Humility and Healing

Life is one huge paradox.  It is both rugged and fragile – one part pleasure and another part pain.  It may end tomorrow or last 100 years.  There are certain elements of life that we as individuals are in control of, but there are many times when our story is written for us.  When times get tough for Our friends or family members, we have an obligation to help them write happiness into their story.  As members of our communities and citizens of the world, we simply owe it to each other.  It is not possible to achieve anything in life without the love, support, and guidance of other people!

 

With this in mind, I would like to invite all of you to an awesome event on May 3rd in Yakima, WA.  That night, we will be releasing our new full-length album, “Out Here.”  While we are incredibly proud of the album and excited to share it with all of you, the true reason for the night is coming together in support of one of our own.  A hometown friend and an ardent supporter of CBC, Jared Yoakum needs our help!  At just 30 years old, he has been diagnosed with, and is being treated for a rare form of colon cancer.  Although he has an amazing emotional support system, cancer is a bitch, and she is expensive.  We all have a chance to help.

 

Having teamed up with Liberty Bottleworks, Yakima Craft Brewery, Naches Heights Vineyards, Coca-Cola of Yakima, Dutch Bros. Coffee, and Relay for Life, we are elated for the opportunity to put on one helluva fundraising party!  One of our friends is in need of some love, please come out and help the cause.  It will be an unforgettable experience!You can now get tickets online at www.codybeebeandthecrooks.com or physical tickets at Liberty Bottleworks, Yakima Craft Brewery, Off the Record, and Dutch Bros. Coffee.

 

Thank you, all for reading and continuing to support our band; it means the world to us!

 

- Joe Catron

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Out Here

Rain. There is a bitter-sweet melancholia and exuberant joy that puddles around everything in a rainy Seattle winter. There is an internal conflict. Should one recklessly stomp through dark puddles, covering everything in grit and mud? Should one hunker down by a fire with a cup of dark coffee and a new vinyl treasure from the local record store? Or, merely smile at the gray, knowing that our verdancy depends on it and will inevitably follow?

In December 2012, we recorded our sophomore, full-length album entitled “Out Here.” It is dripping with rain and steeped in the stories we lived and heard while touring as a blue-collar band the last four years. There is seriousness in these songs, and there is hope too.

“Out Here” is our band’s record of the past four year’s excitement and challenges. It is our way of making sense of the places we saw, the people we met, and the stories we heard. The album title itself is shared by one of our songs that tells the story of a one-hundred year old homestead in the Montana prairies and the tale of the people that lived and died there as immigrant homesteaders. Another of our songs tells the story of friends that are fighting cancer and loss, and there is another that tells the story of the ones we leave behind when we take to the highway…

However dark the stories we heard, the common theme was always hope. “Things were hard, but they got better.” “The challenges we lived through and experienced improved us. Those rough times helped us appreciate the beauty and opportunity around us. They shaped us”

Musically, “Out Here” is a raw, roots-rock Americana record. Producer John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Brandi Carlisle, Nada Surf, Sleater-Kinney, The Posies) captured the live energy of our band, and the dynamic essence of our songs. “Out Here” was recorded at London Bridge Studios (Seattle) to analog tape, and it displays the warm edginess that is so characteristic of the classic Seattle sound. The songs were written collectively by all of Cody Beebe & The Crooks with additional arrangement by Jonathan Plum and additional writing by Tommy Simmons.

We were fortunate to have a wealth of incredible guest artists record on the album as well. All our guests are musicians we have performed live with, and we deeply respect their art and abilities. We would like to thank: Greg Floyd (guitar; Whiskey Syndicate), Fysah (vocals), Rl Heyer (guitar; True Spokes, Cracker Factory), Daniel Kamas (vocals), David Miner (tenor saxophone, horn arrangements), Skylar Mehal (guitar; Patrick Foster and The Locomotive), Tyler Paxton (harmonica, banjo), Tommy Simmons (vocals), Tim Snider (strings, electric fiddle), Andrew Vait (vocals; Eternal Fair), Pauline Wick (vocals; The Wicks), Steve O’Brien (trumpet)

“Out Here” will release on iTunes on May 7 with album release concerts on May 3 (Yakima, WA), May 10 (Neumos, Seattle), May 11 (Doug Fir, Portland), May 18 (Molly Malone’s, Los Angeles), and a West Coast tour immediately following.

