Depending on who you ask, the Pacific Northwest encompasses Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and sometimes British Columbia. For this piece we went with the narrower definition that just includes Washington and Oregon, two states that have produced some fantastic music over the years. With a respectful head nod to the smaller feeder towns, most of the best music is coming out of the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.
Seattle’s scene is the stuff entire books get written about. From being an absolute mecca in the postwar era for soul and jazz, to trailblazing the grunge scene, Seattle has spawned many amazing musicians: Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain to name a very few.
Portland’s history, although not quite as extensive, has been influential nonetheless, with an influential punk scene in the late '70s, more recent indie bands like The Decemberists and Blitzen Trapper, and of course the legendary Elliott Smith.
While acknowledging what has come and gone, we wanted to see what’s here and now, what scenes and specifically what artists are making waves in this musically saturated corner of the country. What types of sounds are being heard today? Who’s about to blow up? And most importantly, who should you know?