Misty River closes a chapter as members move on

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If you go

What: The Misty River reunion concert.

When: 8 p.m. today.

Where: Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St., Portland.

Cost: $17 to $20.

Information: 503-764-4131 or Alberta Rose Theatre.

When local quartet Misty River took a hiatus in 2011, it was more like closing a chapter than a final bow.

Now, the four women return to give three reunion concerts for their fans and for themselves, before fiddle player Chris Kokesh moves to Wisconsin with her husband. That life change was one of many that prompted the idea of one last show, said Carol Harley, the band's guitarist.

"We really miss playing together, creating music together," she said.

Harley's daughter and the band's bassist, Laura Morin, recently moved to Baker City, Ore. And accordionist Dana Abel has been raising her two children.

"Life's making it harder to get together, so let's do some of our favorite cities and venues," Harley said.

The group is best known for its emphasis on harmony-driven music, with a heavy flavoring of bluegrass Americana and folk. The group began performing in 1997 and grew a strong fan base across the Northwest.

Misty River's first reunion show at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield was a sell-out, much to the band's delight.

"It was one of the best performances that we've ever given," said a proud Harley, 63.

They played most of their greatest hits and original recordings. They'll perform at 8 p.m. today at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland. The group is also planning to play shows in the Oregon towns of Corvallis and Eugene.

"We're just looking forward to interacting with the audiences," Harley said. "The fan response has been awesome."

It was especially meaningful during Harley's public fight with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. She has been in remission since 2004, thanks to a chemotherapy pill developed at Oregon Health & Science University. "I just get so much, we all get so much, healing and energy from our audiences."

Misty River is releasing its first DVD of a live performance recorded two years ago in Eugene. The DVD will be available for purchase at its concerts for $15.

"Fans will have at least something to remember us by," Harley said. "We get to know our people, we sing a lot of songs that tell stories about our selves, and we get so close."

Harley's side group, Misty Mamas, will continue to perform around the Northwest.-- Ashley Swanson

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