Chris Poage remembers listening to a busker who would jam away on his rolling 64-key piano at Pike Place Market.
He was just a boy in tow for a shopping trip at Seattle’s marketplace with his mom back then, but he was transfixed by the man’s performance.
“I just remember thinking, ‘That is what I want to be when I grow up,’” said Poage, 38. “My dreams have changed, but when I was a kid, he was pretty much the magician that made me believe.”
While Poage, of Bothell, didn’t become a street pianist, he is a multi-instrumentalist (yes, he does play the piano) who has dabbled in everything from psychedelic rock and Americana to indie folk and Tex-Mex.
The Chris Poage Band on March 16 is performing songs from its new horn-infused Americana album, “Artifact And Western Theory,” at a release party at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell. Written by Poage, the songs have a cross-section of influences, including folk, roots rock, Tex-Mex and even waltz.
That may sound haphazard, but the frontman says the recording is unified by its message: Stay positive and accomplish your life’s goals.
“It’s almost a mantra,” Poage said. “I’m a parent, for one, and I think that helps steer things. I want to be a role model for my kids by following my dreams and continuing to do all this art.” His two daughters are 4 and 8.
Poage will play the banjo, accordion, saxophone, electric piano and acoustic guitar at Saturday’s show, which he said will include “funky party jams” and “beautiful ballads.”
“I know it sounds like a trainwreck, but it’s one of the most cohesive shows I’ve ever put together,” he said. “I couldn’t be more excited.”
Poage is a fifth-generation Bothell resident who grew up on his great-grandmother’s homestead. There, he drew inspiration from his family’s jazz and classical backgrounds. (His great-grandmother was a ragtime pianist who rode a horse to the Historic Everett Theatre to play music for silent films.)
He graduated from Bothell High School in 1999. That’s where he played in the jazz band and also met his future wife, Alisa. The couple’s wedding vows included a promise to never stop pursuing their dreams.
“I feel like a lot of people along the way in life just drop their passions,” Alisa Poage said. “He never has. I’m so proud of him. I think he sets a really good example for our girls. They really idolize him.”
Chris Poage worked at his family’s fruit market — the Yakima Fruit Market & Nursery in Bothell — until he launched his own general contracting business so he could play music on the weekends.
Before The Chris Poage Band, he was a member of Mts & Tunnels, Panda Conspiracy, Publish The Quest, Cephalopod and YAR, and performed at the Summer Meltdown, Fisherman’s Village Music Festival and Northwest Folklife Festival.
Poage’s new band, which formed last year, is comprised of friends and family, including his uncle Dan Bagnall on guitar.
As luck would have it, Poage ran into the busker from Pike Place last year at the Oregon County Fair. He finally got to tell the piano man what his music meant to him after all those years.
“It really did change my life,” Poage said. “Being a parent, you realize the importance of telling someone how you feel and showing your respects.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
The Chris Poage Band will perform music from its new album, “Artifact And Western Theory,” at a 7 p.m. release party March 16 at McMenamins Anderson School, 18607 Bothell Way NE, Bothell. The event is free and open to all ages. More at www.mcmenamins.com/anderson-school.
Learn more about Chris Poage at www.chrispoage.com.