When Grandaddy splintered in 2006, guitarist Jim Fairchild wasn't immediately ready to step out from the wings with his own material, but encouragement came from likeminded musicians in his adopted home of Portland—including Danny Seim of Menomena, Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. With their support, he released the first All Smiles record, and now Fairchild has another All Smiles album gunning for release.
That new record is Oh for the Getting and Not Letting Go, and like its predecessor, features the talents of several illustrious names, including Plummer, Solon Bixler of Great Northern, and Nik Freitas, who earlier this year released the splendid Sun Down album. Fairchild says, "I have been thinking about the press photos for the new album simply being tons of individual shots with me and each of my friends." Indeed, the album sounds like a warm audio scrapbook, evoking not just Grandaddy, but Elliott Smith in both hushed and full-blare modes, John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce, and the spiraling but pop-friendly guitars of Built to Spill. These are easy, familiar touchstones, to be sure, but Fairchild's assured song craft earns the comparisons.
Thursday's All Smiles show will see Fairchild joined by Plummer and Seim, as well as Seim's Menomena bandmate Justin Harris. "Joe and Danny are both in the band full time, but as part time as they please. Their day jobs pay better," jokes Fairchild.
Since early label support for the record fell through, the band is considering self-releasing Oh for the Getting next year, but first-edition copies will be for sale at the show with hand-screened covers by Fairchild, Seim, and artist Natasha Wheat. Meanwhile, a new EP is already near completion, and Fairchild is cultivating new collaborations for further All Smiles projects—the happy byproduct of living in such a musician-rich city.
"Anybody here has access to such rich resources of steady intellect from a community as diverse as the forest," he says. "[It's] fitting that the forest that once stood where we sit now is occupied currently by such a diversity of healthy personality."