Now Hear This: Scott Gilmore and Laryssa Birdseye

Now Hear This: Scott Gilmore and Laryssa Birdseye

By TRK, or as we know him, Bob Knowles. 

Scott Gilmore

Scott Gilmore

When you come across a whiskey soaked voice full of more life experience than you or I have ever lived-you know it when you hear it-you just want more.

I mean troubadours, singer-songwriters, like Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt and Mark Collie. Hey, I’m not throwing Scott Gilmore under a bus of legends. But, when those guys sing you stop and listen, because there’s a kernel of life in there you do not want to miss. When Scott Gilmore, 1/2 of the duo Fox & Bones, starts to sing you pause and listen. The comfort and knowing in his voice is there and palpable. This guy has pipes and chops.

I caught Scott and Sara on the phone at their soundcheck just outside Music City, USA--Nashville, in Franklin, Tennessee. It was just prior to their live on-air show at The Music City Roots Live Music Showcase. I sure like it when the talent calls you two minutes before your scheduled interview. The guy’s mom raised him right, exhibiting good manners and respect. Must be one of the reasons Sara digs him so much. I think I like him even more.

TRK : When you are on the road and writing, do you find that some of that road/traveling vibe influences the work versus being home and writing? Will Dusseldorf or Nashville show up in a future song?

SG : Oh man, being on the road is like about anywhere because it is just another experience of life and different lives. I mean, we react to whatever happens and hopefully that’s just all good. Meeting so many people forces you into these interactions which in turn causes us to push out into the world. We hope to get 5,6 good songs and then we send them back to our producers, Justin Phelps and Dominic Shiendolt. I hope one of them is named "Cow Gazing Blues".

February 9, 2017 was the release of their first full length album, “The Adventures of Fox & Bones.” They are currently on tour supporting it. The Music City Roots Live announcer called them a “warm and fuzzy duo from Portland,Oregon.” Warm and fuzzy does not define their music, cutting clean through you with their songs of love, commitment and heartache.

Oh…and Sara Vitort the other half of the duo? She's another whole interview. But, believe me...when she sings you become bewitched by her butterscotch Martina voice. Scott?...would you move further to the side for a bit... you’re distracting me.

Laryssa Birdseye

Laryssa Birdseye

Laryssa Birdseye, Laryssa Dragonfly, Laryssa Firefly. Each of these names equally illuminates this provocative talented young songstress, although these were just the names of the coffee shops I was Googling in Northwest Portland for our interview location. Laryssa Birdseye sat down in the vintage vinyl recliner just after her last sun salutation, instructing students in her yoga class. She clearly needed the carbs her bagel had waiting for her. Icy blue eyes, shimmering toothy easy smile, completely at ease in her lovely nordic/germanic conformation. My kind of person from the same ancient gene pool.

Our exchanges revealed some life lived on the Oregon coast with culturally liberal humans that moved to Eugene, Oregon for her latter grammar-school years, officially termed “hippies” by Laryssa. But, as most of us who escaped the lower end of the Willamette valley’s swirling vortex of funky voodoo, the realization came that there was so much more good life outside the heavy fog that socks in the I-5 to Beltline triangle of mystery. Her early poetry put to music, after picking up and never putting down her brothers guitar, produced the spectacular first single, “Let me Down.” It's on her new album, “So What,“ stories of survival, broken love and souls, and the redemption of spirit and strength, ring out in this new voice.

Produced by local Jeanot Rolland, “Let Me Down," has a songwriters maturity to it, a pacing and air and room around instrumentation and lyric that holds the listener in place waiting for the next phrase. A haunting full of promise while announcing that I am accepting and owning the failure.

Which is all the more reason we look to see success from Ms. Birdseye.


Bob Knowles has been curating music his entire life. He has chased music, recorded music, produced music, made music videos and currently trying to finish a documentary about gigposter art and music. Listen to Bob's show on Throwin’ it Back Thursdays, 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. on Portland Radio Project, 99.1fm.

Ashley Fungone, Assistant Editor