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Troubled troubadour

Tim Jackson pours his heart out ...

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Tim Jackson is like Jesus in Nazareth--he can’t get no respect at home--but put this man on the road and the faithful come out in droves.

ACTION JACKSON :  Tim Jackson has a stunning new album out, and two shows to promote it on June 4. See him at the Morro Bay Music Festival at 1:30 p.m. and Vino Versato in Pismo at 6 p.m. - PHOTO BY LANCE ROSENFIELD
  • PHOTO BY LANCE ROSENFIELD
  • ACTION JACKSON : Tim Jackson has a stunning new album out, and two shows to promote it on June 4. See him at the Morro Bay Music Festival at 1:30 p.m. and Vino Versato in Pismo at 6 p.m.

Best known locally as the front man for popular local rock bands in the ’80s and ’90s, he’s transitioned into an amazing Americana singer-songwriter who spends a lot of time touring up and down California, playing, as he says, “every club, pub, saloon, bar, theater, concert hall, church, beachfront backyard party, barn, airplane hanger, roller rink, veterans hall, country club, circus tent, free-for-all dive bar, street corner, under the bridge by the railroad tracks in the broken glass, underground in the tunnel, on top of the mountain, with the animals in the clouds burned off by the sun under God!”

His newest offering, To Stare at the Sun, showcases Jackson’s prowess with narrative songs, his distinct characters, hooky melodies, and competent but not overly showy guitar playing. The album also benefits greatly from help by Bob Liepman (cello and manocello), Ted Waterhouse (lap steel), Ken Burton (organ), Fred Murray (stand-up bass), Dave Miller (electric guitar and backing vocals), Freeman Lee (electric bass), Jerry Pyle (cajon and percussion), and Darrel Voss (drums).

Jackson sets the album’s tone with the opening track “Live On”: “They were born in the Great Depression, with nothing to lose. They built the roads, they laid the tracks, the cities grew, and they were tougher than we are now, when they died they built monuments: the horse the plow. Live on, live on, live on.”

If you like Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison, you can hear their influences in Jackson’s performances on this collection of 11 tender, melancholy songs.

“A lot went into this recording,” Jackson said, “all the shit I went through in the last 10 years. It’s not exactly a feel-good record, more introspective. I went through a lot and it all came out.”

You can hear Tim Jackson perform songs from the new album during two concerts on Saturday, June 4. He’ll play from 1:30 to 2:15 at the Morro Bay Music Festival  (714 Embarcadero, across from Rose’s Landing) and then again at 6 p.m. in Vino Versato in Pismo Beach. Bring a few bucks to pick up his new album. You’re going to want a copy!

Guitar shredder’s delight

Look out Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, and Jeff Beck, because the Travis Larson Band is nipping at your heels. This local instrumental power trio has churned out another ripping collection of soulful tunes showcasing Larson’s pyrotechnic guitar work.

CAN YOU FEEL ME? :  Rock fusion guitar shredder Travis Larson appears with his band to promote his new album on June 2 at Frog and Peach and June 3 at The Pour House. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS LARSON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVIS LARSON
  • CAN YOU FEEL ME? : Rock fusion guitar shredder Travis Larson appears with his band to promote his new album on June 2 at Frog and Peach and June 3 at The Pour House.

Sure, Soundmind could have as easily been recorded in 1985 as today, but for fans of rock fusion, it’s sure to be another go-to disc when you’re ready to lose yourself in swirling soundscapes and dizzying displays of virtuosity.

The Travis Larson Band plays two album release parties: Thursday, June 2, at Frog and Peach at 8:30 p.m.; and Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. in The Pour House, where more than $3,000 in music swag and gear will be given away, including a custom speaker cabinet by Electro-Voice and an Electro-Voice RE2-G wireless guitar system.

Mystery man

MOUNTAIN MAN :  Imposing, mysterious singer-songwriter The White Buffalo plays SLO Brew on June 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITE BUFFALO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITE BUFFALO
  • MOUNTAIN MAN : Imposing, mysterious singer-songwriter The White Buffalo plays SLO Brew on June 2.

