It probably sounds weird to say so, but it's nice to see Linnaea's Cafe charging for some concerts. Some of you may remember that Linnaea, who's since sold the business, got into live music by sponsoring house concerts, then started doing little shows and serving coffee in a now-closed local book shop.
When the cafe opened, it did lots of pay-to-see shows, but as the town grew, more venues opened and Linnaea's turned to pass-the-hat shows, attracting only performers who were essentially willing to play for tips.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF CLAIRE HOLLEY
- SOUTHERN BELLE : Claire Holley brings her Southern Americana folk music to Linnaea's Cafe on Jan. 27.
# After remaining too long out of the paid concert game, the cafe is booking some bigger acts, such as contemporary folk singer-songwriter Claire Holley. She'll perform on Sunday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30), and the cost is $10. Local folk-bluegrass duo Erin Inglish & Joe Ridout will open the show.
According to her press materials, "Holley was born and raised in Mississippi, eagerly subject to the Deep South's rich variety of musical influence--from flattop pickers to honkytonk crooners and gospel choirs, from opera divas to her grandmother's jazz piano. In college, she started performing in coffeehouses and writing songs, releasing her first record, Night Air, soon after graduating. In 1999, she made Sanctuary, an inspired recording of traditional hymns. Soon after, Holley signed with Yep Roc Records."
Check out this Southern Belle on Sunday and help usher in a brave new era at Linnaea's Cafe.
David Lindley has been a musical genre to himself ever since his 1981 debut El-Rayo X, and he's just become even more of an iconoclast since then, exploring world music and creating synergy between Western rock and folk sensibilities and the musical sensibilities of foreign cultures--all the while being sensitive to avoid exploitation. He can also play just about anything with strings, including banjo, lap steel guitar, violin, oud, cittern, bouzouki, saz, and c?mb?.
Well before his solo debut, he was a high gun lead guitarist, working with the likes of Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, David Crosby,
Terry Reid, Graham Nash, Bob Dylan, and Rod Stewart.
The world music superstar and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire returns to the Central Coast on Thursday, Jan. 24, at Downtown Brew with local act Still Time opening in a three-piece acoustic configuration. Advanced tickets are $18 (ticketweb.com, Boo Boo's, and the venue) or $20 at the door. This is a 21-and-older show.
Cha away the blahs
- PHOTO BY SHANA NOVAK
- PUSHING PAST THE PAIN : Depressive Castanets' frontman Ray Raposa pushed through bouts of debilitating depression to finish his new album, which he's promoting with a show at Steynberg Gallery on Jan. 25.
# Little Wings fans, the Brooklyn version of our own former little indie rock savant is coming to SLO Town on Friday, Jan. 25, at the Steynberg Gallery. Like Little Wings, The Castanets is essentially a one-man-show, but instead of Kyle Field, The Castanets features a guy named Ray Raposa who, like Field, gathers others around him to help bring his unique artistic vision to life.
Raposa, however, is one depressed guy. His newest recording, In the Vines--his third--is in response to being mugged at gunpoint by three masked assailants in Brooklyn. He was forced to suspend work on the somber recording several times: "I have had to halt production and/or writing and/or thinking about this album repeatedly due to actual, incapacitating depressions. Totally crippling. The bad kind."
Raposa's album is partly based on "a Hindu fable about being trapped in an inescapable fate, with death and the limitations of our physical lives closing in from all corners."
Okay, okay--depressing, yes, but wholly affecting. Check him out.
Swamp blues for you
If you like your blues to sound like they swam out of the bayou covered in soul, the SLO Blues Society has the show for you. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Mem Shannon and the Membership hits the SLO Vets Hall stage for an evening of blues inspired by the likes of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, and the Neville Brothers.
- BAYOU BOOGIE
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MEM SHANNON: Swamp bluesman Mem Shannon plays Jan. 26 at the SLO Vets Hall for the next SLO Blues Society show.
# We're talking soul, funk, jazz, and rhythm and blues combined with Mem's slick guitar licks and soul-drenched vocals to weave narrative tales of his life set to the syncopated rhythms of New Orleans.
