It takes a certain level of audacity (or a healthy sense of humor) to name your first album Greatest Hits, but that's exactly what funky duo Amendola Vs. Blades did in 2016. Now the drummer and organist have released Everybody Wins, and instead of doing all the heavy lifting themselves, they added in a few extra players like saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, Garage A Trois), percussionist Cyro Baptista (Herbie Hancock, Sting), keyboardist Rob Burger (Tin Hat Trio, Laurie Anderson), and guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise), the last of whom will join them as Amendola Vs. Blades Vs. Parker this Saturday, Dec. 14, in the 4 Cats Café (7:30 p.m.; all ages; free).
All three are amazing jazz musicians who don't let labels or genres limit their sonic explorations, moving through various styles and moods. According to Amendola, the "Vs." in their band name "is about how we mess with each other. It's one fun part of our personal connection, our friendship. We take the art of what we do seriously, but we don't take ourselves too seriously. Gotta have fun, mess with each other ... and keep improvising!"
These three hot players will be cooking up an improvised stew of groove grease, funk, and soulful jazz. Don't miss it!
One, Two, Three ... Go!
Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents once again teams up with Morro Bay's The Siren to deliver three great shows this weekend, starting with the return of Dustbowl Revival on Friday, Dec. 13 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $18 presale at Boo Boo's and eventbrite.com, or $20 at the door), with percussive duo Bear Market Riot opening. Dustbowl is a kick-ass American roots act with a great horn section, an incredible singer in Liz Beebe, and terrific songs that can range from bluegrass to soul.
If you're among the uninitiated, go online and check out some of their music. There's a great busking video of them covering "Me & Julio Down by the School Yard," or their amazing collaboration with Dick Van Dyke on "Never Had to Go," or the dirty barnburner "Busted." They're touring in support of their new album, Is It You, Is It Me, and their live show is incendiary!
- Photo Courtesy Of Matt Bizer
- SMALL TOWN, BIG EMOTIONS Anti- Records recording artist Jade Jackson plays The Siren on Dec. 14, celebrating the release of her excellent new album, Wilderness.
Local gal made good, Jade Jackson, plays on Saturday, Dec. 14 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15 presale at Boo Boo's and eventbrite.com or $17 at the door), with LA Edwards opening. The country chanteuse and Santa Margarita native started writing very personal songs and singing locally in various cafés, but eventually Jackson caught the ear of Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness, who guided her to listen to Lucinda Williams to hone her sound, got her signed to Anti- Records, and took her out on the road to open for Social D.
Since then, Jackson has come into her own, garnering glowing write-ups in the national press and releasing a second album on Anti-, Wilderness, another collection of soulful country songs that are autobiographical and emotionally healing. They stem from a terrible accident for Jackson at age 20, which led to a subsequent addiction to pain killers, quitting cold turkey, and spiraling into depression. This album is about rising from those ashes.
Finally, bassist Charlie Hunter and vocalist Lucy Woodward with drummer Doug Belote appear on Sunday, Dec. 15 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $25 presale at Boo Boo's and eventbrite.com or $30 at the door), delivering their exhilarating blast of jazzy blues, soul, and funk.
- Photo Courtesy Of Ethan Burns
- GONE SOLO Ethan Burns of Ragged Jubilee will play music from his upcoming solo album on Dec 13, at Talley Vineyard.
Burns so good
I've only heard three of the songs off Ragged Jubilee frontman Ethan Burns' upcoming debut solo album, but each one has got a deep thread of cool running through it. Each fever dream song features spartan instrumentation, some well-picked acoustic guitar work, and some eerie peddle steel slithering through the songs.
"Long Lost Lover" showcases Burns' rustic and emotive voice, a plaintive rasp that laments a love gone wrong: "My heart felt weary as I placed my head in my hands. You're the lover that will not let me be man."
The sinister and cinematic sounding "Space Cowboy" sounds like a Spaghetti Western meets film noir with the added haunting touch of some whistling. It feels like a midnight walk through a graveyard: "Moonlight on my face. I wouldn't have it any other way but I don't want anyone but you."
"A Million Miles" brings in a little Chris Isaak vibe: "Lord, I don't care how you feel. Ain't that the way that it starts. A millions miles from here is my heart. I'll leave you chasing my shadow."
The upcoming album, entitled Illusion, is due on in early 2020. For now, you can see Ethan Burns this Friday, Dec. 13, at Talley Vineyards (5 p.m.; $35 at talleyvineyards.com or at the door; includes appetizers by Field to Table).
