Set between ancient forest and the forest-green waters of Puget Sound at the very edge of the continental US, Anacortes, Washington, population 17,000 sees a lot come and go. Ferries docked here delivers thousands of itinerant hippies, millionaires, and sightseers to farms and mansions dotting the remote San Juan Islands while Navy bombers and helicopters based nearby perform ear-splitting flyovers. Through all the coming and going, the local DIY community remains remarkably consistent and strong; an expression of defiant, end-of-the-line creativity. From that community come The Lonely Forest, a rock band of four Anacortes natives with no intention of leaving.
From the outset The Lonely Forest —singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon— has been about inclusion. In 2005, a raucous garage session inspired the guys (Braydn, Tony, and Eric) to join forces with Van Deusen’s piano-pop. The newly formed entity, now called The Lonely Forest, played their first show while two band members were still in high school (the other two having recently graduated). Since that show, The Lonely Forest have racked up miles; steadily becoming heroes of the Northwest all-ages scene through relentless gigging around the region. From their first show at the Department of Safety, center of Anacortes’ all-ages DIY scene, to their high-profile appearance at Bumbershoot 2009, a sold-out concert at the Showbox in Seattle last fall and a coveted spot on 2010’s Sasquatch Festival, the accolades for The Lonely Forest have grown along with their fanbase.
As grows their fanbase, The Lonely Forest ‘s music is continually expanding and evolving. At its core, the music features Van Deusen’s soaring vocals and keyboard melodies wrapped tightly around Ruland’s expansive guitar anchored by a heavy yet nimble rhythm section. The contrast of brilliant pop songs featuring lyrics about spiritual longing wedded to an almost prog-rock sensibility appeals to broad swath of listeners, from wide-eyed teenagers to jaded scenesters. As always, inclusion is important to these guys!
The Lonely Forest will continue their steady climb to prominence from modest Northwest roots with the March 22nd release of their new album, Arrows, for Chris Walla’s label imprint, Trans Records. Walla, guitarist and producer for Grammy-nominated rock band Death Cab for Cutie, made The Lonely Forest his first signing when he launched Trans with the support of Death Cab for Cutie’s major label home, Atlantic Records. Trans and The Lonely Forest will be released through ILG, Warner Music Group’s Independent Label Group. In addition to his role as label head, Walla produced and mixed Arrows at Sound City studio in Los Angeles, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and his own, Portland-based studio, Alberta Court. He also mixed three tracks – “Be Everything,” “Turn Off This Song” and “Live There.” The rest of the album was mixed by John Goodmanson (Girls, Nada Surf, Owl City).