Three For Silver
Gig Seeker Pro

Three For Silver

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Progressive




"Three For Silver at Al's Den"

You can find amazing things underneath the streets of downtown Portland. One of those treasures is McMenamins' Al's Den, tucked under Ringlers Annex on West Burnside, where musicians host week-long residencies. This week's residency materializes in the form of Three For Silver. An alchemy, as their name suggests, Three For Silver is comprised of formidable musicians who gracefully let their beauty seep out through song.

As Lisa Lepine, posted on the Facebook event page:

"When is the last time you were at a show where the listeners in the crowd sprang to their feet at the end of a song or a solo? Al's Den felt like an old-world jazz club tonight with the audience riveted on every nuance of the musicianship, hypnotized by the lead vocals, and transported by the sheer Hot Club-esque brilliance. The three-person Three for Silver sets were exquisitely balanced by the six-person Three for Silver band set. Bravo!"

These Portlander's music is delicate and powerful, dark and light, reserved and full-throttled. Last night, those in attendance had the pleasure of seeing Three For Silver's "big band edition," which adds bass clarinet, toy piano and drums to the normal trio version of bass banjo, accordion and violin.

So what's it all sound like? Maybe Tin Hat meets Man Man after having spent an evening drinking and collaborating with Yann Tiersen. - Vortex Music Magazine

"The Interview Project: Coracias by Three For Silver"

Published on Nov 2, 2014

Folks Press presents the latest interview project: Coracias by Three For Silver. - Folks Press

"Three For Silver or Three For Gold?"

Three For Silver: a true gem. A spectacle of a band who, between its three members, consists of a violin, a guitar, an accordion, a bass banjo, and an upright-standing bass made out of a washbin.

"We have failed to figure out how to define our style of music. Most of our songs are written very collectively and organically and simply grow from us playing together." says frontman Lucas Warford "I don't think we have ever aimed to be any genre. We just play music

Such instinctual connections and instant musicality can only come from a history of music in each member. Lucas and Willo have known each other for at least four years and have been in a band together before. Three For Silver emerged from the two original members writing songs while on the road with Underscore Orchestra. It was not long after the pair returned to Portland, their hometown, and met Greg, the third member of TFS.

FolkLife gave life to Lucas's love of performance, so it seemed only natural for TFS to give Seattle an outstanding show when the festival came around right about the time of the group's one-year-anniversary. "FolkLife is crazy, there's just so much energy on stage and then all these wild parties at night. It's not only a great way to gain attention from the public, but a good time all around."

When it all comes together, as curious as the selection of instruments is, as jumbled as the history gets, what may be even more puzzling is the name. "Willo was operating under the assumption for many years that it was a line she had heard from a children's nursery rhyme." says Lucas

"But I've gone searching for this nursery rhyme and failed to be able to find it. She had been sitting on the name for years before the band even existed." - Charming Bohemian

"Three For Silver goes for the gold"

For some people, it’s the Beatles. For others, it’s Led Zeppelin.

For Three for Silver’s Lucas Warford? Try jazz guitarist Django Reinhart. That’s the guy who inspired Warford’s desire to become a musician.

“He was my version of Led Zeppelin,” Warford says during a recent phone call from the beach at Santa Cruz, Calif. “I heard some of his music when I was a teenager and that was it.

“I knew I had to do that.”

Warford and bandmates Willo Sertain and Greg Allison were on the Monterey Bay in the middle of touring California, making their way north for a planned stop tonight at Countdown Studio in the Whiteaker district, but they had a day off to relax in the sun.

There probably are still YouTube videos lurking somewhere on the Internet of Warford as a teenager playing Reinhart-style Gypsy jazz, he says. Warford was raised in Florida, and after graduating from college he moved to Portland nearly five years ago to play music.

Shortly after he arrived, he began playing with the Underscore Orkestra, a Gypsy Balkan swing band. It was there he met Sertain — a singer, accordion and guitar player.

“We started writing some music together, and she really had some hopes for starting a full-time project, but we both had commitments to other bands for other tours,” Warford says.

Last summer, they found themselves back in Portland with no commitments to anyone else, and Three for Silver was born. Soon after that they added Allison, a violinist and mandolin player.

In fact, for a while, Three for Silver’s ranks swelled to six.

“We came back to Portland with a goal of starting this band. And when you’re doing something like that, especially if you’re doing it full time, my attitude is you book the shows, and then you start finding people to play with and not the other way around,” Warford says.

So they rounded up clarinet/bass clarinet player Andrew Alikhanov, drummer Thomas de Almeida, violinist Olimpia Trusty and percussionist Dave Hill. The group started playing shows and recorded a four-song EP titled “In the Map Room,” released in April.

The EP was recorded live and in one take, with no overdubbing or breaks between songs. Additionally, they filmed the entire process with six iPhones; the captured footage was edited and stitched together to create a moody, up close and personal 17-minute video.

The group since has been whittled down to a trio. Warford explains that while they still hope to engage a large group of musicians for larger shows, it’s much easier to tour with just the three.

Additionally, Warford has since given up his guitar, preferring instead to play a massive upright bass created from a washtub and faced in plywood.

“Everything from that bass is pretty much from Home Depot, except for the fretboard,” he says. “That’s one we got off an old upright.”

Home bass banjo

Just by sheer size, the washtub bass is usually the instrument that gets the most attention initially at a Three for Silver show.

“The other one, though, is the one I’m the most proud of — and that’s the bass banjo,” Warford says.

The large five-stringed bass banjo is truly a one-of-a-kind instrument and was created by Warford and Portland luthier Ed Davies.

“The bass banjo really allows me to express myself fully; it’s like a fusion of electric bass slap and some claw hammer banjo techniques,” Warford says. “I really hope to get people excited about it.”

He also says that he’s always wanted to play bass full time, the only thing that stopped him before was the fact that the instrument he wanted to play didn’t exist. The bass banjo solved that problem completely.

Those uniquely designed instruments paired with Allison’s strings, Sertain’s haunting vocals (occasionally run through a bullhorn for an enchantingly distorted effect) and accordion create a sound that’s exotic and compelling.

They plan on traveling to Chicago this fall to record another album at HiStyle Records, but Warford says they are introducing new material all the time.

“We’re first and foremost, as musicians and as a band, focused on our live show,” he says, “and that’s what we do. That’s what’s so exciting about music; it’s being out there playing shows all the time.”

They just released a new single, “Chemistry.” They described the summer song as “pretty much the antithesis of a good-time summer single, unless you are prone to throwing garden parties at midnight with only calvados and cigars as refreshment.”

Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad.

The single, along with the EP, will be packaged together and sold at tonight’s show. So if you’re into hearing “Top 40 music from an alternate universe where the bass banjo is more popular than the electric guitar,” get down to the Whiteaker and Countdown Studio. - The Register-Guard


Self-titled LP - 2012

Live in The Map Room EP - 2013

Chemistry - 2014

Bury Me Standing LP - February 2015



Three For Silver represents a curious hybrid of acoustic music. The twin melodies of Willo Sertain's vocals and Greg Allison's violin glide atop the chugging polyrhythms of Lucas Warford's homemade bass instruments and the unique style in which they are played. Once described by Baby Gramps as "The acid baby of Tom Waits and Les Claypool", Three For Silver combines a gritty aesthetic, world folk traditions, and virtuosic technique with a modern songwriting sense. They take what they like where-so-ever they may find it, to create a sound all their own.

Band Members