- PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE MARTIN AND EDIE BRICKELL
- STEVE & EDIE!: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell play Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Oct. 8.
Of all the shows at Vina Robles Amphitheatre’s inaugural season, the one I’ve been looking forward to most is Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell, next Tuesday, Oct. 8 (8 p.m.; all ages; $38.50 to $88.50; vinaroblesamphitheatre.com).
I’ve been a fan of Steve Martin since his stand-up days, and in high school I played the crap out of his comedy albums Let’s Get Small, A Wild and Crazy Guy, and Comedy Is Not Pretty! I was one of those obnoxious dorks who could rattle off his routines verbatim. I knew the lyrics to “King Tut.” When The Jerk was released in 1979, it was like a revelation. Best. Movie. Ever. I also loved his book Cruel Shoes. Let’s just say I “got” Steve Martin in ways I felt others couldn’t, and over the course of his multidimensional career, I’ve continued to be amazed by his versatility and talent.
All his early movies were a hoot, from Pennies from Heaven to Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid to The Man With Two Brains. And who doesn’t love The Three Amigos or Roxanne or Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Parenthood is a classic! My Blue Heaven, his 1990 movie filmed in Atascadero, not so much, but L.A. Story and Father of the Bride are both heartwarming, and Grand Canyon shows his depth as an actor as did The Spanish Prisoner and Bowfinger. The Pink Panther films were a bit of a letdown, but his most recent film, 2011’s The Big Year, was pretty solid.
I guess the last couple years he’s been concentrating on music, which is one of his early loves (he taught himself the banjo at age 17 by playing 33rpm bluegrass records on 16rpm to figure our how to pick out the notes one by one). And teaming with vocalist Edie Brickell was an act of sheer genius. Their new album Love Has Come for You is a deceptively simple sounding collection of folk songs, but Martin and Brickell work well together, and Martin’s banjo eschews showboating in favor spartan but haunting tunes about a bastard child, home cooking, best friends, lovers’ bad daughters, suicides, a baby in a suitcase, struggling paramours, boy ghosts, breakups, unrequited love, incestuous uncles, and painted dreams. Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing collection.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE MARTIN
- OLD STEVE: This is Steve Martin at the height of his stand-up career.
Here’re the lyrics to “Siamese Cat”:
I like your Siamese cat
I like your cowboy hat
But I don’t like your daughter
She’s just so spoilt and mean
A regular teenage queen
You gave her everything but time
I’m breaking up with you
I don’t want nothing to do with this
I ain’t no glutton for punishment
She got you hoppin’ like a frog
We’ll never have a minute of peace
She never gonna leave us be
I didn’t sign up for abuse
You let her get away with murder
You say you’re so afraid you’ll hurt her
Well I can see it’s just no use
I’m breaking up with you/
I like your Siamese cat
I like your cowboy hat
But I don’t like your daughter.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF EDIE BRICKELL
- OLD EDIE: This is Edie Brickell during her early New Bohemians days.
Brickell, you’ll no doubt remember, got her start when she joined a folk band in high school that soon took the name Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, which in 1988 released its debut Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, which rose to No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and scored with the single “What I Am.” In 1989, she appeared as a folk singer in the film Born on the Fourth of July, where her version of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’ a-Gonna Fall” appeared on the soundtrack. She also sang a cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” which was featured in the 1990 film Flashback.
Like Brickell, Martin was born in Texas, but his career started at Disneyland, where the high school cheerleader got a job selling guidebooks on weekends and full time in the summers. There he spent his free time in the magic shop in Fantasyland, where he began perfecting magic tricks, learning to juggle, and creating balloon animals under the tutelage of his mentor Wally Boag (the star of Disney’s long-running stage show the Golden Horseshoe Revue). These skills led to his first paying job and were part of his early standup career.
I’ve heard Martin is remarkably funny with his between-song audience patter, but don’t come expecting to see stand-up. This show is about the music, and judging from Love Has Come For You, it’s going to be a memorable concert!
In a late addition to its inaugural lineup, Vina Robles has added John Fogerty, who’ll perform on Friday, Oct. 11 (8 p.m.; all ages; $48.50 to $98.50; tickets are on sale now!). He recently released Wrote A Song For Everyone, a collection of collaborations with the likes of The Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, Kid Rock, and Bob Seger on his hits such as “Fortunate Son,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” Should be a great show!
Lee’s last (not really) stand
- PHOTO COURTESY OF PHIL LEE
- KNIFE THROWER AND RACONTEUR!: The amazing Phil Lee plays Morro Bay’s Central Coast Music on Oct. 4.
