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The march to St. Paddy's Day 

Go big or go home

It’s nearly St. Paddy’s Day, and everything’s coming up Irish. What follows are a few upcoming events to celebrate this favorite local holiday.

First, don’t forget that The Young Dubliners will kick off the festivities with a show on Thursday, March 12 at Downtown Brew. Fronted by Keith Roberts, who now lives in Paso Robles, it’s a rare local show before the band hits the road for another long string of national and international concert dates. They’ve got an awesome new album out, Saints and Sinners, that’s a must-have for Celtic rock fans. Reckless in Vegas will open, as well as superb quirky local folk rock act Threes & Nines.

click to enlarge GET THE PARTY STARTED :  Start your St. Paddy’s Day celebration early with a Celtic concert featuring harpist Jill Poulos and her ensemble on March 13 at Painted Sky Studios. - PHOTO BY ADRIAN CRABTREE
  • PHOTO BY ADRIAN CRABTREE
  • GET THE PARTY STARTED : Start your St. Paddy’s Day celebration early with a Celtic concert featuring harpist Jill Poulos and her ensemble on March 13 at Painted Sky Studios.
Harpist Jill Poulos performs a Celtic concert on Friday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Painted Sky Studios.  Expect an evening of World Celtic style original songs and traditional music from her latest album, Beneath A Jeweled Sky. She’ll be accompanied by Central Coast musicians Brynn Albanese (violinist from Cafe Musique), Bob Liepman (cellist of Bob and Wendy and the SLO Chamber Orchestra), Scott Wright (pennywhistle here but reed player for the Mighty Croon Dogs), and Kellie Crabtree (vocalist), Tim Novoa (percussionist), Eric Williams (guitarist), and Ron Poulos (mandolin). Tickets are $18, available at the Cambria Business Center, the venue, or by calling 927-8330.

click to enlarge CELTIC CONTINUED :  More traditional Celtic music is on the menu when Dervish plays March 13 in Cal Poly’s the Spanos Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DERVISH
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DERVISH
  • CELTIC CONTINUED : More traditional Celtic music is on the menu when Dervish plays March 13 in Cal Poly’s the Spanos Theatre.
Popular traditional Irish band Dervish plays Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m. in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre. Direct from the Borough of Sligo, Dervish offers an “intriguing blend of effortless energy, serious musicianship, and uplifting good humor.” Featuring Brian McDonagh (mandola), Liam Kelly (flute, whistles), Tom Morrow (fiddle), Shane Mitchell (accordion), Cathy Jordan  (vocals, bodhrán, bones), and Michael Holmes (bouzouki), their sound has been called “simply a brilliant and uncluttered testimonial to music, imagination, and talent,” by The Irish Times. Tickets range from $28 to $34, available at the PAC Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.

The pints will flow as the one and only High Grade Pats featuring the Gratuitous Laddies take over the stage at Mother’s Tavern on Saturday, March 14, at 9:30 p.m. The group plays traditional Irish songs and sea shanties made popular by artists such as the Dubliners, Wolfe Tones, the Clancy Brothers, and the Pogues.

On St. Paddy’s Day itself, Tuesday, March 17, if you want to get the party started early, check out Still Time when they play a 6 a.m. show at Downtown Brew. Yes, you read that right: 6 a.m. That’s rock-star style for those of you who rang in the holiday at midnight the night before and never stopped partying afterwards. By the way, Still Time is really starting to heat up. They’ve recently scored opening gigs for Dishwalla, Jackie Greene, and UB40! Awesome.

The Central Coast Pipe & Drums says, “Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. Let’s celebrate that fact with some pipe music and debauchery!” On Tuesday, March 17, they’re inviting all to join them for a Tartan Tuesday Tour and SLO County Pub Crawl. It starts in Paso Robles in the Crooked Kilt at 10 a.m., moves to Level 4 at 11, heads to SLO Town bars from 1 to 3 p.m., then goes to Harry’s in Pismo at 4 p.m., followed by R & D’s from 5 to 7 p.m. For more info, call 235-2637.

Of course, on St. Paddy’s Day, all roads lead to McCarthy’s Irish Pub. Perhaps now that it’s in its new, larger location, the wait will only be minutes and not hours.

As Irishman Thomas Osborne Davis said, “Come in the evening, come in the morning, come when you’re looked for, come without warning.”

Get funky!

After Scott Andrews of the awesome jazz/funk act Body got shunned from the Concerts in the Plaza … again, he decided to take matters into his own hands, which is why he’s organizing a world-class jazz festival for SLO Town for this summer. Before that, however, he’s got the inaugural SLO Winter Funk Festival, held on Friday, March 13 behind Trader Joe’s and Food for Less in SLO. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the event will end at 10. The idea is to raise awareness for his summer fest.

