Following a national publicity campaign for his 2017 album, No Rain No Rose, Portland Americana and folk songwriter John Craigie will be opening for iconic folk-rocker Jack Johnson on Johnson’s upcoming Summer 2017 Tour. The two met in Hawaii when Johnson came to Craigie’s show and fell in love with his mix of wry folk songwriting and stand-up comedy. After a few days together on the North Shore, Johnson invited Craigie on tour. The two are both storytellers, bringing personal observations and close friends and community into their music. “I always respected him as a musician,” Craigie says, “but it was nice to get a chance to get to know the real Jack. Now I have the opportunity to join him and his band on their west coast tour this summer. These will be, hands down, the biggest venues and crowds I’ve ever played for. And another chance to hang out with Jack." The Englewood shows are unique, the doors are open an hour and a half before the show, so Craigie is joining Jack Johnson’s band to play a set on the Village Green Acoustic Stage as the crowds come in.
As Portland-based Americana songwriter John Craigie says, “It is the job of the folksinger to present someone to the audience that is relatable. Music is not about making you feel better. It’s about making you feel that you’re not alone.” With the songs on his January 2017 release, No Rain, No Rose, Craigie does just that—brings together talented friends like Gregory Alan Isakov, The Shook Twins, and members of Fruition and Trout Steak Revival, beneath the umbrella of his cozy, well-crafted songs.
John Craigie’s life in Portland is the impetus for much of the material on No Rain, No Rose, which has the same easy and down-to-earth feel of the old Victorian home where Craigie gathered to record with his community: Gregory Alan Isakov, The Shook Twins, and Tyler Thompson and Jay Cobb Anderson of Fruition. Even the title of the album, No Rain, No Rose is an ode to Portland. “I took it from an old Buddhist saying ‘No Mud, No Lotus’, which basically means, you need the bad things to make the good things. I changed it to reflect my rainy city of roses,” says Craigie.
The album’s also inspired by the folk torch bearers of the sixties and seventies and attempts to follow in the era’s footsteps. Especially, Craigie strives for the quality of the informal recording style of that era that more closely mirrors his heart as a performer. On No Rain, No Rose, Craigie left the tape rolling in between takes, capturing the banter and jokes between close friends just as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did on their album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. “On that album you have a group bringing a bunch of outside musicians in the studio to help them create a sound that is larger than what they could create on their own. The loose sound on this album is inspired by that record immensely,” says Craigie.
In a world of polished pop songs and hyper-production, the organic brush of Craigie’s pick against the strings and the unity within Portland’s rich roots music family makes No Rain, No Rose blush with lifelike warmth.