Paul Thorn (Tonight 1/18 at the Mystic or Tomorrow 1/19 at Cornerstone)

Before we start talking about Paul Thorn, let’s discuss how slow this year is starting for me musically-speaking. In past years, the Western Winter Formal hosted by The Easy Leaves at GAMH has been the musical kick-off of my year, but not this year.

The note from The Easy Leaves follows:

“Well, it hasn’t been easy, but after careful consideration we regret to inform y’all that the Western Winter Formal will be taking this year off. It was a tough call, but at this time it seems to be the right move as we focus in on finishing a full length album and cast our gaze onward to the year ahead. We’re gonna miss our annual winter rendezvous with all you Wild West types! And we’ll be back to San Francisco before to long to revive the tradition and look forward to many more Great American Times in the years to come ❤️🤠🌵❤️”

I was pretty disappointed that the show was cancelled, as were some of the other LOLMs. Funny enough, The Easy Leaves still ended up being the kick-off of my musical year, more or less; it just started about two weeks after it usually does. Full disclosure, I’m counting Jeff Tweedy as my first show of the year because he played 4 songs for us (acoustically) at the City Arts and Lectures gig where I saw him a week ago. However, last night’s show (which was my actual first show of the year) had The Easy Leaves (duo) opening for Branson Anderson opening for Corb Lund, so they still pretty much get slot #1 for the year.

But I digress… because what I came here to talk to you about is Paul Thorn. There is so much to say about this man, I don’t know where to start. He is entertaining AF and has THE BEST accent ever! His stories (with that accent) are more than enough for me; he doesn’t even need to perform music. But then he does and it takes me to a different place entirely.  And if you are really lucky (and I have been), he comes down into the audience and hugs (with permission) and touches (hands) and sometimes even dances with audience members.

The first time that I saw Paul Thorn, he was billed on this tour called Soul Salvation with Ruthie Foster. I had never seen either of them. I was new on my quest of 52 shows in 52 weeks and feeling some pressure. I called my partner in crime from a distance, Andee, on my way home from work to tell her about this show I was thinking about going to and so I went to GAMH instead of going home from work that night.

And what a night!!! There was Paul Thorn (who opened the show and made me so happy), then there was Jill Katz (who between sets turned to me — the total stranger next to her — and said ‘Aren’t you so excited?’ and with that one question, the foundation of a true friendship was laid that evening — and also, I was so excited!) and then there was Ruthie Foster (and she was amazing too, but this story isn’t about her).

I don’t know if it was at that first show that Paul Thorn introduced me to his song ‘Pimps and Preachers’ or if that came later, but listening to him introduce that song (and listening to my friend, Jessica, introduce that song as Paul Thorn) makes me smile every time. When I’m really really lucky, he plays ‘Snake Farm’ for me. And then there’s his song about how he doesn’t like most of the people he loves.

I can’t say enough how much you should go see this man if you haven’t already. It really is a feel-good show and his songs are both witty (lyrically) and entertaining (musically). There is a lot of love at his shows; I don’t know why but it’s a truth! If you need to fill up your love tank, go to one of these shows!

Maybe I’ll see you at Cornerstone on Saturday night.  If not, I’ll leave you with my favorite gem from Kate Wolf in 2017…

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Lee Fields and the Expressions on NYE

Okay, I know this show is sold out and I also know that if you don’t have NYE plans by now, then you probably don’t want to have NYE plans, but….

Last night’s show at The Chapel was *such* a good time. The energy was amazing! The music was dance-y and fun!

Quinn DeVeaux was such a surprise. That man was grinning from ear to ear the entire time he was playing and he and his band were great. In particular, the woman keeping beats really stood out for me; she was cute to boot so that could have contributed to her standing out. They are playing at Moe’s Alley (opening, but not for Lee Fields) on January 4th and I highly recommend this show (assuming it’s not sold out).

I don’t even know where to start with Lee Fields… The fabulous jacket. The super shiny button-down under it that was more unbuttoned then buttoned, the big gold cross around his neck or the way he sang and yelled and made oh-so-sure that the crowd was happy.

