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Black Prairie

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Portland's Black Prairie began in 2007 when Decemberists guitarist Chris Funk, having discovered the joys of the Dobro guitar, and Decemberists bassist Nate Query decided to start a mostly instrumental and acoustic string band as a side project. They enlisted another Decemberists member, Jenny Conlee, on accordion, and added two other veteran Portland musicians from popular local bands, guitarist and songwriter Jon Neufield, who played in Dolorean and Jackstraw, and singer and violinist Annalisa Tornfelt, who played in the Woolwines and Bearfoot. The resulting band blended together an impressive array of styles and textures, from tilted bluegrass, klezmer, and runaway Gypsy music to folk, blues, and a bit of jazz, resulting in a unique and fresh take on a kind of free-spirited alternative Americana. Signing to Sugar Hill Records, the band released an impressive debut, Feast of the Hunters' Moon, in 2010, following it up with A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart in 2012. With Tornfelt emerging as a more than capable lead vocalist, Black Prairie's third album, Fortune, took a hard left turn into garage folk-rock territory, and featured all band originals. ~ Steve Leggett

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