Live Record: Blue Skies for Black Hearts

The evening of August 28th, 2010 was, if you’ll forgive me, one of the most magical nights in the history of the ‘Stand. After the event began with a great set from friends-of-the-‘Stand The Big Ideas, Blue Skies for Black Hearts took the stage. Despite frontman Pat Kearns being hobbled by a then-recent scooter accident, he, guitarist Michael Lewis, bassist Kelly Simmons and drummer Paul Noel delivered one of the best sets that the ‘Stand has documented.



Blue Skies are pros, through and through. To we who are newer to the Portland scene, Blue Skies for Black Hearts seems to be a supergroup assembled almost ten years ago. In the years since, the band has released five studio albums (including the just-out “Embracing the Modern Age”) and played countless shows. The experience and talent of each member of the band is apparent whenever they play live. Check out their live Banana Stand album, you’ll see what I mean.


Having been lucky enough to hang with the band at Permapress Studios while Pat and Mark Brachmann mixed and mastered the album and a few times since in the months since the recording, I can also say that Pat, Michael, Paul and Kelly are all excellentdudes and great supporters of Portland music and The Banana Stand. I’ll always look back at August 28th as being a really special night for the Banana Stand, not just for birthing such a great live album, but also for connecting us to such great folks.



Blue Skies for Black Hearts – Live from the Banana Stand stands out as a prime example of what can be created from live recordings when performance, capture, and post-production all go just right.


– Louie



Having Blue Skies for Black Hearts in to record was an incredible turn of events. Back when I was first moving to Portland, looking for video work, Blue Skies had posted a Craiglist add looking for editors. Although I didn’t end up taking the job, Blue Skies for Black Hearts was one of the first local bands I heard in the city.


Lucky for everyone, the guys got an amazing crew to film a video on Mt. Hood for Siouxsie Please Come Home — check it out. I always kept an eye on the band, and Louie really started to dig their music. When booking our late-summer shows last year, we reached out to Blue Skies — still one of the best-established bands we’ve worked with. Blue Skies bassist Kelly Simmons and Louie settled on the last Saturday in August of 2010 for a recording date.


The band was definitely the most professional group we’ve ever had into The Banana Stand. Seasoned veterans of the music scene and playing live across the country, Blue Skies nailed every song. It was an excellent way to start ending the precious summer in an otherwise rainy region.




Most bands come in for a show, record, and then we work out the release weeks later, keeping in touch, but not directly working on the process together. Pat Kearns, however, has a recording studio himself, so he was able to add a bit more of a personal touch to the final product. The result is an album that we think will help bring their fans a little closer to the group, and also showcase the level of quality Banana Stand Media has been striving to achieve.


It’s an incredible album, and one that I would recommend to anyone looking to hear why we started this documentation project. Please share it with friends, they’ll thank you.


I’d like to thank Blue Skies for Black Hearts for being de facto mentors to Louie and I over the last few months. All of the members have been involved in music longer than we have, but they’ve taken a lot of time to give us tips on a variety of things. Being able to collaborate with people you respect is one of the best aspects of Portland, and we can’t wait to work with more and more people to always find ways to improve.


Blue Skies for Black Hearts – Live from The Banana Stand is an admirable benchmark that represents almost three years of progress, and we hope to continue releasing music of the same caliber through out 2011.


– Aaron



Blue Skies for Black Hearts – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on August 28th, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Pat Kearns and Mark Brachmann at PermaPress Recording. Brian David Smith handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography by Jott Robertson and the original show poster by Brian. The Banana Stand would like to thank Blue Skies for Black Hearts and all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.


Check out more of Blue Skies for Black Hearts at and on Facebook and MySpace.