Music, Arts & Culture » Music

Kung Folk!

Ben Taylor's new album packs a wallop!

by

comment
HE WANTS TO HAVE HIS WICKED WAY WITH YOU:  Ben Taylor, whose hot new album The Legend of Kung Folk is rising up the charts, plays Downtown Brew on Feb. 22. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN TAYLOR
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN TAYLOR
  • HE WANTS TO HAVE HIS WICKED WAY WITH YOU: Ben Taylor, whose hot new album The Legend of Kung Folk is rising up the charts, plays Downtown Brew on Feb. 22.

The very first time I heard “Wicked Way,” my favorite track on Ben Taylor’s new album The Legend of Kung Folk, I loved it. Not only is it bitingly funny, it’s also got a chorus so hooky I feel like a flounder being reeled in.

“I just want to take you out and get you drunk so I can have my wicked way with you,” sings Taylor. “I’m just being honest cause I know the other guys are thinking just the same way too. And I’m not gonna lie and say that I will take you out to dance there’s just no chance ‘cause I don’t even like the same music you do. I just wanna have my wicked way with you. So don’t you fight it ’Cause I know you’re gonna like it. Show me some skin I might bite it. I wanna have my wicked way with you.”

Taylor, the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, has an enviable musical pedigree, and while his literate songwriting style and reedy tenor will remind listeners of his dad, he’s definitely got a sound all his own.

While he was driving through the gloomy Midwest on a nationwide tour, New Times managed to get a spotty phone interview between poor cell reception.

Naturally, the first question was about what it’s like hanging with the ’rents?

“You know, they’re good on their good days and difficult on their bad days, like every parent, like everyone, I guess. I don’t have the basis of comparison since I’ve never had any other parents.”

Okay, so I read you’re like a blackbelt in various martial arts.

“No, not a blackbelt. I used to study martial arts and have a pretty solid foundation.”

Have you ever had to use your street fighting skills to escape groupies?

“Actually, at the show last night there were a couple of pretty tough burlesque dancers.”

Did you fight them?

“I had to use insight to escape.”

Do you attract a lot of burlesque dancers?

“They just came to my show, so yeah, I get a certain number of burlesque dancers. I cater to all sorts.”

I wanted to ask him about “Wicked Way.” I wanted to know if he realized he was writing a hit? I wanted to know if he’d been scolded for encouraging promiscuity? I wanted to hear more about these burlesque dancers. Unfortunately, Missouri’s cell grid wouldn’t accommodate us.

You can see Ben Taylor at Downtown Brew on Sunday, Feb. 22, during a 6:30 p.m., all-ages show ($14 presale or $15 at the door). And a child of another famous parent opens the show: Schuyler Fisk, daughter of Sissy Spacek. Like mom, Schuyler is an actor and appeared in films such as The Babysitters Club, Snow Day, Orange County, American Gun, and I’m Reed Fish, in which she sings, so I can attest that she’s awesome. Finally, our own Damon Castillo will play first. This should be a great show.

Sticking it to the Man

In shocking breaking news, a musician has refused to sell out! I know! Un. Freaking. Believable! But that’s singer-songwriter Joshua Radin’s story and he’s sticking to it.

A few years back, Radin released his debut album through Columbia Records.

 “They promised me I’d be opening for [Bob] Dylan and have complete artistic freedom,” he recently told Billboard. “After I turned in my follow-up record, I got a call from them saying they liked it but didn’t hear a top 40 hit. They gave me two choices: go to the studio with Rick Rubin (Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Diamond) to make a hit or buy myself out.”

Incredulously, Radin chose the latter and bought back his masters, then signed to the newly launched Mom and Pop Records. They released Simple Times in September and it went on to hit No. 1 on the iTunes chart. Take that, Columbia Records!

- WHO’S THE PHAIRIST OF THEM ALL:  Meiko, whose sexy cooing and blunt lyrics will remind listeners of Liz Phair, plays Feb. 20 at Downtown Brew. -  - PHOTO BY TYLER SHIELDS
  • PHOTO BY TYLER SHIELDS
  • WHO’S THE PHAIRIST OF THEM ALL: Meiko, whose sexy cooing and blunt lyrics will remind listeners of Liz Phair, plays Feb. 20 at Downtown Brew.
Joshua Radin plays Downtown Brew on Friday, Feb. 20, and as cool as it will be to see a guy who didn’t sell out, I think I’m more excited about the opening act, Meiko, who’s extra saucy and reminds me of early Liz Phair.

