Saturday, October 15, 2011

Matt the Electrician and Lindy Osborne, LIVE

Folks! What a treat September 17th! The Hollow was wide – windows up-cranked and swinging doors swung to fit the many, many seats of pleased heads and hearts and ears here to hear Matt the Electrician the fantastic, with the incomparable Scrappy Jud Newcomb and Seela, opened for by a hilarious, harmonica-and-guitar wonder and brilliantly smiling Lindy Osborne.

Amanda and Nathan kept hard at work behind the bar, people’s palates content with party snacks and fizzy juices, bubbly, beer, red or white wine, the ’07 Stories, and of course – of! course! – Half Magic! The Half Magic namesake, for those of you new to the vineyard, is a song off Matt's previous album, Animal Boy. Each bottle in a case (12) is hatted by a different song’s lyrics typed and folded and star-stuck to its neck. Seriously nifty.

Yeow! The room and deck and drive were boisterous with arrivals, catching up, anticipation, while the sky set its pretty, dusty pinks and lavenders down the backs of the hillsides, and dusk came and the torches were lit and Patrick directed cars until it was time for the four certain faces in the shadow-making amber light to sing to us of exquisite in-the-dark climbing trees and the perfect pedal bike, finding home from a distance and family vacations and the sudden, unexpected kindness of strangers. The show was a CD release party for Matt’s latest, Accidental Thief, which, if you don’t have in your CD player already, or on your computer, or somewhere able to get itself out the speakers and into your head, you should. Remedy! Each song sung by each artist – we were lucky and heard Scrappy and Seela do solo numbers, too – was a story that focused for its brief minutes on something that might otherwise go overlooked and this place – the vineyard, the Hollow, its makers and audience – champion such details, the beauty of slowing down to examine and make sense of and, ultimately, to celebrate.

Beyond the fantastic voices and harmonies and storytelling, I was struck by the varied ages of the audience, and the skill with which Lindy and Matt and Scrappy and Seela drew us all even closer to them. Nathan and Amanda have made The Hollow such a warm, inviting space: its people, their mission, the wines, its wood and light, how nestled each piece is in the Harris Valley basin. Add to it musical talent and humor and humility and admiration and pleasure, and you’ve got a night that might feel, once you’ve reached home, like you went somewhere secret and magical and that if you went back it might not be there. But! It is!

The tasting room opened as a regular Saturday that 17th at noon, and didn’t latch closed until midnight, its inside’s finding their ways carefully back to town or other country, a flashlight escort, the crossing of train tracks, and beneath the fuzzy stars cars catching all the watchers had trapped in their teeth and the pressures of their tongues while they sang what seeded inside them, to home, a toothbrush, and bed.

Thanks to all who came; we’ll keep you in the loop for our next event. And we hope to see even more of you in the future. Come and visit!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Valentines at the Hollow

Though Valentine’s day and it’s preceding February 12th have passed, we Harris Bridgers would like to mark the occasion, even a month beyond its happening – think grand, ever going, slow to wilt birthdays, or gusto driven by great news that doesn’t want to wear off – because – because! –

February 12th this year was an inauguration, a celebration not only of love prior to the official lovey-dove and chocolates and roses and sweet notes etc. day, but a lift off in Hollow history, a notch in the tree trunk, something to be recalled down the line as the start of another fine tradition. Though the Valentine’s event made its place in Harris Bridge Vineyard’s story several years ago, this year was different, held as it was in the heart of The Hollow, a roomful of people ready to celebrate their adoration and admiration for each other and the people they’d newly met and those they already knew and loved, champagne blonde and tickly in their glasses, Fraga cheeses waiting to kiss the Big River Pugliese, a green bean and beet and chevre salad skipping around mouths with the Capitello Sauvignon Blanc – such lovebirds! There was boeuf bourguignon that fell apart when the fork touched it the way one might fall apart when another lays eyes on her or him and that eye-laying dynamo has the key to the fall-aparter’s heart, as in fall apart in the best of ways, as in fall apart because I see you seeing me wonderful. It was as if the Cloud(s) had dropped down 9 of their best versions of I love you, tucking some inside the boeuf, some inside the beets and some inside the potatoes that got in on the fest and had their shining time. And don’t think the Fraga and Pugliese quit kissing. Love was in the Carmeniere! To further rev our feelings, the pairing of a fresh, dewy two, a tender spiced cupcake and its raisin mousse hat, its pretty little clip of blood orange to make a sweet shape in the mouth, and the stunning and singing Half Magic on the promenade, that duo taste in taste on the tongue.

We had so much fun. We shared stories and music with new ears and hearts and eyes and old. Our soundtrack never failed. We laughed to hear Chaucer’s naughty head, then laughed some more, then again. The lighting was right and low, the room warm with voice, the night’s poetics all encompassing. Thank you to everyone present for helping to color so vividly and beautifully this noteworthy, momentous event, and to those who weren’t able to attend physically but who joined us in spirit, and to all who hope to come next year and the year after and the years after that – we can’t wait to see you and do this again. Keep your valentines close. Much love,

Harris Bridge and The Hollow

Friday, January 28, 2011

First of the shorts

Nathan here with a few words...