If I didn’t have plans for tonight, I think there’d be a good chance that I’d be standing outside The Chapel tonight trying to score a ticket to this show. Doors at 7. Show at 8, but you could skip M-tet in my opinion. They played music without words. I think most of you know that’s not my jam!

Happy 2019 y’all! Whatever you do tonight, be safe and make sure to hug and kiss your loved ones (consensual, of course).

 

REBUILDING BUTTE Tonight (December 27th) — A Camp Fire Relief Benefit at Neck of the Woods

UPDATE: I won a raffle prize… 3 bottles of Zinfandel for me!

It’s a slow week in SF, but I’d most likely be going to this show regardless because the line-up includes Ben Morrison & Alex Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose).  Other performers include Smokey The Groove, Hot Buttered Some (Members of Hot Buttered Rum), The Rowan Brothers, Deep Blue Jam  and there will be DJs spinning between sets.

So come out and support the folks that were burned out in the Camp Fire. Monies go to NVCL (same as all the other benefits I’ve posted) and really what better entertainment choices do you have tonight (unless you have tickets to Robyn Hitchcock or you made the mistake of purchasing California Honeydrops tickets for tonight instead of tomorrow).

If you haven’t seen Ben and Alex perform together before, it’s a real treat. They sound so good together, as only siblings can. Come out for what should be a fun night in the Richmond tonight!

There’s no excuse to stay in on December 6th (unless you just don’t feel like going out — which is possible)

So initially I was going to start this blog out as a blog about why you should go see Mary Gauthier at the Freight (doors 7/show 8) but then I realized that you can’t really go wrong tomorrow night…

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So let’s start with Mary Gauthier because I know that I have wanted to see her perform live since I first heard about her album ‘Rifles and Rosary Beads’ on NPR. According to the interwebs, that was at the beginning of this year; I feel like it’s been significantly longer that I have wanted to see her, so we’ll leave that as a questionable memory. I do know that there have been at least two times that I have wanted to see her at the Freight and I didn’t. I’m not sure about the first time; I know the second time was when my grandmother died and I had to fly east for her funeral in March.

But then all was redeemed as I was able to see Mary in this relatively tiny photography/art studio in East Nashville during Americanafest this year.  Thanks to Brian Miller for sharing that show info with me (as well as lots of other tips and show alerts); Sidebar: Americanafest was awesome if you didn’t read my blogs about it.

Now back to Mary… though I did see her in a really intimate setting, it was also a short set so I look forward to seeing a full show, especially at The Freight; I can’t think of a better place in the Bay Area to see her perform. The best part is that the price is within my show budget at $26 – $30 per ticket including the $4/ticket facility fee.

If you don’t know anything about Mary Gauthier, her most recent album is eleven songs co-written with veterans. These songs are a part of the nearly four hundred songs that highly accomplished songwriters have co-written as part of the five-year-old SongwritingWith:Soldiers program. If you are interested in more about Mary and this album, I suggest starting with her bio on her website. It’s lovely!

Though her performance was relatively short, it really touched me. That entire series of singers were amazing that day and included Jaimee Harris who performed with Mary and also performed a song of her own, Jim White (talking about his own mental illness), Steve Poltz with Lisa Saunders and Brown Sugar (talking about illness and death), and Aaron Lee Tasjin. There were several times during that afternoon that I teared up from the stories and performances. This show may have been a highlight except that the entire week was really all a highlight. I can’t say enough good things about Americanafest. The people there were the kind of people who came to see and hear the musicians and not to talk through the entire show (in contrast to last night at Willie Watson and Charlie Parr at the Great American where I felt like Willie Watson had to compete with the audience to be heard though it was still an excellent show).

If you have a little more money at your disposal, Roseanne Cash and Ry Cooder: on Johnny Cash at the War Memorial Opera House (7:30 pm). I am not saying that they aren’t worth every penny of the ticket prices, but when there are so many really great options that are cheaper, it’s pretty easy to justify skipping this. I will admit that I had meant to get tickets for tonight’s performance and it completely slipped my mind. It was not on my actual calendar and I now feel way too over-scheduled this week, so I’m just saying no. This is made easier since my quick check shows the cheapest ticket price available for tonight’s show is $85. That said, if a ticket magically fell into my lap, I’d probably find the $ and change my mind about the staying home and working. It’s wrong to not take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves, right?

