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Never Come Down finally visits Spokane

The Portland-based acoustic Americana-folk band Never Come Down will make its Spokane debut on Saturday at the Lucky You Lounge.  (Courtesy photo)
The Portland-based acoustic Americana-folk band Never Come Down will make its Spokane debut on Saturday at the Lucky You Lounge. (Courtesy photo)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Youth usually reigns in the music industry. Those 25 and under often occupy space on the charts. Empty vessels are typically adored.

Never Come Down, however, prefers a vintage sound and especially instruments of a certain age.

“I’m obsessed with guitars, but I never had a new guitar,” guitarist Joe Suskind said while calling from Portland. “Old guitars have a story to tell. They have a different tone and they have a smell that new guitars just don’t have. I’m not saying that old guitars are better than new guitars, but I prefer them. I like the feel and sound of older instruments. It works for our music.”

Never Come Down, which will make its Spokane debut Saturday at the Lucky You Lounge, is often filed under the nebulous Americana genre. The group, thanks in part to its instruments, has a bluegrass sound but also a folksy feel.

“It would be nice not to be lumped into a musical ghetto,” Suskind said. “But I get how that happens. We move in a number of musical directions, but we follow our instruments and move in that manner. We are about serving the song.”

Never Come Down, which includes vocalist-guitarist Crystal Lariza, bassist Ben Ticknor, banjo player Brian Alley and mandolinist Kaden Hurst, crafts spare, moving tunes that often are melancholy. The quintet harmonizes, and they are often so in sync that Hurst’s mandolin and Alley’s banjo sound in perfect lockstep.

“We’re so well-connected, even though we haven’t been at this together for that long,” Suskind said. “We formed only a few years ago (in 2018). We would be further along if it weren’t for COVID.”

Never Come Down has fared well despite the pandemic. The group has written and recorded two albums, an eponymous project that dropped in 2018 and “Better Late Than Never,” which was released in 2021.

Never Come Down is about to record its third album with Infamous Stringdusters banjo player Chris Pandolfi.

“We’re happy to be working with Chris, since as a producer, he brings us clarity in terms of ideas and melody,” Hurst said. “Chris is helping refine what we’re doing.”

Never Come Down will preview the forthcoming material at the Lucky You Lounge.

“We find playing the songs before we record them to be really helpful,” Suskind said. “Playing the songs live will tell us what direction to go with them. It’s good to get a reaction from the audience.”

Much has changed since the band’s first album was released. Never Come Down has jelled. “Our relationships have progressed,” Hurst said. “Our first record was thrown together very quickly. We were staying in our bluegrass lanes. Those bluegrass instruments can make it very narrow. It’s easy to jam and play casually as a bluegrass unit, but we’ve progressed. We took a big step forward with our second album. There are points on that album when my mandolin and Ben’s bass sound like one instrument. They blur into each other, which is so cool. With this next record, our sound is a collage of all of our instruments. You have to hear what we’re working on to understand it.”

Never Comes Down has been all over the world, but the band is finally making it to the other end of the Pacific Northwest.

“It’s crazy that we’ve been to Reykjavik but not Spokane,” Suskind said. “We won’t be able to say that anymore after this weekend.”

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