“The SLO Winter Funk Festival, the first of its kind as far as I know, is featuring DJ Malik (New Times CD reviewer & KCBX “Night Train” DJ), Callista (alt-rock, indie from Santa Maria), Funk Yard (smokin’ Ventura-based funk trio whose members performed at NAMM last year), the volcanic Magma Funk (local SLO funkshredders), and the funk monsters Body (performing their award-winning single ‘Bushworld’ and more),” said Andrews. “There will be healthy and organic food by Pizza Fusion and EVOS. The first 50 who purchase a $20 love offering ticket will receive Body’s Bushworld CD single and every $20 Funk Festival love offering will receive a groovy SLO Winter Funk Festival T-shirt keepsake.

“This is a new festival to start building awareness of the creative music bands on the Central Coast, along with honoring the businesses who are helping promote and produce the upcoming SLO Jazz Festival,” said Andrews.

Visit slojazzfest.org for more info.

click to enlarge LUCKY ONE :  Former Mavericks frontman Raul Malo has a killer new album out, Lucky One, on which his vocal performances compare favorable to Elvis Presley. All hail the new king on March 13 at the Clark Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RAUL MALO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RAUL MALO
  • LUCKY ONE : Former Mavericks frontman Raul Malo has a killer new album out, Lucky One, on which his vocal performances compare favorable to Elvis Presley. All hail the new king on March 13 at the Clark Center.
Almost Elvis

The best way I can describe Raul Malo, former frontman for the Mavericks, is his vocal sound hovers somewhere between Elvis Presley and Chris Isaak. His voice is fuller than Isaak’s but not quite as honey-smooth as Presley, but it’s undeniably impressive. On his first new album in seven years, Lucky One, he runs through a range of country, rock, and pop tunes.

“I’ve been fighting my whole life against people who want to pigeonhole music,” said Malo. “I feel like I’ve got no restrictions anymore.” 

On Friday, March 13, Raul Malo will co-headline a concert with Shelby Lynn at 8 p.m. in the Clark Center. Call 489-9444 for tickets.

FIDDLE QUEEN :  U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Hanneke Cassel plays March 13 at Coalesce Bookstore and March 14 at Castoro Cellars for two SLO Folks concerts. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNEKE CASSEL
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNEKE CASSEL
  • FIDDLE QUEEN : U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Hanneke Cassel plays March 13 at Coalesce Bookstore and March 14 at Castoro Cellars for two SLO Folks concerts.
Great Scot!

U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Hanneke Cassel, who was also nominated for the Boston Music Award “Best Folk Act,” plays a couple of SLO Folks concerts this week. After summers spent at Scottish fiddle camps and a stint at Berklee College of Music on a string scholarship, she graduated in 2000 and continues to be an active member of the Boston music scene.

Cassel plays Friday, March 13, at Coalesce Bookstore, at 7 p.m. (772-2880) and Saturday, March 14, at Castoro Cellars, 7:30 p.m. (238-0725). Tickets are $20. Sonnie Brown will interview Cassel on KCBX 90.1FM’s Minstrel Song Show on Saturday, March 14, between 2 and 4 p.m.

More music…

click to enlarge ALMOST FLOYD :  Awesome tribute act, The Pink Floyd Experience, performs March 12 in the Cohan Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
  • ALMOST FLOYD : Awesome tribute act, The Pink Floyd Experience, performs March 12 in the Cohan Center.
If you haven’t already seen Pink Floyd live, this may be the closest you’ll ever get to that experience. On Thursday, March 12, at 8 p.m. in the Cohan Center, Cal Poly Arts presents The Pink Floyd Experience, a stage production homage to one of rock’n’roll’s all-time greatest acts. This show features 200,000 watts of light, over $2.5 million worth of production equipment, and six brilliant musicians on the stage. It’s like a Pink Floyd stadium show at the peak of their career, but in the intimate comfort of the PAC. Hear “Money,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Time,” “Have A Cigar,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Another Brick in the Wall,” and much more. Tickets range from $36 to $48, available at the PAC Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.

Austin-based singer-songwriter Jean Synodinos hits Linnaea’s café on Friday, March 13 for a free 8 p.m. show, and judging from her alternately rip-roaring then gentle CD Breathe, this one ought to keep you guessing. She skates between folk, blues, jazz, and pop, and Monterey’s James Meder will play an opening set. Good stuff, people.

Rock, prog, alternative acts The Rx Bandits and Tera Melos co-headline Downtown Brew on Friday, March 13. Tera Melos is on the road supporting their recent free digital release of covers entitled Idioms Vol. 1. This 7 p.m. all-ages show costs $13 advance or $15 at the door.

Cal Poly’s University Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble will present “From Russia With Love” at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Hear Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Jesters” and continue with Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” and “Folk Dances,” among others. Tickets are $8 to $19. Call 756-2787.

