Every year Escuela del Rio hosts a fundraising concert, and this year’s is a must-see for fans of acoustic roots music. The headliner is the exceptional Salty Suites, which features Scott Gates on mandolin, Chelsea Williams on guitar, Chuck Hailes on the upright bass, Elaine Gregston on accordion, and Paul Cartwright on fiddle.
Gates, just 20 years old, has played with Kenny Loggins on his latest couple of CDs in addition to performing with Steve Martin on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Williams starred in a couple of Chevrolet commercials singing Bruno Mars’ “I want to be a Billionaire.” Hailes is one of the original touring and recording members of the Nathan McEuen Band. Cartwright performed as a member of Crosby Loggins’ Band. Pretty good group, eh? And to top it off, Jesse Siebenberg of Supertramp is supposed to be coming up to sit in with the group on dobro and percussion.
The show will open with Lily Wilson, who won the L.A. Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year in Adult Contemporary in 2007. She’ll be playing with her husband-producer Mark Browne, a former member of Simple Minds and the bass player and producer for Melissa Etheridge for more than 18 years.
Best of all, this is for an excellent cause. When it began in 1974, Escuela del Rio was a small day-training and activity center for developmentally disabled adults, but since then, it’s grown into a wide array of programs and services that help adults with disabilities work, participate in sports, and live independent, full, productive lives.
See Salty Suites with Lily Wilson on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6) at Castoro Cellars. Tickets are $25. A delicious Santa Maria style tri tip barbecue will be available for an additional cost, provided by the Paso Robles Kiwanis, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Escuela del Rio. Call 238-0725 or 466-4438 for tickets.
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There’s a beverage here!
Probably by the time you read this, you’re too late. When I wrote this column on Tuesday there were a handful of tickets left to the 9 p.m. show of Jeff Bridges & The Abiders on Thursday, Aug. 23 (21-and older; $40 presale; $45 at the door) at SLO Brew. The 5:15 was sold out already. You can certainly show up at the door and try to finagle your way in. The Dude could finagle. Walter could finagle. Jesus could finagle. Maybe you can finagle too.
You can always get your rocks off on Saturday, Aug. 25 when Glam Cobra returns (8 p.m.; 21-and older; $6 presale or $8 at the door). Who wouldn’t want to see Zakk Magnum, Rikki Styles, Nikki Faith, and Troy Thunders deliver a heapin’ helpin’ of music from the most awesome generation? They’ve dived headlong into the neon-festooned, leopard-print heyday of ’80s glam rock.
And finally, SLO Brew hosts The Stone Foxes this Sunday, Aug. 26 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $8 presale or $10 at the door), with The Swan Thief opening. Bay Area-based The Stone Foxes are touring through town in support of their sophomore album Bears & Bulls.
Call me Johnny Come Lately, but I just discovered Emily Wryn, whose EP was entered into the New Times Music Awards Album of the Year contest. She’s got a really lovely voice and compelling songs, and you can hear her live when she headlines Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase at the SLO Down Pub on Thursday, Aug. 23 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). I’m not the only one digging her sound. Nic Harcourt, host of KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” put her songs into rotation alongside major label releases from Feist and Rilo Kiley. Guest performers will include Rob Kimball, Julian “Twofish” Phillips, and Ynana Rose of The Swingin’ Doors.
Kat Devlin is back to headline another showcase on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Sculpterra (1 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). The Santa Barbara songstress can be heard often on The Krush 92.5FM, particularly her song “Dear Emmi” from her latest CD REM Cycle.
Also check out Chris Chandler, the showcase headliner at Kreuzberg on Tuesday, Aug. 28 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). This rabble-rousing poet delivers vignettes about politics and modern culture with the fire of a Baptist Preacher. New York jazz vocalist Dani Elliott will be a guest performer.
Indie rock act Sunfighter hits the Frog and Peach this Thursday, Aug. 23. According to their bio, they carve out a “swirling, muscular sound that sits somewhere between early-’90s shoegaze and Spectorian wall-of-sound, but is entirely and uniquely their own.
Powerful harmony trio Brother Sun comes to Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo (2201 Lawton Ave.) this Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Featuring Joe Jencks, Greg Greenway, and Pat Wictor, the slide guitar and piano trio fuses folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock, and a cappella singing. Tickets are $15 each, or $30 for a family, available at brownpapertickets.com/event/263803.
Code Blues delivers a dose of smokin’ hot blues music, stat, this Friday, Aug. 24 from 8 to 10:30 p.m. at D’Anbino’s. These cats are old school, so be ready to shake your moneymaker. Admission is $10 ($5 for Record Club members).
Local music school Music Motive is holding a concert to fund their supplemental school music programs. “Music is so critical to kids that I felt the need to try to fill the gap by creating programs to keep music in their lives,” stated Music Motive director, Steve Hilstein, who’s been working with many local schools and PTAs on bringing music back into the schools by providing entry level guitar, drums, piano, ukulele, and glee club lessons. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford it, so to help provide them, Music Motive is hosting an Anniversary Party on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in their location at 3440 S. Higuera St., suite 130, in San Luis Obispo. Expect live music, free private lessons, free music classes, food available from Bon Temps, and a performance by The Bucket Busters—a unique percussion group comprised of young teens. Prizes provided by local sponsors will be raffled and all proceeds go toward music scholarships.
Vina Robles Winery hosts its 4th Annual “British Invasion” concert to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and Woods Humane Society this Saturday, Aug. 25 (doors open at 5:30, there’s a 6 p.m. car show, and the concert starts at 7 p.m.) You’ll get an evening of ’60s rock’n’roll provided by Unfinished Business in this event hosted by Seth Blackburn of Q104.5 FM. Guests are encouraged to dress in their grooviest 1960s-style attire. Please bring your own chairs and blankets.