- Photo Courtesy Of Barry Goyette
- MERRY DAMON The Damon Castillo Holiday Variety Hour (and a half) is free to the public on Dec. 15, on the Court Street Terrace.
A Very Castillo Christmas
Damon Castillo has cooked up a little holiday fun for you this Sunday, Dec. 15, in what he's billing as The Damon Castillo Holiday Variety Hour (and a half) on the Court Street Terrace (5 p.m.; all ages; free but register at eventbrite.com/e/damon-castillo-holiday-variety-show-tickets). Hosted by The San Luis Collection, Castillo promises "a fun evening of music, laughs, and the holiday spirit!"
He'll be joined by Inga Swearingen, Eric Cotton, Jineanne Coderre, Zach Johnson, and the Damon Castillo Band! It's totally free, but 100 percent of donations and raffle prize proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County.
- Photo Courtesy Of Winterdance
- CELTIC CHRISTMAS Winterdance, featuring Molly's Revenge and the Murray Irish Dancers, happens Dec. 18, in the South Bay Community Center.
If you want to hear some amazing Celtic Christmas music and witness some incredible Irish dancers, the place to be this Wednesday, Dec, 18, is Los Osos' South Bay Community Center for the 14th Annual Winterdance Celtic Christmas Celebration (7 p.m.; all ages; $25 presale at brownpapertickets.com or $29 general; $10 for children 13 and under).
KCBX 90.1FM and Molly's Revenge, with guest vocalist Amelia Hogan and the Murray Irish Dancers, will present this "evening of music, song, and dance associated with the festive season. The performance will include Christmas songs both old and new, all played with a Celtic twist, and something new for our regulars," organizers said.
This lively evening of song and dance will hit you right in the holiday spirit!
More music ...
Guitar wiz Peppino D'Agostino plays two SLOfolks shows this week: Coalesce Bookstore on Friday, Dec. 13 (7 p.m.; all ages; $20 at (805) 772-2880); and Castoro Cellars on Saturday, Dec. 14 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $20 at (805) 238-0725). Expect amazing compositions and incredible playing.
Mother-and-son duo Dime Box Band plays Sculpterra Winery this Sunday, Dec. 15, as part of the Songwriters at Play showcase series (1 p.m.; all ages; free). Dime Box's Kristi Callan and her son, James, are touring in support of their new album, Happy. Special guests include Amanda Lovelady and Susan Kotler.
Get your hot swinging jazz fix when The Royal Garden Swing Orchestra plays the next Basin Street Regulars' concert this Sunday, Dec. 15 (1 p.m.; all ages; $10 at the door), in the Pismo Vets' Hall. The orchestra is made up of local professional musicians and has more than 200 special arrangements of memorable tunes from the swing era to modern classics
The SLO Wind Orchestra presents Jingle All the Way in the CPAC at Cuesta College on Sunday, Dec. 15 (3 to 5 p.m.; all ages; $20 general, $30 VIP, $10 students at slowinds.org). "Our December concert offers works rarely heard at holiday time: some Bach, some Howard Hanson, a new work by David Rackley; and Jingle Them Bells, a fun holiday mash-up by today's pre-eminent woman band composer, Julie Giroux. Cuesta faculty vocalist Alba Franco-Cancèl delights with 'O Holy Night,' and everybody joins in on the traditional carol sing-along," organizers said.
Christmas cheer is pretty much guaranteed at the 12th annual Rotary Christmas & Holiday Sing-Along when it returns to the Clark Center on Sunday, Dec. 15 (4 p.m.; all ages; $12 adults, $6 children and students at (805) 489-9444 or online at clarkcenter.org). "Attendees will enjoy a fun-filled afternoon featuring great regional musical groups while also joining their family and friends in singing all their favorite Christmas and holiday songs," organizers promise. Santa will also be on hand along with complimentary holiday goodies and drinks in the lobby at the conclusion of the show.
- Photo Courtesy Of In Time Trio
- TIGHT VOCAL HARMONIES The In Time Trio bring their harmony-rich holiday sounds to D'Anbino on Dec. 15.
If you'd rather listen to amazing Christmas music than participate, check out the In Time Trio when they present an afternoon of holiday songs featuring their tight harmony vocals this Sunday, Dec. 15, in D'Anbino's Paso Robles tasting room (4 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15 at (805) 227-6800). These three ladies have some serious pipes and sing beautifully together! Δ