Who is the mysterious acoustic rock guy known as The White Buffalo? According to his bio (and bios never lie!), “The White Buffalo is quite possibly a legend in the making—a throwback to the time of hard touring, hard drinking artists who really lived what they sang about. Everything about him is big, from his imposing physical size to his amazing vocal range. He’s as comfortable playing in a dive bar as he is in front of thousands in a European arena. With only an EP out, but literally hundreds of songs written and more coming all the time, the future is exciting for a guy who has that much raw talent.” In Native American lore, the white buffalo is a sacred and elusive being. Unravel the mystery of this performer on Thursday, June 2, at SLO Brew (8 p.m.; all ages; $12) with Olin and the Moon opening.

Also at SLO Brew this week, stupendous Americana folk/soul/rock act The Ragged Jubilee plays Friday, June 3 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $10 presale or $12 at the door); punk act Lag Wagon member Joey Cape and the Bad Loud on Saturday, June 4 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $10 presale or $12 at the door); and emo-pop artists Forever the Sickest Kids on Sunday, June 5 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale or $16 at the door) with Anarbor.

Songwriters at Play

Don’t forget that on Thursday, June 2, Santa Margarita fixture Don Lampson helps Songwriters at Play celebrate its second anniversary at The Porch (6:30 p.m.). The “Okie” has shared the stage with the likes of Hoyt Axton, T-Bone Walker, Alice Cooper, Dave Mason, and J.J. Cale, and he’s forgotten more train songs than most performers have ever learned. I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again: Don Lampson is to Americana music what John Wayne was to Westerns; he’s larger-than-life, authentic, and 100 percent heart and soul.

More songwriters, including headliner Chi McClean, play Sculpterra Winery on Sunday, June 5 (1 p.m.). His most recent release is 2009’s Something Out There, a collection of songs deeply rooted in Americana traditions.

TRAVELING MAN :  L.A.-based songsmith Luis Oliart plays Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase on June 7 at Kreuzberg. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LUIS OLIART
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LUIS OLIART
  • TRAVELING MAN : L.A.-based songsmith Luis Oliart plays Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase on June 7 at Kreuzberg.

Finally, Steve Key’s events continue with Luis Oliart headlining the Tuesday, June 7, showcase at Kreuzberg (6:30 p.m.). Oliart’s latest CD, Broken Chains, is in steady rotation on The Krush 92.5FM.

All these events are all ages and pass-the-hat.

Misty watercolor memories

VINTAGE ’80S HAIR! :  Members of Loose Lizzy—as well as members of a dozen other popular, local late-’80s and early-’90s bands—will reunite for the daylong event Rock Down Memory Land, June 5 at Sweet Springs Saloon. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LOOSE LIZZY
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LOOSE LIZZY
  • VINTAGE ’80S HAIR! : Members of Loose Lizzy—as well as members of a dozen other popular, local late-’80s and early-’90s bands—will reunite for the daylong event Rock Down Memory Land, June 5 at Sweet Springs Saloon.

Well, it’s official. I’m really, really old. I know this because a show with the sadly antiquated name Rock Down Memory Lane is happening on Sunday, June 5, from 1 to 9 p.m. at Sweet Springs Saloon, and even though all these local bands have been defunct for like 20 or 25 years, I’ve seen them all.

The brainchild of Troy O’Shann, former lead singer of TARGA, with help from Livia Signorelli, the event promises to reunite members of long-gone local rock acts such as Spiced Ice, Fine Line, the Tim Jackson Band, Full Tilt, Maximum Force, Mahem, Run For Cover, Street Legal, Bingo Night, The Rhinos, Loose Lizzie, Axe To Grind, Maxx, The Impalers, Cheshire Cat, Al Milan and the Robots, The US Band, the Bootleggers, The Jammies, and many, many more.

“This whole thing started as a reunion for the band TARGA and grew to now become this huge event,” Signorelli said. “It’s reflective of bands from the late ’80s to the early ’90s that were performing in SLO County. Musicians are flying in from all over the U.S. to perform.”

