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Did Jewel Pave the Way for Alaskan musicians like Portugal. The Man?


Did Jewel Pave the Way for Alaskan musicians like Portugal. The Man?

Jewel, Portugal. The Man and others are churning out genre-bending music

If patrons were asked at, say, a bar trivia night to name a musician out of Alaska, 9 times out of 10, Jewel would get a mention. The poet and singer-songwriter is still releasing new music. But now, 25 years after Jewel’s debut studio album, she’s joined by a slew of other talented Alaska-born musicians.

In our quick round-up, here are eight of our favorite musical acts out of Alaska, including some of their most recent work. We, of course, include the matriarch herself, who released her new song “Grateful” in April.

Take a listen.


Jewel Kilcher, or better known as Jewel, grew up in Homer, Alaska. There, she sang and yodeled with her musical father. From a house that had no indoor plumbing, she went on to become an actress, producer, singer-songwriter, author, poet, musician, and global icon.

Below is a video fo Jewel performing her new song “Grateful” as part of a livestream concert in April. Check out more of her work here.

Portugal. The Man

Musical talents John Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, and Jason Sechrist make up this rock band. The first two members of Portugal. The Man started playing together while still in high school, and a few short years later, they reached impressive success which they attribute to their upbringing in Alaska.

Surely, you’ll recognize their hit “Feel It Still.” Discover more of their work on their website.

36 Crazyfists

The quartet that makes up this heavy metal band named after a Jackie Chan movie has been pumping up audiences for over 18 years. Brock Lindow, Mick Whitney, Kyle Baltus, and Steve Holt are all from Anchorage and have made quite a name for themselves in the metalcore world.

Check out their hit song “Bloodwork” below and follow them on Spotify here.

Cousin Curtiss

Curtiss O’Rorke Stedman might be relatively young, but he’s made quite a splash with 5 albums already. He creates a folk-round sound with his voice and guitar and can often be found delighting audiences at Humpy’s in Anchorage. Hear a sample of his music on YouTube here, or check out one of his recent livestream performances from his home.

John Gourley

If this name sounds familiar, it’s because we already mentioned him. He did a bit of screamo as the lead singer for Anatomy of a Ghost before going on to form Portugal. The Man. His style hovers around rock, psychedelic rock, and Indie rock.

In an interview with All the Rage TV, Gourley said his art teachers always told him he didn’t have what it takes to be an artist. In otherwords, he didn’t fit their mold of what they believe an artist should be.

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“Art is about expression,” Gourley says. “Just like the music that we make. It’s whatever comes out. It’s up to everyone to decide whether it’s something they like to look at or have in their house, and all people are different.”

Redhead Express

Country music out of Alaska takes on a different personality than Southern country that’s a must-listen for music fans. These four redheaded sisters Kendra, Alisa, LaRae, and Meghan Walker first traveled with their family band all across the US. They became the stars of the band and their three brothers went on to form the Walker Brothers. Check out the now-called Redhead Express and their toe-tapping strains on Spotify here.

Anna Graceman

A prolific folk/soul/rock singer-songwriter, Anna started young, writing her first song at just 6 years old. She appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show at 9 years of age and made other appearances including on America’s Got Talent. Listen to her gorgeous work on Spotify here, or check out her latest music video below.

Orion Donicht

He is a one-man show who plays an interesting mix of the blues, Americana, and post-punk. He is often on tour in Alaska so try to catch him live if you go to visit. Otherwise, check out his goofy performance on two wheels below or listen to his work on Reverbnation.

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  • You forgot to name one of the Alaskans in Portugal. The Man. Eric Howk is a guitarist and singer from Wasilla who has been with the band for several years. He’s the one who uses a wheelchair.

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