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    Gateway to the Ether 8 ~ Ripley Johnson

    Gateway to the Ether 8 ~ Ripley Johnson

    Ripley Johnson of Rose City Band cultivates a garden of psychedelic blooms and country verdure in this idyllic summer stoner mix.


    Ripley Johnson is a most prolific artist. Singer, songwriter and musician of not one but three different bands—Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo and his solo project Rose City Band. When not creating his unique genre of psychedelia, you can find him among his plants. Join the garden party with this mixtape of some of his favourites.




    Heads Lifestyle: Hey Ripley, where are you now?  

    Ripley Johnson: I am at home in Portland, Oregon. 


    HL: What do you do with your time?

    RJ: I work and garden and play music and watch movies and read books. 


    HL: Do you get high when listening to music?

    RJ: Sometimes but not specifically. 


    HL: Describe a typical music-weed session?

    RJ: I don't really have typical sessions. If I smoke, it's usually homegrown, unless someone else is passing something around. Sometimes I vape because it's a mellower experience. I usually play records on a turntable. 


    HL: What is your earliest memory of connecting the dots between music and cannabis?

    RJ: Probably the cover photo of Peter Tosh's Legalize It LP. That got my attention early on. I still always think of that when we grow in our backyard. The plants are just beautiful to be around and they smell amazing. I probably enjoy growing more than smoking. 

    Gateway 8 1


    Sleep Song

    The intersection of country and rock in 70s music is a big inspiration for the Rose City Band, and I'm always listening to tunes in that vein, with that particular vibe. There are a number of British bands on this list who were clearly influenced by American country-rock, or The Band or the Grateful Dead—that kind of back-to-the-land, rural, hippie thing. I like the country-ish breakdown in this Unicorn song. 



    Gateway 8 4

    Mighty Baby

    Devil's Whisper

    I first heard of Mighty Baby being called "the British Grateful Dead," but they don't really sound like the Dead; they jam though and have their own unique sound. This is one of my favourite tracks by them.



    Gateway 8 3


    Glad and Sorry

    I've been a big fan of the Faces, and Rod Stewart's early solo albums, since high school. I could have picked any number of tracks by them. I especially like their melancholy songs. And they're not afraid to incorporate traditional country sounds—mandolin, honky tonky piano, etc. Ian McLagan was a true keyboard maestro.



    Gateway 8 4

    Country Funk

    A Way to Settle Down

    I think I bought this record just based on the title and cover. They're not a very funky band but it's a great record. 




    Gateway 8 5


    Chant to Mother Earth

    I responded strongly to this track the first time I heard it. BLO has some great songs, but this one is my jam. I like the spacey, laid-back vibe. 




    Gateway 8 6


    It's Not Easy

    I came across Ofege after I was in a big Zamrock phase, though they’re from Lagos, like BLO. I love how this kind of sounds like Loaded-era Velvet Underground. The guitar playing is amazing. 




    Gateway 8 7


    Little Ole Country Boy

    Parliament/Funkadelic have been with me from the beginning, when I first discovered psychedelics. I don't think their very early stuff gets enough love.
    * This track was unavailable for streaming at the time of publishing.




    Gateway 8 8

    Moby Grape

    Changes, Circles Spinning

    I think this is an unheralded Grape album. Love the production on this, and the lyrics and theme are right up my alley. 




    Gateway 8 9

    High Broom

    It's a Way to Pass the Time

    Another British country jam. I don't really know anything about High Broom but I dig the vibe of this song. Love how they rhyme food with good.




    Gateway 8 10

    Judee Sill

    I'm Over

    I went deep on Judee Sill when her albums were first reissued a while back. This song is from a planned third album, recorded at Mike Nesmith's studio, finally released in 2005. 
    * This track was unavailable for streaming at the time of publishing.




    Gateway 8 11

    New Riders of the Purple Sage

    Willie and the Hand Jive

    Good jam by the Bay Area country rockers. 




    Gateway 8 12

    Tony Joe White

    Alone at Last

    I like the disco element on this one while it still sounds very much like Tony Joe. I enjoy when genres collide or are simply ignored, and artists just do what they will. 




    Gateway 8 13

    Freddy Fender

    Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

    Closing it out with Freddy Fender because I've been on a Freddy kick as of late, and the whole Tejano musical melting pot is my kind of stew. This whole album Before the Next Teardrop Falls is fantastic. 


    Rose City Band, Garden Party

    Ripley Johnson is a singer, songwriter and musician. He fronts Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo and his solo project Rose City Band. Based in Portland, Oregon, the prolific Johnson is best known for his signature country cosmic jam style, integrating rock, psychedelia and country into music of epic journeys. Rose City Band’s latest offering, Garden Party (left) is a celebration of summer and all it brings: communal gatherings, the respites offered by nature, and an appreciation for even the simplest beauty.

    Garden Party is available on the Rose City Band websiteBandcamp and in most record stores.



    Rose City Band upcoming tour dates:


    May 31 - Middelkerke, BE - De Zwerver * [tickets]

    Jun. 1 - London, UK - Scala * [tickets]

    Jun. 2 - Manchester, UK - YES * [tickets]

    Jun. 3 - York, UK - The Crescent * [tickets]

    Jun. 4 - Brighton, UK - Patterns * [tickets]

    June 6 - Schorndorf, DE - Manufaktur [tickets]

    Jun. 7 - Zürich, CH - Bogen F * [tickets]

    Jun. 8 - Ravenna, IT - Beaches Brew

    Jun. 9 - Milano, IT - Arci Bellezza * [tickets]

    Jul. 21 - Nelsonville, OH - Nelsonville Music Festival [tickets]

    Jul. 22 - Nelsonville, OH - Nelsonville Music Festival [tickets]

    Jul. 23 - Kingston, NY - Tubby's [tickets]

    Jul. 24 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge [tickets]

    Jul. 25 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool [tickets]

    Jul. 26 - Washington, DC - Union Stage [tickets]

    Jul. 27 - Detroit, MI - Magic Bag [tickets]

    Jul. 28 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle [tickets]

    Sep. 8 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival [tickets]

    Sep. 22 - Redmond, OR - Cascade Equinox Festival

    Nov. 9-12 - Utrecht, NL - Le Guess Who Festival (exact date TBC)






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