Bits 'n' Pieces: On new EP, rocker strips down sound

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It's all about slowing down and really hearing that guitar.

About four years ago, Vancouver native Justin Klump released a highly produced album full of electric sounds. But when he hits the road, as he frequently does, it's just Klump and his acoustic guitar that audiences hear.

So his new five-song EP, "Sticks and Stones," is meant to mimic that stripped-down experience, he said. "I limited myself in terms of layering a lot of instruments and going crazy," he said. He recorded the album at his brother's house, he said, bringing in his own recording equipment and surrounding it with a soundproof booth built from blankets, pillows, bookcases and a ping-pong table.

"It was that or take out a bunch of money to record," said the do-it-yourselfer, 29, who's been pursuing music as a full-time career for the last six years. Hence the theme of "Sticks and Stones", he said: "It's about getting up every day and wondering if it's all going somewhere. It's about having a sense of hope even when life is kind of beating you up."

Klump will hold a CD release concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 N.E. Alberta St., Portland. Tickets are $10 advance or $12 at the door.

— Scott Hewitt

Washougal singer-songwriter hits road to pursue big dreams

photoMatt Brown

Matt Brown's life plans for the next three years sound like the makings of a song.

The 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Washougal is selling his house and all his possessions and hitting the road with his band.

"I'm going to start touring full time all over the U.S. in March," Brown said. "I'm going to be a touring musician. I'm selling everything and going for it."

Brown already has two EP albums available on iTunes and other sites: "Finish Lines," released in 2011, and "Barcelona," released in July 2012.

He grew up listening to classic music from Ray Charles, Otis Redding and other artists that his dad would play on cassette tapes.

He bought his first guitar while he was a student at Seattle University, "and I started playing and singing and I was just hooked," he said.

His first band, Ruby Hill, which formed in 2007, was popular around Portland, but he decided to go in a new direction a few years ago.

In the past year, his band, a trio with Clark County natives Wylie Foster on drums and Jacob Battan on bass, has opened for Huey Lewis and the News and Mycle Wastman from NBC's "The Voice."

"Things are really starting to pick up," Brown said. "In the past year, we've played hundreds of gigs."

On New Year's Eve the band will open for Vicci Martinez, also from "The Voice," at Jazzbones, 2803 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma.

The group hopes to record its third album this winter before starting its extended tour. Visit Brown's website for information.

— Sue Vorenberg

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.