There's a ton of live music this week, but before I get into it, I want to remind all local musicians, bands, and singer-songwriters that the deadline to submit to the 11th annual New Times Music Awards is approaching! Enter online or see the entry form on page 15 in this issue. All entries are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 19. Music lovers, mark your calendars for the big event on Friday, Nov. 8, at SLO Brew Rock Event Center.
Now to this week's music ... .
- Photo Courtesy Of Brian T. Atkinson
- WITNESS James McMurtry chronicles America's tribalism on his biting new satirical single "State of the Union." He plays BarrelHouse Brewing on Aug. 2.
State of the Union
Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents have a slew of shows this week, including three shows in three locations on Friday, Aug. 2. The biggie, in my estimation, is singer-songwriter James McMurtry at BarrelHouse Brewing (doors at 6 p.m.; all ages; $22 presale at Boo Boo's or ticketfly.com or $25 at the door).
Like his father, Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry, James has a way with words. His most recent song is "State of the Union," available as a free download on his website. The biting satire of American tribalism pits conservative and liberal thought:
"My brother's a fascist/ Loves in Palacios/ Fishes the pier every night/ He holsters his Glock/ In a double retention/ He smokes while he waits for a bit/ He don't like the Muslims, he don't like the Jews/ He don't like the Blacks and he don't trust the news/ He hates the Hispanics and alternate view/ He'll tell you it's tough to be white," McMurtry sings in the first verse.
At dinner with the protagonist and his family, he "got into it good" with his brother: "I called him a hick and he called me a hood/ He said, 'Dad always treated his Mexicans good/ I guess you think you're better somehow// Yeah you think you're better/ Cardigan sweatered/ Snowflake if ever there was/ You think you're so cool/ 'Cause you did better in school/ You got whipped every day on the bus.'"
The chorus rings out, "It's the state of the union, I guess/ We're all in a hell of a mess/ We're all in the family, the cursed and the blessed/ It's the state of the union, I guess."
Like his last album, 2015's Complicated Game, his new single proves McMurtry is adept at getting to the heart of a conflict, but he's quick to point out that his narrative songs are fictitious:
"Every region of the United States seems to have its own way of Anglicizing, or rather, Americanizing Spanish names," McMurtry explained in press materials. "There's a town called Palacios on the Texas coast. Texans pronounce it 'Palashuss,' which just happens to kinda rhyme with 'fascist.' While there's usually at least one in every town, I don't know for a fact that there's even one actual fascist residing in or near the town of Palacios, Texas. This song, like most of my songs, is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of any of my characters to actual persons, living or deceased, is just plain lucky."
He's got the craft of a poet, the mind of a cynic, and the heart of an empath. This ought to be a terrific show! Bonnie Whitmore opens.
Also on Friday, see Tom Petty tribute act Petty and the Heartshakers at Presqu'ile Winery (doors at 6 p.m.; all ages; $20 presale at Boo Boo's and ticketfly.com or $25 at the door), and Queen tribute act Queen Nation plays The Siren (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 presale at Boo Boo's and ticketfly.com or $25 at the door). Expect "We Will Rock You," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are The Champions," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "You're My Best Friend," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Under Pressure," and many more.
Rising country singer William Clark Green plays Pozo Saloon on Saturday, Aug. 3 (3 p.m.; all ages; $17.50 presale at Boo Boo's and ticketfly.com or $20 at the door). He's got three critically lauded albums under his belt.
"Songwriting is exactly what's in your heart," Green said in press materials. "In my opinion, it's not about writing a hit. It's about revealing your heart and your feelings on the paper."
- Photo Courtesy Of Slightly Stoopid
- BEACH PARTY Slightly Stoopid plays a four-band bash at the beach on Aug. 2, at the Avila Beach Golf Resort.
In what promises to be a massive and epic party at the beach, Otter Productions Inc. is bringing Slightly Stoopid on their "How I Spent My Summer Vacation 2019" tour to the Avila Beach Golf Resort on Friday, Aug. 2 (gates at 4 p.m., show at 5 p.m.; all ages; $42 to $100 beach balcony at Boo Boo's and eventbrite.com). Tribal Seeds, Matisyahu, and Hirie open.
It's hard to pigeonhole Slightly Stoopid, who by their own admission plays "a fusion of folk, rock, reggae, and blues, with hip-hop, funk, metal, and punk" thrown in. Just expect to hear killer party tracks like "2am," "Collie Man," "Wiseman," "Sweet Honey," and "Closer to the Sun."
