Fruition comes to Bend
Portland string band brings its Americana sound to Players
By David Jasper / The Bulletin
Published: May 04. 2012 4:00AM PST
Before we see that answer through to Fruition, so to speak, let’s review.
Fruition, a Portland-based Americana quintet, formed in 2008 and has kept busy since then playing as far east as New Orleans and sharing stages with Vince Herman, Hot Buttered Rum and Greensky Bluegrass, among others. After releasing its first album in 2010, the band released an EP (“It Won’t Be Long”) last year, and this coming fall, plans to produce another full-length.
All that, and they’re sitting on an album already in the can.
It was recorded with Portland singer-songwriter Brad Parsons, and it’s “kind of a secret,” explained guitarist and vocalist Kellen Asebroek. (But not so secret an intrepid features reporter can’t find it in the Press Kit section on the band’s website.)
“We’re trying to really establish the name Fruition and put out a couple of solid records under that name before we try to branch out,” he said.
Whenever it’s released it will be billed as “Fruition and Brad Parsons.”
“It’d be kind of a different side of what we’re going for, and it will feature (Parsons) on vocals a lot, so we want to get people used to Fruition and get that name out there as far as we can before we start tackling other projects,” Asebroek said. “Meanwhile he’s doing great on his solo stuff, and doing the same thing, kind of blowing up his name.”
Speaking of names, Asebroek explains that Fruition, which has performed in Bend lots of times (including a three-night stand at McMenamins Old St. Francis School) as Fruition String Band “did and didn’t” drop those other two words from its name.
Again, it’s complicated.
“Technically, we’re still Fruition String Band, but we never call ourselves ‘Fruition String Band,’ and technically (we) aren’t a string band since we have a drummer (now),” Asebroek said, laughing.
“We just kept going with that,” he said. “On our website, it’s still Fruition String Band, and a lot of people know us as that. So we kind of go back and forth between the two, but we’re working on copyright stuff at this point, so we’re going to narrow it down to ‘Fruition’ at some point.”
Whatever you call them, the band formerly/still known as Fruition String Band will perform at Players Bar & Grill tonight in Bend, where they’re performing with local folk-jam supergroup Flannel Bandana (see “If you go” on Page 3).
Drummer Tyler Thompson joined forces with Mimi Naja (mandolin), Jay Cobb Anderson (lead guitar), Keith Simon (bass) and Asebroek about a year ago. It happened organically, as acoustic musical things tend to, during a tour with Brad Parsons, Fruition (String Band) and The Bellboys.
“The Bellboys had Tyler Thompson as their drummer, and we eventually started jamming with him because we were all together all the time, and eventually (we) assimilated him into the band and never looked back,” Asebroek said.
“We all get to rock out way more. It definitely adds a different dynamic to the sound and to the band, and to the writing process too, because, well, we’ve got drums in mind now,” he said. “It really opens up the creative possibilities, because it allows us to rock. Which we all want.”
Known for their busking abilities, Fruition even gets Thompson in on the street-performing act. Or should we say he gets himself in on the act.
“He made his own kind of portable busking kit. It’s just a kick drum and a snare drum, and then he straps a tambourine to his foot, so it kind of works as a high hat,” Asebroek said. “I’ve never seen anyone else do that. So he’s a creative dude.”
That creativity and energy comes through in Fruition’s live shows in more “formal” settings. Asebroek describes shows like tonight’s at Players as being “super energetic.”
“Mostly because we’re often booked in venues and bars and places where the energy is high and people want to dance and want to have a good time. We love that,” he said. “So the shows are generally ecstatic, frolicking, soul, rock, country, dance shenanigans.”