Shelley Short
  • Faulkner Short
  • Shelley Short

Once again it's another chapter in our series of 10 (or so) questions with musicians that live in Portland, but play all over the world.

Rainy, wet days like these call for Shelley Short and the native Portland singer songwriter’s album A Cave, A Canoo (2009, Hush Records). If you’re not familiar with the record, it could be considered a regional anthem to our soggy, yet beautiful, part of the globe. Whether it’s the recorded sound of rain on Short’s front porch, or the 1920’s found-sounds of a young girl singing, the album is a perfect fit to our neck of the woods. If you’ve have an upcoming road trip and are in the market for a mellow yet rich soundtrack experience, get your self a copy of A Cave, A Canoo.

I met up with Shelley at the Breakside Brewery, not far from her home in North Portland. She had just returned from a snowy three week European tour with fellow Portland musician Alexis Gideon.

What’s your favorite place to eat:
My kitchen. I also like The Prescott Cafe, have you ever been there? It’s on 62nd and Prescott, so it’s a bit out, but it’s always really good and there’s always a table. The waitresses are super and the food is good—razor clams for breakfast.

You grew up here, right?
Yeah, in Northwest.

Do you have any thoughts on how Portland has changed?
Yes, it has changed a lot! And everyday it’s constantly changing. It does seem like there’s a lot of people moving here. I wonder if it’s like that with most cities? I suppose it is—it’s the flow of things. One thing that’s different is the amount of 20-somethings living here now... it’s different than it used to be. Not in a bad way. Touring around the U.S., when we meet people and tell ‘em were from Portland, they say 'Oh my friend’s moving there, or I’m moving there.' In every city. So, it’s a hot-spot right now.

As a native Portlander, how does that make you feel?
It’s nice to talk to old friends and people who grew up here and know the old Portland. It used to have a much different feel. To try to remember old school Portland is fun.

What’s your favorite place to play a show in town?
The Woods. I really like that place.

What’s one of your more memorable last shows you’ve seen here?
Future Islands, they’re from Baltimore - I’ve played with them a few times. Went to see them at... I think... Rotture, a few months ago. They are always so good live. An amazing show.

Where did you record A Cave, A Canoo?
In my house in North Portland.

What’s a favorite PDX based band?
The Golden Bears. Alexis Gideon. Norfolk and Western.

Do you collaborate with anyone else local, beside Alexis?
Alia Farah. She’s in the band the Alialujah Choir with Adam Selzer and Adam Shearer (Weinland). We met at Type Foundry Studios singing back-up on Darren Hanlon's album. Alia and I both love singing harmony so we’ve been hanging out and doing covers. We’ve only gotten together once though.

Do you bike?
I used to all the time, but I don’t now.

Do you boat?
Yeah sometimes I go kayaking on the Columbia Slough. It’s really fun and there’s amazing birds.

What’s the status of your next album?
It’s called Then Came The After. It’s finished. It’s done. I don’t know when it’s coming out. There’s two version of one song—one that was recorded by Mike Coykendall and the other was recorded by Alexis Gideon. One version will be coming out in February on a 7-inch on an Australia label called Flippin Yeah. I haven’t had the frame of mind to put it out yet since we just got back from tour. It’s 11 songs.

What’s next for you?
We’re back here in Portland until my next tour starts up in Australia this February.


Shelley Short - "A Cave"