The Decemberists’ Chris Funk Helms The Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble

We have news of a Decemberist going it alone, at least for a home recording release and a string of West Coast dates as the Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble. The guitarist who dueled with Colbert Frampton in a battle of the shred offers up Plastic Bag In The Tree, a collection of tunes featuring mainly Mr. Funk, along with some of his Portland neighbors, featuring covers (Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, the Pretenders, Massive Attack) and a couple of originals. No shanties here; the Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble specializes in acid-tinged instrumental folk ditties which are, as Chris jokes, “good intermittent music for NPR’s All Things Considered!” Find a taste from the record below. We like this song’s tuning, which he nicked from John Fahey; tab fiends, he “thinks” it’s a low C (CGCGCE).

Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble – “Chained To A Pole” (MP3)

Head to MySpace for a sweet cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.” You can catch Chris with a veritable ensemble of support players (including Norfolk & Western’s Peter Broderick and fellow Decemberist Jenny Conlee) on a string of west coast dates. Chris booked the tour without remembering the Fahey tuning, so maybe just go to relish the potential dissonance. Take the jump for the dates.

06/01 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
06/02 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
06/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
06/07 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
06/08 – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
06/09 – Sam Bond’s Garage @ Eugene, OR

Plastic Bag In The Tree is out 5/15 on Hush.