Chill with harmonious Mapache as they deliver a captivating version of ‘Cactus Flower’ on Pendarvis farm
Cai Trefor
15:00 5th November 2018

After premiering the first 2018 Pumphouse session series last week, Gigwise and Pickathon present to you the acoustic duo Mapache. The rest of the Pumphouse series will air on the first Monday of the month until August 2019.

We couldn’t be more pleased to present Mapache, who shared stages with the likes of Allah-La's – and have a Greatful Dead cover band called Greatful Shred – since their masterful version of their song ‘Cactus Flower’ streaming below is so captivating. Initially released, as a standalone cut after recording their self-titled debut album, this new take of ‘Cactus Flower’ is a remarkable addition to their oeuvre. Mapache, who are in their early 20's, came to the attention of the wonderful Pickathon festival after a beguiling show at Mississippi studios, an intimate venue in East Portland.

In contrast to their album that's lavishly layered, their live set takes it back down to basics with two acoustic guitars and glue-tight Everly Brothers-esque harmonies. For Mapache, plumbing the depths of music released predominantly in the mid-20th century (there's elements of bluegrass, psych country, folk and more; The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons are formative influences) is a chance to continue a noble tradition of "people's music". "We're trying to honour this rainbow of musical traditions that are super rich where we grew up," they told The New Commute.

The duo grew up in Glendale, California and continue old school styles whilst adding their own idiosyncratic vision in an attempt to stay relevant. According to their bio, they take to natural surrounds to hone their artistic vision.

The sense of space and euphoria they’ve felt in those places is manifest in their music. Dramatic landscapes - wild beaches, canyons comes across - etch their way into your brain when you close your eyes and listen. As does the freewheelin’ attitude of being outside the 9 to 5: the musicians are in demand session hacks for Greatful Shred and earning a blossoming following for Mapache shows across the US. And their Romanization of the world is a timely escape for “these times”.

Working as a unique artistic space that’s out of the ordinary for a session, the intimate 9x9 surrounds of Pumphouse is ideal for the band, whose names, by the way, are Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci. It’s a venue converted from a bedroom for a farm worker when the festival isn’t on, to a fully operating live studio space. It is business as usual for Mapache as they often perform this stripped down style whilst still maintaining a cinematic impact. Loyal viewers of Pickathon’s sessions may remember the Pumphouse as the first place that Pickathon began filming their festival, which runs every August in a beautiful farm just outside of Portland – founder Zale describes it as a “bohemian paradise”. The session was then named Live & Breathing and the first one aired over ten years ago. Famous names to have played this particular brand of session at the Pumphouse include Sturgill Simpson’s first band Sunday Valley.

Intimate sessions – and full films of the gigs that there – are now filmed around the clock; all gigs played are thought to be filmed now. Ultimately, Pickathon have become a serious production house with a Curation Series where they connect chefs Doug Adams & Tommy Habetz with artist Billy Strings. This has amassed over 300k views in a week thanks to lavish production helped by Travel Portland donations. Pickathon are blazing a trail right now in the world of video production. And never losing site of their original ethics of having a festival that’s tightly curated, and based on what they love as opposed to data driven. Hats off to them.

Photo: David Herbertson