The Blog

Pale Road

After two long years of writing, tracking, mixing, remixing, retracking, and rewriting, we are ecstatic to announce the official release of our second full length album, Pale Road. We’ll be having a huge party to celebrate on October 26th at Laurelthirst in Portland. We are really proud of this album and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.


While this release is exciting for us as a band, it is with a great sadness that we must also announce that October 26th will also be our last show as Jack Ruby Presents in the foreseeable future.  This coming year will see the five of us spread across four cities in three states.  After six truly amazing years of making music together, we are sending our beautiful Melissa Davaz off to bigger and better things in Montana.  We are so very proud of her and what she will accomplish, but she will be taking pretty hefty chunks of our hearts with her.


We are also keenly aware that we’ve only been able to continue playing together for so long due to the love and support that we have received every step of the way. This is our way of saying thank you and good bye. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share our music with. So, with that all said, we’d love to see you all one last time and give you something to remember us by.

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March 2nd

Next Saturday we’ll be playing at Type A Press in McMinnville. They have printed a super cool super limited edition poster for the evening. We’re stoked to be playing in a cool work space hosted by the very talented artists at Type A. Come out, hear some new tunes, drink some beers, and pick up a poster.

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Five Years

On October 25th, we played our five year anniversary show. Since 2008 we have played hundreds of shows up and down the west coast, put out two EPs, a handful of self released singles, and one full length album. We have shared the stage, bar corner, or living room with more gifted and creative musicians than we have time to mention. We can offer nothing but out sincerest and deepest thanks to the army of friends who have helped to make this happen. To those who have come out to shows, given our record away, edited videos, taken pictures, recorded demos, given us couch space, booked shows for us, fed us, or played with us, we wouldn’t have made it through the past five years without you. These have been wonderful years shared with dear friends over all together too much beer. We are so grateful to have been able to share our music with you, it is a real blessing to spend your nights playing rock n’ roll with the people you love most. Thank you.


Next year we will release our second full length record, entitled, Pale Road. Recorded since January between Jackpot Studios, CCC, Danny Jonestown’s, and AMFO’s bedroom, Pale Road, is approaching completion. There are lots of steps between where we are right now, and holding a copy of the record, but we are moving forward, and trying to do everything right, even if that means doing it slowly. We have worked harder on this record than anything that we have ever put out, and we are so very excited to share it with all of the people who have supported us all of these years.


From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Jesse, Mad Dog, AMFO, Derek, Chris.

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Live from the Banana Stand…

Last summer we played a really lovely show at The Banana Stand in Portland. The evening yielded a fun five track EP featuring a couple old tunes and three that will appear on our upcoming record. After months of mixing, rearranging, auto-tuning, remixing, and mastering, it is ready for your ears. We are thrilled to put this out in partnership with our friends at the ‘Stand. They are a crew of absolutely lovely guys who do so much for music here in Portland. Check out the rest of their releases- it is an honor to join such an excellent catalog (The Angry Orts, Fanno Creek, Log Across the Washer…). You can listen for free or pay what you want for a digital copy of our EP directly from Banana Stand Media or if you’d rather, we printed a super limited CD release which we’ll be selling at our next show. We hope you give the album a listen. We’re really excited about it.

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We are so excited to play with our best friends in the whole wide world, Pine Language, back at the old Hawthorne Theatre. It is really going to be a blast, and if you haven’t seen the Pine Language crew in a while, you’ll be surprised with the great new direction they have taken. It will be a wonderful night, and we’d love to share it with you.

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Memorial weekend update…

All of our thanks and love to our dear friends and the Hotel Oregon in McMinnville. Last night was wonderful, we really enjoyed sharing it with you. The party continues tonight at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland with The Dimes, Shook Twins, Brothers Young, and Birds and Batteries. If you can’t make it out, we’ll be playing The White Eagle Saloon tomorrow night with Log Across the Washer. Photo by our dear friend Nathan Quigley.


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As most of you are aware, we are in the midst of recording our second full-length album. The as-of-yet untitled project gets a bit closer every day and is already something that we know we will be thrilled to share with the wonderful group of people who have supported us thus far. So, after a few months of living inside of headphones-mixingtrackingmixingandretracking, we’re ready to play out. We have four really cool shows over the next couple of weeks, and we’d love to see everyone again. As a side note, both of these pictures were taken at the studio in January by our dear friend, Alison Pate.