-Aaron Myers

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Montana and the Missouri River

CBC performing in Seeley Lake, MT

CBC performing in Seeley Lake, MT

The past few weeks have been an incredible journey.  We left Washington for Montana on June 20 and are just now trickling back a few at a time.  Growing up in Montana (and truly loving its culture and natural beauty), it was a pleasure to be able to share it with the rest of the band as we toured the state.  Not only did we get to perform in a few of my favorite cities, but we also performed at a couple weddings for some of my favorite people and got to be a part of their creating lifelong memories.  What an honor!  We enjoyed a perfect Independence Day celebration on Seeley Lake (thank you, Kurt’s Polaris) and were able to introduce Montana to the incredible music of Australian native Blake Noble.  We didn’t waste our time between shows either.  We fished, we enjoyed the farm life, we camped in Glacier National Park, we reacquainted ourselves with the great people and town of Seeley Lake, and we embarked on a two night paddle down the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri River National Monument.  I would love to indulge myself by detailing every moment of this adventure, but I feel obligated to limit it to one good story.  You’ll find that below, but first… THANK YOU to everyone that helped us, hosted us, hired us, hung out with us, and rocked out with us the last three weeks.  Montana truly is the treasure state.

Paddling The Missouri

To me, rivers are the veins and capillaries of our world, and through those passages flow the lifeblood.  Distilled in that substance is the unique nature of the country you’re in, and if you are given the chance to experience it intimately, you glimpse the fundamental character of the landscape you’re surrounded by.  The Upper Missouri River National Monument in North Central Montana simmers with that lifeblood, and when you match its stillness for even a moment, the Missouri will tell you some of her secrets.

Packed, armed, bathed in sunscreen and bug repellent, toting a good measure of Songbird Syrah from Washington’s Red Mountain (as well as a healthy portion of layman’s beer from Montana’s finest pub), we boarded two canoes and a kayak and began river mile 1 of 43.  Accounted for were our provisions, a tool for every job, a device for every possibility, and our rules.  Of these, there were far fewer than gear…  In fact, there were only two.

Rule #1 – Don’t capsize your canoe.

Rule #2 – Don’t get bit by a rattlesnake.

Though neither was a weighty nor controversial commandment, one out of two would be broken within the first ten minutes.

Grins broke under sun-squinted eyes.  After all the preparations, we finally embarked… our direct destiny filled only with paddling, fishing, and solitude.  As some in our troupe adjusted to the weight and drag of their boats, the canoeing at first was a little erratic, and it was found that some structural tweaks must be made.  The focal point of our efforts was to be the pony keg of layman’s suds.

A thought flickered in the back of my mind that maybe we were acting greedily taking a keg with us into the wilderness to be motored around by our own grit and strength… But, what is one to do?  Abandon the beer for more exceptional maneuvering?

Somewhere, we had heard these things would float given the chance (I may have even helped to spread that rumor), so we intended to smartly drag the keg behind a canoe.  Thus, two problems were solved: where to put the keg and how to keep it cold…  So, my friend Billy Pierce, with whom I have made this trek many times, tied a good knot around the device and another to the back of his canoe.  He let go; the keg sank.

Luckily, it was tied on.

While retrieving the beer from the bottom of the river, the more scientifically leaning members of our group relayed their long standing opinions on the lack of buoyancy of a keg not yet tapped.  Unfortunately, those opinions had not been voiced to full effect earlier, but lofty thoughts of vacuums and air pressure led directly the next logical step.

“We must tap the keg and drink down the beer.”

Drinking beer to promote exceptional maneuverability?  Rarely yes, but at that moment… yes.

Amidst an eruption of warm, sticky foam, the keg was tapped.  As a yellowy stain ran down my arm, I accepted my first cup.  Foam piled onto foam, and it was undrinkable.  So, after some moments of further deliberation, we decided to put it in a canoe.  There were two immediate options:

Spitfire Betty

Spitefire Betty

Option #1 – Spitfire Betty.  Manned by our percussionist Joe Catron and Billy, Spitfire Betty was the canoe I learned in.  She’s tippy, but she’s fast.

Jolly Green Giant

Jolly Green Giant

Option #2 – Jolly Green Giant.  Bassist Eric Miller and our singer Cody Beebe manned option two.  She was a plastic Coleman special – a whale of a boat and nearly impossible to tip.

The only outside consideration while designating the location of our beer was this: Eric and Cody are gluten intolerant and don’t drink beer.

