- PHOTO BY TIM BENKO
- BLUEGRASS BUCKAROOS : The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band plays Feb. 5 at The Clark Center.
You might not have guessed it, but I’m a big yodeling fan. Of course, growing up in Wisconsin, I listened to mostly German and Swiss yodeling, usually in a polka context, while eating bratwurst, corn on the cob, and cheese curd; usually at craft fairs in the summer, wearing lederhosen. Misty watercolor memories, people.
I think of my youth because bluegrass yodeler extraordinaire Peter Rowan is coming to the Clark Center on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. (Call 489-9444 for $29-to-$40 tickets).
In addition to taking his vocal chords for a yodeling romp, Rowan’s also known for his guitar and mandolin prowess, and knowing his way around a bluegrass tune. The dude’s won a Grammy and been nominated for five others, and if you add up all the years of experience accumulated by members of The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, it’s more than a century’s worth of live gigging experience! Rowan himself has been performing for five decades, first inspired after hearing Elvis Presley at age 12, when he formed his first band The Cupids while in junior high.
In college he heard The Country Gentlemen and The Stanley Brothers, which set him on his current bluegrass path, which eventually led him to an audition for Bill Monroe and a spot as guitarist and lead vocalist of Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.
From there, Rowan teamed with David Grisman to form Earth Opera, a band that frequently opened for The Doors. Then he formed Muleskinner with Grisman and Clarence White. Then Old and in the Way. Then the Green Grass Gringos. Then he joined Mother Bay State Entertainers. Then Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce. He also composed songs performed by New Riders of the Purple Sage.
His current incarnation released its debut album in September 2010, proving that this guy’s still the master! Bluegrass fans, do not miss this one!
And on Sunday, He rested
The big cheese of nightclubs (SLO Brew, natch!) has your music needs covered six out of seven nights this week. In fact, your only day of rest will be Sunday! Let’s peruse the possibilities.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KARL DENSON
- FUNKY FELLOW : Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will get your booty moving on Feb. 3 at SLO Brew.
On Thursday, Feb. 3, Karl Densen’s Tiny Universe returns to the club with opening act Funk N Public (7 p.m.; 21 and older; $22 presale or $24 at the door). Densen’s enjoyed a long and internationally recognized career that straddled the straight-ahead jazz and funk-jam worlds. He was a member of Lenny Kravitz’s band and Fred Wesley’s band, in a trio with Miles Davis alumni Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, and in The Greyboy Allstars. Today he says, “My style is based in dance. I love the idea of creating something that naturally makes people want to move.” Opening act Funk N Public can be described as eclectic funk. They are “inspired by a variety of funk styles from the ’60s to the present and have a passion for deep funk, soul, and New Orleans jazz,” according to the band.
Reggae and dub act The Kicks have busted out a new album (Break Free), and they’re going to drop it on the public on Friday, Feb. 4, with opening act Nada Rasta (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $7 presale or $9 at the door). “We recorded all of the tracking with Kip Stork at Avalon Digital Studio and flew out to Washington, D.C., to work with the legendary Jim Fox of Lion & Fox Recording Studios,” said The Kicks’ Mickey J. “We are honored that Jim chose to work with us as he was integral in the reggae revolution of the late 1960s through the ’70s. He’s worked with every international reggae artist imaginable, including Don Carlos, Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru, Culture, Yellowman, and Inner Circle, to name a few.”
Alt-country/punk rock band Lucero plays Saturday, Feb. 5, with twangy opening act The 9 Volts (7 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $16 at the door). According to their bio, “Lucero’s sixth studio album and major label debut, 1372 Overton Park, was produced by Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem) and featured horn arrangements by legendary Memphis session player Jim Spake (Al Green, John Hiatt, Solomon Burke, Cat Power). The record marks a decided turn toward the Memphis soul sound that has long informed the band’s records from afar.” The 9 Volts are sort of a new supergroup starring Butch Boswell (The Muses, Virgil Cane), Patrick Hayes (Penny Jar), Mark Folkrod (Briertone, Ghosts of Guadalupe), and Shawn Hafley (Red Lights, Midnight Shark Attack). “A few months back as Penny Jar went on another of our periodic hiatuses, I decided that rather than sit on my ass and wait for the team to reassemble, I’d busy myself by pulling together a band to play with for a one-off gig,” Hayes said. “We all had a pretty good time at that show, and things were going well enough that we decided to make it more than a one-off. We were fortunate to be offered the opening slot for Lucero’s show. It’s one of those bands that has to been seen live to fully appreciate. Mark and I saw them in San Francisco in November, and they just killed it. They’ve been on the road non-stop touring with Social Distortion, and the SLO Brew show is one of the ‘headliner’ shows they play between the Social D dates. Even if I wasn’t playing the show, I’d be pretty stoked to see them at a relatively small venue. They truly are a badass band, and the show will undoubtedly be epic.”