We were living on the coast in this little blue rental on a small ledge of stone and sand overlooking the ocean just South of Waldport. We had 3 walls of sliding glass doors in the house that would flex and pop during storms. All the glass made you feel like you were forever outside in those elements, the sheets of rain, being pushed onto the glass in thick layers by the wind.

In the Northeast corner of this little house, just off the entry way was a small room that we had made into an office. There, on a corner desk, the first of the stories were written. It was a good place for that kind of work, on a ledge, next to the ocean, in that house that sometimes felt more like a glass boat than a house, but just enough glass to hold back the storms, and just enough ledge to hold onto.

The first stories are novice and folksy. They were at the same time an escape back to a peaceful valley during an impossible time for both of us, and an attempt to understand and define this love of ours, the farm. The very first story was called Dirt, our humble takeoff on the notion of Terroir. The person named in this story, Dorothy Harris, was the one that made it possible for my family to live in Harris Valley. In 1976, she sold the original Harris family farmhouse to my parents, and my dad Troy took on the work of restoring it. Similar to the coast house, this structure sits on a ledge, just above the Mary's river. It overlooks a collection of small waterfalls, and in the winter those falls become a raging torrent, and in the winter of 1978 that ledge was also just enough to hold onto.

There were about 200 printings of this story on the bottles that left the winery. As I write this, and look back through the previous versions of this story before it was printed, and as I think about Dorothy, and Troy, I'm inclined to include one of the earlier versions of the story and toast that never made it to print. You will see it below.


In the early spring of 1998 I began to prep the field for planting grape-vines. Dorothy Harris of Harris Valley, Harris Bridge, and Harris Road had let me use her old, rusted out, single blade, scrap-metal plow to turn the soil. I remember that I spent all evening wrestling it out of the shed because it was buried 6 inches in 50 years of dust, and entangled with 5 other implements from the turn of the century.

The plow's first cut into the soil was my baptism into the church of the romantically inclined small time farmer. I had turned over a century of seasons to reveal the soil of another time. It was musty, organic, dark, rich, soft, moist, and virgin. Its composition was all the life and matter of the past centuries, fallen, and laid to rest, waiting to be consumed again in another form.

A toast to dirt,
Life's reflection pool

Friday, January 7, 2011


Once upon a time was a big dark eye. It came in a big dark package that was soft and smelled a little dirty, a lot like river, a hint of corn-chips.

Once upon a time was a restaurant where the people went on the side of a concrete hill.

Once upon a time before this big dark eye in its big dark package was a girl who went to the restaurant on the hill where the corn chips came in warm little bowls and the windows were wide and the street was busy. This was a city.

Once upon a time the big dark eye in its package of darkness and softness and smells took a walk on a hillside in the country. There were railroad tracks and trees and lots and lots of fungus.

Fungus can snuggle and can stand like soldiers, or like figures tending paddies, or those admiring mountains.

Once upon a time the fungus threw a party. The party was a big one, a good one, with many invitations. To the little groves, to the glens, the dales, the nooks, to the crannies, the stumps, the beds of ferns. The cheeks of trunks. Come! Come! Celebrate! On this day at this time in this place you can’t miss us - we’ll be the ones all over the place!

Once upon a time while this party was being planned and the fungus were dressing in their best suits and some were saying I want to go and some were saying I don’t know how we’ll make it and still others were saying I don’t care what you think about this orange, I think I look pretty neat and my curves feel great and more than anything else I’m happy and glow and I’ll knock the socks off this party – as all this was hubbubing along, there was a checkerboard of old fire broke wood resting in red dirt. It remembered its days as a trim little tree when nothing could stop it from growing as tall as any other tree it had seen, taller even, right off the head of the hill and straight through the elements. Oh! Rain up high was colder, and sun that much whiter. The birds nested, and voles burrowed, and worms braided through roots. Sometimes a cat passed by or hid and more than one buck rode out its rut in the area, velvet pressed to bark and scrapes hoofed in the tree's slender trunk that turned brisk with exposure.

Once upon a time the big dark eye trotted past the checkerboard wood. It stopped and put an iris in the light. Down in a swale stood a broad glowing oak, its body green fur, branch tips webbed pale. Perhaps it was old enough its marbles or galls or whatever a tree might lose in old age were indeed being lost. Or perhaps trees grow only wiser. Perhaps what is wise is not always that which is widely believed to be so. Perhaps this and that and the other thing, and that thing over there, too.

Behind the oak and below the big dark eye that still stood with its iris lit grew a small tree, limber in the wind with a dish or nest or crown or catch for its top, all its highest needles curling as many many ears. Receptors. Receivers. Transmission. Cilia. It listened to the checkerboard wood remembering and the duct of the dark eye contracting and the fungus all readying. Goodness! The fungus! So many and they just kept arriving, kept popping up like joy or a keen fox or a salamander in the ditch at the water's face for breath. They were all shapes and sizes and outfits and the little tree knew the big dark eye could see it, and the checkerboard wood could feel it, and so could the oak, and so could it, the listening little pine, and so could all the others whose outsides were perked up in welcome:

You're here!

Turn it up!

Your gills are gorgeous.

May I have this dance.