After we mounted the 120 lbs. keg to the tippy (but she’s fast) canoe, I turned around and pressed play on the small $20 boombox strapped behind me.  Leo Kottke’s “Meadowlark” rang out, and the Western Meadowlarks in the trees around us chimed in their old tune.  The mood was perfect.

Then, Joe and Billy broke Rule #1.

Initially, tipping over a canoe is funny.  Everyone laughs and the water is refreshing.  Soon after, the problem of righting the canoe and relieving it of the water it has taken on whilst floating down a fairly strong current and not losing all your gear dawns on your consciousness.  It isn’t until later that you worry about the soundness of your dry-bags and the dryness of your sleeping bags.

A few Physics lessons solidly clunked in our minds at that point concerning buoyancy and centrifugal force.  Full kegs don’t float and shouldn’t be strapped to the highest point of the most unstable (but she’s fast) canoe.  Three quarters of an hour later, we set off again.  We were still smiling, our gear was all accounted for (its dryness still not considered), and the keg finally sulked in the boat manned by our gluten intolerant conglomerate.  Thus, we crossed into river mile 2 of 43.

A hawk glided down and called to us what we thought must be our welcome, and we soon passed two immense bald eagles perched as still as the dead of night on equally impressive cottonwoods.  The sentries.

We paddled, floated, enjoyed some wine, tried to de-foam our beer, and fished.  On a hunch, I told Billy he was going to catch the first fish as he had recently taken his sons fishing the Dearborn River.  Good river Karma is good river Karma, and Billy soon had a catfish on.

Ten minutes later, I nabbed a goldeye.  A goldeye is a particularly un-fun fish to catch.  They don’t fight, there isn’t anything on them to eat, and it makes you question your river Karma.  I can’t recall who caught the next catfish, but someone did and it wasn’t me.  Then, I caught another goldeye, and shortly after I landed yet another goldeye.  With banter and snickers, I was crowned The Goldeye King and really started analyzing any possible source for my river Karma.

And now for the Big Fish Story…

Drifting back behind the group, I continued to fish in earnest.  I have heard that fishing is done at least 50% in the mind, and I steeped mine into its most predatory stance.  I became part of my surroundings, and I became silent.  Fishing even more intently, I questioned whether or not it is selfish to pray for a fish.  Can I trouble My Maker just for a nice trout?  Then it happened…  Just as I moved my lips to begin my fishy prayer…

Something grabbed my eye from starboard side.  I whirled to cast in that direction.  A plomp (or maybe it was more of a glug) sounded from the surface of the river.  My hand twitched to the reel.  I cast.

The biggest Walleye I have ever laid eyes on floated to the surface – belly skyward and freshly dead just two feet from my boat.

Now, you may think at this point that my river Karma is of course bad, but I am not totally convinced of that.  Consider this.  I was floating well behind the rest of the group.  Any one of them could have caught the fish (as they passed by directly before he died), but they did not catch him.  Instead, a truly magnificent predator, wily enough to survive in well fished waters, died of old age right under me and floated to the surface right where I couldn’t miss him…  I have great river Karma!

Giant Pike spotted by yours truly

Giant Pike spotted by yours truly

Of course, you may say, “How do you know it died right under you?  It could have died long before and was submerged by the current and just happened to pop up next to you.”  You could say that, but it is my fish story and that is how it ends.  I have great river Karma.

Later, we arrived at Hole in the Wall, an incredible rock formation that is undeniably self descriptive and served as our camp site.  Montana performed her nightly symphony with the sun and the horizon, and the stars materialized in an arch, blotted out only by a distant lightning storm on the prairie to the North.  It is unclear when we discovered that the majority of the sleeping bags were quite wet, but it is clear that is was at that point that the fact became the most inconvenient.

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Arriving at Hole in the Wall to camp

Arriving at Hole in the Wall to camp

The next morning was filled with the bustle of breaking camp, some more fishing, and another bit of that incredible Syrah.  Beginning with a cloud of dust and gusting winds, a storm swept in from the West.  It mostly missed us, but it demanded a measure of humility and respect.  We paid our dues and virtually surfed the front downriver.  Pulled and pushed by violent throws, we worked to keep our boats upright and pointed downhill.  As we neared the final destination, the wind quieted and Cody, Eric, and Billy caught some more catfish.  Billy even caught a nice walleye.  Of course, I topped it off with another goldeye or two.

