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Portland Indie Band, Ezra Bell, Releases Unique Folk Album

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Ezra Bell Photo by: Deneb Catalan - NebCat.com

Ezra Bell, a Portland local indie seven piece band, recently released their second album, We Came By Canoe. The energetic band unites well-written, at times melancholy lyrics, with an upbeat concoction of various instruments such as the drums, trumpet and banjo.

Ezra Bell is currently comprised of seven members: Benjamin Wuamett, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, Evan Cael on banjo and percussion, Jane Igoe, cello player and vocalist, Patrick McCarthy on drums, Jeremy Asay, Mandolin/Keys, John England-Fisher, Trumpet/Accordion and Anden Oquendo, Bass.

Although the album is significantly drawn from Folk music, Ezra Bell are clear about their goal to bring a unique take to the genre. The album seamlessly blends folk inspired melodies with Americana and elements of country and even root-rock that can be best heard in tracks such as The Pride of N. Sumner and Dear Old Dad (Again). 

We Came By Canoe, titled after the final song on the EP, is perhaps an ode to the creation of the album itself and to the members that created it. Wuamett explains that in a way, We Came By Canoe, is a tribute to their dream of making music and for dreamers alike. The lyrics, “Hold out dear dreamers/it may come true/it may come by canoe” is about chasing after a dream, regardless of how absurd the chances of achieving it may be. 

“We Came by Canoe is about believing in something that is absurd but you’re holding out for it anyway.” Wuamett said. “We Came by Canoe means we did it anyway.” 

Ezra Bell released their first EP, Don’t All Look Up At Once, in 2013. Since then, Ezra Bell have gained momentum. The band has played many local spots such as Mississippi Studios and Olympia Guest House, as well as several places around the U.S. including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Utah. They have previously toured with indie-folk band, Bevelers and have played with local acts such as Fanno Creek. 

Ezra Bell was originally formed the first time they all played together with a main and constant goal in mind—to continually play music.  

“The formation of the band really came because we wanted to play a lot more music, a lot more than we were,” McCarthy said. 

Some members of Ezra Bell lived in close proximity to one another or had previously known each other through different bands they were in. Igoe recalls responding to a Craigslist “Folk Project” ad, where she auditioned and instantly became part of the band. Wuamett explained that Ezra Bell meshes well together in more than just music. He believes the band is unique because of the mutual love, care and respect that is evident in their relationship with each other.

Photo by: Deneb Catalan - NebCat.com

As individual artists, it's not about who can outshine the other with their instruments, but for them, it's what happens when they all come together and create a cohesive sound. Wuamett explains that each artist separate is average, but when they all come together they create something special, a sort of magic happens. That’s part of what makes Ezra Bell special. McCarthy emphasized that what makes the band unique extends beyond the music they make to the bond they’ve formed. Their music is dependent on their close friendship with one another as well as their mutual respect for each other’s talents. Their music works because they give each other the free range to explore their sound within the confines of the band. 

“Sometimes we get this collective momentum and this energy where we all come together and that’s the beauty of it," Wuamett said. "That’s when we know it’s worth doing.”

Ezra Bell are currently working on several upcoming projects, including new songs to be released as they’re created. They will also be taking creative direction for their upcoming singles from Trevor Robinson, previously on tour with Black Sabbath and Trey Songz. 

Their next show will be on July 23 at 6 p.m. and will be located at Sauvie Island as part of Kruger’s Farm summer concert series. 

For more information regarding the show, click hereFor a digital download of Ezra Bell’s latest EP, visit ezrabell.bandcamp.com

To contact Ezra Bell email [email protected] 


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