Mandolins, dead skunks and fuzzy details

January 28, 2009

Somewhere in my endless pile of CDs at home is a gem called “Hay is for Oysters.” Produced by Trout Lake local Dave Clarke, it’s a great collection of children’s music, with lyrics that adults can appreciate. I haven’t heard it in a while, but I remember that one of the stand-out tracks is a cover of Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk.” (You know the song, …..there’s a dead skunk, in the middle of the road, and it’s stinkin to high heaven!) I guess I’ve had this CD for a bunch of years, and I met Dave through some sort of music gig at the Trout Lake Inn. We probably sat around and picked some tunes, but the details are fuzzy.

Anyway, the reason I mention Dave Clarke is that he’s a friend with musician Lincoln Crockett. And apparently, the power of music and community and friendship has convinced Lincoln to relocate to the Trout Lake area. Lincoln was in a Portland band called “Cross Eyed Rosie,” which I know I have seen once or twice, at one of the umpteenth bluegrass festivals I’ve traveled to. Again, the details of exactly when are fuzzy.

From checking out his Web site, Lincoln seems to be most happy collaborating with other musicians. One name in particular that caught my eye was Chris Kokesh, of folk band Misty River. I know Chris helped out a few years back with one of the Mosier Fall Festivals, at the Mosier School. I’m not sure if she was with the full Misty River band for that gig, but I remember that I was in charge of running the stage/sound equipment for that event. Again, the details are fuzzy.

So, back to Lincoln Crockett. Interesting name, I might add. He’s a mandolin player, who’s been playing the instrument for about as long as I have. He’s got a few favorite rock bands that he used to listen to – bands that I used to go see when they came to town. He’s got a few friends in the music circles that I’ve met here and there over the years. Oh, and like me, he recently started doing this whole “iPod” thing. And, he’s got a gig at the Solstice Café in Bingen on Jan. 30.

It may be time to head over and clear up a few of those fuzzy details.

Read Jim’s interview with Lincoln here

Interview with Lincoln Crockett

1. It seems like most of your musical connections are in the Portland area. How did you come to live in the Trout Lake area?

(My friend) Alexa Wiley knew that Dave Clarke needed a mandolin player for his CD release. Dave never heard me play a note, he just took one look at this lanky guy and said, "yep, you're definitely a musician, you'll be perfect. "We had such a good time at that show that he let me in on the great little secret that is Trout Lake. I became a part of the reopening of the old Trout Lake Tavern a few years back, and in the process met some of the most important people in my life. I've been longing to move up ever since and we finally made it happen last May.

2. Was mandolin your first instrument? Who taught/influenced you how to play?

Goodness, no. I have no idea why I play mandolin, 'cept by accident. If I'd had my way I'd have been a drummer, but we couldn't fit a kit in my house growing up so I switched to guitar. My favorite bands were The Police, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Yes, Soundgarden, Nirvana. When I was living out of my car in Colorado I couldn't readily whip out the amp and axe to play by the campfire, so I picked up my acoustic guitar, just to tide me over. Seems I never made it back. I first picked up a mandolin to play a single lick on a cd I produced for a friend nine years ago. Jon Ostrom, then playing with Higher Ground, caught me dinking around on it and asked me to join this band he was putting together, which became Cross-eyed Rosie. I had NO IDEA how to play it and ever since have practiced very little, just picking things up what I need by the skin of my teeth.

3. What groups are currently on your iPod playlist?

I just got one this Christmas, and I'm catching up on years of great music. So far I've spun the Wood Brother's first disk and Alison Krauss & Robert Plant's disk. By my stereo at home I've got Chris Thile's 'Deceiver', The Beatles 'One' and a fantastic 3-disk mix Portland songwriter Nathaniel Talbot made for my wedding last fall. It's so cool, indie, jazz, grooves, folk, very modern. And I have no idea who's on it!

4. You've got a gig coming up Jan. 30. at Solstice Café. Is it a solo show?

I've invited my close friend and frequent collaborator, Jim McKeon, and his bandmate in jazz/rock outfit The Rocktet (, Tyler Smith, to join me. I'll be bringing my mandolin & guitar; we'll be doing material of mine from 'Angels & Devil's Alike', reworked Cross-eyed Rosie songs and other originals. Playing with musicians of their caliber is always exciting.

5. I noticed a few shows on your website with Chris Kokesh (of Misty River). How did that collaboration come about?

Portland songwriter Brad Creel introduced us when he brought me in to anchor the backing band for his cd release a couple years ago. We hit it right off, and even then people were telling us we should do something together. We gave it a shot and really, I've never had such an ideal musical relationship with another performer. Her songs are beautiful, she's a dream to sing with and can play right in the moment, right from her heart. Every performance is so uplifting, even the sad songs! We just brought in a remarkable acoustic guitarist, Nicolas Miranda, and formed a new trio, Lucky Finn. Our second show was last Saturday here in Trout Lake at the Grange and we couldn't be happier. You'll see a lot more from us this year.

Thanks, Drake, for taking an interest and spreading the word, I appreciate it. You've caught me in the middle of updating my materials for '09 so for further info I'm going to direct you back to where you'll find more useful tidbits on the frontpage and in the bio, as well as downloadable clips, etc. I've attached a photo for your use as well. If used, please credit Marianna Tres.

All the best and feel free to call with anything else. Please introduce yourself if you make it by a show sometime!



Lincoln Crockett

singer . songwriter . mandolin . guitar


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