"I'm still telling stories," said Mem, whose first album (A Cab Driver's Blues) featured snippets of conversation with passengers in his cab. He got his start playing top 40 tunes in cover bands at age 15, but set aside his musical dreams and took to cab driving when his father passed away unexpectedly in 1981. He didn't release his debut album until 1995, and by 1996--at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival--Shannon announced from the stage that he was giving up his job as a cab driver to play blues full time. Good news for blues fans.
The Cinders will open the 8 p.m., 21-and-older show. Tickets are $17 for Blues Society members and $20 for the general public.
The intoxicating sounds of Que Cosa!
Remember Sals€n, SLO County's premier Latin jazz act? Well, if
- PHOTO BY T SHANE GILMAN
- ARRIBA! : Brilliant local Latin jazz ensemble °Que Cosa! will formally release its stunning new album Viejo AmorJan. 26 at Downtown Brew.
The co-leaders of Sals€n--pianist Larry Arone and vocalist Maite Garcia--have been working diligently to get 8Que Cosa! on its feet and ready for your dancing and listening pleasure. The group's new album, Viejo Amor, is finally finished and sounds amazing!
"Viejo Amor" en Lado A (that's "'Old Love' on Side A" to you, gringo) begins with the scratchy sound of vinyl, hinting that this is a look back at the heyday of Latin jazz, when dozens of records were packaged with sexy covers that tapped into America's desire for the exotic sounds. Arone and Garcia have written and arranged the album's 11 songs, backed with a stellar cast of guest musicians (m?sicos invitados!).
When Que Cosa! plays an album release party on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Downtown Brew, they'll be joined by Robert Alberts, Dylan Johnson, Craig McNichols, Justin Perkins, and Dave Solis.
Doors for the $10, 18-and-older show open at 7:30 p.m., with the Cal Poly Salsa Club providing dance instruction at 8 p.m. and 8Que Cosa! taking the stage at 9 p.m.
What's that? You don't speak Gaelic? "Nollaig chridheil" means Happy New Year. What better way to celebrate another great year in Scottish style than with Jim Malcolm, "Scotland's 2005 Songwriter of the Year," when the former lead singer/guitarist of The Old Blind Dogs plays two local concerts.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MAN//MIRACLE
- BROOM-STACHE! : Santa Cruz's Man/Miracle brings its indie rock sounds to the SLO Art Center on Jan. 28 for a three-band show.
# Perhaps the most authentic celebration will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26, when the Central Coast Scottish Society hosts its 26th Annual Burnside Supper at Atascadero's Pavilion on the Lake. Of course, you may be forced to eat haggis, that nasty concoction of minced entrails stuffed into a sheep's bladder.
Malcolm, who hails from Perthshire, Scotland, most recently released Acquaintance, a collection of Robert Burns' songs. Contact Guy Wallace, Central Coast Scottish Society chieftain, at 528-8280 or by e-mail at email@example.com, to attend the supper and concert. There will also be pipes and drums and lots of Scottishy things going on, but if that's all a bit too much for you, try Malcolm's other show.
On Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at The Steynberg Gallery, Malcolm will play again ($15 reserve by phone at 546-2857).
Health? Yeah, that's a pretty weird name for a band. But they're from L.A., and they bill themselves as experimental rock, so maybe Health is the perfect name for them. Judging from a couple tracks I heard on their MySpace page, they're noisy and trippy and percussive. According to their promoter Vai, "The L.A. underground music quartet's infectious music is catching like, well, like that winter cold going around, [and] has been nominated for the illustrious 2008 Plug Awards in the Avant Album of the Year category."
On Monday, Jan. 28, they'll be joined by Fresno's Elmo Marconi and Santa Cruz's Man/Miracle for an $8, 8 p.m. show at the SLO Arts Center.
Health recently took XLR8R Magazine on a "very thorough, revealing, and occasionally sickening" tour of its choices for "Best of L.A." for the publication's January issue. Now the band is on a West Coast tour.
I got nothing on Elmo Marconi except that that's another funny name. The final act, Man/Miracle, used to be called Bear on Bear, when they were a part of that vibrant West Coast indie scene with the likes of Port O'Brien, Scissors for Left, the Shaky Hands, and others. Okay, go get your dose of good-for-you music.
