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Mark Davis delivers a stirring song of hope 

Mark Davis' new song, "Room by Room," wasn't written about COVID-19, the shelter-in-place order, or our collective grief at dealing with our new reality, but it sure speaks to the new now.

"Room by room ... we'll build a fire/ Room by room ... we'll keep it bright/ See and feed the inner fire/ With all our love ... With all our love we'll keep it bright/ Keep it bright/ Room by room," Davis sings over piano and strings.

click to enlarge 'HOLD ON TO ME' Mark Davis' new song "Room by Room" conjures the light at the end of the tunnel, offering hope in dark times. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK DAVIS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Mark Davis
  • 'HOLD ON TO ME' Mark Davis' new song "Room by Room" conjures the light at the end of the tunnel, offering hope in dark times.

"One night in the summer of 2019, I woke up caught in a wave of panic at the state of world affairs, in particular my own country, the U.S., and the terrifying path it appeared to be taking," David wrote in a recent email. "I knew I was not alone in this feeling. I got up, went to the piano, and the song appeared. Writing the song was certainly a release of the overwhelm, and also a reminder to myself that I cannot in fact take on the whole world myself—or better said, that the primary way to affect things is perhaps to keep my own center, my own 'inner fire,' alive and well.

"I recorded the song in the winter and had already planned on a spring 2020 release—I also already had the idea of creating a video collage of various people with candles to go with it," Davis continued. "When the virus and subsequent lockdown hit, a new dimension was added to the song that I had never intended, and my invitation for folks to share clips of themselves took on new meaning. We each have found ourselves self-isolating in our own 'rooms,' hopefully each of us tending well to our well-being and aliveness, in anticipation of the light of day returning, for the healing of our country and our world, one room at a time."

The song's accompanying video, available on YouTube under Mark Davis and the Inklings, is a powerfully emotional plea for solidarity and to be caretakers of ourselves and each other. The video is filled with scenes of people in candlelight, some in prayer, some giving one another comfort, all in quiet contemplation of what it means to light your own way home and pass that light to others.

"Here is the humble result—a cobbling together of various homemade shots from around the planet, including my own," Davis said of the video. "From my 'room' to yours—with deep gratitude to the bright ones who contributed clips to the making of this little film, and to all those involved in the making of the record."

Livestreams

You can't keep good musicians down, and while livestream concerts aren't ideal, they're helping me fill the void from the loss of live music.

Robbie Bruzus and a couple of friends recently started a streaming series they're calling "Here Nor There And Everywhere," that's "born out of the lockdown" and "meant to showcase some of the Central Coast's lesser-known acts, help support local musicians during this time of need, with the goal of trying to uncover a particular brand of music unique to the SLO area."

You can find some of their earlier streams on their Facebook page, including ones by Gold Oceans and Beland and the Bandits. This Thursday, May 7, they present power duo The Turkey Buzzards at 6 p.m.; and on Saturday, May 9, check out chanteuse Emily Wryn also at 6 p.m.

"We focus on production quality with quality cameras and recording equipment and mix the show's audio live, as it's happening," Bruzus wrote.

"This is certainly a time we will always remember," Dulcie Taylor wrote. "I miss playing shows, so I'm going to perform a few songs I wrote for my mother on Facebook Live this coming weekend to celebrate Mother's Day. Join me on my Facebook page next Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at 3 p.m. PST.

"I was raised by a single mother," Taylor continued. "I watched how much work it was for her to raise three daughters by herself. In one of the songs I've written for her, I say, 'She never gave up, she never gave in, she never turned away,' and that was how it was. She was the single most influence on who I am, and am not, and what I value. I want to honor my mama on Mother's Day weekend."

Taylor is also releasing a new EP, Reimagined, this Friday, which she calls "a collection of my favorite songs that we've digitally remixed and enhanced with new revelations."

click to enlarge SPOOKY STORIES Morro Bay's Youssef Alaoui has new music on his Bandcamp page but tells scary stories on his Facebook page every Saturday, including May 9. - PHOTO COURTESY OF YOUSSEF ALAOUI
  • Photo Courtesy Of Youssef Alaoui
  • SPOOKY STORIES Morro Bay's Youssef Alaoui has new music on his Bandcamp page but tells scary stories on his Facebook page every Saturday, including May 9.

Morro Bay resident Youssef Alaoui recently uploaded his solo project, Transfigureight, on his Bandcamp page. Check out this music, which reminds me of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and other moody singer-songwriter fare.

Though he's not playing music online, "I'm reading my own stories and scary Victorian tales of ghosts, monsters, and detectives every Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., live on my Facebook page," he wrote via email. "I call it Storytelling Live. The videos are public for anyone to watch for three days, should they need to cuddle up and hear a good story during this bizarre time of COVID-19."

Get your scare on with Youssef Alaoui this Saturday, May 9.

click to enlarge HAPPY SOUNDS Reese Galido plays an online streaming show on her Facebook page to benefit Transitions-Mental Health Association on May 10. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LAUREN RUEDA
  • Photo Courtesy Of Lauren Rueda
  • HAPPY SOUNDS Reese Galido plays an online streaming show on her Facebook page to benefit Transitions-Mental Health Association on May 10.

Singer-songwriter Reece Galido is livestreaming a show on Sunday, May 10, at 7 p.m. on her Facebook page. "All proceeds will go to Transitions-Mental Health Association," she said.

She writes great songs, has a terrific voice, and her bubbly optimism is infectious, but not in a COVID-19 way. It also amazes me that at a time when musicians' incomes have all but dried up, so many have donated their online tips to others. Bravo, Reece!

DIY delirium

If it wasn't for COVID-19, local self-described "poolside glitter trash" act Hayley and the Crushers would be in their van crisscrossing the country to play every hole-in-the-wall club that would have them, but instead they're cooped up at home like the rest of us, trying to find a channel for their manic energy.

Well, mission accomplished! They recently released their new homemade video of "Suzy is a Headbanger," a Ramones cover you can watch on YouTube.

click to enlarge PUNK LOBSTER Hayley and the Crushers made an amazing DIY video of a Ramones song for Drunk Dial Records, available on YouTube. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HAYLEY AND THE CRUSHERS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Hayley And The Crushers
  • PUNK LOBSTER Hayley and the Crushers made an amazing DIY video of a Ramones song for Drunk Dial Records, available on YouTube.

"We recorded it in our kitchen during the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine! Why? Well, Drunk Dial Records told us to!" Hayley wrote in an email. "We also recorded this music video in one day with some green paper from the dollar store as a green screen. DIY or die!"

This song is part of Drunk Dial Records' Stay Home compilation, a tribute to The Ramones' Leave Home album.

"This video was sooooooo fun to make," Hayley added. "A surf version of a Ramones song just felt like something the world could use right now!"

Check out the video—it's a hoot! Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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