If it’s August, it must be time for the annual Cal Poly Collegians Alumni Big Band to play Madonna Inn to celebrate its 45-year reunion with a performance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. More than 20 musicians are expected to take part in the dance concert, playing the swinging sounds of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Les Brown, and other big bands of the 1940s through the ’60s. Two winners of the 2012-13 Collegians’ Jazz Scholarship will join in the performance: music majors Dylan Weddle, trumpet, and Tyler Miller, percussion. The band—predecessor to today’s acclaimed University Jazz Bands—was founded in 1937 by then Music Department head Harold P. Davidson. Admission to the concert is free, but dinner reservations are suggested to ensure seating (call 543-3000).
Eliza Rickman, who was recently featured on NPR, plays Linnaea’s Café on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. Her songs are filled with poignant beauty and childlike wonder, and often feature the plinking of a toy piano. Her new album, O, You Sinners, was produced by Mark Greenberg (Andrew Bird, Wilco). If you like Kate Bush, you’ll want to check this one out. Dissonance, pizzicato strings over junkyard percussion, and complex lyrical melodies are earmarks of her arresting, original sound.
Human Nation is busily working this summer and fall to finish their first CD. “We’re launching a Kickstarter campaign on Aug. 25 to offset some of the costs, and have big plans for the group!” said the band, which plays D’Anbino in Paso Robles on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. Featuring some of the most talented musicians in the county, the band hopes to make the leap beyond SLO County borders, and they certainly have the chops to do it. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Record Club members.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, head to the Steynberg Gallery at 8 p.m. to check out Stupid Man Suit, an L.A.-based punk-metal-experimental act known for its forays into free jazz. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Santa Barbara soul folk act Howlin’ Woods returns to the Frog and Peach this Saturday, Aug. 25. I listened to their song “Drop-Off Point” online, and they’re a trippy, jammy sort of band that will appeal to Deadheads and Phish fans.
The Stone Soup World Music Festival and Street Faire returns to Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26. Now celebrating its 21st year, the event features live bands and a huge variety of vendors featuring shopping and cuisine from around the world. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll hear SILA, a Bay Area Afro beat band, Mike Hammar and The Nails, a Modesto blues act, and local acts such as Zongo All-Stars, Jimmy & Enrique, Nitely Irie, Mariachi Mexicanismo, The Novelists, Young Ireland, RKdians, The Bald Spots, Ranchers for Peace, and Grupo Aries. Experience the whole wide world!
The Mother Corn Shuckers have a couple shows happening this weekend, starting on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the 1st Annual Country Bar-B-Q starting at noon at Blacklake Golf Resort, where they’ll open for Monte Mills and Gloriana. Visit vallitix.com for ticket info. Then they head north to Pozo Saloon on Sunday, Aug. 26 for a Sundays in the Backyard concert from 1 to 5 p.m. This show is free.
The Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series continues at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26 with local favorites the First Friday Gang and its renditions of classic country, western swing, bluegrass, and gospel tunes on the Rotary Bandstand. The local act got its name because since 2007 they’ve met up on the first Friday of every month to celebrate the great country and gospel classics from the ’50s to today.
Chris Stuart and Janet Beazley are coming to the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden this Sunday, Aug. 26 (2:30 docent-led tour, doors at 3:30; show at 4 p.m.; $20 members; $25 non-members; $30 at door; all ages). The two members of band Backcountry are an award-winning duo playing mostly original bluegrass, folk, and Americana styles. Stuart won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song of the Year in 2009. Beazley was recently featured on the cover of Banjo Magazine.
Santa Maria quintet Midnight Sun plays Frog and Peach this Sunday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. Together for more than 18 years, the band covers styles including rock, pop, ska, calypso, and Latin. They also offer up some original music.
The famous jazz artist series at D’Anbino’s shines the spotlight on a couple of the Central Coast’s finest when saxophonist John D’Andrea and trombonist Bruce “Scotty” Scott play on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 4 and 7:15 p.m. D’Andrea is an award-winning Hollywood film composer with the film Dirty Dancing and all of the music for the hit television show Baywatch to his credit. Luther Hughes on bass, Darrell Voss on drums, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake on piano-vibraphone and vocals will join in. Tickets are $15, or see both performances for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.
Hello Echo, who’s touring in support of their new EP The Coffee Cups, plays Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Frog and Peach. I checked out a couple tracks online, and they sound edgy, fuzzy, and fun. The trio lists Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, and the Pixies as influences for their melodic rock. These guys are definitely worth a look.
Good news! I found that thing that was missing from your life, but that you didn’t realize was missing! The Akabane Vulgars On Strong Bypass! This all-girl rockabilly trio, whose lead singer sounds a little like Mike Ness of Social D, made a big splash at this year’s SXSW, and now they’re coming to Sweet Springs Saloon on Wednesday, Aug. 29, with local rock stars Truth About Seafood opening the show at 8 p.m. Hailing from Tokyo, the band is now on a 20-city tour of the U.S., where they’re delivering their bluesy, soulful punk with all the brooding scowling intensity of angst-ridden teenagers. They’re pretty awesome!
Formerly The Willows but now calling themselves Bones from Poets, this SLO-based rock, funk, and jazz act will play their debut show with their new name at Frog and Peach this Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 10 p.m. “Bones from Poets will play the best music you have ever heard, so you should probably show up at 10 to catch the whole show,” claimed the band modestly. ∆
Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey or myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.