Black Prairie have announced a run of west coast dates following the release of their third studio album, the hard-edged, cinematic Fortune, out April 22nd via Sugar Hill Records. They also will appear at Sasquatch! Music Festival on July 4th weekend. More dates will be added throughout 2014.
Fortune proves the band has outgrown its roots as a casual side-project of indie folk band The Decemberists, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members—a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. “Making this record was the most collaborative and magical thing,” says founder Chris Funk. “I’m excited to play these songs live.”
Black Prairie’s music has been described as somewhere “between John Ford and David Lynch, homespun tales with sinister sub-plots” (Uncut) and possessing of “the musical spirit that emanated from Big Pink in the late ’60” (Washington Post), but Fortune is an unexpected departure from their previous bluegrass inflected work. This group of accomplished musicians from Portland, Oregon - each steeped in traditional American acoustic music - has written what is essentially a rock record, and sometimes with a pretty hard edge. (The band sometimes performs around Portland as their ‘electric’ alter ego ‘White Tundra,’ complete with an 8-foot, handmade robotic Yeti -- it stood in the studio inspiring the band as they recorded this set of songs.)
“Let’s make it sound more broken!” became the battle cry in the studio from Fortune’s producer, Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, whose work with The Dead Weather and Red Fang the band especially loved.
“We’re a much more fearless writing team now,” says bassist Nate Query, who can trace Fortune’s sound to the night the band saw frontwoman Annalisa Tornfelt perform Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same.” “She tore the roof off it,” Funk remembers. The band discovered a whole new, blaring dimension to their fiddle-player’s voice, and inevitably that energy started infecting the songs they were writing.
Black Prairie may look like a bluegrass or folk band, but their tastes and repertoire are much more expansive. There is a fierce emphasis on musicianship, Powell says, but otherwise: “They’re genre-less. They’re not afraid of anything.”