After recording five records in nearly a decade as Castanets, Ray Raposa returns soon with Little Death Shaker (out Sept. 4th on Asthmatic Kitty), the debut record from his new band, Raymond Byron & the White Freighter. Their release show headlines our free monthly showcase collaboration with Mississippi Studios Friday night (the 24th) at the venue, along with Houndstooth and Dolorean’s Al James.
If the music of Castanets can be called post-modern Americana (transporting “old, weird America” to new, even weirder America, with the music tending to follow), Raymond Byron & the White Freighter’s brand of Americana, though not without its moments of weird, is by contrast more at ease in these times (even if it still just wasn’t made for them).
Ray Raposa (aka Byron) replaces the haunted noir of Castanets with a sound that is almost rollicking, nearly roadhouse on songs like “Allegiance 1” and “Some of My Friends,” while “Meridian, MS” and “Some Kind of Fool” are ballads that sound like they could have been lifted from Willie Nelson’s early songwriter demos. It’s lazy to simply call it more mature, though Raposa himself calls this new direction “a band for his 30’s,” with a sound that is the result of the contributions of a group of musicians playing songs that are more suited to a live setting. Ultimately, he describes it as a more honest approach.
Raymond Byron & the White Freighter joined us boasting an all-star Portland band comprised of Raposa, Talia Gordon (vocals), Cory Gray (keys), Dan Wilson (guitar), Adam Forkner (bass), and Ron Burns (drums).
Read Ray Raposa’s poem mentioned in the interview, “August at Sea Level”
Audio recording/mixing: Steven Kray
Video production: Nate Sjol
Video shooters: Nate Sjol / David Christensen
Photos: Nathan Quigley