This weekend is a homecoming of sorts for Ian Skavdahl, who left the area about four years ago to pursue a music career in the Seattle area.He left as a solo artist and returns with a band: Ian Hale and the Legacy performs on the main stage at the National Lentil Festival at noon Saturday.
Here’s what a group interview via Skype revealed about the band:
The band: Ian Hale and the Legacy is comprised of Pullman-native Skavdahl (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Matt Clifford (electric guitar and slide), Chris Hyde (drums) and Adam Guldhammer (bass and backing vocals).
It’s humble beginnings: Skavdahl submitted a recording to a battle of the bands competition in Seattle. He won a slot, but there was one problem: he didn’t have a band. Through people he knew and people that those people knew, he assembled one. They put together a 20-minute set in two weeks — and won the competition. Two years later, they’re still making music together.
Genre: No musician likes to be tucked into a genre, least of all these guys. They describe themselves as progressive Americana rock. “It’s a Seattle vibe without the grunge,” Skavdahl said. Guldhammer corrected: “It’s funk, soul and rock and roll — with grunge in all the right places.”
On the creative process: When writing their songs, Skavdahl brings the lyrics and basic structure of a song to the group and everyone pitches in with the end product. “It’s a collaborative process,” Skavdahl said.
Current album: The group released their first album a month ago. The project was funded entirely through a Kickstarter effort that was started last fall. They began recording in January and five months and 13 songs later, “Hidden From the Stars” was born. Their producer and cellist for the album, Phil Peterson, has worked with musicians such as Lorde and Ed Sheeran.
Album feedback: With it’s wide range of dynamics — big, building sounds and soft moments — the band loves how the album turned out. “We reached a high bar we hadn’t even set for ourselves,” Guldhammer said.
Album guest artists: Besides Peterson, the album features a number of guest artists, including non-people ones like the Alaskan Way Viaduct and a few birds. You’ll hear them in the transitions between songs, thanks to binaural recordings made by Clifford. If you listen on headphones and close your eyes, the three-dimensional sounds will make it feel like you’re really there.
Local connections: Skavdahl spent 24 years in Pullman, many of them on the music scene. In fact, this isn’t his first time performing at the Lentil Festival. He and Hyde were shoehorned in for a brief three-song stint a few years ago.
On leaving the Palouse: After graduating from Washington State University with a music degree and playing at almost every venue in the area, Skavdahl left for the Emerald City to pursue music. The song “These Endless Fields” expresses his need to move on. The change in location not only brought him a band, but it influenced his sound to something slightly more rock and roll. Guldhammer corrected: “I’d say more than slightly.”
On lentils: These guys love them; don’t be surprised if they quickly procure a lentil curry as evidence. So, they’re more than glad to be performing at the nation’s only lentil festival.
Five things to do at the National Lentil Festival:
- Listen to some music. Rolling Stone named Magic Giant one of the top ten artists you need to know. The Los Angeles trio plays at 9:15 p.m. Friday on the Main Stage. Other bands performing include Mother Yeti, Adrian Xavier and the Shook Twins. Music starts at 5:45 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, music begins at noon with Ian Hale and the Legacy (see accompanying story), followed by the Olson Bros. Band and High Valley.
- Watch a cooking demo. Local chefs will host live demonstrations on some easy and tasty ways to prepare lentils at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Cooking Demo Stage in Reaney Park. If you’ve got questions on cooking, growing, health benefits and more, head to the same stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday for the Ask the Experts panel discussion.
- Catch the parade. The Grand Parade goes along Grand Ave., Main St. and Spring St. at 11 a.m. Saturday.
- Play. The Lentil Land Kid’s Area in Reaney Park is open at 5-9 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday. You’ll find inflatables, a juggling tent, science tent and a Kid’s Stage that will be featuring the WSU Raptor Club and several performers beginning at noon on Saturday.
- Eat some lentil chili. Over 350 gallons of the stuff will be served from the famed world’s largest bowl of lentil chili. Enjoy your free sample from 5 – 8 p.m. Friday along Spring Street.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: National Lentil Festival
WHEN: 9 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Most events, including music, cooking demos, vendors and kids area, take place at Reaney Park and along Spring Street in Pullman. Some activities take place at various locations in Pullman.
COST: Free admission to events at Reaney Park and along Spring St., activities at other locations may have registration fees, see www.lentilfest.com for details.
ONLINE: Details at www.lentilfest.com