- PHOTO COURTESY OF STILL TIME
On See America, their newest full-length CD, Still Time creates a musical travelogue that spans time and space, guiding listeners through narrative songs, hand-clappers, jazz-inflected jams, and bluesy slide guitar-driven ballads that chronicle America as it is and as we wish it to be.
Though officially released at Downtown Brew 10 days ago, Still Time is having a second CD release in conjunction with “SLO Gathering” on Friday, May 29 at SLO Mission Plaza from 5 to 9 p.m. Forrest Day opens the show, which is a benefit for the Food Bank of SLO County.
“The album release show [we had at Downtown Brew last week] was a perfect example of how we want this new album to be received: It was a packed house of a diverse crowd all singing together and having a great escape from the work/school week,” explained frontman Dan Curcio. “The songs all have different themes but come together to create some sort of vision of ‘the way things were’ or the ‘good old days’ and wanting to bring them back. A lot of these songs stem from my happy childhood and wanting to share the idea of a world where we’re friends with our neighbors, have genuinely passionate teachers, and don’t have to lock our doors. It’s the vision of the world from a child’s perspective before we get too jaded and pessimistic.”
The band started writing the songs on their last extended tour and began recording last January.
“We’ve been working on it for over a year. We spent some time writing in a dining room of an abandoned San Francisco mansion, an old boxcar in Oregon—all kinds of crazy places,” recalled Curcio. “We did recording at Downtown Brew, just setting up in the middle of the room to get that live gig drum sound. Some songs were recorded in that dining room in San Francisco and some locally at Avalon Studio. We were just trying to find the best sound possible for each song. I think our biggest stroke of luck happened near the end of the process when we got to work with Grammy-winning producer Fred Vogler.”
The results speak for themselves. Production values are through the roof, with every instrument beautifully recorded and Curcio’s soulful voice sounding plaintive and potent.
“They’re hopeful songs and we’re looking forward to moving in the direction of more and more shows like May 29 at the Mission Plaza to benefit SLO County Food Bank, where we can bring together a very diverse crowd both in age and musical background and have a positive experience.”
The new CD is available at Boo Boo Records, Downtown Brew (buy it and get a free pint!), and online at stilltimemusic.com and on iTunes.
Brew me a river
Pryor Baird & The Deacons kick off Downtown Brew’s week with a Thursday, May 28 fundraising concert for the Spencer Woods Memorial Scholarship. If you haven’t heard this guitar-driven blues act, you’re missing something special. Ska/reggae act Klockwyze opens the 18-and-older, 7:30 p.m. show ($10 presale or $15 at the door; 100 percent of the money goes to the scholarship).
Pocket Productions has Swedish-pop artist Jens Lekman hitting the Brew on Saturday, May 30, for an 8 pm., all-ages, $12 show. Lekman’s 2004 debut album, When I Said I Wanted to be Your Dog, was nominated for three Swedish Grammys, and his 2007 follow-up, Night Falls Over Kortedala, was named Best New Music by Pitchfork Media, and was praised by The Guardian: “Pop is rarely as genuinely affecting, joyful, or good as this.” According to the promoter, “Lekman’s music is defined by its heavy use of sampling, witty often melancholic lyricism, and influences from orchestral chamber pop, Motown, and the classic indie pop of Britain circa 1986.” The opening act is stand-up comedian Tig Nitaro.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF NICO VEGA
- SOUNDS LIKE? : Nico Vega has been called a mash-up of Janis Joplin meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. See them June 3 at Downtown Brew.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS LARSON BAND
- WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO ROCK, SALUTE YOU : Prog-rock heroes The Travis Larson Band will promote their new live CD and DVD Rate of Change with a May 30 in-store at Boo Boo Records and a June 4 concert at Frog and Peach.
For sheer pyrotechnic guitar ripping, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more adept than Travis Larson, whose blistering prog-rock style is well represented on Rate of Change Live, a new CD and DVD recorded last September at the Clark Center.
Larson’s instrumental guitar work will remind fans of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or Steve Morse. He’s friggin’ fierce if that style is your cup of tea, and he manages lot of various textures over the course of the live concert, from balls-out shredding to contemplative tone poems.
