Government Issue Orchestra
Old Time music has been making a resurgence for the past few years and one of the centers of the revival is far removed from the style's Southern Appalachian home.
Portland, Oregon has got a thriving Old Time community. Regular riders on the Bus are familiar with Portland's superb Foghorn String Band. Some months ago I was searching for other string bands playing in the Portland area and stumbled across the Government Issue Orchestra. At that time I downloaded some of their live recordings and after an initial listen, promptly forgot where I had put the files. This past weekend I rediscovered the Government Issue Orchestra files. I recall reading some background info on the band, but have not been able to relocate the original article that drew my interest.
The Government Issue Orchestra is; Michael Ismerio (fiddle), Patrick Lind (washtub bass), Sophie Vitells (fiddle), Margaret Brunjes (banjo), and Caroline Oakley (guitar). I enjoy the band's twin fiddles, clawhammer banjo, and simple, but effective rhythm with guitar and washtub bass. Sophie Vitells and Margaret Brunjes dish up some fine mountain harmony on "Maggie & Sophie". The band's current website does offer a few live recordings from the 2005 Portland Old-Time Music Gathering and concert info. I have included two of the live performances below to whet your appetite.
Click on over to the Government Issue Orchestra and give a listen to their other offerings. If I was planning to be in the Portland area anytime soon, I'd check the concert and club schedule and be sure to catch the Government Issue Orchestra.