When Phil Lee plays Central Coast Music in Morro Bay on Friday, Oct. 4, it’s going to be like the Battle of Appomattox Court House, but way more fun! His appearance is part of Songwriters at Play’s celebration of its 100th radio show, and in addition to mad man Lee, the concert will also feature John Batdorf and special guests Holly Ann Phillips and Julian Temple (7 p.m.; all ages; $15 which includes a 20-song compilation CD).
Phil Lee spent the last 15 years in Nashville, but he’s recently moved to Cayucos, and as his bio says, “Before he settled in to becoming one of the best songwriters in captivity, Phil Lee spent a couple of decades playing drums, driving trucks, dumping motorcycles, hauling equipment, stealing hearts, eluding the authorities, and raising Cain.”
I had this to say about his most recent album, The Fall and Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love, when it came out in February:
It’s collection of songs so awesome and dirty and hilarious and full of bravado as any one person can stand!
I love “Blues in Reverse,” a song filled with apprehension: Listen to me people. Don’t make me shout. Life’s a motherfucker. You got nothing to complain about. You get the blues in reverse. Yeah when things can’t get no better, they’re gonna get worse. It’s all reverb swamp guitar and low singing.
The man is, as his bio describes, “a hipster madman—Huck Finn meets Jack Kerouac,” who sings dystopian songs about dysfunctional iconoclasts. This is an awesome record, and I can’t wait to see Phil Lee in the ’hood!
In the ’70s, John Batdorf recorded with the bands Silver and Batdorf & Rodney. Later he wrote songs for America, England Dan, and Kim Carnes. He’s also sang on hundreds of jingles, movies, and TV shows.
“Songwriters At Play is a series of live music showcases held in six Central Coast venues,” reminds concert organizers. “Host Steve Key records the live shows and selects highlights for the one-hour radio show. Cliff Stepp is the producer and voice of the radio show, which airs twice weekly on The Krush 92.5FM. Songwriters at Play radio shows are also available as free podcasts on iTunes, and free downloads on the website www.songwritersatplay.com.”
As for the compilation CD, it features live songs by Phil Lee, John Batdorf, Steve Key, Don Lampson, Diane Arkenstone, Craig Louis Dingman, Erin Inglish, Gary Garrett, Spanky Baldwin, BanjerDan, Holly Ann Phillips, Jane & Michael Banks, Tim Jackson, Julian Temple, Rob Kimball, Valerie Johnson & Al B. Blue, Kat Devlin, Karen Tyler, Jim Townsend, and Stephen Styles.
This concert hopes to raise funds to improve the sound equipment used at the usually free live showcases. Proceeds will go towards the purchase of a powered mixer, speakers, mics, stands, and cables. Learn more about the fundraising campaign at www.kapipal.com/songwritersatplay.
The concert venue is a music store by day but was once a vaudeville theater, and it still has the raised stage and high ceiling. Central Coast Music is located at 365 Morro Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay. Call 772-4930.
Check songwritersatplay.com for all their showcases this week.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF HUMAN NATION
- PIANO MAN: Brett Mitchell and the other four members of Human Nation play an album release party for their stunning debut album Migration on Oct. 6 at Mondo Cellars.
What happens when you take some of the county’s best musicians, give them plenty of time to develop their sound and let their creativity flow, and finally let them take their time in the studio perfecting their music? You get Human Nation’s debut CD Migration, a world-class, world-music-inflected jazz collection that should put this talented group on the national map.
Founded in 2009 by guitarist-composer Adam Levine, the super group also features Danny Pelfrey on saxes, Brett Mitchell on piano, Bill Wingfield on bass, and Dean Giles on drums and percussion. Early on, before leaving for a teaching gig in Florida, the group also featured David Becker, who appears on the album.
Their richly textured instrumentals weave gorgeous soundscapes that transport listeners on sonic journeys on tunes like the title track, “Kiss in the Rain,” “If Blue Whales Had Wings,” “Romani Nights,” “End of the Affair,” “Django’s Delight,” and others.
Human Nation plays an album release party on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Mondo Cellars (2 to 6 p.m.; $20 includes food; wine and CDs available for purchase; reservations required by contacting email@example.com or by phone at 237-1135.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MASTERS OF BLUEGRASS
- OLD SCHOOL COOL: Masters of Bluegrass—J. D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury and Bobby Osborne—are coming to Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center on Oct. 6.