- Photo Courtesy Of Sammy Johnson
- SMOOTH OPERATOR Australian native Sammy Johnson brings his Polynesian-influenced sounds to the SLO Brew Rock Event Center on Aug. 2.
Comes from a land down under
The SLO Brew Rock Event Center has Australian native Sammy Johnson—aka Sammy J—playing on Friday, Aug. 2 (8 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 at Boo Boo's and slobrew.com). He embraces his Maori and Polynesian roots to create socially conscious and uplifting music. "Blending together island reggae, soul, and jazz vibes with heartfelt lyrics, Sammy's sound is exhilarating and intoxicating," his bio claims. Check out his song "Hey" online to catch his chill vibe.
Grateful Shred, a band that pays homage to the Grateful Dead, plays the SLO Brew Rock Event Center on Wednesday, Aug. 7 (7:30 p.m.; 18-and-older; $15 at Boo Boo's and slobrew.com). According to their bio, they're "more of a take on the Dead than a tribute band ... [that] ... manages to channel that elusive Dead vibe, with wide-open guitar tones, effortless three-part vocal harmonies, choogling beats, and yes, plenty of tripped out, shredded solos."
- Photo Courtesy Of The Gipsy Kings
- FLAMENCO CHAMPS The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo play the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Aug. 4.
Return of the Kings
The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo play the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Sunday, Aug. 4 (8 p.m.; all ages; $47.50 to $92.50 at vinaroblesamphitheatre.com). This Grammy-Award winning Latin act delivers classic flamenco sounds as well as rumba, salsa, and pop music. With 20 million albums sold, their music has appeared in Sing, The Big Lebowski, Toy Story 3, and Glee. Special guest Simi opens.
Indie folk act Lord Huron, with special guests Shakey Graves and Julia Jacklin, plays the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Tuesday, Aug. 6 (7 p.m.; all ages; $40 to $50 at vinaroblesamphitheatre.com). Lord Huron had its big break last year with the release of Vide Noir, which debuted in the top 5 on Billboard's Top 200.
- Photo Courtesy Of Tim Saccenti
- MIND BENDER Flying Lotus brings its lo-fi, experimental, jazz, rap, hip-hop, and wonky sounds to the Fremont Theater on Aug. 8.
Electronic, experimental, jazz, rap, hip-hop, IDM (intelligent dance music), wonky, glitch, lo-fi artist Flying Lotus plays the Fremont Theater on Thursday, Aug. 8 (9 p.m.; all ages; $36.69 at Boo Boo's and fremontslo.com), with Salami Rose Joe Louis and PBDY. This one's going to be weird good!
- Photo Courtesy Of The Charles Johnson Band
- NASHVILLE The Charles Johnson Band plays Painted Sky Studios on Aug. 1.
More music ...
Painted Sky Recording Studios hosts Nashville artist, Charles Johnson, and up-and-coming local band, Carbon City Lights, on Thursday, Aug. 1 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $22 at Boo Boo's, Ball & Skein, or by calling (805) 927-8330). Johnson's been described as an "unchained, raw talent, creating emotional and tangible music."
- Photo Courtesy Of Damon Castillo
- HIS KIND OF JAM Damon Castillo plays Concerts in the Plaza on Aug. 2, where he'll perform his new single "My Kind of Jam," available only by request on radio.
Damon Castillo may very well have dropped the local hit of the summer, with his new single "My Kind of Jam," which will only be available on local radio stations: "I wanted to make a jam to underscore good times at the barbecue, the beach, and cruising in the car, the places where FM influenced my life," Castillo said. Request it at your favorite radio station or see him perform it and more at Concerts in the Plaza this Friday, Aug. 2, in the SLO Mission Plaza (5:30 p.m.; all ages; free).
Americana roots artists Glen Delpit and The Subterraneans are celebrating 30 years together with a Saturday, Aug. 3, show at The Siren (2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; free).
- Photo Courtesy Of The Jump Jax
- ALBUM RELEASE The Jump Jax will release their bopping new album on Aug. 3, at D'Anbino's.
If you're looking for a band that knows how to get the party started, check out the album release party for The Jump Jax this Saturday, Aug. 3, at D'Anbino (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $10). Their new album mixes danceable originals with classic tracks like "She Caught the Katy," "Route 66," and "Seventh Son." Their songs are punctuated by Don Jacobsen's saxophone, and the band also includes inveterate local performers Ted Waterhouse, Michael Smothers, and Dave Block. Δ