Home > Concert Photos, Indie Rock, Rock & Pop, Singer-Songwriter > REVIEW: W.P.A. at the W.O.W. (Eugene, OR – 9/27/09)

REVIEW: W.P.A. at the W.O.W. (Eugene, OR – 9/27/09)

28th Sep 09 (Mon) Leave a comment Go to comments


Works Progress Administration

I’ve been a fan of Glen Phillips via Toad the Wet Sprocket since back in my “high school days”… Toad is one of the few artists to make it out alive from that period, remaining a cherished part of my collection.  Glen’s voice is so evocative and honest and personable… it’s hard not to love just about everything he does.  In fact, last year, he pulled a doozy, releasing two albums under different band monikers (without much warning) under Radiohead’s In Rainbows “pay what you want philosophy.”  Both the Plover and RemoteTreeChildren cracked my Top 5 albums of 2008.

Well, this time, Glen decided to let us know about his new band and let some buzz build up… the Works Progress Administration (aka W.P.A. / WPA) is more or an Americana effort that is at its core made up of the trio of trio of Glen Phillips, Luke Bulla (from Lyle Lovett’s band), and Sean Watkins (from Nickel Creek). The Eugene show was with the extended band, not just the core trio of Phillips/Bulla/Watkins.  It also included Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Bill Frisell), Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing), and Don Heffington (Lone Justiceand I remember seeing him play with Over the Rhine at one point).

The first opener, Ehren Ebbage, put on a quick 20 minute set, four songs.  He hails from Seattle.  He was pretty good – he has the pop singer-songwriter vibe going on.  He seemed like a good soul, funny personality.  He got a opening slot due to “begging for it.” We didn’t walk out with his CD, unfortunately; but if he swings back through Eugene, I’ll give him another listen.

The second opener, Molly Jenson, stomped on the stage shortly after Ehren.  I say “stomped,” as she had these killer heels with jingles fixed to them (see pictures below).  Her first song in her 20 minutes, 4 song set was a song that showed that playing guitar, singing and stomping your foot in heels is probably more than I’d be able to handle physically.  It’s gotta be much harder than patting your head and rubbing your stomach.  Molly was pretty funny, she joked about the disco ball (and had the light guy turn it on).  She also talked about how she and Sara Watkins rolled around the hall’s floor that afternoon in their rollerskates.  Her sound was more in the country/folk singer-songwriter mold.  She ended her set with “You Are My Sunshine.”

Molly Jenson released her Webisode #13 that included footage from the WOW Hall show.  Check it out on YouTube.

WPA hit the stage around 9pm and jumped right into material from their new album.  “Always Have My Love” is such a good lead-off track to their live show (and CD).  It really features all aspects of this huge band.  WPA overall is really hard to pigeonhole.  They definitely fit in the folky genre, but they have many aspects of bluegrass, pop, rock.  Lots of violin, steel guitar, great vocals.  Vocal duties were shared by Glen, Luke, Sean and Sara.  They played mainly songs from the debut CD, but they also played songs from each of the singer’s “main gigs / solo albums.”

Part way through the set, they invited Alex & Tatiana Hargreaves on stage. I had never heard of them, but they were well received by the crowd.  They are both young and are quite the fiddle phenoms.  They jammed on two songs with Sara, Luke & Sean – one instrumental and one with Tatiana singing lead on a song from her recent album.

Here’s what they played…

Setlist: 90+ minutes

  • Always Have My Love (Glen on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • End This Now (Glen on vocals)
  • Paralyzed (Sean on vocals)
  • Cry For You (Luke on vocals)
  • Solar Flare (Glen on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • Rise Up (Glen on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • I Feel the Blues Movin’ In (Luke on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • I Go to Sleep (Sara on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • Already Gone (Sean on vocals)
  • Not Sure (Sean on vocals)
  • Drive By (Glen on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • Pink Triangle (Weezer cover, Sean on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • Garfields (with Alex & Tatiana, instrumental)
  • Sugar Babe (with Alex & Tatiana, Tati on vocals)
  • Somebody More Like You (Sean on vocals)
  • Remember Well (Luke on vocals)
  • Long Hot Summer Days (Sara on vocals) *a fave of the night*
  • Good As Ever (Glen on vocals)
  • A Wedding or a Wake (Glen on vocals)
  • Encore: The Price (Glen on vocals)
  • You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome (Bob Dylan cover, Sean on vocals) *a fave of the night*

Fantastic show.  It’s amazing to see so many great musicians on the stage at the same time.  They honestly looked like they were having a ball, too.  It was also good to see Glen playing guitar again (after his pretty nasty glass table accident last fall).  Luke Bulla and Nickel Creek, while already on my radar, made my list of “I should see them if they come through again.”  Fantastic players all around…

I picked up the debut WPA CD at the show.  It came out a week ago, but I wanted to wait until I saw them in person – you know, to make sure they got all the money, not shipping or some distribution middle-man like Amazon.  You can order it directly from the WPA site (click the photo):


Always Have My Love (live on WNCW)

Introducing W.P.A.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Faith No MoreAlbum of the Year

all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

WPA’s tourdates:

  • Sun 08/16/09 – Schwenksville, PA – Old Pool Farm
  • Tue 08/18/09 – Exton, PA – Eagleview Concert Series
  • Wed 08/19/09 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
  • Thu 08/20/09 – Londonderry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall
  • Sun 09/06/09 – Yosemite, CA – Camp Mather
  • Wed 09/16/09 – Columbia, SC – White Mule
  • Thu 09/17/09 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
  • Fri 09/18/09 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
  • Sun 09/20/09 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
  • Fri 09/25/09 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
  • Sat 09/26/09 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe
  • Sun 09/27/09 – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
  • Tue 09/29/09 – Chico, CA – Manzanita Place
  • Wed 09/30/09 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
  • Sat 10/03/09 – Ventura, CA – The Lodge
  • Mon 10/05/09 – Los Angeles, CA – Largo
  • Thu 11/05/09 – New York, NY – High Line Ballroom
  • Sat 11/07/09 – Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club Lounge
  • Sun 11/08/09 – Charleston, WV – Cultural Center
  • Tue 11/10/09 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage
  • Wed 11/11/09 – Vienna, VA – Barns At Wolf Trap
  • Thu 11/12/09 – Fairfield, CT – StageOne
  • Fri 11/13/09 – Cambridge, MA – Passim Folk Music & Cultural Center
  • Sat 11/14/09 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall
  • Sun 11/15/09 – Fall River, MA – Narrows Center For The Arts
  • Tue 12/01/09 – Cedar Rapids, IA – CSPS / Legion Arts
  • Wed 12/02/09 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
  • Thu 12/03/09 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
  • Sat 12/05/09 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
  • Sun 12/06/09 – Chicago, IL – Old Town School Of Folk Music

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