Portland band The Builders and The Butchers recently announced its seventh official full-length album, Hell & High Water, due May 6 on Badman Recording Co. You can stream the third single “Montana” here and pre-order the album here.
The Builders and the Butchers were formed in the fall of 2005 in Portland, Oregon. The band’s first two years consisted of busking, playing house shows, and showing up unannounced anywhere around Portland where people were gathered. Folks began to take notice and the band transitioned slowly, going from playing on the floor of venues unplugged to gradually adding a mic here, an amp there, until they organically grew into one of the most exciting live acts in the Pacific Northwest. Even when plugged in, a cornerstone of almost every builders show is playing on the floor at some point during the set.
Touring relentlessly from 2007-2012 The Builders gathered a cult dedicated fan base across the US and Europe. Playing dozens of music festivals like Sasquatch and Lollapalooza, as well as supporting artists like Portugal. The Man, Amanda Palmer, Murder By Death, and Heartless Bastards.
In the past few years the members of The Builders and the Butchers have laid roots all around the world, coming together for shows, writing and tours whenever they can. The members are all originally from Alaska. Justin bought a home in Colorado and makes Gin and Whiskey for a living. Willy has been a captain on a ship based in Malta for the past couple of years. Harvey lives with his family in Washington state and Ryan, Paul and Ray reside in Portland, Oregon. With all of the logistics and facing a pandemic, wild fires and massive rioting in their hometown, Hell & High Water was a challenging, yet cathartic record to make. The Builders wrote Hell & High Water together as a band in a boat house in the marina where Willy lives.
Frontman Ryan Sollee explains further: “Through the fall and winter of 2019, we would gather weekly, make a fire, drink beer and whisky and try to find some cohesiveness in these tunes. This gathering place was the most inspiring we have had in any creative process for any album up to that date.” It ended up being a stark contrast to the year that followed. After laying down the initial studio drum tracks with Badman label head Dylan Magierek for the album in February 2020, the band was forced to create remotely – which was a massive challenge, and pushed the band way past its usual comfort zone.
Multi-instrumentalist Ray Rude and Engineer Edgar McCrae, molded and formed this album into life over the course of 2020, and hopefully made something that reflects the struggle, the pain, as well as some really amazing moments from the past year.
The Builders have scheduled their first US and Europe tours (details coming soon!) in several years to support their latest release Hell & High Water. They hope to make music that brings people together for many years to come.
“For more than a decade, the members of The Builders And The Butchers have specialized in a kind of white-knuckle Americana: Their acoustic folk-rock sound is shot through with nervy, hellfire-and-brimstone intensity. The Portland-born band’s hometown brethren in The Decemberists provide a useful reference point — singer Ryan Sollee has a wide-open bellow and a gift for vivid imagery.” – Stephen Thompson, NPR Music