One for the kiddies
- PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
- A GREAT WAY TO TRAVEL : The Flat Stanley books will come to life Jan. 29 at Cohan Center when The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley brings to life the travels of the young boy who awakens to find himself slide-under-a-door flat, stuffs himself in an envelope, and mails himself around the world. Great stuff for pre-K through 5-plus-year olds!
# Kids' concerts are hard to come by, so when a good one rolls through town, parents need to jump on it. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, Cal Poly Arts presents the touring production of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley in the Cohan Center with a special early 7 p.m. curtain.
Based on the popular book series about Stanley Lambchop, who wakes up one day to find that he's as flat as a sheet of paper, this full-stage musical is ideal for pre-K kids, on up through 5-year-olds and older, and it's priced right at $18 for general admission or $14 for students.
Our 2-D hero decides to put himself in a big envelope and travel the world as a human letter! And so his adventure begins, accompanied by music, of course.
Stanley visits South Africa, Mexico, Russia, England, China, and elsewhere. Wherever he goes, he meets new friends, learns about different cultures through song and dance, and gets ever closer to his goal of being three-dimensional again.
Buy tickets at the PAC Box Office or call 756-2787 to order by phone.
David Lynch & Friends, who will perform on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Sea Pines Golf Resort, recently learned that their single "Mahatma" from their new release Dozen has climbed to No. 23 out of 2,400 songs on the Neil Young website (neilyoung.com/lwwtoday/lwwsongspage.html). "We are currently ranked ahead of Crosby and Nash, Kris Kristofferson, and Ben Harper, to name a few," Lynch said. Dozen is available on CDBaby.com, on davidlynchmusic.com, or at Boo Boo's. See 'em live on Thursday!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF LITTLE SISTER
- BOTH KINDS OF MUSIC: COUNTRY AND WESTERN : Nor Cal country juggernauts play several shows this Thursday through Saturday. See details in the column.
# Little Sister, one of Nor Cal's premiere country bands, will make a few stops throughout SLO County. Members of the band say that they play a brand of music they like to call "California country," which they describe as "classic country music with a little extra twang and attitude." All I know is that their lead singer is a guy named Bubba Stevens, and that's a helluva great country band singer's name. See Little Sister on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. in Frog and Peach Friday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. at Tognazzini's Dockside in Morro Bay later that night at 9 p.m. in San Miguel's Elkhorn Saloon Sunday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. in Last Stage West between Morro Bay and Atascadero and later that night at 9 p.m. back at the Elkhorn. Yee haw!
On Friday, Jan. 25, blues guitar queen Laurie Morvan and her band play O'Reilly's Bar & Grill at 9:30 p.m. for only $5. "O'Reilly's has made a commitment to bring great blues to the area a couple of Fridays a month, and we are very proud to present this band in its first Central Coast appearance," said Rock Sisters promoter Leanne Phillips. "This is a very hard rockin' blues band out of Long Beach, California." Local musician Screaming Jimmy Townsend will open the show.
Fight the power, people! Judging from Chuck Brodsky's web site, he's a political animal who will appeal to the little liberal in us all. His songwriting, the site notes, "pokes fun at political corruption, road rage, mischief he made as a kid, even dumping garbage in the river he sings about unsung heroes and forgotten but incredible people odd characters from the game of baseball, migrant fruit pickers, the Goat Man, a clown, or 'Radio,' a developmentally disabled man and the love showered on him for 40 years at a high school in South Carolina." That last song was used in the 2003 movie Radio, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. The singer-songwriter's tunes have also been fixtures on the Dr. Demento show. Check him out Friday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in Coalesce Bookstore (772-2880) or Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Castoro Cellars (238-0725). Tickets for these SLO Folks concerts are available through the venues.
Western singer-songwriter Dave Stamey, "The Pride of the Nipomo Mesa," has been lauded with lots of Western Music Association awards: 2007 Male Performer of the Year, 2006 Entertainer of the Year, 2005 Songwriter of the Year. On Saturday, Jan. 26, he'll play a benefit concert for journalist Ruth Ann Angus--she's got cancer--at The SLO Odd Fellows Lodge. A barbecue begins at 4 p.m. with a concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door, or you can reserve them by phone at 546-2857. Food and beverage are extra. If you're unable to attend the event, you can make a donation payable directly to Ruth Ann Angus. Please mail checks to The Hoot Concerts, PO Box 16006, SLO, 93406. "I think this is why we live here," said Hoot producer Steven R. See.
