ASK ANY MEMBER OF Portland's creative class; it's easy to feel envious of musician Adrian Orange. At only 20 years old, Orange (AKA Thanksgiving) has already managed nine releases and shows no sign of yielding. Co-founder of PDX's Marriage Records, he has become one of the most notable figures to come out of the NW music scene. As a native, he's been playing shows in Portland since age 11(!), so it's really no wonder that despite his age, he's an old hand at this.
Having seen Thanksgiving perform more times than I can likely count, I am perpetually pleased and surprised at how deft Orange is at mixing it up and keeping things interesting. He's done shows that were straight acoustic, shows accompanied with a laptop sequencing program, and shows with a full band consisting of whatever combination of communal friends were on hand to participate.
The songs are beautiful, simple, and well written. They might wax thoughtful on the state of the world, the nature of art and life in general, or (often in the exact same breath) evoke images of sunsets, dead deer, and Doritos bags. Yet they all clearly follow the same aesthetic and adhere to the standards set by Orange's established voice as a singer/songwriter. His most recent release, a giant self-titled triple-LP, captures a terrific range both lyrically and sonically. The best moments may be those that place him in context and make him ours: the rain spattering down so audibly behind his cooing howl and strumming in a cold, stone room in industrial Southeast; making music because it's clearly something he has to do; putting forth the world anew for us to hear through his own eyes, young as they are, and telling so much modest pondering. And clearly that's something that commands not envy, but respect.