Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Label: 3Rays Records
Sounds Like: Cowboy Junkies, The Black Crowes, Joan Osborne, Gillian Welch, Sheryl Crow
Sightseer is a female-fronted rock band with an alt-country twist backed by drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keys and occasionally violin. Soulful, passionate vocals with a broad appeal that evoke images of whiskey nights and heartbroken mornings. Sometimes vulnerable, sometimes tough... always memorable.
The last year has been good to the band with release of their debut release "What Tomorrow Brings" in February to great reviews and a number of high profile gigs including unofficial showcases at SxSW in Austin TX, The Bite of Seattle, the Hard Rock Cafe, and in-studio guest performances on some local radio stations. The band is currently in the studio working on a followup and planning a Spring 2013 release and small tour.
Sightseer began in 2008 when Jason Lightfoot placed an ad in Seattle’s Craigslist under the auspicious heading, “Page Seeking Plant”. This led to a meeting at the local pub between Jason and PA where they happily found out they shared a common musical vision and an affinity for good whiskey. A prior commitment that was due to be canceled by PA’s then current band Queen Jane led to their first gig 13 days later; with eleven original songs penned on the way to practice….usually while waiting in traffic.
PA Mathison grew up in Calgary, surrounded by enormous expanses of sky and miles upon miles of prairie flatland, with long dry summers and bitterly cold winters. The feeling of solitude, desolation, and finding permanence weave their way in her writing, as evidenced in her solo 2005 country release “Not Too Late” and currently in Sightseer’s more dense sound.
Jason Lightfoot has been involved in the Seattle music scene since the early 90’s as a performer, sound engineer, and studio owner . He has played on most stages and venues in the city as a member of Furniture Girls, Alabaster, and the Shawna Locey Band and shared bills with such acts as Linda Perry and Dr. Fink from Prince’s Revolution band.
The addition of multi-instrumentalist Jason Welling (Dangermart, Golden Robot Army) in early 2011 allowed the band to both branch out and hone in on a unique sound; a mix somewhere between classic rock, indie rock, and alt-country. His considerable skills have made him an in demand sideman playing all over town with many local artists.
Dave O'Leary is a writer and a musician who first came across Sightseer when writing about the band for both Seattle Subsonic and NorthWest Music Scene, and simply put, he fell in love with the tunes instantly. When the band was undergoing some lineup changes in early 2012, Dave subbed on the bass for a few gigs, one of them at SXSW, and they wound up liking him well enough to offer him the full time gig.
Veteran drummer David Nielsen started his musical career far away in Japan with a set of head phones and Led Zeppelin records. On stage and in the studio David has performed both locally and internationally with artists such as Japanese pop star Ann Lewis, Heart bassist Steve Fossen, Life Ring, Tlag Nhoj, John Galt, and Rock Steady.
“PA Mathison of the Seattle band Sightseer is a natural-born storyteller. That trait that shines through loud and clear in the song, “Resting Place,” the best song Marshall Tucker never recorded and a track on the Discoveries Playlist.”
Carla DeSantis - M.E.O.W.
“The band’s latest album is dance-able, as well as, radio and stadium ready. Each song grabs hold, taking the listener deep within the musical movements that take place throughout the entire masterpiece. The album has a rich mixture of acoustic folk, jazz, southern rock, and country.
Kim Pedone - Little Queen Music
“We're partial to country bands from the Pacific Northwest, so that might explain why we liked Sightseer so much. Or, it could be that they're just a great band whose Seattle-style rock blends perfectly with country to create a totally unique sound.”
The Country Reviewer
“... Mathison has an attractive voice, full throated or tender as required...”
Paul Kerr - AmericanaUK
“The place where the wind from the plains hits the shadow of the mountains can be searing hot one moment then turn to a sudden chill the next, this is where the music of Sightseer lives. The Seattle five piece Americana / Alt Country band is lead by Calgary Chanteuse PA Mathison, whose throaty alto draws you deep into her siren songs of love, loss, reflection and redemption on top of a full throttle heartland sound as big as all outdoors.
The eleven strong songs are reminiscent of cow punk pioneers Lone Justice or a beefed up Cowboy Junkies, employing equal parts torch and twang of gritty guitars from Jason Lightfoot and soaring Fiddle and keys from Jason Welling.
...“who knows what tomorrow brings,” but one thing is for certain, when this album gets the attention it deserves it will bring great things for her and Sightseer.”
Rick J Bowen - No Depression
“I caught Sightseer at the Skylark Cafe a month or so ago, but as I was there to see a different band on the bill and it being a hard thing for me to write about more than one band per evening, I made only the following note about them in my notebook, “Good band. Black Crowesy at times. Soulful at others. See them.””
Dave O'Leary - Seattle Subsonic
“Read It and Weep,” a hard-hitting tale of self-loathing, is the song that best showcases the early identity of local rockers Sightseer. Led by the strong female vocals of P.A. Mathison, the song – like Sightseer’s others – is rooted in alternative-country, bringing to mind bands like Okkervil River and Wilco. Based on their work so far, Sightseer hasn’t yet created a distinctive sound, but the pieces seem to be in place. Just check out the excellent, wailing guitar solo on “Resting Place.” For a folksier, acoustic act, be sure to catch opener The Washover Fans. With The Young West.
Bryden McGrath - The Seattle Weekly