Scene & Heard, Springfield

I’m Alive’: Kartsounes takes trail that leads him to Oregon

Pete Kartsounes performs at the PublicHouse in Springfield to promote his new album ”I’m Alive.” BRADLEY COOK/FOR THE CHRONICLE (Facebook@BradleyCookPhotography

SPRINGFIELD – Bend resident Pete Kartsounes is one of Oregon’s most gifted musicians. Now, it looks like he’s going to be spending a lot of time in this neck of the woods.
After performing two riveting sets at PublicHouse on Wednesday night, Dec. 18 to promote his new album ”I’m Alive,” Kartsounes revealed that his new girlfriend lives in Eugene. So he’ll be spending more time up here and looking for places to play.
Of course, going the extra mile is nothing new for Kartsounes. Between 2008 and 2012, he ran the Foundation, three times hiking the entire 500-mile Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, playing concerts and festivals along the way to raise money for families dealing with childhood cancer.
”I loved being out on the trail. I think I do some of my most creative work out there – the ‘Simple Things’ song that I played (Wednesday night) was one of the songs I wrote out there,” said Kartsounes, who also played at the Beergarden in Eugene the following night.
All told, he wrote more than 30 songs on the trail while teaching music camps for kids, and says this journey of ”giving” and ”living selflessly” was the most important thing he has ever done.
The creative sparks keep firing when Kartsounes puts his guitar down. He just started a videography business and he has a photography website at (as well as his When he’s not touring, teaching or writing, oftentimes he’s involved in songwriting retreats.
Some of the real heavyweights in the bluegrass jam-band world have shared the same stage with Kartsounes, including Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band and Greensky Bluegrass. Kartsounes has even been a stand-in guitarist for Greensky Bluegrass.
Prior to that, he had worked with Pearl Jam drummer Dave Kruzen and warmed up for the Neville Brothers and Moe.
So yeah, Kartsounes has quite a résumé. And he’s got soul.
”The day Ray Charles passed away, I wrote ‘A Song for Mr. Charles,’” Kartsounes said before playing a heartfelt, bluesy tribute that surely melted plenty of hearts in the room.
He’s obviously got his priorities in order, too.
”Nature has always been my passion,” said Kartsounes, who spent nearly 20 years as part of the ultra-cool Colorado music scene. ”I like to live a simple life. I love Oregon. I can’t imagine a place any nicer.”
It’s good to have him here.



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