This should be a real hoot for old timers on the scene, who probably have some wonderful but fuzzy memories of these bands. A lot of these rockers peaked during the hair band era, so I’m looking forward to seeing how all those longhaired perms are holding up two decades later.

For those who are about to rock (again), I salute you! The show’s free and barbecue will be available to purchase.

SLOfolks rule!

Think of SLOfolks as a philanthropic organization whose mission is to bring you amazing folk music you wouldn’t otherwise hear. Theirs is a labor of love, and sometimes their concerts do well, and other times they lose money, but they keep at their mission, and the local music community is richer for it.

Times have been a bit tough, and now the group is reaching out to the community for help to continue doing what they do best: bringing music to the area. And what better way to do it than with a benefit concert and silent auction, set for Sunday, June 5, at Castoro Cellars?

SINGING FOR SLOFOLKS :  Jude Johnstone is one of four terrific acts playing June 5 at Castoro Cellars to benefit SLOfolks. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDE JOHNSTONE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDE JOHNSTONE
  • SINGING FOR SLOFOLKS : Jude Johnstone is one of four terrific acts playing June 5 at Castoro Cellars to benefit SLOfolks.

Hear roots rock act The Ballistic Cats, New Orleans acoustic American-blues act The Jaded Optimists, local singer-songwriter Jude Johnstone, and guitar master Eric Henderson beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $22 (at Boo Boo’s, the venue, by calling 238-0725, or on line at castorocellars.com), and for $12 more, enjoy a catered dinner by Andre. And don’t forget to bid early and often! Keep SLOfolks alive!

More music …

The Live Oak Music Festival and the Red Barn Community Music Series present retro gypsy-jazz-swing act Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band on Friday, June 3 (6 p.m. show; 5 p.m. potluck supper; all ages; $10 at the door), at the Red Barn at South Bay Community Park in Los Osos. This is an awesome band of youthful and talented performers, who recently wrapped up recording for their third studio album, Hot and Haunting. If you like Django Reinhardt, ’30s European jazz, and American roots traditions, don’t miss this!

SWINGERS! :  The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band will blow the roof off the Red Barn on June 3. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RED SKUNK JIPZEE SWING BAND
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RED SKUNK JIPZEE SWING BAND
  • SWINGERS! : The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band will blow the roof off the Red Barn on June 3.

The Cal Poly Student Garden Project is having a fundraiser called “Raising Dough for Raised Beds” at Linnaea’s Café on Friday, June 3, from 7 to 11 p.m. Both The Gravy Pups (a reggae and CCR cover act) and The Willows (indie folk) will be performing, and you can also purchase baked goods!

On Saturday, June 4, the Morro Bay Music festival has a phat line-up of music for you on the Embarcadero across from Rose’s Landing. Hear Three Legged Dawg from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bucket Busters from 1 to 1:30, Tim Jackson with Dave Miller from 1:30 to 2:15, Liv Signorelli with Rob Crisp from 2:15 to 3 p.m.; Soulajar from 3:30 to 5 p.m.; and Blues at Eleven from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event is free, though a $1 or food donation is requested for SLO County’s Food Bank.

SLOfolks hosts Claude Bourbon, who brings his fusion of folk, jazz, blues, songs, classical, and Spanish guitar to Coalesce Bookstore on Saturday, June 4 (7 p.m.; all ages; $15; call 772-2880). Born in France in the early ’60s, Bourbon grew up in Switzerland, where he was classically trained for many years. This finger-picking guitarist has performed and studied all over the world. Sonnie Brown will interview him on KCBX 90.1FM at about 2:30 p.m. on her show Song Town.

On Sunday, June 5, pre-eminent jazz trombonist Andy Martin is the next attraction at The Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet. The recipient of numerous awards and highly praised recordings, Martin will be joined by bassist Luther Hughes, drummer Colin Bailey, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake. There’s a 4 p.m. show for $15, a 7:15 p.m. show for $12, or see both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations. 

Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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