There’s not going to be a formal announcement, but Planes on Paper is done.
The Yakima folk duo, made up of Navid Eliot and Jen Borst, got about as big as a band can get without leaving Yakima. They toured nationally, had an EP reviewed in The Seattle Times and got plenty of love and airplay from Seattle’s influential KEXP radio station. They even scored a gig at The Kennedy Center in New York.
But they haven’t played together since December. Their Facebook page has been deleted. And Borst and Eliot, whose engagement was announced from the stage at the Idaho Potato Drop New Year’s Eve Party as 2017 turned to 2018, have split as a couple. Eliot has spent the past year in Seattle and Portland, the latter of which is his home for now.
I spoke with Eliot in advance of last weekend’s Yakima Folklife Festival, the lineup for which he booked as he has for the past several years. He wasn’t quite ready to call it quits for good, saying the band might play again somewhere down the line. But Borst was emphatic that they would not.
“No,” she said. “And that’s on the record. THAT’S ON THE RECORD.”
That’s a bummer for fans of the band, which was born from the ashes of another popular local band, Not Amy. During their roughly five-year run, Planes on Paper recorded the best local album of the 21st century, “Edge Markings,” and played some outstanding shows. Their gigs at The Seasons Performance Hall, for which they’d add friends on bass, guitar and drums, could be electric.
But we’ll always have the records and the memories. And in the meantime, Eliot and Borst have other projects. The former is doing the rock ‘n’ roll thing as part of the trio Bodies on the Beach, which combines Eliot’s sharp writing with a harder-driving sound. The latter is singing with Seattle singer-songwriter Matt Gervais in a new duo, Wiredove, that puts her crystalline vocals front and center more often than Planes on Paper did.
So raise a glass to Planes on Paper if you’d like. They were a great band for a few years. But don’t forget to watch what Borst and Eliot do moving forward.
In other news from the local scene:
■ The field is set for the third annual Yakima AppleJam Battle of the Bands, and as has been the case the previous two years there’s a nice mix of established acts that gig regularly around town and newcomers I’m excited to hear for the first time. The finalists were determined by online voting.
In the band category, they are: Bad Habit, Whitley & Eric Snider, Daypop, Sweet Mary Sunshine, and The Finger Guns.
In the solo category, they are: JayJay Garza, Abby Brown (playing under the nom de gig The Girl in Black), Daniel Koenig (who goes by just Koenig as a solo artist), Erik Smestad and Arissa Connel.
Connel, you’ll recall, won last year’s solo contest. Since then, she’s been showing up at local venues and events and has only gotten more confident and comfortable on stage. But that doesn’t guarantee a repeat victory. As always, a panel of VIP judges will decide the winners.
The top pick in each category gets $500, with an additional $500 going to the overall best-in-show regardless of category.
■ In big-name-shows-coming-to-town news, The Yakima Valley SunDome announced The Outlaws & Renegades Tour late last month. The lineup for the Aug. 16 show is headed by Travis Tritt and The Charlie Daniels Band, with Love & Theft opening.
Maybe that’s not quite as big a deal as Dwight Yoakam at the SunDome on July 9. But it’s definitely another rock-solid country music legacy show. Tritt, love him or hate him, has never wavered from his country-with-rock-attitude style. And Daniels is worth seeing just for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Tickets cost $39, $49, $69 and $99. See www.statefair park.org