Fans of good, old-fashioned, authentic, down home bluegrass, hold onto your hats, because the Masters of Bluegrass—J. D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury and Bobby Osborne—are coming to Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center this Sunday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m.
These five players have literally centuries of combined experience!
“I’ve been knowing all of these guys for a long, long time,” said Del McCoury in the ensemble’s press materials, “and it just feels good to stand on stage with them. We all know all the old songs, so those just fall into place, and we’re working on each other’s songs—and some new things, too. It’s exciting to see the way it’s all coming together.”
There’s a reason they’ve been dubbed the “bluegrass dream team,” and it certainly helps they’ve got mad mutual respect: “As young as they were, brother Jerry and I looked up to Bobby Hicks, J.D., and Bobby Osborne as heroes. They’ve all been at it even longer than I have … and that’s a long time!”
A free pre-show lecture by local musician Craig Kincaid will be held at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Philips Lecture Hall. Student and adult tickets for the performance range from $29.20 to $48 (756-4849 or online at www.calpolyarts.org).
More music …
- PHOTO BY MUNKSGARD PHOTOGRAPHY
- LUIS BOUND: Girls & Boys plays their monthly Luis Wine Bar gig on Oct. 3.
I keep hearing good things about Girls + Boys’ first-Thursday-of-the-month gig at Luis Wine Bar, which I can never go to because I teach until 10 p.m. (sad face). But this Thursday, Oct. 3, it’s here again, and you should go. “This place has the best beer selection!” gushed duo member Josh Barrett. “We’ve been playing the first Thursday of the month there since March, and it has been building up and going great! We’ve been crazy busy and traveling all over California. We just did 1,800 miles this week with three gigs in SF and two in SLO. Lots of back and forth in between. We’re working on our second album and things are moving along nicely. Having opened for Joan Osborne and Chris Isaak recently, we’ve been gaining an audience in the Bay Area and beyond. The movie Divorce Invitation, which came out a few moths ago and featured four of our songs, also really gave us a boost in sales and fan awareness of the band. This had been our full-time job for a year now and we’re working hard every day to achieve our goals of writing and performing good music.” They sound great, too! Now go support local live music!
SLO Brew is taking it easy this week, but on Thursday, Oct. 3, you can get your DJ’ed dance on when they mount GLO Brew 3 (10:30 p.m.), and on Friday, Oct. 6, they’re hosting another karaoke contest (8 p.m.), and finally on Saturday, Oct. 5 (7:30 p.m.; $10 presale or $12 at the door), check out local indie bands Louder Space with The Fire Department and We Were Superheroes. The show is being filmed for a Louder Space live video!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK SENN
- DEREK’S OUTRAGEOUS BRAIN: Get a glimpse into the inner workings of Wedding Industrial Complex front man Derek Senn’s noggin when he plays a solo acoustic show on Oct. 5 at Kreuzberg.
Derek Senn of the Wedding Industrial Complex will fly solo this Saturday, Oct. 5 with an 8 to 10 p.m. acoustic set at Kreuzberg, where you can expect subversive songs about parenthood, the government, and drinking.
Jazz singer Susan Krebs performs an 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 5, at D’Anbino Cellars. All About Jazz says she has a “no fear” soul, and Jazz Times says she’s “blessedly free of affectation,” and that she “rivals Karrin Allyson and Diana Krall in her ability to climb inside a lyric and make it seem she’s lived there her entire life.” She’ll be backed by Bruce Beck (keyboards), Dylan Johnson (bass), Daryl Vandruff (drums), and Ron McCarley (sax and flute). Admission is $10 ($5 for Record Club members; call 227-6800 for reservations).
Kenny Taylor and The Optimistic Banjo has a few shows scheduled for this month starting on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Linnaea’s Café (8 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat), though you can also see them on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Nautical Bean (6 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat) and on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26, at Cambria Pines Lodge (4 p.m.). The Paso Robles-based duo features Taylor on vocals and guitar and Max Martinelli on banjo, guitar, and vocals, and their sound has a jangly, breezy back-porch feel to it.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, get your ecstatic dance on at the Monday Club when Scott Andrews and members of Burnin’ James and the Funky Flames play from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ten bucks at the door gets you in to this unique dance venue, sometimes called dance church or sweat your dreams. “Here’s a tip,” said organizers, “this is a participatory experience rather than a scene where you sit and watch a performance. Authentic movement is encouraged. Oh yeah, and talking on the dance floor is sort of frowned on. Well, just let your body do the talking, okay?”
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.