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Dolorean

Portland, OR: What started as a solo folk guitar performance at The Jasmine Tree Chinese Restaurant in 1999 turned into a group of musicians and friends performing and recording the songs of Al James as Dolorean. The first solo shows took place with little fanfare in restaurants, basements, and cafes around Portland. Things changed in early 2000 when Al enlisted the help of keyboardist Jay Clarke and they began playing as a duo: acoustic guitar and Wurlitzer student piano. The collaboration was creating a promising dynamic and Rob Oberdorfer suggested they record at his southeast Portland home ...read more

Portland, OR: What started as a solo folk guitar performance at The Jasmine Tree Chinese Restaurant in 1999 turned into a group of musicians and friends performing and recording the songs of Al James as Dolorean. The first solo shows took place with little fanfare in restaurants, basements, and cafes around Portland. Things changed in early 2000 when Al enlisted the help of keyboardist Jay Clarke and they began playing as a duo: acoustic guitar and Wurlitzer student piano. The collaboration was creating a promising dynamic and Rob Oberdorfer suggested they record at his southeast Portland home. The Standard?s Robbie Duncan played drums on two of the tracks and the end result is the naļ¶„, but oddly addictive Sudden Oak released as a CD-R in 2000. The album is a collection of stark folk pop ? 10 songs that capture the excitement of a budding collaboration between friends. It was mastered and re-released through Dolorean Recordings in 2004.

In December 2001 Dolorean booked four days at Larry Crane?s Jackpot! Studio. This time, Jeff Saltzman engineered and produced the sessions. In addition to Jay Clarke, NC transplant Ben Nugent was included to play drums and provide backing vocals. The songs were tracked live: piano, drums, guitar and vocals. They finished the recording at Saltzman?s home studio adding bass, mandolin, cello, and organ. Tony Lash mastered the album, and Not Exotic was finally completed in the summer of 2002. In November 2003 Chapel Hill?s Yep Roc Records released the album and it became an underdog favorite for a group of national critics, music writers and music fans.

After touring nationally throughout 2003 and 2004 in support of Not Exotic, Al James asked for Jeff Saltzman?s help again to record Dolorean?s second release for Yep Roc Records: Violence in the Snowy Fields. They tracked the album in different studios around Portland (Tony Lash?s Mandible, Saltzman?s Mysterious Beard, and Larry Crane?s Jackpot!). Along with Al James, the lineup included bassist James Adair, pianist Jay Clarke, and drummer Ben Nugent. This time Nugent was no longer just brushing a mellow backbeat, he picked up the pace and added his Levon Helm inspired ?lonely frog? backing vocals to most of the songs. Jay Clarke (on loan from The Standard) added vibraphones and organ and wrote string charts for two of the songs. Emil Amos and Timothy Horner from Portland?s instrumental giant Grails played electric guitar and violin on tracks as well. The album still contains a few of the finger picked folk narratives found on Not Exotic, but overall these Al James penned songs are more focused, more mature, and more dynamic. The album draws on the raw parlor soul of Wild Honey-era Beach Boys and the lush Jack Nitzche-Neil Young compositions from Buffalo Springfield. The stripped-down folk songs journey down a road as dark and personal as those explored by Townes Van Zandt. While there were many converts to Dolorean?s debut restraint in Not Exotic, nobody will be disappointed by the growth and spirit of Violence in the Snowy Fields. -from YepRoc Records « hide

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