Ordinary Elephant to play at the Palindrome next week

Posted 6/23/22

Hailing from Texas, husband-wife folk duo Ordinary Elephant will bring their ballads to Port Townsend for a concert at the Palindrome at Eaglemount Cidery.

Rainshadow Recording welcomes the …

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Ordinary Elephant to play at the Palindrome next week

Posted

Hailing from Texas, husband-wife folk duo Ordinary Elephant will bring their ballads to Port Townsend for a concert at the Palindrome at Eaglemount Cidery.

Rainshadow Recording welcomes the International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year winner, Ordinary Elephant, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 to Port Townsend.

Tickets are $20 each from ordinaryelephant.brownpapertickets.com or at the door, and proof of vaccination is required for entry.

Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with their emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs, letting the listener know that they are not alone in this world.

The collaboration of husband and wife Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection and influences such as Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, and Anais Mitchell, all meet on stage.

“Two become one, in song ... hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery,” said singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier.

The Associated Press is calling their latest album, “Honest,” “one of the best Americana albums of the year.”

“Keep kind all that rises from your chest to your tongue. Don’t ever let your words undo the work you’ve done,” sings Crystal Damore on “Worth the Weight,” a song that beats at the heart of Ordinary Elephant’s potent new album, “Honest.”

In the song, it’s a two-line enjoinder from an adult to a kid. In life, though, it’s a mission statement for ourselves as much as for others. And the work that Crystal, along with her husband Pete, have done on the new album is both filled with kindness and worthy of praise. 

Interestingly, if not ironically, in order to accomplish this new work, Crystal and Pete had to set aside the work they’d done previously, as a veterinary cardiologist and a computer programmer, respectively. The two met at an open mic in College Station, Texas in 2009 and soon moved to Houston together.

With Crystal on acoustic guitar and lead vocals and Pete on clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals, the work of music continued on the side as both had full-time jobs, until they threw all caution to the wind and hit the road in an RV. 

Leaving the stability of a day job and the security of a career didn’t come easily for Crystal.

“It took a lot of time — and help from Pete — for me to get to the point that I was OK with leaving the career I spent my whole life in school working toward, to the degree that I was leaving it,” she said, adding, “to be OK with the fact that it may not be what other people want, but it was what I needed, and that was the important part.”

Bitten by the creative bug at an early age, Crystal had set most of that aside to focus on school and work.

“Living on the road, before doing music full-time, gave my creative side the breathing room it needed to come back out.”

And, boy, has it ever come out now that they’ve both committed fully to Ordinary Elephant.

Song after song, the Damores take on what it means to follow your heart and eschew all the expectations, assumptions, and limitations projected upon you by others. They also use their own life experience to point out that the “safe” route can be anything but safe, as they do in “Rust Right Through.”

“I had a safe job and was on a safe life trajectory, financially,” Crystal said. “But those things were like a safety rail you reach for — a habit, a comfortable familiarity ... something you’re expected to reach for. I was letting those things hold me up instead of learning to stand on my own. And one day, down the road, I would retire, and that job and those people who I thought I needed to please, would fall away, and I’d be left with me, not having lived the life I truly wanted or felt called to. That is not safe to my well-being.”

Pete grew up in Austin, Texas in a big Italian family who gathered for big Italian meals, and he’s quick to admit that we all live in bubbles of our own making or choosing.

“I can only imagine growing up in a toxic environment,” he said. “Without the perspective gained from travel and experiencing other cultures, it’s nearly impossible to realize how toxic your world actually is. I can’t fault anybody not overcoming. I’m not in their shoes. I know I can’t change them by telling them they’re wrong, but I do know that people can change when they see new things.”

Much like Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch, taking on the male perspective as a female singer-songwriter is something that Crystal does with ease and equanimity, though the reverse is not something that happens very often.

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