We rounded the final bend, landed on the boat ramp, and wished we were going a bit further.  Powdery dust billowing, my brother Matthew soon flew over the hill in his black pickup and pulled up next to us.  We loaded up our crafts, and we headed to Pep’s Bar and Lanes in Big Sandy for the nation’s greatest hamburger, some cold beer, and an audience for our stories.  Our keg rode home as full as it had departed (minus some foam) and everyone followed Rule #2 to the last letter.

The end of the trip

The end of the trip

Sometimes, the secrets you learn take a while to understand.  Sometimes, they appear in your work down the line and it is then that you realize you heard them.

- Aaron Myers (keys and piano)

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I met an older fella named Doug

Thanks for your patience and understanding regarding the lapse between blog posts!  Thank goodness you aren’t our friends because we are talented and prolific writers!  Anyway, we have collectively agreed to make the blog a priority, and we all look forward to doing our due diligence.  As far as the music goes, we are all very excited about the direction and the depth of the new music we are creating and we look forward to sharing it with all of you!  Our Summer schedule is booked out solid and we have so many exciting events coming up that it wouldn’t do any good trying to recite them all to you now; the website has all of the info you will need to come share an evening or 2 with us this summer!

            All 5 of us will be taking turns writing the blog and I think it will be really cool for you all to get a little better understanding of us as individuals; what we do with our spare time, our favorite local hikes, our pet peeves, our favorite meals, etc.  There are many of you that know us as close friends, and there are many more casual fans that would perhaps like to be a bigger part of this journey we find ourselves on.  It is you, the fans, that make this dream possible for us, and please believe me when I say that we genuinely cherish and appreciate every ounce of support that you have all provided over the years.  Thank you.

            After having traversed the country a couple times, I think back to all of the seemingly random people that I have encountered and shared precious moments with.  Are they really just random people that happened to be in the same city, at the same time, at a CBC show?  I am increasingly convinced that these “random” interactions aren’t random at all.  Does everything happen for a reason?  I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that if you keep your brain aware and your heart engaged, life has a way of rewarding you.

            Yesterday at work, I met an older fella named Doug.  He was on the hunt for some daphne plants, and I was happy to help him pick a couple out.  As we were walking and talking about the weather, (as us old men do) I commented on his very nicely crafted pearl snap western shirt, and told him that I play in a band and wear those things during concerts (as many of you know, we Crooks try to out-do each other with vintage pearl snaps, but I digress).  When I told Doug that I was a local musician, his demeanor noticeably changed.  He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Son, I kinda have a crazy story.”

Percussionist and Blog Auther Joe Catron wearing a western pearl snap.

Percussionist and Blog Author Joe Catron wearing a western pearl snap, much like the one Doug had on when the two met.

            Doug went on to tell me that several years ago, he and his wife were about to go to bed for the evening, but he couldn’t get to sleep because he had some words running through his head.  He told me that he just kept hearing “If I’m here all night, wake me in the morning.”  This verse continued to cycle through his head for about 2 weeks, when finally, Doug, who is not a musician and had never written a song before in his life, sat down and tried to get the words out of him.  As he explains it, he sat down with a pen and paper, and before he knew it, the sheet was filled with words.  As a veteran of the Korean War, Doug experienced some very raw and unforgettable days, and he also lost some very good friends.  He sincerely believes that one of those friends is responsible for the words that he wrote down and he believes that he is an acting conduit for his fallen comrade.  I believe him too.  At this point of the conversation, I was covered with goosebumps and hanging by his every word.  He went on to say that he had several times considered just sending the poem down to Nashville and seeing if anything ever came of it, but never actually got around to doing it.  He had just come across the poem again the past Sunday, and him and his wife again discussed the logistics of getting it into the hands of someone who could formulate a song out of it.  Doug then, for whatever reason, decided he was going to try to find a local musician to give it to.  The following Tuesday he came in to the nursery to get some daphne plants.
-Joe 

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The Art of Gratitude

This Friday (Feb. 10, 2012), we will be kicking off a great festival at Nectar Lounge in Fremont, WA, called Northwest Lovefest.  The festival celebrates the connection between community and art and how essential that support is for art to survive.  We couldn’t imagine a better cause and a more meaningful weekend or venue for it because this Friday will also mark the third anniversary of our band.  It was at Nectar Lounge three years ago that I nervously paced around, mentally ran through songs I barely knew, and shook hands with our percussionist Joe Catron for the first time.  I think Cody was in worse shape than me as far as nerves go.  If I was pacing, he was doing laps, and, as always, Chris and Eric were as cool as two arctic sea cucumbers (as the old adage goes).

