Perpetual Drifters are, from left to right, Justin Wood, Evan McPherson, Nolan Ford and Garrett Gray. - Photo courtesy of Jessica Sid

Poetry on a folk-rock platter

Garrett Gray's poetic lyrics are the centerpiece of Perpetual Drifters' rootsy repertoire.

"He (Gray) is a connoisseur of aesthetics," says drummer Justin Wood. "He writes about things that you can appreciate on a walk, not driving down the highway at 80 miles an hour."

Gray won the Critics Choice Award for Best Songwriter in 2010 and Best Male Vocalist in 2012 at the Chico Area Music Awards (CAMMIES).

"I carry notebooks almost everywhere I go and try to write down observations, quotes or other interesting aspects about life and nature," says Gray in an email. "These writings tend to resemble poems, but I wouldn't say my songs are poems."

Gray says he writes to capture feelings rather than to relate linear stories or sway people's opinions.

The Perpetual Drifters serves Gray's romantic, observational and introspective lyrics on a folk-rock platter.

The four-piece band, based in Chico, Calif., will present Americana with a "modern, indie-rock bent" at 9 p.m. Friday, April 27, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant and Bar, 35 N. Main St., Ashland.

The Drifters, featuring Gray, Wood, guitarist Nolan Ford and bassist Evan McPherson, has two albums — "Hopelessly Devoted" (2009) and "Waiting for Saturn" (2011) — to its credit. Their second album was recorded at Origami Lounge in Chico.

In addition to playing originals, the band also throws covers by Wilco, The White Stripes and Ryan Adams into the mix.

The Drifters' gig in Ashland is part a 10-day Oregon tour with fellow Chico artist Heather Ellison, better known as Uni & Her Ukelele.

Ashland rock and blues band 100 Watt Mind will open the show at Alex's. Ellison, formerly a backup vocalist for Johnny Ottis, will follow with her pop-flavored, whimsical soundscape.

Ellison released her fourth, full-length album, "Lover's Cliche," April 21. The album, a journey through the emotions around love, was a three-year project. Compared with her intimate, solo performances, the album features a full sound replete with horn and string sections.

Cover to the show at Alex's is $5. Call 541-482-8818. See www.perpetualdrifters.com or www.unimusic.us.

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