Gypsies in SLO County? Sure, we’re a long way from India, Egypt, or Europe, where Gypsies have wandered for centuries. But local music fans still have quite an appreciation for the Gypsy-jazz stylings of say, 1930s Europe, like the sultry tones of Django Reinhardt.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF RED SKUNK JIPZEE SWING BAND
- VERY VINTAGE : The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band performs in a benefit concert for Hospice SLO at Castoro Cellars on Sept. 3, along with the Tipsy Gypsies.
Perhaps that’s why this year’s Hope and Harmony benefit concert features local music favorites the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band and the Tipsy Gypsies, with proceeds supporting Hospice SLO’s North County location. These two young bands both have a vintage feel, drawing from the spirited Django-style Gypsy jazz that’s always a pleasure for listening and for dancing under the stars.
The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band has just released their third studio album, Hot and Haunting, with eight new original tunes. Molly Reeves, Samuel Boorman, Pam Sheffler, Jamie Mather, Justin Au, and Ken Davis are sporting fur coats and vintage equipment these days, transporting their audience to a different era.
The Tipsy Gypsies, fronted by Hillary Langdon, perform their songs in a Gypsy jazz style, updated with modern vocal stylings. Listen for covers of songs by Velvet Underground, Portishead, and the Beatles, all done the way Django might have. Their original tunes are turning heads too: “Love Don’t Come Cheap” took a songwriting award in the New Times Music Awards in 2009 (this year’s deadline for entries is Sept. 5).
Whether you spell it Gypsy, Gipsy, or Jipzee, wander along to Castoro Cellars on Saturday, Sept. 3, to support a worthy cause. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for a 7:15 p.m. show, including a barbecue dinner, silent auction, and raffle, along with some fine music. Tickets range from $30 to $80, available at hospiceslo.org.
Rock, Celtic style
With an infectious combination of Celtic-inspired rhythms, rock melodies, and whiskey-stained vocals, the boisterous Young Dubliners burst onto the L.A. club scene in the mid-’90s. From rock-drenched Irish reels to Tears for Fears-like ballads to Pogues-like punk-folk, the Young Dubliners will rock the house at SLO Brew on Thursday, Sept. 1 (7:30 p.m., all ages, $15 advance at Boo Boo Records and ticketweb.com and at the door).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DIEGO’S UMBRELLA
- GYPSY PIRATE POLKA : Quirky Diego’s Umbrella pumps out fun music at SLO Brew on Sept. 2.
Next up at SLO Brew is quirky San Francisco-based band Diego’s Umbrella, with music they describe as “gypsy pirate polka.” Part flamenco, part rock and ska, even mariachi, it’s always pure fun, even with all those minor chords. Check out their matching homemade outfits! Diego’s Umbrella plays on Friday, Sept. 2 (7:30 p.m., 21-and-older, $8 advance, $10 at the door). Hmmm, I’m sensing something of a Gypsy theme in SLO County’s live music offerings this week! Must be that end-of-summer wanderlust.
With their characteristic relentless musical energy, SLO blues/rock’n’roll band the Ragged Jubilee always pumps up the crowd. Check ’em out at SLO Brew on Saturday, Sept. 3 (7 p.m., all ages, $10 advance and at the door).
If you prefer your European music to dive into techno, don’t miss Atari Teenage Riot from Berlin. This is electronica and techno fused with hardcore punk views, with plenty of anarchy thrown in. Atari Teenage Riot takes the stage at SLO Brew on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Retox, a new Southern California quartet that recently signed to Mike Patton’s Ipecac label and features members of The Locust, will open the show, playing tunes from their just-released debut album Ugly Animals (8 p.m., all ages, $18 advance, $20 at the door).
Songwriters at Play
Local musician Ted Waterhouse has played quite a few of Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcases, sometimes with a few songs to close out the night, sometimes in the featured role. This time, though, the Songwriters at Play are turning the tables and covering Ted’s songs in a special celebration the day after his 58th birthday on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Kreuzberg (685 Higuera St., SLO; no cover charge and all ages are welcome).
He’s no ordinary songwriter: His catchy tune “Fire Season” won the best song award in last year’s New Times Music Awards (the deadline this year is 5 p.m. on Sept. 5, remember?). Who could forget Ted Waterhouse’s humor-laden band the Howlie Playboys? And then there’s the Viper Six, and the Swingin’ Doors, and probably a few others I’m forgetting right now.
