A mainstay of the Portland music scene over the past several years, Mike Coykendall joins us with an all-star band, including Rob Burger, Mark Orton, Garth “Steel” Klippert, Sean Oldham and Todd Corbett, to play from Chasing Away the Dots, the new record five years in the making out recently on Fluff & Gravy.
Coykendall is nothing if not in demand. The veteran Portland producer and musician has been amazingly prolific over the past two decades or so, roughly half that time spent in the Rose City after relocating from San Francisco. He’s released a handful of records under his own name — this year’s Chasing Away the Dots is his fifth — as well as a part of bands like Klyde Konnor and The Old Joe Clarks. He’s also been a mainstay in M. Ward’s band, and has produced and/or engineered numerous others at his Blue Rooms Studio. It’s been on that production and engineering end that Coykendall has made a name for himself as of late, working with names like Ward, Blitzen Trapper, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside and Jolie Holland, to name a few.
We talked to Coykendall about the varied sound of the new album, what it’s like to produce himself versus others, and his formative years in rural Kansas. The band played four new songs, plus got to an Old Joe Clarks number (Burger and Orton were both members of the San Francisco band along with Coykendall and his wife, Jill).