Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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.

Government Issue Orchestra - Fiddlesticks.mp3

Government Issue Orchestra - Black-Eyed Suzy.mp3

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.


Anonymous Lucy said...

Damn good find, Ed. I gather from their website, they've not recorded anything... damn shame.

November 01, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

No CDs yet, but they are young and full of potential. I'd keep an eye on them.

November 01, 2006 6:34 PM  

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