By Joel DeVyldere
Fresh off their second appearance at the Northwest String Summit, Portland-based bluegrass quintet Fruition is back on the road, playing savvy, smart, danceable originals at bars and festivals on both coasts. The band is set to hit Bombs Away this Friday.
“Stop trying to define everything. Step outside and just dream.” Melody, harmony, rhythm, and mandolin groove together into track after track, and record after record of front porch sittin’, freeway drivin’ songs.
Touring is an integral part of the band’s identity and message. “It has really accelerated in the last few years as we try to hit as much of the country as possible and spread that whiskey gospel,” said lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Kellen Asebroek.
“When the crowd is right there with you on stage, and your band is right there next to you, it’s a very nurturing environment for feeding off each other and feeding off the energy in the crowd,” Asebroek reflected. Mandolinist Mimi Naja and guitarist Jay Cobb Anderson round out the songwriting dream team. Earnest, relatable songs about love lost, brain cells burned, and life out on the road roll off the tongue at show after show.
“Each one of our shows, night to night, is unique,” Asebroek said. “The songs are a reflection of where we’re at, mentally or spiritually or whatever, at the moment they’re being played. And also a reflection of the crowd.”
Fruition took a turn toward classic rock with last month’s Meet Me on the Mountain, a collaboration with psychedelic country rockers Grant Farm. Notes of John Denver and Fleetwood Mac filter in through Fruition’s signature bluegrass twang, delivering a fresh sound layered onto edgy lyrics.
Here, again a philosophy of ever-evolving art has taken root. The old jam band standard of a thirst for collaboration with the crowd lives on in Fruition’s live approach.
“We’re definitely influenced by the energy in the room and the energy between us,” Asebroek mused. “Even if we’ve played a song a million times, we try and breathe new life into it every night.”
Fruition will be playing at Bombs Away Cafe Friday, Oct. 24 at 9:30 p.m. Cover: $10.