Port O’Brien were one of those bands that resonated with us. We had a real connection with them from the first time we heard “I Woke Up Today.” They had a Neil Young-inspired folk-rock sound that was at times rocking and electric, other times organic and acoustic, and sometimes tribal and trippy. Over the years we had them in for two sessions, saw them live on many occasions, chased them down at SXSW, and became friends. Van gives great hugs.
So the demise of Port O’Brien was met with sadness amongst the HearYa staff. Knowing that Van would be firing up a new band helped ease the pain. As I talked to the Oz about what direction Van would be taking, I recalled a show I saw at Schubas in Chicago where Van and Zeb (POB’s then guitarist) were thrashing around the stage, clad in flannel like it was 1995. I told Oz, “I think it’s going to be loud and rocking.”
I was right. Van scratched the surface in Port O’Brien, but WATERS’ Out In The Light gets right up in your grill. It has a decidedly 90s college feel and unleashes a sound more bold, loud and complete than anything he’s released before. As he did with POB, Van has surrounded himself with a full crew of musicians – this time assembled in Norway.
As WATERS loaded in for the session, it was good to reconnect with Van. We talked about Norway, my kids and the upcoming SXSW. If you’re going to be in Austin next week make sure to stop into our party to catch their live set on Thursday at 2:25, inside stage at Beauty Bar. If you miss them there, you’ll have plenty of other chances in Austin. After SXSW, WATERS will be hitting the road with the excellent Delta Spirit. Check their Facebook page for tour details.