Typically, Outside bands touring in Alaska prefer doing so during summer months. But not Ezza Rose. The frontwoman of Portland-based indie folk act the Ezza Rose Band would rather tour in the dead of January when the weather is at its most bitter.
"I like to experience new things and natural phenomena," Rose confessed. "Last year we toured in Midwest and down through the South in the middle of summer and the band was like 'are you crazy,' but I really wanted to feel what HOT feel likes. I wanted to experience hot muggy heat. And the same with Alaska, I want to experience extreme cold."
The Ezza Rose Band isn't your typical female fronted folk group. There's something inimitably ethereal, almost haunting, about Rose's voice. The frequently somber themes in her lyrics are delivered with a velvet smokiness, occasionally evoking Brothers Grimm-type folklore -- enchanting and mysterious but undeniably accessible. It's an extreme in its own right, as in far removed from the ordinary, and Rose appreciates extremes.
Rose and her band mates -- cellist Jessie Dettwile, drummer Adam Mack, banjo and accordion player Arthur Lee, and upright bassist Tyler Glisson -- arrived in Anchorage last week with an itinerary and a plan: Tour Alaska as a group for the first time ever. Despite the fact it's the middle of summer, and a beautifully warm one at that, Rose is more than happy to be here.
"We're really excited," she said, "I hear it's great and the people are just fabulous. Alameda loved it."
Portland indie band Alameda just returned home from a successful three-week tour of Alaska last month. Rose's bandmate Dettwile, who also plays cello in Alameda, had very little time off between the tours. "We weren't sure if Jessie would want to go again. I figured it could only go one of two ways. Either she'd love it and want to go back, or she'd hate it," Rose laughed.
Lucky for Rose and for Alaskans, Dettwile and Alameda relished their time up north.
This week, the Ezza Rose Band will play in Denali, with shows booked Wednesday night at The Spike and Thursday and Friday nights at Salmon Bake, before heading north to Fairbanks for a Saturday show at The Marlin.
From Fairbanks the band will head back to Anchorage where they'll join the local group Super Saturated Sugar Strings for a music workshop at the Turnagain Arts Buildings on Monday, July 29. From Anchorage, they'll go south to Seward and play at Resurrect Art Coffee House on Thursday, Aug. 1 and at Salmonstock on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3 before ending their tour at the Kingfisher Roadhouse in Cooper Landing on Sunday, Aug. 4.
For more information on the Ezza Rose Band-- including tours, merchandise and contact-- visit them online and watch them perform "Thursday," at Salmon Daze in Anchorage, above.
Contact Katie Medred at katie(at)alaskadispatch.com