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Their loss is your gain

Avila's Summer Solstice Music Festival goes free!



If you were looking forward to seeing Citizen Cope at the second annual Summer Solstice Music Festival on Sunday, June 24, at Avila Beach Resort, sorry, Charlie; you’re out of luck!

“Citizen Cope had some scheduling problems and will not be able to perform,” explained Otter Productions Inc.’s Bruce Howard, who’s co-hosting the concert with Collective Efforts Events. “So we’re keeping JJ Grey and Mofro, adding the Damon Castillo Band and Bare Feet, and turning it into a free show—no charge, all ages, gates  open at 1 p.m., all general admission seating; bring your family and friends!”

You’re welcome, SLO County! Gotta love Bruce and company for taking a lemon and making everybody lemonade!

“It’s our way of saying ‘Thank you’ for 25 years of support at the beautiful Avila Beach Resort, on the beach at Avila,” Bruce added.

I just listened to headliner JJ Grey and Mofro’s most recent Alligator Records release, Brighter Days, a live album that highlights Grey’s gritty voice and propulsive southern blues and rock, and I’m here to say, he’s a monster entertainer! His narrative tales come in the form of sexy R&B, deep-fried southern soul, and backwoods ballads.

“Just tell the story—there’s nothing else to it,” Grey recently told Relix magazine, and indeed, there’s no muss, no fuss, no pomp and circumstance—just down-home songs filled with passion and emotional fury told with the sanctified heartfelt conviction of a Southern preacher in a roadside tent revival.

Mix in Damon Castillo’s smooth jazz soul and Bare Feet’s upbeat beach music and this ought to be an awesome way to spend a Sunday afternoon at the beach. Bring your own low-back chairs or blankets!


The Ghost lives on!

I’m loving the new Marley’s Ghost CD Jubilee, which features a selection of front man Dan Wheetman’s literate and affecting originals in addition to select covers such as Kris Kristofferson’s “This Old Road” featuring a guest appearance by John Prine and Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now” with guests Old Crow Medicine Show and Cowboy Jack Clement. Other guests include Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart—all of which should tell you how much respect Marley’s Ghost has among country and
folk royalty!

The San Francisco-Seattle-based Americana roots ensemble is celebrating its 25th year making music that’ll stop you in your tracks and start your heart racing. The new album was produced by legendary Nashville icon Cowboy Jack, and it’s got an intimacy and natural feel to it.

“One of the things that we were real clear on with this record was that we wanted it to be a Marley’s Ghost album with friends sitting in, not guest stars with us as the backing band,” Wheetman explained in press materials, “and it worked.”

Matt’s Music Stage & School will present Marley’s Ghost on Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m. ($20; call 237-0054 or visit; bring your own low-back chair or blankets; no outside alcohol).

Red Barn barnburner!

For fans of Irish and Scottish music, Claire Mann and Aaron Jones are truly something special. The duo—one half of Scotland’s legendary Old Blind Dogs—met back in 1997 and over the years has developed a vast repertoire of both traditional and original music.

Jones has recorded on more than 65 albums of traditional music and works regularly with some of the biggest names in folk music, both as a performer and as a producer. In 2005, he was voted Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Mann is considered one of the world’s leading experts of traditional Irish flute and fiddle, and she’s won numerous All-Ireland Championships on flute and tin whistle. She also teaches at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and at Newcastle University.

This may be the biggest act the Red Barn Community Music Series has scored yet!

See them at 6 p.m. on Saturday June 23, or come at 5 with a dish to share and join in the potluck dinner. A donation of $10 is requested; all proceeds from the show go directly toward the artists and expenses. This show is made possible through the generous support of KCBX Public Radio and Live Oak Music Festival.


SLO Brew returns to you

Hey, I can find parking again! It must be summer! That means our town is ours again for the next 2 1/2 months. To celebrate, SLO Brew has cooked up a series of great shows starting this Thursday, June 21, with Diego’s Umbrella, the San Diego-based band that plays its own brand of “Spanish surf Mexicali Gypsy pirate polka” music (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $10 presale or $12 at the door).

Reggae fans should be excited about the return of Katchafire on Friday, June 22 (7 p.m.; all ages; $20 presale or $22 at the door), with KauzaFex opening. Katchafire, an all-Maori band from New Zealand, has been at it since 1997, gaining steam—and worldwide fans—throughout its career. Local underground hip-hop act KauzaFex was one of the winners of the inaugural 2009 New Times Music Awards for its track “Clones Awoke Us.”

Even though she forbade me to ever write about her again, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that blues belter Candye Kane is returning to town on Saturday, June 23 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $14 presale or $16 at the door). Must. Not. Mention. Boo… .

I’ve yet to hear The Brothers Comatose, but my big chance comes on Sunday, June 24 (7 p.m.; all ages; $7 presale or $8 at the door). The San Francisco band formed a couple years ago in brothers Ben and Alex Morrison’s living room, and has since gone from street corner busking and dive bar gigging to playing festivals like the Strawberry Music Festival, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and the High Sierra Festival.

Finally, on Monday, June 25, punk and new wave fans will want to check out The International Swingers, a super group consisting of members of the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Gen X, and The Alarm (8 p.m.; all ages; $10).


need money!

The Karen Tyler Trio plays Steve Key’s horribly exploitative (according to Peggy Penny, anyway, see the letter and my response on page 20) Songwriters at Play showcase on Sunday, June 24 (1 p.m.; all ages; tips appreciated, people!), at Sculpterra. Tyler is a real pro who’s been joined by two other real pros—Valerie Johnson & Al B Blue—to form a super group that delivers a soulful mix of blues, traditional jazz, and Janis Joplin-esque rock’n’roll.

