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Mr. Tenacity 

John Hiatt goes the distance

Everybody had to start somewhere, but when most John Hiatt fans think of his “early days,” they think 1987 and Bring the Family, his album with Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim Keltner. Little do they know his many travails!

click to enlarge SAME OLD MAN :  Touring in support of his newest album Same Old Man, John Hiatt plays The Graduate on Nov. 11. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HIATT
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HIATT
  • SAME OLD MAN : Touring in support of his newest album Same Old Man, John Hiatt plays The Graduate on Nov. 11.

Hiatt, who learned to play guitar at 11, was dabbling in bands such as The Four-Fifths and John Lynch & the Hangmen as a teenager in Indiana. Like many hubris-filled youths, he headed to Nashville to make it big and scored a job with a publishing company writing songs for $25 a week. Woo hoo!

In 1974, his song “Sure As I’m Sitting’ Here” was recorded by Three Dog Night and climbed to #16, and he found himself with a record deal at Epic that would yield two poorly received albums, leaving Hiatt kicked to the curb. He languished in artist limbo until MCA offered him a deal, which led to two albums that were hugely popular in the Netherlands! I can just image him trying to pick up chicks at parties: “You’ve never heard of me? Well, I’m big in Holland!”

 

His next three albums on Geffen made forays into New Wave, country, and soul. Most of his success, however, came from his songwriting, as an increasing number of artists were covering his material.

Things have steadily improved for the artist since then. He’s been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards all told, and one of these days he’s going to win one! He recently released his 18th studio album, Same Old Man. And this Tuesday, Nov. 11, John Hiatt and The Ageless Beauties will play the Graduate with opening act Ben Taylor (James Taylor and Carly Simon’s son—how’s that for a pedigree?). The doors open at 7 p.m., the show’s at 8 you must be 21-and-older to attend. Advance tickets cost $38.50 plus a service charge and are available at all Central Coast VALLITIX locations, including Boo Boo Records in SLO, the Mustang Ticket Office on the Cal Poly campus, and the California Mid-State Fair Box Office in Paso Robles. Charge by phone at (888) 825-5484. Order on line at www.vallitix.com.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard Hiatt’s new one, but Taylor’s The Legend of Kung Folk Part 1 (The Killing Bite) is a stylishly produced journey through smoothly constructed folk rock with tinges of reggae rhythms and soulful and frequently funny lyrics: “I just want to take you out and get you drunk so I can have my wicked way with you. I’m just being honest ‘cause I know the other guys are thinking just the same way too. I’m not going lie and say that I will take you out to dance. There’s just no chance, ‘cause I don’t even like the same music you do, I just want to have my wicked way with you.”

Fun Fact: Taylor really does practice martial arts and will be featured in Black Belt magazine soon. Hiya!

 

Talley ho!

click to enlarge PEDIGREE! :  As the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, Ben Taylor’s inherited some incredible music genes. See him open for John Hiatt on Nov. 11 at The Grad. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN TAYLOR
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN TAYLOR
  • PEDIGREE! : As the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, Ben Taylor’s inherited some incredible music genes. See him open for John Hiatt on Nov. 11 at The Grad.

Try all you want, I defy anyone to listen to James Talley and try to keep from grinning and tapping your toes. It simply can’t be done. The awesome Nashville-based guitarist-singer-songwriter sold out his last time through town, so SLO Folks has brought him back for another round of concerts beginning with a show on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in Coalesce Book Store ($15 772-2880) and Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Castoro Cellars ($15 238-0725). He’ll also make a short appearance at Boo Boo Records at 1 p.m. and be interviewed on Sonnie Brown’s Minstrel Song Show on KCBX 90.1FM at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Talley’s songs—American stories, cowboy tales, chronicles of the working man, love songs—have been recorded by the likes of Alan Jackson, Johnny Cash, Gene Clark, Johnny Paycheck, and even Moby. He’s also an amazing interpreter of Woody Guthrie’s songbook.

