Wooden Sleepers is a folk trio based in Portland, Oregon. Their music spans the broad genre of folk, from softer tunes resembling traditional folklore, through upbeat chops in the direction of bluegrass, and on to modern folk with true flavor and creativity. Their combined mandolin, guitar, acoustic bass, and welling harmonies create a whirlwind of enchantment and positive vibration.
The band formed in early 2014 and is comprised of Nolan Gordin, Nik Kemmer, and Phil Krug, with frequent special guests. They hail from California, Maryland, and New York but met in Portland in 2013 at singer/songwriter nights and on the soccer field. All members contribute to song writing and are multi-instrumentalists. With lyrical content reminiscent of travel, romance, the beauty of nature, and life in the Old west, they are sure to captivate. Their influences include Trampled by Turtles, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival, Railroad Earth, Milk Carton Kids, and Fruition.
Playing a series of shows shortly after forming helped the band hone their sound and win over fans. Leaving an immediate impression on listeners, it didn’t take long for folks to start asking for recordings. A four track demo titled Wooden Sleepers, recorded independently in a practice space, was released on April 1st, 2014. It consisted of three original songs and one Bill Monroe cover, with Amy Hakanson appearing on fiddle, banjo, and vocals.
In December 2014, the band set out to the Oregon Coast to record their first EP, River Valley Sessions. With their recording gear and photographer, Alex Kocher, they settled into a cozy cabin on the Siletz River. A bedroom was converted into a temporary studio space. They recorded six original songs and one music video, shared stories, and had epic jam sessions around the wood burning stove. The entire EP was recorded, engineered, mixed, and mastered by the band members, with artwork by Kocher Designs.
On February 20, 2015, Wooden Sleepers had an outstanding album release party at Alberta Street Pub. Joining them were local acts The Desert Kind and Scratchdog Stringband. The crowd was well over 100 strong. Vibrant with energy, they fueled the phenomenal folk frenzy well into the night. Toward the end of the set, Amy Hakanson joined in on fiddle and banjo along with the wonderful Tricia Laine on vocals and washboard.
Throughout the rest of 2015 and into 2016, the band continued to write new material and play countless shows all over the Pacific Northwest. Highlights include a tour through South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Eastern Oregon in August 2015, a musical guest appearance on Off Topic, a beer and travel talk show, sold out Portland shows, and performances at number of weddings and environmental fundraisers. Notable venues include Alberta St. Pub, The White Eagle, Kelly’s Olympian, Laurelthirst Public House, Hawthorne Theater, Stage 112, and Chico Hot Springs.
Most recently, the trio released a live album titled To The Moon in collaboration with Sofar Sounds PDX. They are currently recording their debut full length LP with release and supporting tour dates in Oregon and Washington expected in Summer 2017. On May 5th, 2017, the band released a live music video for the song Rockin' & Reelin'. The band will also perform at the inaugural Park Blocks Bluegrass Festival in Portland, on May 13th, 2017.