News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Jenner Fox enters Sisters music scene

Jenner Fox is new to Sisters, but the songwriter has already made a big impact on the local music scene. He is a starring musician at the Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) summer concert event this Saturday.

Fox is a second-generation river guide, and singer-songwriter by trade.

He was born in Palo Alto and grew up on rivers with his parents, who were also river guides. During river trips, Fox and his family had to find ways to entertain around the campfire, so they picked up guitars and began playing music together. Fox got into playing music full-time in high school and began telling stories through song.

"My music is very dynamic in its sound, with a variety of dynamics and changes in volume in its listening," he told The Nugget. "And then, subject-wise, it is usually quirky portraits and stories about people around me going through all the different ups and downs in life."

Fox made his first self- titled record to sell to rafting clients, and now, four records later, he calls Sisters home.

Fox had come to SFF as a spectator a number of times and loved the town. A few years later, Fox's girlfriend got a job at Camp Tamarack and they moved to Sisters together. His time in Sisters was meant to be during breaks in the touring and rafting seasons, until the pandemic hit and he ended up staying in Sisters for an extended period of time.

"It is a wonderful place to rest, and I began talking with Brad [Tisdel] about becoming more involved in the festival," he said.

Tisdel, creative director for the Festival, reached out to Fox, asking him to help instruct during summer camps the Festival put on last summer. Fox and a number of local musicians took part in teaching at the youth songwriting camps last year, and Fox got even more ensconced in the Sisters music scene. He met other local musicians Beth Wood and Benji Nagel and began playing music with them.

"I got into the scene nicely by meeting others. It's nice to have music as a way to get to know each other," he said.

Fox had done some teaching and songwriting instruction before, for high school boys in Washington D.C., but really delved deep into instruction last summer.

"Now in Sisters I was able to really take a deep dive into teaching, and I love teaching songwriting to young people. You get to peel back the layers of the onion," he said. "Music lessons can be challenging at times because it is hard to explain how to do something that I take for granted I can do every day."

Fox finds teaching very rewarding and enjoys doing the work. He finds that he learns even more as he teaches and is able to re-learn/reimagine aspects of songwriting and guitar playing when seeing it through the eyes of young people.

"It's really nice to have the opportunity to dig deeper and be able to teach and explain songwriting," said Fox.

Fox started river guiding while studying cognitive science at Yale University, and since graduating has worked on rivers in California, Oregon, British Columbia, Bhutan, and Chile.

During the summer season, Fox works as a river guide and does two to three trips a year, usually music-themed in some way. During the winter months, pre-pandemic, Fox was working in Patagonia, Chile, doing raft-guiding work with Bio Bio Expeditions based in Chile.

Now that Fox has put roots down in Sisters, this is his home base for the year.

"Touring is back in the equation this year, which is awesome, and I will be doing some shows in Colorado and California and parts of Oregon, but my base is now in Sisters," he said.

Fox is putting out his latest record this summer — one that is three years in the making. He is working with a producer in Nashville and will be releasing the first song off the record on July 14.

Jenner Fox and Anna Tivel are on the bill for the second summer concert series event put on by the Sisters Folk Festival. Fox has never met Anna Tivel, but has seen her play a number of times.

"I've seen her play a few times and at one of the camps, Beth Wood performed one of her songs and I really loved it," said Fox.

"I think Brad was really intentional with our pairing for this show," he said.

Fox will be performing with what he calls "the hyper-local band" alongside Beth Wood, Benji Nagel and Aaron Moore. Fox, Nagel and Moore have been playing a few local gigs together as things have begun to open up.

"There is so much talent kicking around Sisters and it's awesome to be a part of it," said Fox.

Jenner Fox (and guests) and Anna Tivel will be playing at the Sisters Folk Festival summer concert event on Saturday, June 26 at 7 p.m. at Sisters Art Works on Adams Avenue. Tickets for the event are still available for purchase at:

Tickets are split up by tiers set at different prices based on the distance from the stage. Food, beer, wine, cider and nonalcoholic beverages will be available to purchase. Outside food and drink may not be brought in. Empty water bottles are allowed and there is a free H2O filling station in the venue. Dogs are not permitted.

SFF will be following all Oregon Health Authority public-event guidelines in place at the time of the concert. Currently, masking and social distancing will not be required since the event is outdoors, but SFF is encouraging guests to make use of the ample space on the lawn to spread out, especially those who are not yet fully vaccinated.

The first concert event is June 25 with Freddy and Francine and Sierra Ferrell. Other musicians on the bill for the summer concerts include Eilen Jewell and Caleb Klauder & Reeb Williams; Steve Poltz and Madison Cunningham; David Jacobs-Strain and Tony Furtado Trio; The Mother Hips and The Coffis Brothers; Sway Wild and True North; and Making Movies and Raye Zaragoza.

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