Pacific Northwest Honkytonk at its best.
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms are known to roots music fans across the globe for their soulful harmonies, driving dance tunes, classic original songs, and commitment to the raw truth of rural American music. Both originally from Washington State, they made a home in Portland, Oregon, where they are foundational to the exceptional old-time and country music scene with the Caleb Klauder Country Band and their membership in the Foghorn Stringband, in which Caleb was a founding member. Charismatic performers, they bring their unique set of talents to the stage with an eye towards good times and an ear towards the deepest songs and tunes.
Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms both originally hail from Washington State: Caleb from the coastal islands, and Reeb from the high desert plateau. The two have come together in music and are hailed as some of the most compelling musicians making country roots music in America today. When these two sing together, their honest incantations leave us spell-bound and smiling.
Their repertoire is made up of original songs and tunes as well as gems from American roots repertoires. Music is clearly in their blood. Caleb and Reeb’s originals and interpretations of songs have been covered and recorded by many performers and their musical presence reaches into a diverse and loyal fanbase, giving creedence to the impact that this duo has on their listeners. Pillars of the Northwest music scene, they carry the torch of their music around the world, and can be found touring as a duo, as well as with the Foghorn Stringband, and the Caleb Klauder Country Band. Their fans exude admiration for the timeless sound that these two produce, capturing the essence of American roots music.
Sometimes we get so unnecessarily swept up in who’s rising and falling in music these days that the sheer joy of music is overlooked. One of the great things about Caleb and Reeb is that they are a world apart from all of that nonsense and let you immerse yourself in the melody and story of classic sounding country music until all other cares of life fade away. Country music is the music of working people who use it to pass the time and forget about the ever-present hardships in their lives. After years of touring together, Reeb and Caleb work intuitively.
Caleb’s study and understanding of roots music is so dedicated and rich, that he can hauntingly immerse himself in the same perspective of those old primitive country composers and write as if he was right beside them. Their album Innocent Road includes a clutch of lovingly arranged Klauder originals, along with well-placed and rare covers. The pair bring the spirit of legendary country duos into their contemporary takes on country music. Trading vocals back and forth, they complement each other strikingly well in an attractive meld of honky-tonk that brushes shoulders with trad bluegrass. Caleb has penned over 50 songs many of which are standards across America in honky tonk and bluegrass jams and festivals, both on and off stage. There is a long list of bands and singers who have recorded Caleb's songs over the years.
The blend of true harmonies, the sharply-written country songs, and the un-showy authenticity strike a rich vein that makes them seem like they are born and raised in Music City. But Portland Oregon, is their home. For years, Caleb Klauder has been at the heart of Portland’s music scene. In the early 2000’s, his group Foghorn Stringband led the burgeoning square dance and Appalachian string band revival. In the past fifteen years, he’s been leading Portland’s underground country scene. He has quietly pursued his country vision without much of a care for what’s expected or in vogue at the time. There’s a lot to admire in this singular perseverance and honesty.