Cal Poly's Early Music Ensemble will present several of the madrigals that comprise the "The Triumphs of Oriana" collection at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, in the Pavilion of the Performing Arts Center's Christopher Cohan Center. Twenty-three English composers contributed to a collection of 25 madrigals to honor Queen Elizabeth I. Compiled by Thomas Morley in 1601, composers range from the well-known Thomas Morley, Thomas Tomkins, and Thomas Weelkes, to the obscure John Lisley, Thomas Hunt, and John Hilton. Music Professor Thomas Davies will open the concert with a short lecture about the work's history, including musical examples from selected madrigals. Tickets are $10 for the public and $8 for seniors and students, available at the PAC Ticket Office or by phone at 756-2787.
M?sica Del RÃo House Concerts in Atascadero has another intimate concert lined up for you on Saturday, Jan. 26, when Acoustic Eidolon plays a 7:30 p.m. show. "Fate usually comes with no strings attached, but for Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire, known as Acoustic Eidolon, it came with 18 strings and a love that has grown along with their music," according to the duo's press materials. "A cello in the hands of Alkire and a double-neck guitjo in the hands of Scott have together created a blending of Celtic, folk, and world music, which is most intriguing and delightful to listen to." Call 466-6941 for reservations to this $15 concert.
Folky singer-songwriter Corinne West returns to the Central Coast with a performance at Green Acres Lavender Farm on Saturday, Jan. 26. Join the fun in a very unique and special, inspiring environment, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Go online (GreenAcresLavenderFarm.com) to reserve yours.
Saturday, Jan. 26, is metal night at O'Reilly's with Dragwater, a five-year-old band that's appeared on New Rock 107.3's SLO and Dysfunctional compilation CD three years in a row. The band's song "Burn" was used by Nascar in a 2005 promotional video showcasing its racers. Their song "I Believe" was featured in the motion picture Headspace, and their song "Every Part of Me" received major radio airplay. This 9:30 p.m., $2 show also features NeuTrad Archon.
Michigan singer-songwriter Joe Reilly brings his original songs to the Songwriter Showcase on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Clubhouse. Reilly, one of several songwriters to perform that night, writes songs with "a creative and honest voice that calls for a holistic healing of our society for the benefit of all beings and future generations." The showcase is free and open to all ages. ?
# Eight years after the release of her previous homage, The Covers Record, Cat Power (nee Chan Marshall) returns, this time with a fuller band and her own smoky and emotional vision of the vocalists who've influenced her. The names you'll mostly recognize are Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Hank Williams, and Joni Mitchell. But her selection raises the profile of previously under acknowledged gems: the love and pain of Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain," the open sky freedom of The Highwaymen's "Silver Stallion," and the gospel blues redemption of Jessie Mae Hemphill's "Lord, Help The Poor And Needy"--all of which she embeds with breathy phrasing nuances bodied with emotion (from choked-up heartache to vampy eroticism) and power. With a backing band that bridges from her indie roots (Dirty Three drummer Jim White played on Moon Pix) to the Memphis soul of her last album The Greatest (Al Green's guitarist Teenie Hodges guests), Chan Marshall puts her beautiful hazy take on some timeless classics.
Blood on the Wall--Liferz
# Nothing can cleanse the blood like a good outing of straightforward, drum-bashing, power trio rock and roll. Here enters the new album by sibling singers Ben and Courtney Shanks, who take turns behind the microphone, as well as laying out a barrage of hyper-revivalist '80s indie rock. Whether they're funneling the whoops and cries of the Violent Femmes at their most ferocious, or the dirty, unhinged muscle of Sonic Youth at their least avant-garde, Blood on the Wall will kick out a jam, yet still turn in a stiff pop melody for good measure. With a distorted guitar and an aesthetic that doesn't seem far removed from their garage origins, their third release, Liferz, stains their hands with their continual spray of spastic sweaty rock, most of the time in less-than-three-minute chunks. As exceptional as it is simplistic in approach, Blood on the Wall opens the year with a great dose of rock and rollers.
--Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."
Glen Starkey likes to feels like a winner, which is why he picks fights with 4-year-olds. Congratulate him at firstname.lastname@example.org.