 

Traffic stopper

JAMES’ WAY :  Amazing Nashville-based guitars-singer-songwriter James Talley returns to the area for two shows: Nov. 7 at Coalesce Bookstore and Nov. 8 at Castoro Cellars. This one’s a ripe tomato, music lovers! - PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES TALLEY
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES TALLEY
  • JAMES’ WAY : Amazing Nashville-based guitars-singer-songwriter James Talley returns to the area for two shows: Nov. 7 at Coalesce Bookstore and Nov. 8 at Castoro Cellars. This one’s a ripe tomato, music lovers!

Dave Mason’s career is so varied and star studded it’s hard to know what to include. One thing is certain: He co-founded Traffic, played on the band’s debut album Mr. Fantasy, bailed on the band, nearly stopping it, returned partway through the studio sessions for their self-titled sophomore album, and then the band really did break up.

Big deal, eh? Mason went on to turn Jimi Hendrix on to Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” at a party, and they recorded it together shortly thereafter. Mason also played with the Rolling Stones, members of the Beatles, Eric Clapton, and the list goes on and on. He’s played with so many famous people or so many important songs and albums that it makes me want to hurl!

Bleeeeck! Cough! Ack! Okay, that’s better.

Legendary guitarist Dave Mason plays Downtown Brew this Saturday, Nov. 8, touring in support of a new studio album, 26 Letters܇ Notes, which is six years in the making! Quality takes time. The show starts at 7 p.m. and costs $30 at Boo Boo’s, the venue, or vallitix.com.

Downtown Brew has several other notable tricks up its sleeve this week as well: On Thursday, Nov. 6, reggae fans can get a double dose when Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds and Natural Incense play an $8, 7:30 p.m., all-ages show. On Sunday, Nov. 9, the Brew will host a ska and reggae extravaganza at the SLO Vets Hall when The Expendables, Rebelution, OPM, and Poor Habit play a $20 ($18 presale at Boo Boo’s), 6 p.m., all-ages show. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, killer Bay Area blues act Tommy Castro will be joined by our own awesome blues stars Pryor Baird & the Deacons for a $17 ($15 presale), 7:30 p.m., 21-and-older show. Finally, mark your calendar for next Thursday, Nov. 13 when hip-hop soca artist Collie Buddz is joined by DJ Pee Wee and Rise of the Revolution for a $25 ($23 presale), 8 p.m., 18-and-older show.

As always, you can hear tracks from these bands and read more on www.dtbrew.com.

 

KCPR rules!

It’s not too late to score some totally killer swag during KCPR’s 40th Anniversary Auction Event, which is the exceptional college radio station’s biggest fundraiser of the year. You have until Friday, Nov. 7, to tune in between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to bid on a variety of packages that range from gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses to musical instruments and CDs. Turn to the left of the dial at 91.3FM!

 

click to enlarge ANY FRIEND OF JIMI’S :  Iconic rock guitarist Dave Mason, who played with Hendrix on “All Along the Watchtower,” comes to Downtown Brew on Nov. 9. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE MASON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE MASON
  • ANY FRIEND OF JIMI’S : Iconic rock guitarist Dave Mason, who played with Hendrix on “All Along the Watchtower,” comes to Downtown Brew on Nov. 9.

More music

Former SLO Towner Pat Golliher, he of now defunct local acts Imperial Cruiser and Butterhead, returns to town with his new act Fainting Goats, an alt-pop act out of Santa Cruz. See them Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Frog and Peach with Wild Anderson Friday. Nov. 7 at Sweet Springs Saloon with Father Onion and Saturday, Nov. 8 at Hoovers Live.

Local vocalist Judy Philbin, “with a little help from her friends,” will play the Friday, Nov. 7, noon Brown Bag Concert at Wilson Hall at the SLO First Presbyterian Church. Philbin will perform a selection of her favorite jazz, folk, pop and Broadway songs, including tracks from her recently released CD, Candle in the Window, available at Boo Boo Records and at the concert. Bring your lunch the concert’s free.

