Portland doesn’t exactly come to mind when thinking of those cities that brought forth widely renowned bands. Seattle, LA, New York and Nashville arguably own the rights to that status.
That’s not to say the Portland music scene doesn’t exist. The media-hyped Folk rock made the rounds some time ago as all those now apparent flash-in-the-pan bands did really well here, i.e. headlining arenas, at least for a season. But Portland does have a few hometown heroes who found national success like Everclear, the Decemberists and Kutlass plus those who flew a bit more under the radar like the Helio Sequence or solo artist Joey Meador.
Meador has just one album, the six song EP titled Come to Be released in 2017 (yes, as I said before I’m always late to the party) that got the attention of local radio KINK-FM which included an invite for Meador and his band to play in front of an audience and broadcast from the KINK Live Studio. Meador wrote all the songs on Come to Be, plays lead guitar and the occasional harmonica, a la Billy Joel on “Piano Man,” and of course sings.
Though Meador looks more like a frontman for a guitar shredding hairband, albeit without the road hardened edge, lots of soul embodies Come To Be with much emotional insight thanks in part to the well-tuned baritone of the vocals. Influenced by the likes of NEEDTOBREATHE and Ryan Adams while channeling Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive-By Truckers, Meador has range, as he shows delicately on the final track “Mountains,” a straight acoustic guitar piece and also one of the best cuts.
Album opener, “Broken” showcases Meador at his finest with just acoustic guitar in hand and voice at the mic, eventually accompanied by subtle percussion clicks for some depth, but an overall moving piece well worth your time. The full band breaks in for “Thomas” a self-reflective track that gets Meador to bust out a bit on guitar and offers these Biblically-singed lyrics in a great melodious chorus: “It’s like seeing Jesus in a time of doubt / They call me Thomas / I’m praying feet don’t fail me now / I’m on the ropes here / And I ain’t fit for the fight.”
The title track offers a relaxing Bruce Hornsby soft rock trip along with a well-done and fitting guitar solo that ups the prowess cred. Meador bridges in a bit of country for “Still Love You Anyway” a slower, frigid piece with just a bit of twang, and more of Radio City with a little Bon Jovi in “Fight” a determined song he wrote about a friend experiencing divorce.
No word on anything forthcoming from Meador, who sort of indicated he had other unfinished songs upon this album’s release, but with the talent and craft displayed on Come to Be, hopefully he, like many others did in 2020, worked on new material for release sometime this year.
Joey Meador Come to Be Songs:
- Come to Be
- Still Love You Anyway