When Ben Braden and Sarah Parson started the Lower 48 in Minneapolis, they were a soft and heartfelt folk band. Their debut album, Where All Maps End, was relatively well received and launched them as an up-and-coming folk band to be noticed. Since then, they’ve moved to Portland, changed their lineup, and added a bit of old fashioned 60s pop to the blend.
In the meantime, their music has been featured on TV (Necessary Roughness, Catfish, Teen Mom 2) and in the movies (Tiger Eyes) as well as in commercials. And a follow-up, self-titled album has been released to mostly positive reviews.
They’re on tour now in support of the album and will come through Corvallis before moving on to several weeks of shows in California. Their Corvallis date will feature fellow Portland alt-folk mainstays symmetry/symmetry opening for them.
The dark fusion of folk, electronic, and alternative that is symmetry/symmetry is a perfect offset to the more upbeat sounds of the Lower 48. With hints of jazz, progressive, classic rock, and grunge, they provide a dark atmosphere for the poppier headliner to cut through. Sort of like Pink Floyd mixed with Alice in Chains mixed with Bright Eyes, if that makes sense, or even sounds like something you’d ever want to hear.
It should be. This is going to be a bumpy (and folksy) ride.
The Lower 48 and symmetry/symmetry play at Bombs Away Café on Monroe Avenue in Corvallis on Saturday, April 19 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5.