Jeffrey Silverstein is a songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. Drawn to the Pacific Northwest from his native New Jersey, Silverstein channels a decade of experience in bands on the East Coast (Secret Mountains, Nassau) into music that conjures vistas both inward and outward. He recorded his first solo EP, How On Earth (2019), at the Sou’wester Lodge on the coast of Washington inside the same vintage airstream motorhome where he lived as an artist-in-residence. The result was an elegant collection steeped in atmosphere and sense of place and portending deeper things to come. Arriving the next year, You Become the Mountain (2020) delivered on that promise, crafting from a vibrant, spiritually centered palette that NPR described as “cosmic country with a gentle sweetness.” Key to this transition was the production of Ryan Oxford at The Center for Light, Sound, and Color Therapy and accompaniment from pedal-steelist Barry Walker Jr. (North Americans, Mouth Painter) and bassist Alex Chapman (Parson Red Heads). Together they sought to give depth and form to the album’s guiding meditation as expressed by Jon Kabat-Zinn: the vision of sharing in the massiveness and the stillness and the majesty of the mountain. Bandcamp celebrated the album, writing that “Silverstein sings…with a wry twinkle that recalls David Berman, and slides through scenic instrumentals with the easy grace of an Econoline Bill Frisell.”
In 2021, Silverstein returns with a project that bespeaks newfound confidence and vision. Torii Gates, his forthcoming EP, takes its name from the traditional entryways to Japanese temples and continues his pursuit of the disappearing boundaries between the mundane and the sacred. Beginning with “Caught Behind the Hours,” which builds purposefully from a reflection on out-of-body experiences into a wave of imposing guitars, these six songs not only invite the listener to revisit a place of meditative wonder: they also confront the obstacles that may hinder the path to peace. On the album’s moody centerpiece, “Soft Lens,” Silverstein sings of being “stuck outside the Torii gates, tired of hearing you have to wait.” Embracing the patience needed to glimpse the transcendent, these tracks revel in coruscating textures and carefully layered soundscapes—bolstered once again by the team of Barry Walker Jr. and Alex Chapman and produced by Ryan Oxford at Color Therapy. The way forward, as Silverstein hints on that same track, is always inward: “Keep a little secret for yourself, living and dying for no one else.” Torii Gates is a record full of such secrets.
Catch Sunday Night Music in the Lovell Building every Sunday. All ages welcome and never a cover!
WHERE: Lovell Building , 1483 Duane Street Astoria, Oregon 97103 Map