, when speaking with LKN, she was “not excited about putting [“Split”] out,” and added, “it is more of a look into the artists’ sketchbook.” The songs were taken from a collection of unreleased and still part of the “sketch stages” in the writing process. 

Although she has recorded drums for 10 other bands, LKN has a total of four albums of her own work—the latest one released in 2007. Inspired by greats including Eldon Jones, John Bonum and Zach Hill, it is no surprise that she is a very creative musician. She explained that she utilizes the drums in the writing process by always writing the drum part first. Many musicians would see this as an unconventional way of songwriting, but LKN does an amazing job of relying on her expertise and her obsession with sound to produce her unique-sounding music.

The multi-talented musician consistently toured the U.S. from 2001 to 2007, playing well-known festivals such as SXSW and Ladyfest. She has performed live on tour with an array of bands, such as Subarachnoid Space, Castanets and Bellini, providing them with her awe-inspiring drumming.

LKN only wants what many musicians rarely get the chance for, let alone dare to even fathom, and her immense passion for music combined with her incredible knowledge of creating sounds have been seemingly effortless in carrying her to pursue her goal. “My goal is to be [on tour] all of the time,” she said.

She also has a dream of performing in other countries around the world but once again, like so many other musicians as well, lack of funding and not having the support of an agent make that quite difficult to make happen anytime soon.

As LKN and Palo Verde start to come back into the live music circuit, she plans for “my best record yet! …It was written with Palo Verde four years ago and I have been waiting for the right time to blow it up!” She said to expect it in 2011. Aside from making her own music, she is a professional sound engineer herself and is always looking for groups that want to seek hired help in the recording process.

Asking if she had any advice that she would be willing to share with anybody who is in a band she replied, “If you are serious about making money in the music industry, then get serious about the business end for music, but most importantly is to remember to have fun!”

Make sure to catch Palo Verde at Valentine’s on the 22nd to support this extraordinarily driven, talented musician and her endeavors.?