Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Elder Crow strives for rock justice

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian Features News Coordinator

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Tyler Morgan considers his band, Elder Crow, “his baby.” A guitarist who’s played in local bands Lincoln’s Beard and Cutback, Elder Crow marks Morgan’s first time as a band frontman.

“There’s a lot more pressure (as a frontman). When you mess up, it’s pretty known,” he said.

The band, formed in October, also features drummer Eddie Esparza, the leader of One of a Kind Drumline program, bassist Eric Fernandez and lead guitarist Ray Yurkewycz. Today mark’s the release of Elder Crow’s first album, “Said & Done,” recorded at Kevin Nettleingham’s Vancouver studio.

Morgan, a history teacher at Camas High School, was inspired to start the band during his study for his doctorate. He took social justice and leadership classes at Washington State University Vancouver last year.

“Learning about the experiences of oppressed, marginalized groups in this county and around the world gave me the inspiration and motivation to write songs about that,” he said.

One of his songs from the album, “Freedom is a Shotgun,” was inspired by the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech, and the protests in the South, he said. The song’s title is drawn from a Black Panther slogan.

“The other song people seem to really like is ‘Other Day.’ It’s kind of about questioning things that are going on and why they’re going on and how we fit into the whole puzzle,” Morgan said, “And trying to find your voice in this whole game of life.”

As for the sound of Elder Crow, its album brings to mind dusty roads and the rock and roll of the late 1960s. Morgan cited musical influences of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, George Clinton, and more recently the Black Keys.

“(Esparza) helps drive the songs, and makes them in your face rock,” Morgan said. “And our bass player and guitar player give a nice big rock and roll sound.”

The band practices in Morgan’s basement, something that wouldn’t be possible without the support of his fiancee, said Morgan.

“She has been incredibly patient with the volume of our practices.”

The album, “Said & Done,” is now available on iTunes and other digital music services. Elder Crow will host a free album release party at 7 tonight at the Loowit Brewery, 507 Columbia St., Vancouver.


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