“Basho” is a name you don’t hear about too often. As it turns out, Basho, one half of the folk duo consisting of Jenn Rawling and Basho Parks, had “some cool hippie parents,” and the name stems from Eastern philosophy, namely a 17th century haiku poet from Japan.
He also has a sister named after a province in China, and a brother named after a Tibetan lama.
But his name did not stop him from wanting to play music, even from a very young age. He remembers seeing a classical violinist, Joshua Bell, when the prodigy (Bell) was a kid himself. That influence remains in his playing today.
Online: Listen to the song “Wyoming” by Jenn Rawling and Basho Parks at hoodrivernews.com
Basho kept up on the violin, and now performs alongside Jenn Rawling, who plays guitar and baritone ukulele. Basho also plays mandolin, ukulele and provides harmony backup.
Jenn Rawling says the band performs primarily as a duo, and fits under the Americana-indie folk genre. The songs tell stories of the duo’s travels across the country.
“We travel a lot, and it’s a real grass-roots style. We like to get out there and share the music with everyone. For us, it’s not about being on stage with lights and everything, it’s mainly about connecting with people. It’s not pop music.”
However, in the studio, the band is not afraid to throw a few more pieces into the mix. The new album, recorded in Camas, Wash., is called “Tarantula Arms,” and features a song called “Wyoming.”
“For practical purposes, we move through the world as a duo. We can get a little more creative in the studio, though, we seem to be able to pull off the sound we’re after on stage, but it is a little different,” Rawling said.
Rawling’s and Park’s music is somewhat on the quiet side, but with lots of traveling and experience under their belts, they have learned to be able to adjust their sound, to fill venues that can be a bit noisy at times.
The duo draws inspiration from a lot of old folk music, and bands like Fairport Convention and singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.
Jenn Rawling knows the Gorge area pretty well; she was employed on a fire watch tower on the east side of Mount Hood. With that job came the opportunity to think about music a lot, which today is reflected in the music she plays.
“We’re excited to be playing in Hood River, and we’ll have some great upbeat Americana songs. The landscape we’ve seen from our travels make for some great stories in our songs, and we can’t wait to play them in the Gorge.”
Jenn Rawling and Basho Parks will be at CEBU Lounge in Hood River on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 9:30 p.m.