The last time I played at the Old Church was three years ago. The last time I played with Jesse Terry was four years ago. But on March 18, 2018, I’m playing at The Old Church with Jesse Terry, and it will be a night to remember for decades.
TYLER STENSON & JESSE TERRY
@ The Old Church, PDX
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Door 7 p.m. // Show 8 p.m.
$12 ADV // $15 DOS
If you’re reading this post, I will assume you know who I am. If not, get to know me. As for Jesse, he’s simply a lovely human and songwriter. I had the honor of performing with him years ago at The Alberta Rose Theatre, and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again soon. Read below to learn more about us both.
See you at The Old Church, PDX!
“Jesse Terry is a gentle soul with a formidable songwriting talent and a clear artistic vision.” — John Platt, WFUV, NYC
Jesse Terry is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose transcendent life and music make him one of the most prolific indie artists today. This salt-of-the-earth musician’s lyrical mastery, emotional depth, and soothing voice have been compared to the likes of Ryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Ray LaMontagne, and James Taylor.
On the eponymous title track of Stargazer, the lushly orchestrated and existentially optimistic fourth LP from singer-songwriter Jesse Terry, the notion of personal unhappiness is framed in terms of a cosmic choice: “Go on stargazer, I know how much it hurts / But you are free now to pick your universe.”
Infused with the warmth of a beautifully arranged string quartet and the otherworldly tremor of a lap steel guitar, Stargazer unfurls as a melodic Zen koan, a deep intuition all of us have at one point or another that the extent of our suffering no matter its apparent source or point of origin is largely up to us. The worlds frequent brutality and indifference are undeniable facts of life, facts that can feel oppressive and impenetrable. True freedom inheres in our ability to choose hope to pick resilience over recrimination, optimism over oblivion. Taking that timeless and hard-won kernel of wisdom as his starting point the recognition that hopelessness is the worst kind of human prison Terry’s lustrous, earnest Stargazer is precisely the kind of record we need in these seemingly hopeless times.
Stargazer is very much an album representing the arc of that journey. Forged in the crucible of the artist’s earnest engagement with a chaotic, confusing world, the record is wonderfully difficult to classify. Drawing inspiration from a diverse pool of influences from vintage Jeff Lynne-produced pop to the Roy Orbison of In Dreams to The Man Who-era Travis Stargazer is an album commensurate with its moment, imbued with an unconquerably hopeful perspective. I will always go back to hope and lean on that, because that’s what has gotten me here in the first place, Terry says. Produced with multi-instrumentalist collaborator Josh Kaler in Nashville’s sumptuous EastSide Manor Studios, every aspect of the album went through an intentionally rigorous evaluative process. Josh and I worked in the studio for months, making sure that we were bringing something fresh to every track, some kind of new sound or new harmony line or new string line, Terry says. I wanted Stargazer to be arranged and produced like the records I first fell in love with. A significant part of that production process involved strings and renowned arranger Danny Mitchell. I’ve worked with great string players in the past, but this is the first album where I’ve had the strings professionally arranged for a quartet, Terry says. The inherent magic, power, and emotion in Mitchells arrangements are palpable throughout the record. I wrote many of these songs with the strings in mind, knowing that they’d be taking my songs to new places.
“The last time I witnessed someone with his kind of presence and voice, one that leaped out beyond the speakers and pulled me in, was when I worked with Garth Brooks. Tyler has it, man.” — Don Was
Tyler Stenson is a Portland singer-songwriter whose music is elegant at its core. Twice-named Portland’s “Songwriter of the Year” by the Portland Songwriters Association and “Best Male Artist” at the Portland Music Awards, Stenson’s music is refreshingly reminiscent of classic singer-songwriter greats such as James Taylor and Cat Stevens.
Already considered one of the premiere singer-songwriters in the Northwest, Stenson’s authentic sound has also claimed its stake on the national stage. Out of 10,000 artists, Stenson was recently hand-picked by legendary producer Don Was as a Top 10 Finalist in Guitar Center’s “Search for the Next Great American Songwriter” contest. And out of nearly 4,000 bands, he was hand-selected by Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Ryan Spaulding (RSLblog) to perform at their Outlaw Roadshow showcases in SxSW and NYC.
With his national name growing, Stenson was named Reverb Nations Breaking Artist in 2013 and has been invited to open for LeAnn Rimes, Chris Isaak, John Popper, Marc Cohn, Matisyahu, Fuel, Guster (and many others). He has placed original songs on multiple national Chevrolet commercials, as well as a handful of others placed in Internationally television shows.
In an age where thoughtful lyric has taken a backseat to hyperproduction, Stenson has learned one thing through nearly two decades of experiences and performances at notable venues such as the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles: Lyric is King. Stenson’s music is just that—simple words paired with humble notes that all at once sum up the human experience, endlessly inspiring the train of followers who find a piece of themselves in the sincerity of his words.