Ryan T. Reynolds is lead guitarist and principal songwriter for Portland rock band Melville. melvilletheband.com

Portland rockers Melville play Brickroom

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}You can affix almost limitless prefixes when trying to categorize Portland-based rock band Melville: indie, alt, acoustic, folk, post, pop ... the list goes on. But at the end of the day, Melville sits squarely in the domain of simply "rock." 

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}The band is gearing up to debut new material at a local show this week. Melville plays at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at the Brickroom Gathering House, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. The show has a $5 cover charge.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Melville's sound is fluid, bridging the gaps between several rock, alternative and folk subgenres. Some songs are reminiscent of post-rock band El Ten Eleven and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Jacobs describes their sound as "Tom Petty meets R.E.M. with some Kings of Leon and Father John Misty." He cites Fleet Foxes, Counting Crows and Radiohead among the band's influences.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Melville's first five-track EP, "Maquette," was released in June 2015. "Maquette" translates to a rough sketch or model, and it's an apt title. Melville shows its range as a band, delivering energy and passion through a variety of styles.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"That’s the idea," Jacobs says. "Here’s a sampling of what we can do, and we’ll build on that."

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}The band has been doing just that. The new single "Heart" was selected for Portland radio station KINK FM's "Homegrown Volume 8" compilation album.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}After "Maquette," the band changed its lineup, and the Brickroom show marks the first live performance with the new lineup. The new band features Jacobs on piano, vocals and guitar, Dan Bacon on guitar, Ryan Aughenbaugh on bass and Juan Felipe on drums. Jacobs is the heart and brains behind the project, wearing the hats of manager, booking agent, songwriter and "band mom."

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Jacobs is optimistic about this point in the band's trajectory, with new material and a "new constellation" of members rounding out for a fuller sound.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"I think it’s great. I know The Shins have done that in the past. They have that moniker, but there's a rotating cast," he says. "Everybody’s coming around the material really nicely. The extra player makes a world of difference."

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Debuting at the LaurelThirst Pub in Portland, the band has performed at a Portland Trailblazers halftime show, SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, and recently opened for 3 Doors Down at Britt Festivals. The trio played Brickroom last year during their August mini-tour of the Pacific Northwest.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}A Southern Oregon native, Jacobs has been a guitarist since high school, but it wasn't until he was living in Berlin five years ago that he broke out of his shell and started churning out the tunes.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"Growing up in Grants Pass, you look for your trope or archetype to fit in, and I didn’t fit in with the music kids so much," he says. Living in Europe provided a laboratory for Jacobs to experiment with his music.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"I think a lot of people choose not to be creative because they’re afraid they’re going to make something bad," he says. "I was in Berlin for four years and that was where I started to woodshed songs and dialed in a little more. So many miles away from home, it didn’t matter so much what people thought."

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}In 2011, he returned to Portland to get his music career off the ground. The band came together in 2012 with Jacobs at the helm.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"To be a touring band, to put music first, it takes a certain moxie," Jacobs says.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Returning to Southern Oregon to play music holds a special space for him.  

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"It was really interesting to come back and see Ashland and see the city through different eyes," he says. "We did such a great show last time. Everyone was super into the music."

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}Melville is currently in production for its second album, "The New Zero," to be released later this year, but listeners will get a sneak peek of their new songs at the Brickroom show.

{p dir="LTR" align="LEFT"}"We’re going to be playing a lot of what’s coming up on the album," Jacobs says. "I’m excited to get out there."

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