During a time when music and musicians seem to be in peril, local Americana artist Joel Thetford is doubling down on his commitment to supporting Portland’s music scene. After a brush with an illness that may have, in fact, been COVID-19, Joel takes the pandemic very seriously. As not only a very active artist but also a frequent audience member of many of Portland’s plethora of mini-scenes, Joel wants to do his part to make sure the artists who rely on live shows for their income get the support they need. He’s donating half of all profits from his newly released album, Live At Port City Music Hall, a recording of his full-band set at Port City last November, to Creative Portland’s Artists Relief Fund.
While many artists have rigged up living-room studios to bring us live music from the comfort and safety of their homes to ours, nothing’s better than a crowd — something we all miss dearly. Live albums are a fantastic way of bottling that energy for later consumption. Mixed by Dan Capaldi, Live at Port City Music Hall does an excellent job of retaining the ambiance of the live setting while fine-tuning a balanced performance to create a lush environment. If you close your eyes, you can easily project yourself into the darkroom, watching the lights change color as Joel and his crew brings you sincerely, heartfelt renditions of his soulful down-to-earth tunes. If you have the means, be sure to buy a digital copy — to hold you, and Portland’s musicians over until the return of live shows.