On Monday, Feb. 7, check out alt-rockers Devil’s Brigade featuring Matt Freeman of Rancid and opening act Roger Miret and the Disasters (7 p.m.; all ages; $12). Should be a bruising night of awesome punk rock!
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, hear some roots and Americana music when Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses appear with openers The Silent Comedy (8 p.m.; all ages; $18 presale or $20 at the door). Bingham is touring in support of Junky Star, produced by T-Bone Burnett. According to the band bio, “All 12 songs on Junky Star were written by Bingham and performed by his longtime band The Dead Horses, featuring Matt Smith (drums), Elijah Ford (bass) and Corby Shaub (guitar/mandolin). Burnett created a recording environment that perfectly complimented the themes and textures of Bingham’s reflective songwriting and gravelly voice. The tracks on Junky Star range from narratives with vivid imagery (‘The Poet’), to introspective confessionals (‘Hallelujah’), to bluesy roadhouse stomps (‘Direction of the Wind’) to Sticky Fingers-era Stones ‘Depression’). ‘Yesterday’s Blues’ and ‘Lay My Head on the Rail’ showcase Bingham’s gift for writing compelling folk balladry that makes you hang on his every word.”
Finally, on Wednesday, Feb. 9, rocking jam band ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) returns to SLO Brew with opener Nathan Moore (7:30 p.m.; 21 or older; $20 presale or $23 at the door). Said ALO, “Our latest adventure, Man of the World, finds our Cali collective flexing our considerable creative powers to craft our finest album yet. Recorded almost entirely live, the 11-song collection is the sound of four players who have truly found their groove together.”
Songwriters at Play
Steve Key’s singer-songwriter showcases continue this week, starting Thursday, Feb. 3, at The Porch with Owen Plant, lead singer of The Sunshine Brothers, who’ll bring his reggae-infused rhythmic music to Santa Margarita. This all-ages showcase starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE KILBAND
- IT’S GREEK TO ME : On Feb. 6, Sculpterra Winery hosts Kate Kilbane, touring in support of The Medea Cycle, a collection of songs from the point of view of the Greek heroine who sacrifices everything for love.
On Sunday, Feb. 6, Sculpterra Winery hosts Gary Garrett and Kate Kilbane during the 1 to 4 p.m. showcase. Expect to hear funny songs, life stories, and a Greek tragedy! “Gary Garrett is a man of many talents,” said promoter Bonnie Nelson. “He is a sculptor, working in bronze, clay, and multimedia; and he crafts a wide variety of songs—sometimes philosophical, often funny, stories about life, love gone right and wrong, space travel, the beach, and flying dreams.” Kilbane’s latest CD, The Medea Cycle, is a collection of songs from the point of view of the Greek heroine who sacrifices everything for love.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Steynberg Gallery will feature Luis Oliart, a So-Cal native who was a big hit when he played Steynberg last June. Described as “simply magical,” “totally captivating,” and “compelling,” his sound blends funk, rock, blues, reggae, and Latin. He’s also toured throughout the United States, Canada, Thailand, Spain, France, Germany, and Denmark. This week, he’ll perform on electric and acoustic guitar, dobro, blues harp, and a foot-pedal percussion set-up. This all-ages, 6:30 p.m. show costs $5.
All three showcases will feature several other performers doing four-song sets.
More music …
The Codi Jordan Band, aka CJB, will hit Frog and Peach on Friday, Feb. 4, at 10 p.m. “We’ll be hot off two Sundance Film Fest dates with So-Cal bands Tomorrows Bad Seeds and The Dirty Heads,” said Jordan, whose newest album is Positivity. If you like the fun side of reggae and dub, this one should fit the bill.
The Spankster is about to bust a solo move! “So I’m playing a solo gig (sans Three Legged Dawg) at Linnaea’s Café this Saturday, Feb. 5, my first gig in SLO in, like, forever,” said Spanky. “I’ll be playing at 8 p.m., the first leg of my ‘just add chai’ tour, playing six- and 12-string guitar, five- and six-string banjo, ukulele, and possibly making my dulcimer debut. I’ll be playing songs you forgot you wanted to hear!”