Many of SLO County’s most accomplished singers will be taking the stage to sing Ted’s tunes. Says Ted in an e-mail to New Times: “I’m totally honored and amazed to have this musical extravaganza happening in my honor next Tuesday night at Kreuzberg. Man, eighteen acts on the bill so far. They wanted to call it Ted Waterhouse Tribute Night, but I made ’em take the word ‘tribute’ off because after all, I’m not dead yet. I’ll play a little guitar behind some folks, but no singing from me—this is about other people singing my songs. A lot of my friends will be there—a lot of them playing, but anyone looking for a great night of free music, come on down. It’s going to be a blast.”
Participants in the celebration include Bob & Wendy, Jody Mulgrew and Erin Inglish, Claudia Russell, Steve Key, Chick Tuesday with Buffy Doran, the Viper Four with Piper Heisig, the Swingin’ Doors with Ynana Rose, Charles Duncan, Debra Windsong of the BlueSouls, Val John and Al B Blue, Wildwood, Craig Nuttycombe, J Street Slim and the Leisurenaut, Peter Yelda, Randall Lamb, Gary Garrett, Craig Louis Dingman, and Charlie Kleemann.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE BERNAL
- FROM FIELD TO STAGE : Salinas Valley native Steve Bernal is the featured act for the Songwriters At Play at the Porch on Sept. 1.
The Songwriters at Play showcases have some other great talent lined up. First, it’s Steve Bernal playing at the Porch in Santa Margarita (22322 El Camino) on Thursday, Sept. 1, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The son of a crop-duster pilot in the Salinas Valley, Bernal grew up working the fields. But he began entertaining at an early age, learning to play guitar when he was a senior at Paso Robles High School. Others will also play four-song sets at this pass-the-hat, all-ages show.
Gary Garret might just as well be called a song sculptor. He is a sculptor, working in bronze, clay, and multimedia—and he crafts a wide variety of songs. Gary Garret is the featured performer at Sculpterra Winery (5015 Linne Road, Paso Robles) on Sunday, Sept. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. Guest sets include Stephanie Austin and Lisa & Tim Turner.
More music …
Show us your best stuff, all you talented local musicians! You’ve got till 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5, to turn in your entries for the New Times Music Awards for best original song and best album in various genres. You can submit up to three entries in each category (all the details are on the entry form). The winners get a really cool custom-made trophy, plus lots of glory, so what are you waiting for? The winners’ showcase is set for Oct. 13 at SLO Brew.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF EUGENE CHRISTOPHER
- LOUISIANA GRANDSON : Singer-songwriter Eugene Christopher dishes up some original tunes at Linnaea’s Café on Sept. 1 and at Otter Rock on Sept. 4.
The music of Eugene Christopher is featured in a web series called Taxi Cab Diaries, as well as in an award-winning short film, Vicky and Sam. The grandson of Ray Wyles, who was one of the original Louisiana Hayride performers, Christopher performs at Linnaea’s Café on Thursday, Sept. 1, and at Otter Rock in Morro Bay on Sunday, Sept. 4.
Miami-based singer-songwriter Omine Eager, daughter of the late tenor sax jazz legend Allan Eager, performs all over the world to spread the message of love and peace, according to her press materials. Touring in support of her latest recording on Forward Motion Records, Whisky & Chocolate, Omine comes to Linnaea’s Café on Friday, Sept. 2.
Break out your kayak or sailboat for the second annual Baywood Bayfest, set for 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, right on the water in Baywood Park on the lawn at the Back Bay Inn (1391 Second St.). The Zongo All-Stars will be pumping out the rhythms for your dancing pleasure. The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band will also entertain the crowd. Watch for a stand up paddle race from Morro Bay and a catamaran expo as the music floats by.
SLO County’s own musical treasure, Merrell Fankhauser, performs along with Joe Chavira and Tori and Taylor Thompson from the TV show The Voice in a not-to-be-missed concert at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande on Saturday, Sept. 3, starting at 8 p.m. You can get tickets at the Clark Center Box Office, or call 489-9444. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to pick up Fankhauser’s two-CD “Best of” release, featuring some of his best tunes from 1964 to today.
The popular Red Barn Community Music Series in Los Osos, in cooperation with KCBX Public Radio and the Live Oak Music Festival, presents the unique Gypsy-swing-folk-tango sounds of Café Musique on Saturday, Sept. 3. Take five diverse musical backgrounds, shake them up, add some haunting violin and accordion, European Gypsy rhythms, plus compelling vocal harmonies and humorous stage banter, and you’ve got some idea of Café Musique. The Red Barn (2180 Palisades Ave. in Los Osos) is the perfect setting for this entertaining show, with music starting at 6 p.m., and an optional potluck at 5 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. More info at 534-9021 or cafemusique.com. Keep that Gypsy music coming!
