August 24th, 2012 – Freedom

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2012 by sonnygiver

“It’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.”

– Jonathan Franzen


August 20th, 2012 – Toole

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2012 by sonnygiver

“In my innocence, I suspect that the obscene jazz issuing forth from the loudspeakers on the walls of the factory was at the root of the apathy which I was witnessing among the workers.  The psyche can be bombarded only so much by these rhythms before it begins to crumble and atrophy.”  -John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)

John Kennedy Toole

June 23rd, 2012 – Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 by sonnygiver

Nothing too exciting happening.  The weather is getting nicer.  I’m writing a lot of music.  I’m reading East Of Eden.  My pants don’t fit.  I’m bowling well.  My Detroit Tigers are doing better but still 2 games under .500.  I’m growing a beard.  I love my bike.  I am looking forward to my first sober tour next month.  Anyway…


  • 7/1 – Battle Hymns & Gardens – Blue Monk – Portland, OR
  • 7/6 – BH&G w/ Thollem McDonas – Tabor Space – Portland, OR
  • 7/10 – Blue Cranes – Ashland, OR
  • 7/11 – BC w/ Phillip Greenlief/Scott Amendola Duo – Berkeley, CA
  • 7/12 – BC w/ Bad Light, Highness – Santa Cruz, CA
  • 7/13 – BC w/ Marissa Moriel and the Fifth House Sons – Davis, CA
  • 7/14 – BC w/ Zach Zeller and the Crooked Timbers – Chico, CA
  • 7/15 – BC w/ Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors – Berkeley, CA
  • 7/16 – BC w/ Phillip Greenlief/Gino Robair/Jill Burton – Sacramento, CA
  • 7/17 – BC – Caspar, CA
  • 7/22 – BH&G – PDX Pop Now! – Portland, OR

This guy:  Cotton candy pro

And this guy:  James Brown 1971 Olympia

May 23rd, 2012 – Things Are Happening!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 by sonnygiver

The Blue Cranes’ 4th album just got mastered!!  It should be available sometime in the Fall.  We will be touring soon (see below).

I am a part of a new band called SOME PEOPLE NEVER GO CRAZY.  It’s jazzish music and these dudes are REALLY good and the writing is different and, well, it’s awesome.

Battle Hymns & Gardens are going into the studio June 2nd & 3rd for the first time.  Super duper excited.  We are inviting people to be there.  Let me know if you’re interested.

The Improvisation Summit of Portland is happening June 8th & 9th!!  Please come.  It’s going to be something special.  Here is where you can donate to our fundraiser.  It’s important and it means a lot to me.  Thanks.


  • June 1 – Battle Hymns & Gardens – w/ Chris Cochrane @ Gallery Homeland – Portland
  • June 9 – Blue Cranes – Improvisation Summit of Portland – Bamboo Grove – Portland
  • June 21 – Blue Cranes – w/ Andrew Oliver’s Tunnel Six – Jimmy Mak’s – Portland
  • July ? – Blue Cranes tour – California
  • September ? – Blue Cranes tour – East Coast

Oh, and I went to Detroit last week!  Got to see Hitsville USA and feel the magic of Studio A.  AND!!!…I went to two Tigers games!  So great.  I love Detroit and I hope it turns into the greatest city in the world someday.  Someday.

April 10th, 2012 – Juggling

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 by sonnygiver

What happened to my March post, you ask?  Don’t ask.

Anyway, lots have happened in two months:

The Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble played my piece Painted Bird and it went well!  Yay!  I am looking forward to writing more for this fine ensemble.

Blue Cranes went into Jackpot! to record EVEN MORE songs for the new album.  Yay!  AND…Gregg Williams mixed it!  Heyyooo.

Gregg Williams

I wrote parts/conducted/directed an all-star lineup of Portland musicians including the Decemberists rhythm section and the great Laura Gibson for a new project of mine that Chris Funk and I put together.  It is a full ensemble including bass/drums/2 guitars/2 keyboards/4 horns/4 strings/2 lead singers/3 background singers all playing/singing in one room together and being recorded using an old 16 track tape machine.  We recorded three Stax songs.  It was amazing.  The idea is to do it every couple months with some more covers and some originals.  I want it to be like a Motown situation with a team of songwriters and a team of singers and a house band.  We’ll see.  More on this to come.  Yes!  Inger Klekacz took photos!  —> Motown comes to Po-town.

