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“Feel It Still” with Portugal. The Man

Written by Olivia Williams

If you have never heard of this outlandishly named band until now that’s all right, I didn’t know who they were when I first started on this piece either. I know for certain though, whether in a department store or club you have heard their latest hit single “Feel It Still” off their newest album Woodstock, in which they are currently on tour for.

This alt-rock band from Wasilla, Alaska is making an impact on the music scene in a big way with their wildly successful chart topping song “Feel It Still,” which interpolates timeless 1960’s motown hit “ Please Mr. Postman” and draws a whole new crowd of listeners.

Although, just now experiencing their first hit, this memorably named band has been making music since early 2000’s. Portugal. The Man was the handiwork of guitarist and vocalist John Gourley. Now releasing their 8th studio album Woodstock on June 16, 2017, the band has been on a rollercoaster ride since with the success of the record. The name of this album was inspired by an original Woodstock ticket stub Gourley’s father had. Gourley had the light-bulb moment, that even now almost 50 years later, people have the same intention for music as they did in ‘69 at Woodstock. “To comment on societal and political unease.” Gourley stated “We worked with so many rad people on this album, but ended up with just the four of us in a basement at 4 a.m. trying to say something that mattered… Trying to write music that would help people feel they’re not alone, even if they’re angry or feeling lost.”

Portugal. The Man seems like they are just some overnight success story, but that’s far from the mark. They have put their dues in for many years now and have been the supporting act on tour with the band The Black Keys and many others, played countless festivals and made guest appearances on albums like Yoko Ono’s Yes I’m a Witch Too album performing “Soul Got Out Of The Box.”

In 2004 the band left Alaska and headed to Portland in hopes of recording and touring, and they did just that. The summer of 2004 they recorded demos, followed by a tour of the U.S. that fall. In January of 2006 their debut album Waiter: You Vultures! was released by Fearless Records, which later they left for Atlantic Records in April of 2010. As for the name, if you’re as curious as I was then you’re dying to know how such a peculiar name came about.  It’s based off the idea of David Bowie’s “Bigger than life” Fame. Of course like every other aspiring band their goal was to have a bigger than life feel. They wanted it to have group feel rather than to single a person out and name it after a band member.

“A country is a group of people,” Gourley explainED. “With Portugal, it just ended up being the first country that came to mind. The band’s name is ‘Portugal.’ The period is stating that, and ‘The Man’ states that it’s just one person.” Along with the “Bigger than life” aim the name also has a personal meaning to Gourley. Portugal. The Man was going to be the name of a book that he had planned to write about his father’s life.

The tour promoting their record Woodstock kicked off in Bloomington, IL on the 2nd of October. Portugal. The Man, will be rocking around the U.S. this year bringing you their unique sound and chart topping song “Feel It Still.” The band will be making 2 stops in the old north state playing at The Ritz in Raleigh on Oct. 26 and The Fillmore in Charlotte on Oct. 27. If you want to keep up to date with the band that’s making waves in the music scene, follow them on facebook, instagram, and twitter. Check out their website for more info.

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