Of all of the great shows coming up, we are particularly honored to have been invited to play this year’s Siren Nation tribute to Billie Holiday on April 21st at the Secret Society Lounge. For those not familiar, Siren Nation is a local arts organization that showcases and creates performance opportunities for women. They also host a phenomenal festival here in Portland every year. Obviously, Billie Holiday is a really special, even sacred, influence for us. This also a wonderful opportunity for the dudes to take pause and reflect on how very lucky we are to play with the beautiful and uniquely gifted Melissa Davaz. As a vocalist and musician, I have learned so much from her over the past five years. Mad Dog picked and arranged our full set list for the evening, and will lead the three Billie Holiday tunes that we’ll be playing.

For more information on Siren Nation:


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An Update…

Jesse by Nathan QuigleySpent a few frigid hours at our practice space with Nathan Quigley working on a video for a song called “Sitka, AK” off of the upcoming record… There’s some good stuff coming.

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Last show of 2011

We have just one show left in our epic White Eagle Saloon Residency. We’ve had three wonderful Mondays with some amazing bands and great friends. Our deepest gratitude to everyone who has made it out and to the McMenamins crew for hosting us. This has really been a blast.

After Monday we’ll be taking some time off from playing shows to put some hard work into our new record. This week we’ll be playing the whole album, and then we’ll spend the next month fleshing it out in the studio. We’d love for you to come take a first listen to our as-of-yet untitled record.  We’re really proud of it.

Our tentative track/set list is after the jump:

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Two shows left!

We have just two shows left in our epic White Eagle Residency. Thus far things have been awesome. Great bands, good beer, and some solid Tuesday morning hangovers. This coming week we’ll be bringing back some really old songs, and a few things that most people have never heard. We’ll be joined by Sara Jackson-Holman and Ed and the Red Reds. Both put on really solid shows. Not an evening to be missed! We hope to see you there.

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White Eagle Residency in November


We are so excited to announce our ever first residency at the legendary McMenamins White Eagle Saloon. We will be playing four epic Monday nights in a row with some of our absolute favorite bands in Portland. All the shows are FREE, 21+, and start at 8:30.

This is a really cool month for us. We have a bunch of new songs to debut, and old songs to bring back. We would really love to see you there.

Full lineup and details after the jump.

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Live From the Banana Stand

On June 25th we will be doing our first live recording at the Banana Stand in SE Portland with phenomenal Shaky Hands off-shoot, Death Songs . We are really thrilled to be able to put out an album, which we hope will have the same excitement and energy that we feel whenever we play live. This is a really cool opportunity  for us, and we would love for everyone who has been following us over the past three years to be a part of it. We will be debuting a few songs from our upcoming album, as well as playing some of our favorites from Over Wires. Because of the nature of free basement shows, the address is a secret, if you’d like to come out please send us a note, and we will get you the address. It will be a really fun night with some some really killer local music. If you can’t make it the 25th, stay tuned, we will be releasing the album online in the coming months. In summation:

Junetwenty-fifth.NinePM.Free.All Ages.BYOB.

For more information please visit Banana Stand Media.

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The Haunting

The idea and most of the lyrics for this song came to me one night while studying in the library when I was in college.  I realized that I wanted to write a song about a man who is haunted by his dead wife.  However, it was important to me to leave some ambiguity in the lyrics so as to let the listener decide whether the man loved her and killed her or just loved her and has not been able to reconcile the loss.

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Photo Credit: Katie PaysingerStay is a brief sentimental mood at the center an album written generally from less hopeful perspective. The song is dedicated to my dear friend Matthew Hancock (from whom I stole the chords to the song) and my younger brother Benjamin. The lyrics were written while away from both of them for a number of months, and as we were all poised at the edge of new things.

When we approached Over Wires, I was initially hesitant to record the song, as I had been happy with the version that appeared on “The Cardboard EP”, originally titled Stay (for Matt and Ben). After some thought, we decided that was an important song to include primarily because of its significance as a part of our history as a band. We all felt that it was important to leave some memory of the place that we have come from intact on this record.

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The Recordedf History of Elizabeth Downs, in Brief (Aaron)

Aaron Owents at Storey Stree

Elizabeth downs is a song which I have to take much more seriously than the others when we play live and to my surprise, even more so in the studio.  Playing this song live is a blast and I’d go as far as to say that it is our best song (my favorite at least) but, playing live is much different than recording in the studio and reproducing it for our friends and fans.

I have always wanted to be a professional drummer, but have found myself at times to be less practiced than I would like. In the studio, I required a level of perfection in my playing which was not readily attainable while recording Elizabeth. Realizing my performance shortcomings and embracing new technology, I was able to make a great step forward into the beginnings of my studio career which I think is just starting to blossom. The whole experience has led me to back to my past attempts as a computer programmer and train that focus on a career in music tech and audio engineering.

