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Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual // Rio Grands // Mojave Bird // 5.13

A common theme running through the lineup at Holocene Wednesday night is piano folk, but there will be a lot variety within this niche. Opening the show is Mojave Bird with her beautiful and hauntingly ambient songs. In the middle of the bill are Rio Grands. Their almost Latin influence on soft driven tunes relies on smooth rhythms and a dynamic vocalist that somehow comes across as soulful surf rock. Headlining the evening is Morning Ritual. Featuring the Shook Twins on vocals, they are rooted in folk, but have lately introduced a soft, electronic R&B element to their lively sound. These three groups would make for excellent nights of music on their own, but will be joining forces for a songwriter’s showcase Wednesday night. The show starts at 8:30 and there is an $8 cover. 

- Colin Hudson 

Morning Ritual Release a New Album at Doug Fir 5.15

The smooth sounds of Morning Ritual are the latest efforts from Portland composer and songwriter Ben Darwish. The second album of this project, titled The Clear Blue Pearl, takes things through a slow jazzy turn that is accompanied by eloquently folk vocals. The album is a collaboration with local bluegrass sister super duo, Shook Twins, and the vocal harmonies ring out in each track. Most of the songs are based around the piano grooves by Darwish and back-boned by walking stand up bass lines to compel the jazz elements within their tone. This album stretches across many platforms and genres and really brings something new to the Portland scene. Undertones of R&B and indie rock are prevalent throughout. Fortunately you have the opportunity to hear these elements as The Clear Blue Pearl is being celebrated with an album release party this Thursday at Doug Fir. - Colin Hudson

May 2013
Morning Ritual
"The Clear Blue Pearl

In The Clear Blue Pearl, Morning Ritual has collaborated with Shook Twins to shape an album that is as progressive as it is nostalgic. The album borrows elements of soul, folk and R&B then filters them through modern production that accents the poignant arrangements and soaring vocal harmonies. Working with the classic instrumentation of keys, upright bass, drums and an occasional banjo The Clear Blue Pearl is structured with clear intent. The music revolves around the story of a husband and wife on a search for a new home and this collection of tight compositions vividly reflects the thematic arcs of the concept. The opening chords of “Drought” set a calm and melancholic tone of loss that builds into “The Search”, a track that showcases mystical vocal melodies and ethereal percussion. The title track projects light and an uplifting energy that is cut by “Dolphin Song” and reworked into the soulful groove that moves through “Tunnel of Light”. Each track supports and complements the next as the album leads up to the triumphant closer, “Geyser”. The Clear Blue Pearl is a tasteful and well-orchestrated release that, above all, displays an artistic ambition and original style. It’s refreshing to hear.  - Benjamin Toledo


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