It is with great gratitude and sorrow that Satori Bob bids farewell to longtime guitarist Russ Wilbanks. Russ has performed with and been an integral part of the sound of Satori Bob for over four years. His melodic and harmonic playing were a vital part of the first Satori Bob CD "Strangely Familiar" and our live shows. Russ is embracing a new life on the coast of Oregon with a new partner, and is diving headlong into his own music creation. Russ is a great man, a powerful presence, a soul friend, and his part in Satori Bob will be missed. We wish him only the greatest of success and happiness as he moves into the next phase of his musical and life journey.
Playing a solo performance at Meriwether Winery in Veneta last night, I became aware again of the power and starkness of one voice and one guitar. I split time between electric and acoustic, exploring a host of new original tunes and revisiting some older tunes from the 1992 Satori Bob release "Big Sky Sessions." Amy and Jennifer and the crew were great and welcoming.
I am growing to love these solo excursions, but am also looking forward to duos, trios, and the whole band in upcoming gigs.
"He who is not busy being born is busy dying."
Bob Dylan said that, and it's one of the operative principles of my life. Music is dynamic and resists stasis. Satori Bob is no exception. 2013 was a year of transformation, and like all transformations, there are endings and beginnings. Noah Kamrat has filled in ably for Jeff Langston who now lives in Portland and still plays gigs when he can. Russ Wilbanks is embracing his own music with a couple of new projects and has relocated to the coast of Oregon. The original 4-piece band is changing, and all change brings with it sadness and positive expectation.
John and Devin are exploring the roots of their 20 year musical relationship, getting back to the core simplicity and stark arrangements of Satori Bob music. The duo played an outstanding show at the Vet's Club in Eugene last night and debuted new original music and a couple new covers (Going To California and Mercy Street). The response was very positive and the rawness of the acoustic duo was clear and welcome.
There are rumblings on the horizon of wider interest in the music of Satori Bob. Stay tuned. 2014 feels like a good year comin.'
Found this review of our CD Release Event last year floating on the vast ocean of the Internets. Enjoy.
"Which one is Bob?" - Satori Bob CD release at 16 Tons on Friday, December 14. (Video)
CD release event December 13, 2012 By: Stephen Carnefix
"Which one is Bob?" - Satori Bob CD release at 16 Tons on Friday, Dec. 14.
Satori Bob is performing at 16 Tons to celebrate a release of their CD, Strangely Familiar, available only on CDs (which will be available at the venue). Satori Bob's personnel are John Baumann - Guitar & Vocals, Devin Newman - Banjo, Jeff Langston - Bass, and Russ Wilbanks - Guitars.
Satori - sudden enlightenment, often from some mundane event ("Have you eaten? Wash your bowl.") Bob - a name that is spelled the same way backwards and forwards.
There is a sudden enlightenment when the patron realizes that no one in the band is named "Bob," (although Charter Member and guitarist extraordinaire Bob Gagnon, who presumably still lives in the wilds of Vermont but doesn't currently perform with the band, might have been an influence). John Baumann is the artistic anchor, the composer of the songs, the group is basically a vehicle for presenting his material, but the band is "more than the sum of its parts," and a different animal from John as a solo performer, even though he's "doing" the same material.
The band often sounds like Tom Waits fronting a newgrass quartet, with the nearly omnipresent banjo texture woven in by Devin Newman. The banjo delivers a percussive drive that replaces any need for drum support, as Devin explores unconventional banjo approaches; Bela Fleck is an inspiration, for example.
John Baumann's artistic debt to Tom Waits is openly acknowledged, the most obvious influence on his vocal style, and while he credits John Prine as an important influence, that influence is more obvious perhaps in his lyrics, and the harmonic architecture of his compositions. Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia are also credited influences.
John often plays a rhythm guitar role to support his vocals, while leads, riffs, and fills are served up by Russ Wilbanks, who brings his own personal extraordinaire to the "greater than the sum of its parts" of the current incarnation of Satori Bob.
Jeff Langston's bass resume starts at Berklee School of Music, includes gigs all over the world, supporting at times well-known stars like Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Phoebe Snow, and Roger McGuinn. His band Antony and the Johnsons won the Mercury Prize in Britain in 2005, and ‘The Crying Light’ debuted at the top of the European Billboard charts in 2009.
Ya gotta have dreams. We love playing in Oregon, especially in Eugene, but we're looking down the road at other goals. In some ways, we're already beyond what we had hoped for with a consistent performing schedule, name recognition, radio airplay, a fine first CD. We're now pulling together songs for our second recording, we're looking to tour outside Oregon, and there are hopes of showcases in places like Nashville and Austin. We welcome our fellow travelers (that's you) to help us. Make suggestions of venues to play. Let us know if you know of great talent/booking agents that work nationally. Recommend a manager. Invite us to your town and let us know where we should play. Everything is welcome at this point. Bass Player Extraordinaire Jeff Langston has moved to Portland, so for many of our local gigs we're honored to be playing with the amazing Noah Kamrat on upright bass. We have nefarious plans to team them up at some point, but in the meantime we're awash in excellent bass players. There's nothing like the autumn moon We fall like leaves into a swoon We flutter to the ground We take our leave without a sound
Bands and music shift and change, but as long as the Music is the focus, great things can continue to happen. Satori Bob continues to grow its fan base, radio airplay is increasing, and most tellingly, the number of strange companies out there contacting us and promising us the moon grows as well. We are actively looking for solid representation as we move beyond the comfortable borders of Oregon. We have big things in mind, and are hoping that the things that got us here -- the support of fantastic people who buy our CDs and come to our shows -- will help us make the leap to the next level.
Suggest strategies to us, let us know of good gig venues in your area, refer booking agents or managers or talent agents to us. You can submit information right through this website, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check our calendar, dates are filling up and we're hoping to crash the Portland scene and begin our journeys from Seattle to San Francisco. We welcome your help and advice. Stay tuned...
Thanks to Eric Alan with his show Living Large on KLCC for hosting Satori Bob on Thursday, Jan 31. The show is archived at KLCC. The station has been playing our music, and our interview and performance were a great deal of fun. Hope to be back soon !!
On Saturday, February 2, Satori Bob played a great show at a beautiful concert hall at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Following a KLCC live radio appearance, a larger-than-expected crowd showed up and was very appreciative. Thanks to Niki and the crew at Lincoln City Cultural Center, as well as the historic Anchor Inn (hope we didn't keep you folks up too late). As a band, we are hitting a stride that is really satisfying and fun. We're looking forward to many more adventures like this one. A real stage, a listening crowd, and some great recordings. Thanks to everyone who came out for the show.
2013 looks to be a promising year for Satori Bob. We just finished a year that featured the release of our popular CD "Strangely Familiar," are seeing our songs get some radio play, and finished the year with a great show in front of a very appreciative crowd at one of our favorite venues, the Axe and Fiddle in Cottage Grove, OR. Our CD release party was a tremendous success in November, and the band is turning heads. We have some great things in the works for 2013, including a busy gig schedule that begins in January with shows at S'Wine, Creswell Coffeehouse, the Drift Inn, and on Feb 2, the Lincoln City Cultural Center. We are looking to expand out of the Oregon area into selected festivals and showcases. Stay tuned...
"I absolutely love the new CD. The stories take me down different roads and trips while Johns voice pulls you in. I like how all the instruments interweave with each other yet at the right moments allow breathing in the songs."