a working man's band
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2008

  • Posted by:


Though they hail from various locals scattered up and down Californian coastal towns, Port O’Brien – a scruffy clan of musical, yet humbling salt of the earth types – could just as easily call Kodiak Island Alaska home. That’s where founding members Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin have spent their last few summers. There, Van would tend to his father’s fishing vessel the Shawnee, while Cambria served her time at a local bakery. Later, rhythm man Caleb Nichols would join the two, himself working at a local salmon cannery…all this just to keep the band going during their off time. Given the long hours, less than likable weather patterns, and what I imagine to be the simplicity of small-town, Alaskan living, the group appropriately named their first studio effort, All We Could Do Was Sing.

Listening to a few tracks on the band’s MySpace (our copy is sadly still en route to us), what’s clear is their somewhat heroic back story is alive and well within the ramshackle folk they emanate so very well. Lines like “I’m sick of the weather up here. It goes on and on my dear. And the fish aren’t coming still. They wait and wait until we put our anchor down. We’ll steal a few hours in town. My feet aren’t made for the sea. They were made for running free.” (“Stuck On A Boat”) tell the real story of this bands’ workingman’s existence. Fragile urgency, tremoring heartache, and frigid frustration; there is a wide range of mood, emotion, and intensity careening about in Port O’Brien’s music. Ultimately though, there is a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as well…and the listener need not trek to Alaska to find it. – David Pitz

Port O’Brien is currently on tour. All We Could Do Was Sing is available now.

Port O'Brien On Tour:
6/23/08 - Brookdale Lodge - Santa Cruz, CA
7/7/08 - The Casbah - San Diego, CA
7/8/08 - The Detroit Bar - Costa Mesa, CA
7/9/08 - Muddy Waters - Santa Barbara, CA
7/10/08 - Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA
7/11/08 - Cafe Du Nord - San Francisco, CA
8/6/08 - Cafe Montmartre - Madison, WI
8/7/08 - Schubas - Chicago, IL
8/9/08 - El Mocambo - Toronto, ON
8/10/08 - Le Divan Orange - Montreal, QC ~ CANADA
8/12/08 - The Middle East - Cambridge, MA
8/13/08 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY
8/15/08 - Union Hall- Brooklyn, NY
8/16/08 - Johnny Brenda’s - Philadelphia, PA
8/17/08 - Black Cat Backstage - Washington, DC
8/18/08 - Cafe Bourbon St Annex - Columbus, OH
8/19/08 - Locals Only - Indianapolis, IN
9/13/08 - Monolith Festival @ Red Rocks - Denver, Colorado

* * * * * * * * * * * *
MP3: Port O'Brien:: “I Woke Up Today” - All We Could Do Was Sing
Port O'Brien on Myspace
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