Last year, I got a frenzied IM from Oz telling me about my new favorite band. They were called Port O’Brien. The lead singer worked on the fishing boats. Blah, blah, blah. My rule of thumb is to listen to only about 30% of what he tells me.
So I downloaded it off of eMusic, gave it a couple of spins and it sort of just drifted away. Fast forward a month or so and Oz inquires whether I like Port O’Brien or not. My response was “eh, they’re okay I guess.” His response was terse, firm, and filled with expletives. To paraphrase, “You are an idiot. Go listen to it again.”
For once he was right on the money. I really delved into The Wind & The Swell one day on a jog and it just all clicked. I couldn’t get enough. I was like Pookie in New Jack City and Port O’Brien became my new go-to band, replacing Okkervil River as the default selection in my iPod when I didn’t feel like scrolling. I played the crap out of The Wind & The Swell but still hadn’t seen them live until SXSW.
They played a short set at the Dew Process Party at SXSW 2008, and since then I’ve been soaking in their forthcoming release, All We Could Do Was Sing. It’s a giant leap forward for them and, like the previous album, each song gets a little bit better with every listen.
These three tunes are new are not on either release so this live session is a real treat. While each track is special, the third tune, “Is This Really What It’s Come To,” knocks my socks off every time I listen to it. I was entranced when they played it in the studio and it just might be my favorite all-around Port O’Brien tune. Please enjoy one of the best bands out there today. It was a pleasure to have them in the studio.
Read our review of The Wind and The Swell.
Read our review of Port O’Brien’s upcoming release All We Could Do Was Sing.
Listen to past live sessions and stay tuned for upcoming sessions with Howlin’ Rain and Justin Townes Earle.
Here’s also a great video of another new song by POB, “Fisherman’s Son.”