First Tuesday Music: Big North Duo
The Big North Duo brings its unique brand of swing, blues, and country to the library, January 2, 7:00pm.
When The Big North Duo performs the audience smiles, toes tap, and everyone gets a break from the workaday world. The On any given night the music may be swinging hard or it may be mournful, but it’s always from the heart.
The Big North Duo was born when Paul Prato (bass) was offered a gig at a friend’s restaurant but didn’t have a band to fill it. “So, I thought, why don’t I talk to Christian?” Paul and Christian McKee (mandolin, mandola, vocals) had played together in different bands for seven years by that time, but had never considered forming a duo. It wasn’t all smooth sailing: it turns out they didn’t have the knack for Italian folksongs, and ended up rejecting their first band name, The Mandolinos. But after assembling a group of old swing, country and blues numbers they liked, the course was set. Their 2011 self-titled debut CD was almost entirely jazz standards with one sole original composition, and listeners will quickly note the band’s development since.
Since then The Big North Duo have performed hundreds of concerts in all settings, developing a deeper song list with an increasing number of original tunes. In 2014 they released “Sunday’s Waltz,” an atmospheric CD spanning years of all original material, some written for the record (“Mombassa”) and some from the earliest days of Paul and Christian’s collaboration (“Treadwell”). The mournful title track sets the tone for the record, which is generally more introspective than their upbeat live performances.
In summer 2017 The Big North Duo released their third CD, “Two Wheeled Twister,” made up almost entirely of original material. In an effort to break new ground for themselves, the Duo recorded one third of the twelve song record with just their two instruments, one third with drummer Matthew Higgins, and one third with guitarist Jason Reichert. The result was their fullest and most ambitious release to date with more diverse instrumentation, richer harmonies, and more challenging material.
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library. The Library is located at 706 4th Street, Lake Oswego. For more information, contact Chris Myers at 503-534-5665 / firstname.lastname@example.org