Chriss Sutherland

Music seen, at the Soundpost, May 13, 2007
By IAN PAIGE  |  May 18, 2007
Chriss Sutherland

Chriss Sutherland, known to Portland through his work in the avant-pop/post-rock bands Cerberus Shoal and Threads, is an old young man, just the kind of person you want to sing songs for you.

What are we after when we look to songwriters to entertain and inspire us? Sure, the music needs to usher in some toe-tapping or reflective head-lowering and the words should evoke the expected personal and universal poetry, but what we really look for is to see someone living, changing, growing with us as they share their song and break out of their preconceptions. We follow them with excitement.

Sutherland has been playing the part of troubadour in Spain for the last few months and was greeted Sunday by a cavalcade of old friends and admirers.

“I only wrote two or three songs in five months. A very productive period . . .” joked the ever-smiling singer. What he didn’t achieve in breadth he explored in depth. New songs revealed Spanish-influenced strumming and brave vocal trills that put a new emotional quality squarely on the line.

Threads bandmates Caleb Mulkerin, Micah Blue Smaldone, Tom Kovacevic, and Colleen Kinsella helped resurrect older tunes to a warm effect full of friendship. Kinsella celebrated Mother’s Day by wrapping up the set with Sutherland on a cover of Gillian Welch’s “Everything is Free.” Hopefully they made enough money in the tip jar to get home.

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