Or maybe you’d like Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at the Independent (doors 7/show 8) because they are a GOOD time, lots of energy and great soul/funk/rock music. The good time factor is easily worth the $20 – $23 ticket price. Since the first time that we saw them at HSB, I’ve looked forward to seeing them again and yet every time they play in the Bay Area, their show seems to conflict with some other show (or I’m not in town). I don’t get to see this band as often as I’d like and tonight continues that trend. I really can’t recommend this show enough based on my previous experiences with Sister Sparrow! Did I mention that Arleigh’s outfits tend to be quite amazing as well!

If you want a real experience, you should check out KOLARS, opening for Shakey Graves at the Fox (doors 7/show 8). I have to confess that I’m not familiar with Shakey Graves at all. I always mean to check him out, but it just doesn’t happen. I thought this was going to be my chance because I heart KOLARS hard (see previous blog posts, there are many which should give you an indication of the level of our love — you can easily search our site if you are interested in finding them and in hearing more about the winners of the Best of the Jammies, SXSW 2018.) That said… after all that gushing, I’m not sold on the KOLARS experience at the Fox. Not after I’ve seen them in such intimate settings, especially as part of what I love is the expressiveness of Lauren’s face as she drums and dances. I’m also fond of Rob getting down in the audience to dance and this won’t be my experience at the Fox. That said, if you are a Shakey Graves fan, this show is a total two-fer in my opinion, especially at $29.50 per ticket. If you are going, you should be sure to get there early and check out KOLARS. You can thank me later!

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But wait… there’s more!

There’s still Postmodern Jukebox at the Warfield (doors 7/show 8). I was really considering this show. I heard an interview with (or a story about) Postmodern Jukebox that piqued my interest. It was probably on NPR because I am geeky and find a good deal of my music on NPR.  Other factors that make the decision to skip this show easier include: 1) it is a completely seated show (and there aren’t many tickets left if you are thinking about going and haven’t purchased tickets yet); and 2) for the kind of seats I would want, the price is $105.  That’s more than a little too rich for my blood.

Mary continues to win this time! Going to see Mary instead of Postmodern Jukebox or Shakey Graves is also in keeping with my ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ theme that started back in September and was liberally applied to the choosing of shows at HSB 2018 with no harm or significant loss on my opinion (though I still wish I had seen Steve Forbert, but I don’t feel that was a Fuck the Patriarchy decision so much as a logistics decision.)

Lastly on my radar is Dweezil Zappa at the Fillmore (doors 7/show 8). I’ve always wanted to see him and yet somehow never have. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s Frank Zappa’s son and I love Frank Zappa that makes me want to see him. It could also be because of his former relationship with Lisa Loeb (those of you who know me know I have a huge crush on her and they were a couple that made me a little weak in the knees) or if it’s just because I think he’s kinda cute. Whatever the reason, I have wanted to see him for a long time now and it really has nothing to do with his music as I literally have no idea what his music is like. December 6, 2018 won’t be the time that I finally see him. I won’t lie that this one was an easy decision to make since the tickets are $42.50 which is pricey on a night when there are so many choices for music that I don’t know at all.

So I hope you are able to get out and support live music. With this many choices, the only reason I can see not to go out is because you want to stay in and as I tried to imply in the title of this blog that sentiment is totally legit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Black Friday — What could make a better gift than tickets to the Camp Fire Benefit Concert?

I mean really…. it’s a way to support the people of Paradise and the surrounding areas, and you are giving a gift to a music-loving friend and you don’t have to leave your home for this transaction, nor does anyone else! Seems like a win to me!

Plus it looks like some new people have been announced since I last posted.

Current line-up includes:

  •  Alejandro Escovedo
  • Dan Bern
  • Megan Slankard
  • Heather Combs
  • The Sam Chase
  • The New Chambers Brothers featuring Lester Chambers
  • Greg Loiacono (The Mother Hips)
  • Bobby Jo Valentine
  • Josh Brough (Poor Man’s Whiskey)
  • Kate Lardner & The Branson Rock Band
  • DJ Bothsides (spinning between sets)
  • Matt Jaffe
  • Ken Newman (Magician)
  • Jimbo Scott
  • Jesse DeNatale
  • PA Furnace

As a reminder, this is 9 hours of entertainment and 100% of the proceeds are being donated. Check out KC’s website, KC Turner Presents for more information and to buy tickets.

Camp Fire Relief Benefit Concert — Sunday, December 2, 2018

KC Turner is organizing a Camp Fire benefit show at the HopMonk Tavern in Novato. The show is scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd. Doors will open at noon. Music starts at 1 and will continue until 10 pm. 100% of ticket proceeds will be donated to the North Valley Community Foundation.  I’ve included some information about the Camp Fire Relief Fund from NVCF’s website at the bottom of this post.

The following artists have already been announced and there will be more according to the website.

  •  Alejandro Escovedo
  • Dan Bern
  • Megan Slankard
  • Heather Combs
  • The Sam Chase
  • T Sisters
  • Bobby Jo Valentine
  • Josh Brough
  • Kate Lardner & The Branson Rock Band
  • DJ Bothsides (spinning between sets)

Tickets are available at KC Turner Presents. Because this is a benefit, there are different prices for tickets, but the tickets are all the same. It’s a give what you can situation. Minimum cost to attend this event is $50 and I don’t think I need to say this, but the money will go to a good cause.

I don’t really feel like I need to say much about these artists to ‘sell’ this show as that’s not the real reason that most of you will probably attend, but look at that line-up. After seeing Alejandro Escovedo in Nashville, I would possibly consider going just for him and there’s so much more there.

This is what NVCF’s website says about the use of funds.  They will keep 1% to cover their own administrative costs. The remaining 99% will be distributed.

Distributions from the Camp Fire Relief Fund

For short-term immediate financial needs, the North Valley Community Foundation has formed an internal committee of board members and service providers that consider requests and approve grants on a daily basis. However, our more important role will be to work with community leaders to determine needs and best uses of funds once the fire is out and attention turns to recovery efforts. That phase will be evolving over the next few months and will include collaboration with key funders, local and regional agencies, and direct service providers.

Separate from the Camp Fire Relief Benefit, I wanted to mention that the SPCA in SF has gotten an influx of rescued pets from the Camp Fire. The intent is to reunite these pets with their owners, however the SF SPCA needs to make room for all of these furry survivors, so they are currently waiving adoption fees. If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, you can take the $ you’ll save (I’m just guessing here that you can’t adopt an animal for less than $50) from the adoption fee and use it to go see some live music and further support the Camp Fire victims. It’s like multi-tasking that improves your karma! Just sayin’

Parker Millsap at The Chapel Tonight, Tuesday October 30th

This is a show that I truly believe should sell out. I know it’s not going to sell out, or at least it hadn’t on Sunday when I was at The Chapel for The Sadies show, but it should!

I was looking up something recently and I came across this Rolling Stone article about Parker Millsap, 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: March 2016. I really liked the first two things the writer said about Parker. It’s accurate and I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.  David Menconi writes about Parker Millsap:

‘Sounds Like: Saturday-night hellbender spirits meet Sunday-morning evangelical fervor, as sung by a young man who spends his days riding the rails

For Fans of: Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell, John Fullbright, Tom Waits, salvation, sin (though not necessarily in that order)’

Parker Millsap is the reward for going early to see the opening act. He was opening for John Fullbright at The Chapel. As an aside, John Fullbright is also really impressive if you don’t know him; I believe he may have been the reward in the beginning too. I believe I discovered him when he opened for Patty Griffin at the Fillmore.