The JD Project is playing SLO Town’s newest venue, The Creeky Tiki, on Saturday, Feb. 5, from 8 to 11 p.m. “The Creeky Tiki in Downtown SLO has expanded into their new space at 782 Higuera St.,” said Dog Groshart of the JD Project. “If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. They’ve done a great job with the place, have a full bar, good food, and a balcony in back for a bird’s eye view of the eye candy that is The JD Project (okay … just Dave). Anyway, it’s not the place out by the creek. It’s inside. Get there early, as it’s going to fill up quickly. It’s also a very special girl’s birthday. My beautiful wife, Rachel, turns … you didn’t think I’d actually reveal her age, did you? Anyway, come on down and raise a glass or 10 and listen to some tunes in a cool new place.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF RAS DANNY
Celebrate Bob Marley’s birthday at Bali Isle from Thursday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 6, when Ras Danny and the Reggae All Stars will be giving free concerts at 672 Higuera St. Danny recently donated to a children’s music project in Trenchtown, Jamaica, where he grew up, sending money to them to buy musical instruments for the Trenchtown Culture Yard, one of Marley’s favorite charities. “Danny has purchased drum kits, guitars, basses, and amps to replace the guns and violence with musical instruments,” noted his wife, Wendy Oliver, who owns Bali Isle. “He cares that his own grandchildren there will grow up safe and have a future.” Though there will be stuff going on all weekend, the big day is on Sunday, Feb. 6, from 2 to 6 p.m., when Bali Isle celebrates the 11th annual Bob Marley Birthday Bash. ”We must start to care and give back,” said Ras Danny. Bob would be proud.
Eastern European music and dance comes to the Steynberg Gallery on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m. ($12) when Janam makes its SLO Town debut. “Led by golden-throated Kitka veteran Juliana Graffagna, Janam creates a compelling, eclectic blend of Balkan, Sephardic, Romani (Gypsy), and American roots music, plus inspired originals,” according to the band’s bio. “These driving rhythms and sultry melodies deliver a dance- and trance-inducing groove that carries the listener from the shores of the Black Sea to the foothills of the Appalachians.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ABATE
- CHARLIE PARKERESQUE! : On Feb. 6, East Coast alto saxophonist Greg Abate is returning for another show at The Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet.
Also on Sunday, Feb. 6, East Coast alto saxophonist Greg Abate is returning for another show at The Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet. Abate hails from the Charlie Parker school of bebop jazz and has made several highly praised recordings. Central Coast standouts Dylan Johnson (bass) and Darrell Voss (drums) will accompany Abate, who’ll also be joined by series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake. (piano/vibraphone and vocals). There’s a 4 p.m. show ($15) and a 7:15 p.m. ($12), or see both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VIENNA BOYS CHOIR
- KIDS SING THE DARNDEST THINGS : On Feb. 8 in the Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center, prepare to hear the stirring sounds and soaring voices of The Vienna Boys Choir in an evening of classical and contemporary music.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center, prepare to hear the stirring sounds and soaring voices of The Vienna Boys Choir in an evening of classical and contemporary music. You’ll hear everything from Schubert, Brahms, and Bach to rock legends like Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. All the singers in this internationally acclaimed a cappella choir are between the ages of 10 and 14. Amazingly, the choir has been in existence since it was founded by Emperor Maximilian I in 1498. Concertgoers are invited to attend a free pre-concert lecture presented by Music Department Faculty Member Alyson McLamore at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Pavilion. Student and adult tickets range from $16 to $42. Call 756-2787.
Folk, pop, reggae artist Chris Velan hits the Frog and Peach on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 8:30 p.m., touring in support of his newest CD, Solidago. He’ll also be performing songs from his upcoming album Fables for Fighters. Expect hook-y, socially conscious toe-tappers.
BODY brings its old school funk to Frog and Peach on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 10 p.m. “Known as the most explosive, high-energy, funk-soul band to come out of the Central Coast in the last decade, BODY’s collective songwriting propels BODY’s trademark sound into the musical stratosphere,” said the band’s humble bio. “BODY delivers an incredible and animated performance, interweaving fun songwriting with playful yet powerful keyboard, bass, drum, guitar tones, and spiraling sax melodies; equally at home with the classic 1970s Sly or Pink Floyd and the progressive benchmark set by artists such as Coldplay or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Guided by the deeply rooted traditions of funk, rock, reggae, afro-beat, jazz, and psychedelia, this masterful band forges a fresh new standard of excellence in live music.”
Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.