Cottage Grove, Scene & Heard

Get your freak on with the ‘Folly Family’

Fortune’s Folly will be playing at the Axe & Fiddle on Friday, Feb. 7. Bradley Cook/The Chronicle

COTTAGE GROVE – I owe a lot to my good friend, Jim Guthrie. Besides years of deep friendship and hours of storytelling, Guthrie is the reason I ended up in Cottage Grove.
I lamented to him one summer night as we camped out in his backyard that I was still unable to find a home after years spent looking. ”You need to check out Cottage Grove!” was his emphatic response. Guthrie went on to tell me how his old hoedad buddies, Hal and Betsy Hartzell, had partnered up with a few others to form the Axe & Fiddle Restaurant.
We stopped in and had a quick look-around, chowing down on a bowl of veggie chili from the crock pot and a brew (in the days before the kitchen went in). Downtown Cottage Grove truly drew us in.
Surveying the town through the windows and soaking up the feeling of the room, we decided that, yes, this area certainly deserved a good looking-over.
The following summer, we did just that.
We ended up in a 1910 home that needed lots of TLC but was in easy stumbling distance to everything we needed. We even envision making it to Safeway in our walkers in the future.
That suggestion to check out the Axe & Fiddle also proved providential. We met many of our friends there first. The weekly Bread Club introduced parts of the community that we might not find any other way.
And of course, we have seen some great shows there.
On Friday, Feb. 7, plan to be there for some raucous good times as Eugene alt-rock band Fortune’s Folly performs.
What you are sure to experience, besides the excellent musicianship and well-crafted songs, are the interactions between the band and their dedicated fans, known both as the ”Folly Family” and as the ”Freaks.” Frontwoman Calysta Cheyenne-Vox always reaches out to the Family to dance harder and keep the love alive.
Fortune’s Folly started performing publicly five years ago and, as their name suggests, was formed by a series of fateful synchronicities.
Drummer Alex ”Squatch” Koelber and bassist Jesse Sanchez were in another band when a mutual friend connected the duo to guitarist Ira Mazie. The more the three jammed together, the more they realized their organic chemistry. And after 10 months of playing together and about a dozen collaboratively-written songs, the group recruited a lead singer, Calysta.
All band members are songwriters and music grows from the collaboration. And as beautiful and well-produced and polished as its recorded music is, to really experience the Folly you have to take them in live… which brings us back to this Friday’s show.
From the first note and exhortation the Freaks will be on their feet and it won’t be long before tables will be abandoned and chairs stacked out of the way to provide more dancing room. You will hear the solid rhythm pocket with touches of funk and punk laid down by Sanchez and Koelber. Weaving all through this groove is the virtuosity of Mazie.
Out front, loud and proud, is the band’s energizer bunny, Cheyenne-Vox. Her infectious exuberance is a compelling call to celebrate being alive and to shake your booty clean off. I can’t imagine how deep the well is from which she draws the juice that runs her energetic performance, but it seems to have no bottom. High, over-the-head kicks, springs, constant bopping and prowling the stage are mixed with plunges into the audience and occasionally stage dives, trusting the Family not to let her down.
The love between the band and their fans is real and it is palpable in the room. The band feeds off the energy the fans are giving out; that pumps the Freaks to dance the harder, and, in turn, pushes the band up another notch or two. This goes back and forth until everyone is spent.
I have dragged myself home after many a Folly show as limp as a dishrag. I plan on doing so again this weekend, glad that I only have to make it a few blocks.
If you are already a member of the Folly Family, I encourage you to come and get a fix and bring a friend who hasn’t had the experience. And if you haven’t had the kool-aid yet, here is your chance to take a swig right in the heart of the Grove.
Arrive early, come a stranger and leave a member of the family. Welcome in!
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m.
WHO: Fortune’s Folly
WHERE: Axe & Fiddle, 657 E. Main Street, Cottage Grove
COST: $10
Contact Dana at 541-942-7037 or [email protected].



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