Parker Millsap totally amazed me (and Pat, Jill, Teri and Jessica), especially considering that I think he was under 21; he was a great supporting act for John Fullbright and we (all of us from the year before +1) went to see him again when KC Turner hosted a small private concert in Noe Valley.

Again, he was really amazing and it was such a tiny intimate venue. If you haven’t been to one of KC’s shows, you should definitely check out his offerings. Michael Rose was playing bass with him at both of these shows. Michael Rose is Parker’s childhood friend and has been playing with him for years and he’s worth checking out too in my opinion. So maybe I’ll see you tonight where you too can be amazed by his songs and his voice and all of it. The show is at 8 and tickets are only $20 at the door.  How can you go wrong?

 

 

 

Joshua Hedley at The Chapel on Friday October 26th (tomorrow)

Okay, so I was totally planning to go to this show.

I was first introduced to Josh Hedley when he played fiddle for either Justin Townes Earle or Jonny Fritz. I believe it was JTE first and then Jonny Fritz (back when he was still Jonny Corndawg Fritz) at Communion in the Redwoods in Big Sur. I bought Josh a drink and made him pass a drink to Teri at the same time. (I thought I was very amusing. I often do in those situations and I often get into those situations when there is alcohol involved, especially at live music events.) As a side note, Communion was a great festival and I was sad that there was no repeat. It may have been our best celebration of Teri’s birthday. Though there was Amsterdam in 1999; that was pretty epic! And now I’m digressing from my digression.  So… Communion was also pretty epic and is where I discovered The Brothers Comatose in 2011. It’s is also where I saw Pete Bernhard (of The Devil Makes Three)* play solo, though solo did include fellow TDM3 member Cooper McBean. There were other great things as well about the Communion festival, but that’s a story (or ten) for another day; this is a blog post about Josh Hedley and I haven’t even gotten to the part about how I’m not going to see him because I got gifted a ticket for a sold-out Brian Fallon/Craig Finn show.  (Thanks Kat!)

As I was saying before my digressions, I first saw Josh playing fiddle for JTE and Jonny Fritz and I really liked him; I generally do like a fiddle player, and an upright bass player, and a… (insert whatever instrument/singer/songwriter/etc you’d like here)

During SXSW, I had the opportunity to see him perform at the Waterloo stage and he also did a meet and greet afterwards. I have to confess that mostly what I remember about this was how hot it was outside and how nice and cool it was inside and how fabulous Josh’s jacket was. I would like to see him again under better conditions, but it won’t be this time.

As seems to happen more and more frequently to methese days in SF, there is more than one show that interests me. I’ve been conflicted this entire time about which show to attend. Sometimes not making a decision is a decision, as the Brian Fallon show sold out. So it was decided that I was going to the Josh Hedley show. But then, I got a message from Kat saying that she had an extra ticket for the Brian Fallon show and then a second message gifting the extra ticket to me. And so it goes; it would seem that I’m going to the Brian Fallon show. It was gonna be a win either way for me, but a free show is always a good show and I do like Brian Fallon.

For you, there were still tickets available for Josh Hedley last I checked. If you like a little fiddle and a snazzy dresser, go check him out.

*The Devil Make Three happen to be playing this Saturday at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. They are one of my top five favorite bands. Opening for them is Erika Wennerstrom from Heartless Bastards. Here’s a link to my earlier blog about her.

 

The Steel Wheels, Sunday 10/21 at the Freight

What a way to end your weekend? If you don’t know this band, you should! For one thing, they are responsible for my favorite music festival, Red Wing Roots, in Mt Solon, VA. If you haven’t heard of it and you like roots/bluegrass music, you should really check it out.

For a second thing, I think these guys are great musicians in their own right. I can never seem to convince people to go to see them; the few people who have gone at my suggestion continue to attend their local shows if they can. Worth noting, they only make it out here at most once a year so consider checking then out tomorrow.

If you aren’t sure, here’s a little snippet.

 

The show is at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.  Doors at 6. Show at 7.  Tickets are $24 at the door, plus a $2 venue fee, I believe. You’ll be home at a reasonable hour. It’s a fairly inexpensive show. Why wouldn’t you go support live music?

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