Just in time to kick off their summer tour, Portland’s self-proclaimed psychedelic R&B trio Astro Tan – comprised of Sam Wegman (vocals, guitars), Charles Tern (vocals, guitars), and Jed Overly (drums, percussion) – has released the third single from their twelve track stunner Canary, “To Joyce, From Japan”. A mellow track, it begins with the soothing and beautiful sound of rain, accompanied by scratchy, delicate guitar chords. The vocals carry this incredible sense of purity and melancholy, the horns adding an unexpected layer of jazz to it all.
Maybe 3 or 4 years ago I was on a rainy walk with my folks up in Seattle when we passed an estate sale. We wandered in the house and down in the basement was a piano with a dusty guitar case leaned up against it. I opened it up to find a pretty neat classical guitar from the early 60’s. I inquired and they told me that Joyce, the woman who had died, was a music teacher for elementary school kids. In 1962 she got an offer to fly to Japan and teach Japanese children music. Unable to fly with the piano she normally taught on, she picked up that guitar and went over. She spent 2 years there, came back, and never picked up the guitar again. I snagged it (and named it Joyce) and started imagining who those kids might’ve been/be and what affect they might have had on one another’s lives. So the song is written like a letter to Joyce from her kids in Japan (believe it was in a rural area outside of Tokyo).
8/25 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, Washington
9/01 – Whiskey Jacques – Sun Valley, ID
9/04 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
9/05 – Backyard House Show – Provo, UT
9/07 – The Trunk Space – Phoenix, AZ
9/08 – TBA
9/09 – Boutique Show @ Inland Venice – Los Angeles, CA
9/10 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
9/12 – SLO Brew – San Luis Obispo, CA
9/13 – Oakland ~ TBA
9/14 – Sofar Sounds – San Francisco, CA
9/15 – Blondies – Arcata, CA
9/16 – Brickroom – Ashland, OR
9/17 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR