Port O'Brien was an American musical group combining elements of acoustic, folk and indie rock. They were named after a bay in Alaska featuring a now-abandoned cannery on Kodiak Island where founder member Van Pierszalowski's parents met. They started out as a folk music duo of Cambria Goodwin and Van Pierszalowski while Cambria was living in Cambria, California and Van was living in Oakland. After Cambria moved closer to Oakland they added a rhythm section composed of Caleb Nichols and Joshua Barnhart.
Album · 2009 · 13 Songs. While Port O'Brien's music has always been emotional and sometimes oddly claustrophobic (in a good way), Threadbare is even more wrenching, with beautifully composed, haunting tunes like High Without the Hope 3, In the Meantime," and (((Darkness Visible))) conveying the heartache Goodwin wrestled with while making the record, just after her younger brother passed away
Each album they release far exceeds my expectations and slowly becomes an addiction. I’ve seen them in San Francisco, Austin and once in Boston where I had the opportunity to chat with lead singer Van Pierszalowski over a pint. The band’s latest album, Threadbare, recently elbowed its way near the top of my list of best albums of 2009
Port O'Brien – Threadbare. Label: TBD Records – tbd0008. Written-By – Cambria Goodwin.
Port O'Brien: Threadbare. October 11 2009, 2:59pm, The Sunday Times. When Port O'Brien first emerged, they had something of Arcade Fire about them; this time, though, the rousing, euphoric choruses are largely absent. Hardly surprising, as the brother of Cambria Goodwin, one of Port O'Brien's two singer-songwriters, died shortly before the album was made - an event that clearly informs Threadbare's mood.
2009's Threadbare follows in its predecessor's wet footsteps, and the death of a bandmember's sibling casts a long shadow over the project that sadly meshes beautifully with the outfit's sparsely delivered, yet emotionally rich sound. Unfortunately, that song was on their previous album, All We Could Do Was Sing, and without that burst of vigour Threadbare is a little underpowered - it's full of strong supporting performances, but lacks the defining moment to pull it together. Leap Year is nearly there, and Calm Me Down is a pleasing ballad a la Band of Horses, but one yearns for the song that demands attention instead of diffidently wondering if, perhaps, you would care to listen.