 

Grammy Award-winning kora virtuoso Toumani Diabate plays the Clark Center on Friday, Nov. 7 as part of a rare U.S. solo tour to support his critically acclaimed new album The Mande Variations. According to press materials, “Fifty-fourth in a hereditary line of master musicians and griots, Toumani Diabate is at once revered as the guardian of an ancient musical tradition and as a bold, boundary-crossing experimentalist. Toumani has also collaborated with the likes of Bjàrk, Blur’s Damon Albarn, Dee Dee Bridgewater, American bluesman Taj Mahal, and jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, among others.” His album title refers to the ethnic group of West Africa that straddles several countries. For the record, the kora is 21-string West African harp-lute. Diabate won a Grammy in 2006 for his collaboration with the late Ali Farka Toure on In the Heart of the Moon. Call 489-9444 for ticket info.

click to enlarge JUDY, JUDY, JUDY :  Local vocalist Judy Philbin plays the Nov. 7 Brown Bag Concert at Wilson Hall at the SLO First Presbyterian Church to perform a selection of her favorite jazz, folk, pop and Broadway songs. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDY PHILBIN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDY PHILBIN
  • JUDY, JUDY, JUDY : Local vocalist Judy Philbin plays the Nov. 7 Brown Bag Concert at Wilson Hall at the SLO First Presbyterian Church to perform a selection of her favorite jazz, folk, pop and Broadway songs.

Internationally touring singer-songwriter James Hurley will bring his signature blend of jazz, blues, and pop to Linnaea’s Cafe this Friday, Nov. 7, for an 8 p.m. solo acoustic performance. His music has been dubbed “Americana, on the rocks with a twist.”

Michelle Amador has a couple of local gigs lined up on her march down the California Coast. The prodigy had already written a full-length musical by age 21, and before that she’d penned music for USC productions of Buchner’s Woyzeck and Sophocles’ Antigone. Her works have been premiered by legends such as jazz bassist Buster Williams, and premiered as part of visual art installations at the Laumiere Sculpture Garden in St. Louis, Missouri. I could go on, but you get the idea. The singer-songwriter plays at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7 at SLO’s The Clubhouse, and at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Paso Robles’ Monteleone’s Rock.

According to Patty Thayer over at the SLO Symphony office, “In a late change to the concert season, Music Director Michael Nowak has tapped Cal Poly Symphony conductor David Arrivee to conduct Dvor?k’s New World Symphony in the second half of the concert scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Christopher Cohan Center. Maestro Nowak will lead the orchestra in the first half of the concert, including Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with violinist Alyssa Park. After intermission, for the first time in 25 years, Maestro Nowak will take a seat in the audience to enjoy the second half. Tickets range in price from $12.50 to $65. Buy them at the PAC Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.

Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, and Bill Bryson will play a fundraising dinner concert on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. in the Edwards Barn (1095 Pomeroy Rd., Nipomo) for the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. Hillman—an original member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Desert Rose Band—is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Grammy nominee. Visit www.odox.org to arrange to buy your $60 ticket (no credit cards), which includes a dinner of such homemade ethnic specialties as kielbasa, dolma, tabouli, pirozhki, vareniki, baklava, and more.

St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Los Osos will host a concert of chamber musicby women composers at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9. Works by Clara Schumann (wife of composer Robert Schumann), Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (sister of composer Felix Mendelssohn), American composer Amy Beac, and British composer Rebecca Clarke will be performed by Louise King (piano), Ralph Morrison (violin), Elizabeth Morrison (cello), and Susan Farrell (soprano). A $10 donation is suggested.

click to enlarge IRISH EYES :  The Seamus Conroy Band will bring its traditional Irish music to Painted Sky Studio this on Nov. 9. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SEAMUS CONROY BAND
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SEAMUS CONROY BAND
  • IRISH EYES : The Seamus Conroy Band will bring its traditional Irish music to Painted Sky Studio this on Nov. 9.

