Thursday, December 13, 2007

"It's a nice day to start again"

Portland's Jason Merritt writes songs for his band Timesbold, but also performs solo as Whip. It was on Bridging the Gap: A Portland, OR Covers Compilation that I first heard him and I was just blown away with how he transformed Billy Idol's "White Wedding." The original romp was just utterly stripped bare and given a sparse folk voice with some gentle banjo picking and surprisingly it emerged at last as a heartfelt song and easily the standout track of the non-profit benefiting compilation that included a number of the city's better known standouts. Thereafter I sought out some more Whip albums, slowly realizing the majority of those releases were being handled overseas. That included this year's Belgium record label release Blues for Losers and what I was able to hear lived up to the excitement the cover tune had instilled in me. In a music environment that's been so kind to Portland and willing to fill venues for Iron & Wine I have no idea why their hasn't been a wellspring of attention paid to this hidden gem.

It's not a coincidence that this follows Great Lake Swimmers on my mix as musically they make great companions and unsurprisingly they played some dates in Europe together. Here's hoping Merritt, who has described his music as "avant blues," gets some much deserved attention and some domestic releases sometime in the coming future.

Whip - download "White Wedding"

visit the band
buy the album


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