Packing houses since 2006 with original sounds and vintage covers, Merrill will have you up off your feet and grooving to the beat. Whether it’s with their high energy full band shows, or stripped down, intimate acoustic sets, these guys are full of energy and pure positive vibes.
The great grandson of Alcatraz inmate Leo Craney, lead singer Chris Merrill knows a thing or two about hard times. Merrill grew up in poverty in Rockwood, Oregon, with his mom and three brothers in a small apartment. Constantly struggling, it was those hard times that led to his love of music. Used as an escape from menacing bullies, or the lack of resources, Merrill was moved at a young age by the emotion and passion of soul and rhythm and blues music. It was that same emotion and passion that would drive Merrill in his own pursuits as a musician, songwriter, and entertainer.
In addition to playing regular shows throughout the great northwest, they’ve opened for bands such as Maroon 5, John Legend, Counting Crows, The Flaming Lips, played the 2007 Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle among artists like Crowded House and Kings Of Leon, and have received regional airplay for their song “The One Thing” off their first album Evolutions.
In fact, “The One Thing” was selected as the “2010 Portland Song of the Year” by West Coast Songwriters (WCS), while Fox Sports showed the love when they signed a licensing agreement with Merrill for the use of their song, “Back 4 More“. In addition to Fox Sports, Merrill’s songs have been heard on MTV, CBS, HGTV, E! News, and BET, as well as on select advertisements.
In January of 2016, Chris made his professional acting debut in the season 6 premiere of IFC’s Emmy nominated show “Portlandia”, portraying the character Shawn Devino, the new lead singer for The Flaming Lips.
Chris Merrill – Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboard
While some might say Chris Merrill is best known as Shawn Devino on Portlandia, we would like to think he should be known for his shining talents as lead vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, and songwriter for Merrill.
While Merrill was formed in just 2006, Chris has actually been writing and performing music since before he could read. Okay, we know that’s not true, but he grew up with a passion for music and credits it to musical inspirations from such diverse artists as Stevie Wonder and Prince to 90s rock acts like Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls.
When not touring throughout the U.S., rocking out in local venues, and winning musical awards such as West Coast Songwriters Portland Song of the Year in 2010 for “The One Thing,” Chris can be found looking for buried treasure, a cold beer, and a sandwich. Not necessarily in that order.