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Photo by Heather Fitzgerald

Journey to Nashville

Songwriter follows dream to country capital By KATHY ANEY East Oregonian

Photo by Heather Fitzgerald

Jeff Umbarger likes to joke that his life resembles a country song. Last year, for example, his girlfriend totaled his pick-up truck. A month later, she broke their engagement. Shortly thereafter, his beloved dog died. All of it, plus his years of ranching and rodeo, is fodder for the country songs he writes and sings. He initially sang them only in solitary places such as the rustic front porch of his family cabin with his black lab at his feet. Finally, someone coaxed him to sing in front of audiences. Recently, Umbarger took his music to the next level. This October, the Pendleton man packed his five guitars into his new truck and headed to Nashville to chase his dream


Can we get a ‘Hall Pass’ from this movie? Sticking to their guns, Farrelly Brothers revel in disgusting antics

hat happened to intelligent comedy? Why is it that it only becomes funny when it involves some juvenile prank, gratuitous crotch shots or bodily function gone disgustingly awry? Is it no longer fashionable to actually develop a joke? If the Farrelly Brothers’ latest release, “Hall Pass,” is any indication of the future of the comedy genre, long gone are the days of DOMINIC actually witty humor, reBAEZ placed instead by coma-inducing stupidity At the Movies and enough gag jokes to kill the staff of “Family Guy.” The clichéd “Hall Pass” starts off with the two male leads, Rick (Owen Wilson, “Marley and Me”) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis, “Saturday Night Live”), ogling the local women at a party. Sadly, the rest of the movie pass in a similarly chauvinistic manner. After a less-thanflattering exposure on hidden camera, the men’s wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer, “The Office”) and Grace (Christina Applegate, “Going the Distance”) decide to offer their husbands a hall pass from

of breaking into the country music scene. On his way to Nashville, the 27-year-old got a boost from strangers. Pulling into a small town in Nebraska, he found a steakhouse, ordered dinner and turned his attention to a football game on the big-screen TV. Some locals engaged him in conversation and discovered he was on his way to Nashville. “Naturally, the bartender’s next question was ‘Where’s your guitar?’” Umbarger said. He fetched it and started singing George Strait and Brad Paisley songs. The bartender set out a tip jar and the enthusiastic crowd filled it to the brim with bills and change. “I made enough tips to pay for gas and hotels all the way to Nashville,” Umbarger said. “That was such a big encouragement.” This is the second time Umbarger has loaded up his guitars and headed to Nashville. The first time, three years ago, his plans derailed when his truck broke down. “It took all my money to fix it and limp


Who I Am

Jeff Umbarger

To listen to the whole version of “Who I Am,” visit us at www.

The Halfway House E OTHER VIEWS

AP photo by Warner Bros., Peter Iovino

Alexandra Daddario, left, and Owen Wilson are shown in a scene from “Hall Pass.”


It s the crying of a steel guitar/ To drinking songs and broken hearts/ All the things that help you understand/ Who I am


#### ## “Hall Pass”

marriage. (This brilliant idea materialized into existence Unlike this week’s thanks to Joy Be- lackluster pickings, har’s character, next week offers a some nameless bevy of choices of relationship-gumovies to see. Go ru wannabe.) to silverscreening. The thinking to was that if the vote for which boys got this hor- movie you want mone-driven reviewed in next energy out of week’s EO: their systems, • “Rango” they would ap• “Beastly” preciate what they had at • “Adjustment home. So, in an Bureau” experiment • “Take Me Home reeking of failTonight” ure only equaled by that of “Twilight,” the audience endures nearly two hours of some of the most low brow idiocy in re-

Pick a movie


nal house and the horse barn on ight miles south of Pilot page 263 of the Umatilla County Rock on the Yellow JackHistorical Society publication tiet Road, a stately two tled Umatilla County: A story home sits to the Backward Glance. right of the road above Bridge The first owner of the 200 Creek. Known for many years as acres was N.E. (Nancy) Despain. the “Halfway House,” the home is Nancy sold to AE and JH Hashalf way between Pendleton and call on May 2, 1898 for $600. JH Camas Prairie in the Ukiah/AlHascall sold his half to AE HasBONNIE bee country. call on January 22, 1900 for $250 Owned for 101 years by the SAGER and on November 25, 1902, title Wright/Smith family, the home Out on the was transferred to Eddie Wright. was a welcome overnight stop Blues Eddie and Emma Wright welfor travelers commuting by comed overnight guests charging 25 stagecoach or horseback. Ranchers cents for a meal and $1.00 for a man’s bringing cattle out of the John Day bed. There were six bedrooms upstairs country to the railhead in Pendleton and piped cold water indoors, but all and later in 1907, the railhead in Pilot other plumbing was located outside Rock would stop at the Halfway House and washing was done by hand. to rest their stock and spend the night. A Royal Oak wood cook stove occuEddie L. Wright, born December 22, pied the north wall in the kitchen and 1875 in Des Moines County, Iowa, was the dining room could seat from sixthe son of Erastus and Eliza (Calhoon) teen to twenty guests. Breakfast Wright. The family emigrated from consisted of fried meat, potatoes, bisIowa to Oregon in 1880, settling in cuits and gravy as well as cereal. Umatilla County on Birch Creek until In the horse and buggy day, the stage the death of the father in 1888. traveled to Lehman Springs and HidEddie and his brother Frank helped away Springs from Pendleton with a support the family until the widowed scheduled stopover at Halfway House. mother married Roswell Olcott (grandA helping of hay for a team of horses father of Beryl Grilley of Pendleton). cost 50 cents. On the 31st of December, 1896, Eddie Imagine for a moment that you have Wright married Miss Emma E. Rippey, who had emigrated to Oregon from Mis- just ridden the stagecoach from Pendleton to the Halfway House. You souri with her father James Rippey. have been jostled inside the coach all Their only child Manilla Mae Wright day, you are hot and dusty and hungry. was born on August 2, 1898. Your coach pulls up to a shady home On Thanksgiving Day in 1902, Eddie, and you are greeted by Emma and led Emma and small daughter Manilla moved to their new home on the Yellow inside to your room. It is cool inside the spacious home and your supper is Jacket Road. Here they welcomed travcooking on the stove. A home cooked elers and provided a clean bed, meal prepared from wholesome foods sumptuous meals and pens with feed raised in the gardens is waiting for you. for the traveler’s livestock. Travelers from the John Day country Eddie had purchased 200 acres with and points south give you the news a new house from Arthur Hascall for from Grant County as you enjoy your $2,900. The acreage included the usual dinner in the dining room. outbuildings — calving barn, chicken It is no wonder this delightful home house, pig pens, woodshed and sheep shed, but the most interesting outbuild- became such a popular stopping off place. ing was the horse barn. Constructed of In 1913, Eddie and Emma Wright purhand hewn timbers and wooden pegs, chased an additional 960 acres from there wasn’t a nail in the building. It is believed the barn could have been con- Herbert Boylen for $1.00 and other valuable consideration. structed as early as the 1860’s and later Their daughter Manilla Mae and F. moved to this location. The placement Glenn Smith of Pilot Rock were marof beams and hand hewn marks of the ried on May 21, 1921. A son Harold was adze indicated the building may have born in 1927 and daughter Mayanna had a different configuration or the timbers had been refitted. There is a good picture of the origiSee HALFWAY/3C

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