It’s spring and summertime in the Pacific Northwest. The sun has started to warm the area and with that comes a need to explore and have fun. Whether you are visiting for the first time or have lived here a lifetime, the Pacific Northwest is always buzzing with new and spectacular events to attend. Wine enthusiasts, foodies, and brew mongers, there is something for everyone on the following pages. So check out these next few pages, and fill your calendar with these seasonal events. – Lisa Karlberg
Aaron Crawford shares how he started and what inspired his new country album Hotel Bible
Aaron Crawford grew up in the Seattle area, and like most Pacific Northwesterners, he enjoys being in the outdoors. Something that might seem different about Crawford, who recently moved to Cle Elum, is his goal to bring country music to the Seattle area in what he likes to call the “Cascade Country” genre. He started finding his love for music when he was in his junior high school’s choir and advanced quartet. Crawford’s family and faith play a big role in his country rock music career. (Answers have been edited for space.)
With Seattle’s music scene, what got you started with country music?
I was performing church worship music and a DJ at the country station came and said, “You’ve got country tunes to your voice and the songs that you write lean that way. I’ve got a friend who is also a writer and the two of you would be a good pair.” We met, recorded an album and toured around. We went our separate ways amicably and from there I decided to launch a solo career.
Where did the term “Cascade Country” come from?
A lot of people think country isn’t necessarily synonymous with Seattle but there is this underground scene emerging. Living here, there is a different climate and musical culture. We just blend those two so you get a more raw edge than more polished Nashville country.
Who is your biggest influencer in country music?
Johnny Cash is a huge one. Growing up in the church, he bridged the gap, he would talk about faith, death and drinking. He wasn’t afraid to talk about it, always honest, and that was something that I was drawn to. That was a building block to an inspiration. Fastforward and you have guys like Keith Urban. They were a sweet spot with inspiration where you’re blending a rock tone with country so you had both elements cohesively.
What was your inspiration for your new album, “Hotel Bible”?
It’s one of those things where you assess where you are in your faith. This applies to everyone in whatever they believe. I think most people in life are OK with where they are spiritually or morally. Most people at the same time think, “What if I was 15 percent better?” We travel a lot for shows and there are always Bibles in the hotels. It’s a cool metaphor, you don’t need to scream it from the rooftops. Just be a little bit better then you are at the moment.
Is your family into music?
Yes, they’re the ones who were my inspiration, going back to my grandfather. One of my first records, called “Ghost of a Cowboy,” is about him. Both my grandparents were very involved with the church and played numerous instruments. I’ve got a couple of their instruments that have luckily been passed on to me. I definitely grew up in that scenario.
What is your favorite food place in Seattle?
I’m a big fan of tacos and wings. I really like Naked City Brewery or Chuck’s Hop Shop. Chuck’s Hop Shop has a ton of beers and rotating food trucks so that’s a really great place to go to get a variety of things.
To hear Aaron in person, go to the “shows” section at crawfordaaronmusic.com