GoldenOak is a Portland-based soul-folk band featuring Kendall siblings Zak (guitar, vocals) and Lena (vocals), along with Mike Knowles (bass) and Jackson Cromwell (drums and percussion). They’ve got two new swoon-worthy singles coming out Friday, and you can see them live in Portland this weekend.
“Poet and the Painter,” one of the new singles penned by the siblings, opens with Zak’s acoustic guitar, and he and Lena sing the entire song together in close harmony. “In the wind of every mountain are the seeds of all these sounds/In the laughs you’ll find living/In the tears you’ll find singing/When it rains, we’ll call it gardening.” Bass and snare drum add sinew to an already solid tune that delivers a message of unfettered hope, and a clarinet is the mysterious stranger that you’re glad showed up.
Lena takes lead on the other new single, “River,” which drips with soul and moodiness and has an Americana heart. Lena paints a picture with lines about songbirds, bare trees and flowing rivers, and Zak fills it in with intricate, finger-picked guitar and harmony vocals. “There is a hope for all this land/There is a place for every hand.”
Take a listen to “River”
The formation of GoldenOak can be traced back to Zak and Lena’s childhood in New Sharon when they first started singing around campfires. They have been writing music and performing together since 2014.
The full-length album “Pleasant St.” was released in 2016, followed by the six-song EP “Foxgloves” in 2017. The EP’s title track is a meditative instrumental tune with acoustic guitar and cello. “Grains in the Garden” falls like rain as it tells of things like carbon-filled footprints and pieces of bone. “Separated by the Sea” closes out “Pleasant St.” like a feather landing on moss in its gentleness but also examines global problems like poverty and war and questions lofty things like the meaning of life. Halfway through, it spreads its wings with flowing backing vocals from Lena as Zak digs in with words about trading away one’s soul for oil. Just because a song is on the mellow side doesn’t mean it can’t pack a political punch.
Find GoldenOak online at goldenoakband.com and on Facebook. You can see the band live during the Vintage Bazaar Spring Special on Friday, and odds are favorable that more local shows will be popping up on its calendar.