Guitarist Frank Potenza and his organ trio are the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria on Sunday, March 15. Potenza, an Azica Records recording artist, will showcase his latest album that features jazz organist Joe Bagg and drummer Steve Barnes. Series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will also be on hand. There’s a 4 p.m., $15 show; a 7:15 p.m., $12 show; or see both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.
 
Enjoy an afternoon of lovely chamber music on Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Los Osos when effervescent soprano Maria Jette makes her second appearance with the San Luis Obispo Symphony in a little more than a week. In this intimate chamber concert, Ms. Jette will be joined by Grammy Award-winning violinist Kathleen Lenski and the Symphony Chamber Players, including conductor and violist Michael Nowak, violinist Paul Severtson, cellist Nancy Nagano, bass player Lara Lehmer, oboist Wayne Asbury, and harpsichordist Barbara Hoff. Tickets are $35 for premium reserved seating and $25 for general reserved seating. Students may purchase tickets at the door for only $10 (while they last.) Call 543-3533.

SWEDISH PUNK LOVE :  Epitaph Records pop punk sensations Millencolin plays March 16 at Downtown Brew. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLENCOLIN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLENCOLIN
  • SWEDISH PUNK LOVE : Epitaph Records pop punk sensations Millencolin plays March 16 at Downtown Brew.
Direct from Sweden, Epitaph Records pop punk sensations Millencolin play, plus the Briggs and New Tomorrow, on Monday, March 16, for a 7 p.m., all-ages show at Downtown Brew. Millencolin only gets to the States every three or four years, and this is their first show ever on the Central Coast. They’re touring in support of their new album Machine 15. “There’s a lot of stuff that adds up to fifteen,” guitarist Mathias Färm jokes. “I used to drink fifteen beers when I’d go out! I’m a Viking!” Yeah, yeah. Who isn’t?

They’ve been called America’s new “First Family of Bluegrass,” and for good reason. The multi-Grammy nominee Cherryholmes has created a sound that’s been called “bluegrass on steroids.” On Thursday, March 19, at 8 p.m. in the Spanos Theatre, Cal Poly Arts presents this amazing family band, touring in support of their latest hit release, Cherryholmes III. Tickets range from $28 to $34, available at the PAC Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.

LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends hit Downtown Brew on Thursday, March 19 for a 7:30 p.m. show. After performing last month with Etta James at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, and having shared the stage with the likes of B.B. King, Michael McDonald, Idina Menzel, Los Lobos, and others, they’re ready to blues you up. Tickets are $5 presale.

Glen Starkey thinks if he drinks enough green beer, he’ll be Irish on the inside. Buy him a pint at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

 

CD Reviews

Boozoo Bajou—Grains

starkey_CD-boozoo.jpg

Folding the sweet, warm folk-rock of 1970s Laurel Canyon into their usual mosaic of downbeat production, Numberg producers Florian Seyberth and Peter Heider have expanded on their dub-electronica past, moving into a fusion of organic folk with sublime studio production. This isn’t an unforeseen leap. On their 2003 release, Juke Joint, they compiled a tribute of their favorite musicians, coming up with unpredictable segues, like blending the urban soul of Paul Weller’s “Wild Wood” directly into Greg Brown’s earthy ballad “Blue Car.” On Grains, they continue exploring the spirit of acoustic singer-songwriters, merging it with laptop aesthetics. On “Same Sun,” British singer Rumer muses her folksy vocal over a breezy, relaxed beat. As if translating Fleetwood Mac’s golden era for an ear more familiar with the spaced-out vibe of Thievery Corporation, Boozoo Bajou have produced an album perfect for cucumber-covered eyes on a summertime chaise lounge. Sophisticated, yet languidly cool.

Alela Diane—To Be Still
Starkey_CD-alela_diane.jpg

Resuscitating the hypnotizing folk of ‘70s-era California, Alela Diane has tapped into the same incandescent vein that Joni Mitchell spilled forth on her early albums, mixing sunny and haunting tunes with lyrical beauty. Coming out of Nevada City, California (the same breeding ground that brought us Joanna Newsom), the influence of her natural setting informs much of her album, as earthly wildlife is the launching point of her songs. “The Alder Trees” is filtered with lyrics about “mud and snake skin” as the “alder trees were listening to songs that have been sung before”; it’s an entrancing step back into nature, one that’s usually associated with a Shaman rather than a 25-year-old songwriter. Yet, it’s Alela’s full-throated voice that can pull serenity out of mournfulness, which slowly bewitches you into a coastal past of simple pines and ocean waves. With assistance from her guitarist/producer father, this is a family affair that sits profoundly right for this modern artifact of rural landscapes and Americana wonderment.

 

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