Paso Robles’ Crooked Kilt Tuesday night house band, the Seamus Conroy Band, will bring its traditional Irish music to Painted Sky Studio this Sunday, Nov. 9 for a 7:30 p.m. show ($15 927-8330). Featuring the vocals, guitar, and bodhran of Seamus Conroy (aka—Jim Conroy) and Melanie Marie Statom, with Chuck Aronson on fiddle and Stuart Mason on mandola—the group will deliver lively Irish reels and jigs. Because the live show will be recorded, your applause will become part of the record. Fiddler John Weed and guitarist Stuart Mason of Molly’s Revenge will open the evening with traditional tunes and songs that explore the musical connection between Ireland and Appalachia.

Starfucker is an awesome name for a rock band, but I bet they have a hard time getting press in daily newspapers, who no doubt list them—if they list them at all—as Starf@#$er or Starf***er or Star-effer. The three multi-instrumentalists collaborate in an ethereal galaxy of drums, drum machines, keyboards, guitars, and turntablism. You can feel the Starfucker love on Monday, Nov. 10 at the Steynberg Gallery for a 7:30 p.m., all-ages, $7 show. Hmm. All ages, eh? It’ll give you a chance to explain to your child all about sex and rock’n’roll.

The Herbs, fronted by NYC guitar slinger William Nicholson, play three local upcoming dates: Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Frog and Peach at 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 at The Clubhouse and Saturday, Nov. 15 at Sweet Springs Saloon. Nicholson studied guitar with Windham Hill Records founding artist Alex deGrassi, and in addition to his Americana and roots music, he also plays a one-of-a-kind 11-string harp guitar.

 

CD Reviews

 

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes—Gonna Get Old Someday

starkey-cd-jimmy_holmes.jpg

At one time, Mississippi-based label Fat Possum Records planted a flag in its home turf and practically refused to acknowledge blues music outside its Delta soil. It plucked from obscurity talented juke-joint performers like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough along with other aging masters and issued albums that were encyclopedic examples of raw country blues. After a round of signing young rock’n’rollers to replenish its roosters, Fat Possum returns to its blues preservation with a fine example. Gonna Get Old Someday is the record you’d want along for train counting or summer fishing. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ odd E-minor “Bentonia” tuning and high falsetto is a regional variation owing to Skip James, and you feel the time warp when listening. The album proceeds like a live setting, where the old bones begin to limber and catch fire as the set advances. And you feel like you’re standing in the doorway, witnessing a forgotten time, grinning.

 

 

El Guincho—Alegranza

starkey-cd-el_guincho_-_alegranza.jpg

An exotic swirl of Tropic·lia, Afro-pop, found sounds, studio manipulation, and Spanish lyrics—El Guincho is an aural celebration, equivalent to the zenith of Brazil’s Carnival: rapid tempos, exuberant feeling, and percussive jamboree. Hailing from the Canary Islands, Pablo Diaz-Reixa is the single mind behind this musical tempest. And as a debut, it’s near perfect in synthesizing his sweeping musical range into something not only listenable, but dizzyingly addictive. “Palmitos Park” layers numerous rhythms and melodies—the sound of a TV audience, vocal loops, clattering Brazilian rhythms, and stream-of-conscious lyrics—and comes up with a captivating intersection of psychedelia and ambient drone. “Antillas” seem perfectly straightforward with its upbeat Afro-pop. The real skill of El Guincho is his studio wizardry, as each song seems carefully manicured, keeping its delirious number of noises and samples from unfurling into a wild mess. Everything seems exacting and deceptively simple. And El Guincho keeps this pace up over the whole course of Alegranza. In a year in which a number of indie rock outfits sifted through world sounds for influence (Vampire Weekend, Abe Vigoda), El Guincho adds a new path of trajectory to this wonderful exploration.

—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX’s “Night Train.”


Glen Starkey’s so tired of waiting for the apocalypse that he wrote in George W. Bush for president. Join his doomsday cult at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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