Take a musical journey to Rio with Brazilian vocalist-guitarist Téka, who dishes up a tasty mix of undulating bossa nova, lively sambas, velvety harmonies, infectious rhythms, and contemporary pop. Along with her trio, Téka performs in a benefit for the new SLO Jazz Festival and God’s Haven for Children foster family agency at the Stax Wine Bar in Morro Bay (1099 Embarcadero, 772-5055) on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 9 p.m. Your $10 donation helps support both nonprofits.
Linnaea’s Café in downtown SLO has long been a popular performance venue for visiting musicians, and for music fans, too. Seattle’s Shenandoah Davis is stopping by on Saturday, Sept. 3. Davis is celebrating her new release, The Company We Keep, described as “achingly beautiful” and “jaw-dropping” by reviewers.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEE MORTON
- TRUTHFUL TUNES : Southern Californian Ashlee Morton works her magic at Linnaea’s in downtown SLO on Sept. 4.
Southern California’s Ashlee Morton performs at Linnaea’s on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. Her main goal with her music is “to write truth and keep authenticity at the core of her musicianship,” her bio says. “Her voice comes from a place that pierces through the air like Cupid’s arrow,” writes one reviewer. Singer-songwriter Brandon Thomas De La Cruz will also play a set.
Cambria just can’t get enough of the rollicking sound of Rough House, now celebrating 10 years of live performances on the patio at Las Cambritas. Labor Day is Pine Dorado Weekend in the town of pines by the sea, and Rough House is marking the occasion with shows at Mozzi’s Saloon on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 9:30 p.m. and at Las Cambritas on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 2 p.m.
The free Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series goes country as it works its way through the decades, this time with music from the ’90s with local country favorite Dave Aguallo. He’s assembled an all-star band to perform two sets starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Rotary Bandstand in Heritage Square Park in the Arroyo Grande Village. Bring your lawn chair and your dancin’ cowboy boots!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SLO SYMPHONY
- JOIN THE CROWD : It’s the Summer of Love when the SLO Symphony joins Louie Ortega for the 20th annual Pops By the Sea on Sept. 4 at the Avila Beach Golf Resort.
The SLO Symphony is celebrating 20 years of Pops by the Sea in style, bringing a family-friendly version of the “Summer of Love” to the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Sunday, Sept. 4. The orchestra and Music Director Michael Nowak will be joined by Grammy-winning guitarist and singer Louie Ortega, saxophonist Dave Becker, and band members and vocalists Jim Stromberg, Bob Santa Cruz, Jeff Elliott, Adam Levine, and Leslie McKinley. Tickets for this beachside celebration start at $15 for lawn seating—less if you ride your bike—and range up to $85. A free shuttle bus runs from all over the county. Order tickets or find out more at slosymphony.com or by calling 543-3533.
Listen up, blues fans. One of SLO County’s newest electric blues bands is Mojo Combo, ready to take the blues world by storm. On the strength of their brand new CD, they’ve been selected to compete in the Santa Barbara Blues Society’s Battle of the Blues Bands, where the winner goes on to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge. Band members Eric Boege (lead singer), guitarists Dudley “Dean” Gimpel and Ted Ashburn, drummer Efren Macias, and bassist Gordon Jennings are hoping for a chance to be part of the Beale Street scene. You can catch Mojo Combo at Peachy Canyon Winery tasting room on Sunday, Sept. 4, from noon to 3 p.m. And mark your calendar for the next show presented by the SLO Blues Society, featuring shredding slide guitarist Ana Popovic on
Chicago-based folk-rock singer-songwriter Matt Campbell is riding the rails on a month-long tour, with stops at Linnaea’s Café on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and Last Stage West on Thursday, Sept. 8. His new five-song release from his own label the Chicago Talking Machine Co, Miles Apart, presents a complete narrative about “the challenge of new beginnings and the faith to forge ahead,” he writes in an e-mail.
“A folkie badass with a heart-melting voice,” Michael Fracasso performs at Last Stage West on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Porch on Thursday, Sept. 8, and at Steynberg on Friday, Sept. 9. More about him next week.
Take your cue from the Gypsies, and be sure to enjoy plenty of live music!
Contributing writer Kathy Johnston is filling in for Glen Starkey while he’s on staycation. Ask him how it’s going at firstname.lastname@example.org.