“We’ll be playing a set at Boo Boo Records this Saturday, May 30 at 3 p.m.” said Larson. “Advance copies will be available at this free in-store performance. We’ll also be performing at the Frog and Peach Pub next Thursday, June 4 at 8 p.m. before heading out on the road this summer.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF BEX MARSHALL
- SHE’S GOT MAGIC FINGERS : Bex “Lady Fingers” Marshall, a gifted guitarist with a sultry voice, promotes her new album Kitchen Table on May 31 at Frog and Peach.
Bex “Lady Fingers” Marshall is a gifted guitarist with a sultry voice and a new collection of songs on Kitchen Table, on which she switches between a 1973 Gibson Hummingbird and her 2006 Ozark resonator, which she plays with a tiny brass slide on her little finger.
Her music sounds like it could have drifted out of the bayou, but this bluesy roots guitarist is a Brit (and one time croupier) who earned the distinction of being the first and only woman ever to be invited to perform at Cork’s International Guitar Festival where she shared the stage with Thin Lizzy founder Eric Bell, Preston Reed, and Matt Churchill among other ax-slinging luminaries.
She’s near the end of her first major U.S. tour to promote Kitchen Table, with her final U.S. performance happening Sunday, May 31 at the Frog and Peach Pub. Should be a sizzler!
Her album was recorded in North London and is comprised of ten gutsy self-penned tunes—everything from down-and-dirty blues to back-porch country rockers. Her fierce chops have been compared to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rory Gallagher, and Bonnie Raitt. And she blends sultry serenades and gut-bucket rockers! This is a don’t-miss show!
If you’re like me, you no doubt remember the kinetic sounds of cartoon soundtracks that blared through your TV every Saturday morning. Bugs Bunny, Wily E. Coyote, Tom & Jerry—their high-jinks were always accompanied by an orchestra whose energetic sounds had as much to do with my impending burst of hyperactivity as the antics on screen and the bowl of Cap’n Crunch. On Friday, May 29, you can relive those golden youthful moments (sans Cap’n Crunch) when saxophonist and clarinetist Don Byron performs jazz inspired by cartoons with Cal Poly’s University Jazz Bands at 8 p.m. in Harman Hall of the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Byron will perform with both of Cal Poly’s big bands under the direction of Paul Rinzler, director of jazz studies. The performance will include such pieces as quirky 1930s composer Raymond Scott’s “The Penguin,” “Theme from Sesame Street,” “Theme from Family Guy,” “Tank,” “Rush,” and other cartoon jazz. Tickets are $6 to $15 (756-2787).
Inveterate local musicians Kenny Blackwell (mandolin), Wally Barnick (bass/vocals), Danny Naccarato (pedal steel), and Greg Astle (drums) have teamed up to form The Demos, a new quartet specializing in … well, everything: a little country, some retro R&B, and tremolo-tinged surf rock. Blackwell has done studio work with everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Neil Diamond. Barnick is a longtime member of the famed Cache Valley Drifters. Naccarato recently relocated to the Central Coast from Austin, where he recorded and toured with Janie Feicke and Johnny Lee. Astle recorded and performed with Chuck Berry, the Righteous Brothers, and Dick Dale’s Deltones. See them at Atascadero’s Green Acre Lavender Farm, on Saturday, May 30, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 (466-0837).
On Saturday, May 30, prepare yourself for a heapin’ helpin’ of classic ’60s rock. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock and also the Summer of Love, several local bands, including the Jim Townsend Blues Band, will play favorites from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys. Be ready to sing along to your favorites from 7 to 11 p.m. at Arroyo Grande’s SLO Down Pub.
The Cal Poly Symphony’s Spring Concert, “Looking East, Looking West,” explores European music that evokes the East and Chinese music that leads back to the European orchestral tradition, at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 30 in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Pianist Tianshu Wang is the featured performer. Tickets are $6 to $12 (756-2787).
- PHOTO BY JON OFSTEAD
- ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER : Fill-in drummer Wyatt Lund (far right) of Siko will sit in with the boys of Red Eye Junction on May 30 at Z-Club.
- PHOTO BY DOVE SHORE
- CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ : Jason Damato brings his breezy, beachy acoustic roots music to Mongo’s on May 30.