Long story short, our recording engineer, Daniel Jones of Marigold Digital, was able to take a combination of my attempts of Elizabeth Downs into the perfect performance for what we were able to offer. I did not play one perfect attempt at the song but it comes back as a pretty good replica as if I had. Thanks to Danny Jones at Marigold Digital for everything. We owe him a lot.


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The Recorded History of Elizabeth Downs, in Brief

JRP on a truck

This song took me six months to write. I wrote the first verse in about five minutes, and then sat on it for along time before I started adding words that I actually liked. During the first verse I had a picture in my head of a woman in a saloon in the western half of the country that was consoling herself over a man that had broken her heart, yet whom she still loves. Once the story took shape, it became about a woman who seeks vengeance on men that treat women in the worst of ways, and in the end she kills the man who broke her heart. In my mind he had harmed her physically while continually attempting to win her back. While the character in this tune is very fictional, she is based on a woman that is very dear to my heart.

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Meet Me

This is another re-recorded song, which originally appeared on The Cardboard EP, and the first song written for JRP. After several years of performing the song I started being accused of using the same introduction every time we played the song: This one is about going back to the town you grew up in and realizing that everyone you knew either went to prison or joined the army. Though I’ve stopped introducing it as such, the song is really based around realizing how feelings and people all change so drastically when going back home.

In terms of performance, the morning that I laid down vocals on this tune was a pretty rough one. I was feeling ill and my throat was really hurting. In the end, I think that the song sounds painful because it actually hurt to sing. Perhaps my favorite guitar tone one the album is the single strummed electric from the second verse on. That was all recorded with the same overdriven 1950s Guild Archtop. Our friend, Tyler Ramm-Gramenz came by the studio one afternoon and laid down the trumpet lead line on the chorus.

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White Roses

White Roses was among the first Jack Ruby recordings that were debuted on the Cardboard EP. The initial recording was dry and lacked rhythmic energy to complement and drive the lyric. Since the Cardboard EP, the tempo has increased comfortably and it has been sung as a duet. As a convenient arrangement akin to “Strange Fruit,” we often fit a couple of verses of “House of the Rising Sun” into this song during live performances.

As a work it expresses the grounded connection that the band–as individuals and as a collective group–has to the Portland area. Amidst our recognized and accepted brokenness, drunkenness, and stumbling fortitude as twenty-something year olds, we love where we live and what we’re doing. Of all the cities that could be our center, Portland is certainly a great one. It’s summer in the city of roses. Who knows where I’ll be after another twenty years; it is certain that many of the happiest memories of my youth will be buried here, in the company of good friends and the world‘s best beer.

This is another tune for dancing, full of vocal glissandos in harmony and some sweet overdriven electric guitar. Thanks to Danny Jones for adding the organ line, and to Joel Uram for tracking this song, perhaps my favorite on the album.

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Dead Man’s Reach

Chris and I wrote Dead Man’s Reach sitting together at the edge of an oak tree one afternoon a few years ago. The song is lyrically based on a piece of folklore from Southeast Alaska, where I grew up. Dead Man’s Reach is a point of land that sticks out into Peril Straits, a body of water to the north of Baranof Island which runs between Salisbury Sound and Chatham Strait. This is an important waterway because it connects the community of Sitka with the rest of the Inside Passage via mostly protected waters. Our song is about a fabled prohibition era about a rumrunner who escaped authorities by taking his smaller boat through some treacherous shallow water and then hanging his lantern on a beach tree while he sailed on in the dark. The story goes that the larger ship stayed put watching his lantern and waiting for morning light. When the sun rose the lantern was hanging in a tree, but the rumrunner was gone. Our song has a slightly different ending.

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Spanish Songs

As promised, we will be publishing the lyrics to “Over Wires and White Plains” along with some brief annotation in a series of blogs. To kick things off, here’s some thoughts on Spanish Songs, the first track the album.

This song is particularly special for me because it is about the only love(ish) song that we have ever written. Perhaps, more than a love song it is about recovering from a past and moving on to better things. We all enjoy looking for my fiancé, Jenessa, during the waltz. She usually blushes.

While this is not the oldest song on the album, it is one that we have played for quite some time now. By nature of having it for several years there have been three of four ill-fated recording attempts. In previous sessions, we were never quite able to capture the essence of this song. The dance like quality and the emotion have always seemed lost in fidelity.

As far as recording process is concerned, our producer, Danny Jones, spent quite a bit of time experimenting with how to best let the song degrade into chaos by the ending. Our dear friends, Brian Harvey, Chelsea Foss and Mark Cleaver joined us for a couple of hours of really fun group vocals on the last chorus. I laid down a couple of tracks with a grossly overdriven 1950s Guild archtop guitar to fill things out. We also added a distorted copy of the drum track, which takes over the mix by the last notes of the song.

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