I honestly can’t remember how we sounded that night.  I know we had a great time, and it strongly affected the directions of all our lives.  It wasn’t long after that night and we were fortunate enough to record an album together.  Then, we fullfilled long held dreams by criss-crossing the nation, sharing our passion with an incredible variety of characters, crazies, and very fine folks. 

There are a few ways the success of a band is commonly judged.  Are you famous?  Are you rich?  Have high school kids begun to dress like you?  Well, we certainly aren’t famous, and splurging on a fancy dinner means deli meat over pressed ham product (water added).  We are unaware of any high shoolers running off to purchase Ariat boots or used pearl button shirts.  In fact, there are liklely adolescents mocking our wardrobe and sheer linear feet of hair at this very moment.  But, then, how can you take some punk wearing his little sister’s jeans and multicolored neon shoe laces seriously?  The fact is we feel successful just to still be doing what we are doing – playing music together.

Yesterday, Joe and I sat down to dinner and beers.  As the distance between the foamy heads of our IPA’s and the bottom of our glasses lessened, we began talking about how much support we’ve been given… all the people that have helped us out over the past three years.  People like Leslie who will drive hours to see us play and always brings us a huge batch of homemade cookies, or Katie and Brett in Austin that let eight rock and rollers turn their backyard into a campsite for a week, our families whose encouragement and help have sustained us, Sue and Doug in New Jersey who gave us a little feeling of home when we were thousands of miles from our own, our significant others who don’t see us for weeks or even months and are still excited when we finally show up (often with 4 guys in tow begging for couch space), the hard-cores up on Chinook Pass and the Nile Valley that love our music and inspire us to keep making it, the cities of Yakima, Selah, Seeley, and Big Sandy for accepting us for who we are and urge us to keep going.  This list could go on for miles, and I’m tempted to make that happen.  It is a shame to neglect any one person.  You know who you are, and we sincerely appreciate your support and think of you often.  We are a band of five that seems to stand on the legs of a thousand.
 
So, this Friday, we return to where it all started for CBC – The Nectar Lounge.  We will be kicking off Northwest Lovefest and celebrating the connection between community and art. Truly, we couldn’t imagine a better cause.

Thank You,
Aaron

*Presale tickets for Friday’s show at Nectar can be found at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/e/221598.

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The Character of Creation

There is a subtle ringing in my ears – I’ve worn headphones all day and own the real estate closest to Chris’ drum set.  We hammer out the same two measure long transitional riff that we’ve continued constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing for a long while.  Cody’s exasperated exhalation is literally amplified through a series of electronics and harmonizes with each of our own inner thoughts.
 “Maybe we should take a break for dinner,” Eric suggests.  We all respond with an almost over-eager chorus of agreement.  So, I gladly pull off the cans, crawl out from behind my keyboard, and we all walk stiffly into the kitchen.  We roast some potatoes and brussel sprouts, grill some burgers, set the table, and all gather around family-like.

Someone says, “Man, I’m starving.  What time is it?”  We all look up at each other cluelessly, and ten eyes drift to the clock.  It is 1:30 AM.  We just prepared a full-course, sit-down meal at 1:30 in the morning.  After a moment of silence that is almost a respectful mourning for our distant selves that kept things like regular hours and long term addresses, we erupt into a welcome, decompressing bout of laughter.  Who cares if we get lost in what we’re doing and lose track of time?  We eat and serve each other massive helpings of banter and bull shit.  Then, we get back to work…  This is how we are proceeding with the task of writing the songs for our next album.

Though the songs we have written thus far are still in rough form and extremely eclectic, I am starting to sense some of the common themes.  This new music seems to serve as our reflection, and we get to study it to discover nuances about our selves we didn’t necessarily understand before we voiced them.  Part of what I hear is an understanding and a respect that the past year of touring and depending on each other must have galvanized amongst us.  It is a giving sort of respect that creates space for us to intently listen to each other, and it is an unspoken understanding resulting in an essential freedom to openly express and create.

I can’t presume to know the outcome of what all this will be, and (as They say) talking about music is like dancing about architecture, so trying to describe what it sounds like is pointless.  I can only say that I am inspired by the attitude of our little tribe, and I am thankful for the atmosphere surrounding this opportunity to make music together.

-Aaron

 

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