MARLEY’S GHOST :  Stephen Marley, son of reggae legend Bob, plays unplugged on Feb. 21 at the Graduate during a multi-band reggae event. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHEN MARLEY
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHEN MARLEY
  • MARLEY’S GHOST : Stephen Marley, son of reggae legend Bob, plays unplugged on Feb. 21 at the Graduate during a multi-band reggae event.
Reggae, reggae everywhere

February is reggae month, mainly because it’s Bob Marley’s birthday and every reggae band and its mother has tribute shows. This week you can choose between Groundation and their 9th Annual Tribute to Bob Marley Tour, which hits Downtown Brew on Tuesday, Feb. 24, or you can see Bob’s progeny when Otter Productions presents “SLO Dayz 2009” featuring Stephen Marley (unplugged), Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel, Rootz Underground, Tessanne Chin, and the Kicks on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Graduate.

Stephen Marley, who’s as close to reggae royalty as they come, is touring in support of Mind Control. Stephen was a member of the celebrated Marley sibling group the Melody Makers since he was 7 and has grown into a Grammy-winning producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Stephen’s production, performance, and writing credits recently earned him another two Grammys, which gives him a total of five, more than any other Marley family member or reggae artist in history.

“My joy and my pain, this is me,” said Marley in a press release. “It’s a page from my book: Every page tells a story, but at the same time is a continuation of the page before it or the page to come. This is just one page. I don’t want to be just another artist. I want to make a statement. I want my music to uplift your mind and soul, to shed light and give hope.”

This is an 18-and-older, 7 p.m. show. Tickets are available at all Central Coast VALLITIX locations including Boo Boo’s, the Mustang Ticket Office, and the Mid-State Fair Box Office. Charge by phone at (888) 825-5484. Order on line at vallitix.com.

TRIBUTE TO BOB :  Groundation, a reverential roots reggae ensemble, performs a tribute to Bob Marley on Feb. 24 at Downtown Brew. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GROUNDATION
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF GROUNDATION
  • TRIBUTE TO BOB : Groundation, a reverential roots reggae ensemble, performs a tribute to Bob Marley on Feb. 24 at Downtown Brew.
Groundation’s popularity keeps growing and growing, and show-goers at Downtown Brew’s Tuesday show will be blessed with two full sets of Marley’s music featuring legendary reggae drummer LeRoy “Horsemouth” Wallace, who played with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, and many other reggae artists in his 35-plus years in the business. Also Grammy-nominated guitarist Will Bernard will join the band on this tour. Will was nominated in 2008 for his Party Hats release.

Groundation takes Marley’s songs and infuses them with their blend of high-energy jazz-based improvisation, creating wholly unique versions of timeless classics. This all-ages, 8 p.m. show costs $18 in advance and $20 at the door.

CLASSY COUNTRY :  Country music stars Emerson Drive play the debut concert on Feb. 26 at the Ranch in San Miguel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF EMERSON DRIVE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF EMERSON DRIVE
  • CLASSY COUNTRY : Country music stars Emerson Drive play the debut concert on Feb. 26 at the Ranch in San Miguel.
Take the drive

I keep hearing good things about the Ranch, a restaurant in San Miguel that’s reputed to have the best ribs and steaks in the county. Now the business is upping the ante by bringing in live country music, and their very first concert is swinging for the fences. Next Thursday, Feb. 26, Emerson Drive plays a 7:30 p.m. show.

Emerson Drive will soon release their fourth CD, Believe, produced by Josh Leo and Teddy Gentry (member of Alabama). The album showcases lead singer Brad Mates’ passionate and expressive vocals as well as the extraordinary musicianship of bandmates Danick Dupelle, Dale Wallace, David Pichette, and Mike Melancon.

The band’s single from Believe, “Belongs To You,” is already rising up the radio charts, currently at No. 34 and climbing. Marty Renee and the Regulators will open the 18-and-older show. Get tickets through all Central Coast VALLITIX locations including Boo Boo’s, the Mustang Ticket Office, and the Mid State Fair Box Office. Charge by phone at (888) 825-5484. Order online at vallitix.com.

SHE’S A DOOZY :  Vocalist Donna Deussen performs two shows with the Mike Raynor Group on Feb. 20 at the Inn at Morro Bay. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DONNA DEUSSEN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DONNA DEUSSEN
  • SHE’S A DOOZY : Vocalist Donna Deussen performs two shows with the Mike Raynor Group on Feb. 20 at the Inn at Morro Bay.
More music...

