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Amadan : New Album Release

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Fans throughout the Willamette Valley (Oregon) of the driving rhythms behind Amadan’s brand of stout Irish music can slake their thirst for a new recording with the April release of the band’s third album, “Pacifica.”

Renowned for rocking audiences hard from Corvallis to Portland since the turn of the century, Amadan will unveil a new purity in their signature sound, perfected through scores of performances since the 2004 release of “Hell Bent 4 Victory,” says Kevin Pardew, who plays bass and has recently taken on the role of band manager.

Studio recording for “Pacifica,” which contains 10 original songs, one traditional Irish tune and one instrumental, began last July, allowing the band to “let it breathe” before undertaking the final mix this month. Pardew says the higher production quality of this album showcases the members’ unique instrumentation and fully-evolved performance synergy, while completing Amadan’s shift to electric from its early acoustic endeavors.

“This album is very much a snapshot of what we have been doing creatively in the last two years,” he explains.

Named for the Irish-Gaelic colloquialism meaning “fool” or “idiot,” Amadan consists of six performers, now ranging in age from 28 to 36, whose connection to Oregon State University and Corvallis has stayed strong since the group’s inception in 1999. Each member has earned at least one degree from OSU and each pursues professional careers, from culinary arts and biomechanics to soil science and flight instruction, in addition to their Amadan incarnations.

Eric Tonsfeldt (guitar, vocals and lyrics) and Mike Morrow (drums) have been with Amadan from the beginning, joined over the years by Andy Gross (didgeridoo), Naoyuki Ochiai (accordion, fiddle), Jeremy Bauer (spoons, banjo, whistle, snare drum), and in 2003 by Pardew, who writes lyrics and sings in addition to playing the six-string bass.

While Bauer, Gross and Ochiai remain in Corvallis, Tonsfeldt, Morrow and Pardew now live in Portland, where Pardew’s record label, Asán, newly launched with “Pacifica,” is based. The threesome tours as The Eric Tonsfeldt Trio and will play at Platinum in Corvallis on March 23.

Following early- to mid- April release concert dates, in Corvallis at Platinum, in Eugene at John Henry’s and in Portland at Berbati’s Pan, Amadan probably won’t embark on a promotional tour along its accustomed route, as far north as Vancouver, B.C., and east to Montana, until summer.

Pardew says that one future objective for the group is to play more music-only venues and fewer bar gigs, which will allow for more “all-ages” shows.

“It’s really important to us to connect with younger music fans,” he says, as a means for them to pay forward on their own avid musical interests as teens.

Moreover, Amadan performances staged in the festival or outdoor type of arena, where their fans can dance, are, Pardew believes, the “biggest reason for our success.”

“Our focus is on performing, sometimes 75 shows a year,” he says. “That desire is shared; you can’t fake that. We enjoy our audience, we’re engaging and respectful. We’re not trying to come off like we’re on another level.”

Wherever Amadan’s success takes it, however, the feverishly enthusiastic fan base among Corvallis students and citizens alike need have no fear of losing their connection.

“We’ll continue to play in Corvallis every two to three months,” Pardew says. “Platinum and Squirrels work really well for us.”

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4 Comments - (Leave a comment! »)

  • Phillip - Missouri said:

    I myself am a musician and have been involved with bands so I find articles and stories about them incredibly interesting. I know exactly how it feels to pack up before a big show, have those songs you always sing along to in the van, and the rush of talking to fans. A lot of people haven’t experienced the excitement and thrill that accompanies these experiences and it’s hard to explain to them just how it feels to be a part of a brotherhood such as that. I felt the article could have conveyed that feeling a lot more than it did. Don’t get me wrong, it was technically sound and it wasn’t bad by any means, it just lacked that feeling that all musicians want to transfer: the passion they themselves have for their music and fans.

  • Kevin said:

    I just didn’t understand how this piece fits into the purpose of the magazine. They are a band who plays Irish music. How is that helping the world? How is that being a “winner”? Perhaps the article would have fit better if the writer would have written more about the personalities of the members of Amadan. I know this isn’t Rolling Stone, but still…

  • Josef – Montana said:

    Amadan New Album release has me intrigued about the band; I’m a sucker for irish rock. Good to know what they’ve been up to, where they like to gig, gives the reader an idea what sort of people they are. Maybe i overlooked it but i wish there was some sort of link to their music, so i could stream it while i read. It would help the band and I feel multimedia articles are always appreciated by the reader.

  • Scott S. said:

    I read this because, as a musician, I find album reviews, articles about bands, and music related articles interesting. I thought the article was informative and well written. He gives good information on the new album citing the high quality sound, and how it helps the recording. He also gives information on the band members, and their local history with the university which adds much needed depth to the article. He uses quotes from the band to help support his points throughout the article. In places, though, the article was a little confusing. I found the amount of prepositional phrases he used confounding at times. It led to vague sentences like: “Fans throughout the Willamette Valley (Oregon) of the driving rhythms behind Amadan’s brand of stout Irish music can slake their thirst for a new recording with the April release of the band’s third album, “Pacifica.” Also, some sentences became too complex and should have been punctuated differently to clarify meaning. It doesn’t seem like he had listened to the band much, and if he has, he doesn’t know how to describe their music to entice a reader to go buy the album or see a live show. It’s not a bad article, and for preexisting fans of the band it was probably interesting; the people who haven’t heard them probably need more information

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