Other cool things:

  • Three of my best friends are in a band called SWANSEA.  Check it.  They are touring in May.
  • My buddy Noah Bernstein plays saxophone with tUnE-yArDs!  Cool, right?  But more important than that…he made a record.  This is it.  Buy it.  It’s amazing!
  • Better Homes & Gardens changed our name to BATTLE HYMNS & GARDENS.  AND we are making our first recordings in June!
  • I QUIT DRINKING!  AND…I smoked pot for the first time in 15 years!  It was really weird.  It’s illegal so don’t tell anyone.
  • My bowling team won the championship this season.  I averaged a 200!
  • My Detroit Tigers are 4-0 and may not lose a game this year.

Until next time, wonderful people.  xo

February 11th, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2012 by sonnygiver

Hello, foxy eggheads.  You are the greatest!  Let’s get right to it:

Blue Cranes!  We have been in the studio a couple times in the last month with Mr. Jason Powers, recording first the great Eyvind Kang, who nailed the weird/beautiful parts Reed wrote for him (duh).  And then with our comely string section (Anna Fritz, Kyleen King, Patty King), who also nailed it…hard.  We will see what we have after we sort through it all but I’m pretty stoked.

Big BC gig coming up with Tim Berne’s new project Snakeoil.  Friday, March 2nd.  At Alberta Rose in Portland.  Don’t miss this.

And another gig…Better Homes & Gardens at the Portland Jazz Festival.  Saturday, February 18th.  9:30pm.  The Art Bar in Portland (next to the Schnitz).  Free!!  I love this band.

Like I mentioned last month, I was asked to write a piece for the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble.  I ended up arranging a song I wrote for Blue Cranes called PAINTED BIRDS (which will be on the new BC album).  Rehearsals have started and I’m pretty happy with the results so far (though my conducting skills need work).  The performance will be on Thursday, February 23rd at Gallery 135 (135 NW Park Ave.) in Portland.

Hey, guess what?!  My Detroit Tigers picked up Prince Fielder for the measly price of $214,ooo,ooo!  What a deal!

Oh, and good luck to my friends, The Decemberists, at THE GRAMMYs tomorrow!!  Woot woot!

January 3rd, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 by sonnygiver

Hey, smart and good looking people who read this.  As part of my New Years resolution, I’ve decided to post here on PIG OUT once a month.  No more, no less.  You’ll be hearing about all kinds of stuff.  Mostly artistic.  Some celebrating of my beloved Detroit Tigers.  Maybe some bad jokes.

2011 was a crazy year!!  An amazing train tour with my best friends, Blue Cranes.  Some heartbreaking losses, close calls, and breakups.  Some heartwarming unions, reunions, and new friendships.  Brand new beautiful little people introduced to this crazy world.  My Detroit Tigers beating the stupid Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.  Sooooo many great gigs and recording sessions. It’s kind of overwhelming thinking about this past year.  Hey 2012…good luck measuring up.

Let’s move on to this year:

BLUE CRANES!  We went into the Jackpot! Studio in November to work on our 4th full length album.  I am super excited to work with and add to what we have from that session.  We are heading into Type Foundry Studio at the end of the month to record strings and whatnot.  Then back to Jackpot! in February to maybe add a song or two (and to record a 31Knots cover for a Jackpot! covers project.  Shhh.  It’s a secret.)

Two BC shows in January.  Friday, the 20th in Hillsboro, OR!  And Wednesday, the 25th at Alberta Rose Theater in P-town.  This show was supposed to be at The Woods, but I hear they may be closing their doors for good.  Nooooooooo!!!!  I love that place.  Anyway, you can get show details on the BC site.

BETTER HOMES & GARDENS.  “The best band in Portland.”  Someone somewhere said that.  And it wasn’t me!!  I get to play for and write with this super rad and super avant-garde and super awesome band.  We are playing one private gig in Portland this month.  I am hoping to get this band into the studio before we self destruct like all of the best punk jazz bands in the world do.  Will keep you posted.

PORTLAND JAZZ COMPOSERS ENSEMBLE.  These insane people asked me to write a piece for them.  I’m writing for a 16 piece ensemble?!!!  What?!  I have less than a month to have it ready?!!  What am I doing writing a blog when I should be banging my head on my desk for inspiration.  Gotta go.