Vocalist Donna Deussen performs two shows—7 and 8:45 p.m.—with the Mike Raynor Group on Friday, Feb. 20 at the Inn at Morro Bay. Deussen, a California native, spent much of her childhood in New England. She graduated magna cum laude from Berklee College of Music with a degree in songwriting, after which she moved to Los Angeles and began performing, writing, and recording all styles of contemporary music, including pop, R&B, country, rock, folk, and, of course, jazz.

SONG STORY :  Singer-songwriter and playwright Devin Wallace presents his “Music for Our Great Depression” concert at Linnaea’s Cafe on Feb. 20. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVIN WALLACE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVIN WALLACE
  • SONG STORY : Singer-songwriter and playwright Devin Wallace presents his “Music for Our Great Depression” concert at Linnaea’s Cafe on Feb. 20.
Singer-songwriter and playwright Devin Wallace presents his “Music for Our Great Depression” concert at Linnaea’s Cafe this Friday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. Wallace has composed songs for his original dramas and comedies on National Public Radio’s “NPR Playhouse.” Saxophonist Greg McInnes will accompany Wallace. Here’s a taste of his narrative lyrics: “Saw a woman outside a truckstop, she was sleeping in a car/ I went tappin’ at the window, sayin’ “Wake up, honey, I know who you are!”/ Yeah, it was Frankie Lee Batard, we’d dated when were 19/ She sure rang my bell back then, and now we were both so lonely we rang our bells again.”

Strike Fire Productions is breaking out the dog collars and leather jackets for an awesome punk show. Punk/metal star Ragg, which boasts a hardcore punk chick singer, opens the show for Paso Robles punks the Scurvy Bastards. Free Confusion from Long Beach headlines this Friday, Feb. 20 Mongo’s Saloon show. You’ve got to be 21-or-older (9 p.m.; $2 cover after 10 p.m.)

HILLBILLIES :  The Earl Brothers are set to deliver a couple of nights of blistering original mountain bluegrass music on Feb. 20 at Monteleones Rock and Feb. 21 St Benedict’s Church. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EARL BROTHERS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EARL BROTHERS
  • HILLBILLIES : The Earl Brothers are set to deliver a couple of nights of blistering original mountain bluegrass music on Feb. 20 at Monteleones Rock and Feb. 21 St Benedict’s Church.
The Earl Brothers are set to deliver a couple of nights of blistering original mountain bluegrass music. Think Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers and you’ll be on the right page. Featuring Robert Earl Davis (lead vocals, banjo), Danny Morris (lead vocals, guitar), Dave Hanley (mandolin), and James Touzel (bass), they take a less-is-more approach. Catch them on Friday, Feb. 20 at Monteleones Rock (238-0109) in Paso Robles or Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Red Barn Community Music Series in Los Osos’ St Benedict’s Church (7 p.m. show with potluck supper at 6. $10 at the door.)

Acoustic folk duo Bog Thistle is returning to town with a bevy of shows. See them Friday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the SLO Down Pub and Sunday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in Linnaea’s Cafe. In between, the boys have three retirement home gigs: Friday, Feb. 21, 1:45 p.m. in the Village at Garden Creek and 3:45 p.m. at Las Brisas Retirement Community; and on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. in Mission View Health Center. “For people who have relatives in those retirement homes, this would be a good excuse to pay them a visit,” said band member Dylan Horst.

Cal Poly’s a cappella group, Take it SLO, will host a benefit concert featuring award-winning group Brandeis VoiceMale on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Clubhouse at This Old House. Tickets are $5 at the door. All ticket proceeds and 15 percent of food and beverage sales will benefit the Cal Poly student chapter of the Wheelchair Foundation, which is comprised of 27 students from an array of majors. The group is raising funds to send wheelchairs to disabled residents of Oaxaca, Mexico, this summer.

The SLO Blues Society has another hot night of blues lined up for you when John Lisi and Delta Funk plays Saturday, Feb. 21 at the SLO Vets Hall. Lenny Blue and the Otter Guys will open the 8 p.m. show ($20 at the door, $17 for members; free dance lessons at 7:30 p.m.) John Lisi describes himself as a bluesman with a sense of humor. He combines Louisiana funk with a Hendrix-like sound. Lenny Blue and the Otter Guys play a lively musical stew of blues blended with R&B, soul, West Coast swing, funk, and world-beat.

De La Bahía is back and ready to get you dancing. On Saturday, Feb 21 beginning at 8 p.m., the Latin dance band will perform jazz and Brazilian dance standards such as mambos, cha-chas, bossa novas, sambas, and boleros at the Inn at Morro Bay. Admission is $8 at the door.

Glen Starkey doesn’t feel bad and doesn’t feel blue because Frankenstein’s monster was ugly too. Storm the castle at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com
.

Tags

Add a comment