Bay Area band Shady Maples plays the next showcase at Kreuzberg on Tuesday, June 26 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; tips? Hells yeah!). They’re touring in support of their debut album, Unfold, and the show will feature a stripped-down duo version of the band playing songs from the album on acoustic, electric, and lap steel guitars, plus glockenspiel and homemade percussion instruments. If you dig Ryan Adams, Ben Harper, and Los Lobos, you’ll dig these guys’ style.

All of Key’s showcases include five or six other performers playing four-song sets.


More music …

Brad Daane of Truth About Seafood wrote to ask, “Glen, any chance of getting a shout out for our Concerts in the Plaza show SLO this Friday, June 22? It would be rocktastic! We’ve got a bunch of new tunes, pyrotechnics, caged dancers, fire trucks, goats … it’s going to be a regular circus of good times.” Even though you’re a big fat liar (Goats? Caged dancers?), Brad, I’ll do it for you. Truth About Seafood brings its five-alarm rock’n’chili sounds to the Mission from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Dub Seeds are returning to Frog and Peach for another night of reggae, and this time around they’re supporting their new CD Skunk Face, on Friday, June 22. Check them out at 10 p.m.

Billy Foppiano wrote to tell me that his band “The Mighty Croon Dogs get a biscuit this week for the ‘running round, chasin’ yer tail’ award. Friday, June 22, we throw down at Mr. Rick’s in Avila Beach from 9 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, June 23, we’ll be at the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival at Atascadero Lake Park. This signature event brings together more than 80 wineries and a dozen chefs offering their renowned wines and food for tasting and sampling. We play at 4 p.m. Brang yer dancin’ shoes. Then on Sunday, June 24, at noon, the Mighty Ones open up the Olallieberry Festival in Cambria. Join us at one of the Central Coast’s most original foodie fests from noon to 6 p.m. at 4022 Burton Drive. Enjoy live music, shop event merchandise and crafts, and taste olallieberry pies, jams, and wines. Cambria Alehouse will also serve brews in the beer garden. This is the first year, so help us make this event a success, and bring the whole family! The festival features us, Jill Knight, and Blame Sally.” Thanks for doing my job, Billy!

Get your fix of old-time string music, clogging, and barbershop singing on Sunday, June 24, when the Village Summer Concert Series brings you the sounds of fiddle-driven act Off the Griddle, flatfooter Ruth Alpert, and the Gold Coast Barbershop Chorus starting at 1 p.m. in the Rotary Bandstand in the Arroyo Grande Village. Two other barbershop acts—Outaa Bounds! and Generation Q—will be performing around the audience during the afternoon.

The SLO County Band concludes its “Classic Concerts in Historical Places” Series in the gardens of SLO’s Historic Jack House on Sunday, June 24, with opening act Sax on the Beach at 1 p.m. and the SLO County Band at 2. A $10 per adult donation is suggested at the door and proceeds will be split between the County Band and the Jack House docent committee.

Congregation Beth David presents its fifth annual Klezmer Show at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, with Big Rock Russian Balalaika and eight other performers. Presale tickets are $18 (call 544-0760) or $20 at the door.

Mississippi Delta native singer-songwriter Bronwynne Brent, now residing in Austin, is heading to Linnaea’s Café this Sunday, June 24 (8 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). Touring in support of her debut album Deep Black Water, her music is “rootsy-eclectic, soul-stirring, and authentic,” according to her press materials. I checked out her title track online and she’s got a clear, affecting voice and a Spartan songwriting style that’s extremely accessible.

Sacramento-based alt-rock act Family Photo has two shows lined up for the week, starting on Monday, June 25, with an amplified show at Kreuzberg with The Diatoms, a local indie rock group. Then on Tuesday, June 26, they head to Linnaea’s Café for an acoustic show with folk duo History of Painters, who turned in a moving and emotionally expansive set at the Live Oak Music Festival last weekend. “The idea behind Family Photo is to create riveting, indiscriminate music that resonates with the listener,” the band wrote me. “Drawing from rock, jazz, and folk influences, [we] summon a broad spectrum of sounds via crushing guitar tones, flowing woodwind calls, and interwoven vocal harmonies.”

Newly formed band The Grant Farm is hardly without experience. It’s formed by Tyler Grant, national flatpicking champion and former guitarist of the Drew Emmitt Band and the Emmitt-Nershi Band. In Grant Farm, he’s partnered with dynamic drummer Chris Misner, also of the Drew Emmitt Band, and Bill Nershi’s Blue Planet, and rounded out by Adrian “Ace” Engfer on bass and the prodigious Sean Foley on keyboards. They call their foot stompin’, ceiling shakin’ music “Rocky Mountain Rock’n’Roll,” and you can hear it on Tuesday, June 26 at Frog and Peach.

On Wednesday, June 27, Linnaea’s Café is host to The Winter Sounds (7 p.m.; all ages; free), a Nashville-based act delivering indie new wave anthems with “catchy melodies, perfect harmonies, and addicting synth lines,” according to their e-mail to me. They’re touring in support of L’été des Trois Michel(l)es.

   Though Saturday, June 30, is a ways off, I didn’t want you to miss your chance to see Jon Anderson (of YES fame) and A.J. Croce (son of Jim) at Castoro Cellars, because, let’s face it, these tickets ($35 to $50) ought to go pretty fast! Anderson will perform an intimate, unplugged concert on the winery’s outdoor stage, with Croce and his longtime guitarist Michael Bizar opening the show. Visit for tickets!


Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at, friend him at or, or contact him at [email protected].


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