The Los Osos/Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce wants you! On Sunday, May 31, it hosts its second annual Back Bay Jazz Festival, behind the Back Bay Inn in Baywood Park, from noon until 6 p.m. The concert is a fundraiser for the chamber. This year’s bands include The Redskunk Jipsee Swing Band, The Roger Eddy Band, and The Zongo All Stars. Tickets are $20 (children under 12 are free with an adult), available by calling 528-4884, or buy them at Los Osos Fitness, Los Osos Rexall, and Good Tides Coffee.
On Sunday, May 31, two modern jazz virtuosos—flautist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford—take the stage in an exciting duo performance as the next installment of the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria. Wofford has been the accompanist for both Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald while Hofmann is regarded as one of the outstanding jazz flute players of this era. Series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will join the two performances, at 4 p.m. for $15 and 7:15 p.m. for $12. Pay $20 and stay for both. Reservations are recommended: 927-0567.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STUART MASON
This ought to turn that frown upside down
Congratulations to Sad Lisa, who battled their way through three grueling rounds to come out on the top of the rock band heap in New Rock 107.3FM & Three Olive Vodka’s Battle of the Bands that took place over seven weeks at Mother’s Tavern. Besting Criticnue, Davenport Totem, Artiface, Park Layne, Machine, The Prestige, and JD Project, Sad Lisa won $2,000 of hard, cold cash, airplay on New Rock, and a music video by Flicker Films.
“The Battle was all decided by audience vote,” explained band member Graham Haworth, “and we made it through three rounds to win the big prize. It means a lot to us to be chosen by audience members, especially because all three bands we ‘battled’ are popular local rock bands (Machine, JD Project, and Criticnue.) We’re friends with the guys in all of those bands, so for us it wasn’t about competing with them as much as it was about expanding our fan base and letting people in SLO County know who we are. Plus, it’s always fun to put on a show for a full house, and Mother’s was packed to bursting for every Battle.
“The 107.3 SLO & Dysfunctional Vol. 6 CD is out now and includes some of the best bands in SLO County,” added Haworth. “People need to know there’s a great rock scene happening here, so they should get their asses out to the local clubs and check out all the rockin’ bands! As for our future, we’ll be shooting that video soon and have plans to include all our fans in the video. More details on that as it happens. We are also in the middle of mixing our first full-length album (well, eight songs), so look for that soon.”
See Sad Lisa on Thursday, May 28 at Frog and Peach with Axia.
Glen Starkey is too busy to finish what he sta …. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine first caught listeners with his intimate home recordings, first assembled on his debut The Creek Drank the Cradle, but made famous with his cover of the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.” Consistently, he’s evolved away from his early lean recording (usually just his hushed vocals and a strummed guitar) to full-color studio production. A natural progressive arc, Iron & Wine have taken full advantage of the larger production palette, experimenting with layered vocals and odd instrumentation, pushing at the boundaries of their Americana blueprint. But what of those fans who got hooked in hard with Iron & Wine’s early bare-bones creations? Disc one of Around the Well—Iron & Wine’s vault clearing album—is compiled specifically from his early, quiet acoustic recordings, including covers of the Flaming Lip’s “Waiting For A Superman” and Stereolab’s “Peng 33.” Disc two puts Beam back into the studio, collecting the gorgeous nine-minute “Trapeze Swinger” and other tracks from the soundtrack to In Good Company, as well as a surprising cover of New Order’s “Love Vigilantes.” A very fulfilling collection.
The world has finally turned to favor Lee Fields. First emerging in the early ‘70s, Fields grunted, pleaded, and sweated over a series of raw soul singles, earning the nickname “Little James Brown.” He emulated the southern soul of Otis Redding and Eddie Floyd perfectly, right down to the slick attire. Fields battled from obscurity during the ‘90s, but his sound never could stick to that era’s drum-machine soul production. Well, the times are right again. As organic raw funk developed a niche community of followers, Fields’ early 45s were revered in collector circles, fetching hefty prices. His releases for old-school funk-revivalist label Desco and Soul Fire were excellent, but quickly fell out of print. Consider My World the album that Lee Fields deserves. Moving from sweet soul ballads like “The Only One Loving You” and the magical “Honey Dove” to the percolating groover “Money I$ King,” Fields aches, croons, and sings his guts out. Amazing!
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.