Port O’Brien is a folk group that is the project of Van Pierszalowski. Van was raised in Cambria, California - a beautiful town on the southern most tip of Big Sur that specializes in hippies, Hearst Castle tourists, and retired people that enjoy lawn bowling. Now he lives in Oakland, or as his housemate Colin has deemed it “The Motherfucking O-Zone.” His father is a commercial fisherman on Kodiak Island in Alaska and Van spends 3 and a half months of every year working on the F/V Shawnee looking for salmon. It is impossibly hard, but ultimately inspiring and rewarding. There is barely enough room for a guitar on the boat, but it does join in the travel, and a lot of the songs were written at sea.
Port O’Brien began performing regularly in the Bay Area as well as the SLO town region since early in the year of 2005. They have played with likes of AKRON/FAMILY, LITTLE WINGS, THANKSGIVING, VIKING MOSES, and many many others. There will also be tours soon to come. In the live setting, the group features guitars, banjos, violins, clarinets, bongos, lots of stomping, and mass sing a longs (at least some of those, depends on who’s around). The individuals responsible for these styling are the lovely Cambria Goodwin, Colin Schehl, Sam Shalhoub, and other various fellows. There are also usually a couple of cover songs performed (songs covered in the past include “Move Bitch,” “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” and “My Humps.”