Scottish-born and London-based, KT Tunstall has achieved a swell of success across the pond with emotional folk rock songwriting and a strong, sonorous delivery that rocketed her to the top of the charts. While this may the point where a lesser talent hits cruise control, Tunstall two years ago did the opposite, putting her musical pedal to the metal and roaring headlong out of the dreary, cloudy skies of England straight for the hot, dry deserts of Arizona.
The result of her sojourn was the critically-lauded album Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon. Tunstall is a gem of a songwriter, lyrically raw while poetically sublime. Her deft guitar melodies and her ethereal voice, with just a slight Scottish brogue popping up every so often, is one of the sweetest in this or any hemisphere.
Tonight and tomorrow, Tuntall brings her globe-trotting style to Napa for two nights of dusty, shimmering indie folk rock before she joins pianist and bandleader Jools Holland back in the United Kingdom. Check out the music video for her single “Feel It All” below and pop on over to City Winery to catch Tunstall before she skips town.
Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol is consistently one of the best live music venues around, showcasing local talents and traveling bands alike in the intimate space of the tavern’s Abbey and outdoor courtyard. One of the highlights of the venue’s schedule is always the “Songwriters-in-the-Round” series, happening the last Thursday every month, and always featuring a bevy of North Bay musicians performing solo, original songs.
This month is no different, as songwriter Jon Gonzales hosts a night of folk, rock and throwback pop music presented by four players, Jeremy McCarten, Jen Tucker, Ken Risling and Georgia Ruth, rotating on stage for an eclectic night. If you’re not familiar with these songwriters, click on the videos below to preview what’s sure to be an engaging show.
First up is Jeremy McCarten, best known as the front man of Sonoma County indie rockers Manzanita Falls, a singer with deep emotional reservoirs and a magnetic stage presence.
I just couldn’t get going this morning. Between the cloudy skies and my comfy bed it took all my might to move. So, before I even ground up the coffee, I put on Bucc Nyfe.
The Santa Rosa punk rock trio gets my blood pumping and head rocking with their high energy rock and roll. Tight beats and heavy distortion shake the sleep from my eyes, while the emotionally-driven lyrics and nostalgic themes take me back to the days before I needed coffee to get going in the morning.
If you’re still sleepy, hit the track below and thank me later.
Tonight, Bucc Nyfe headlines an electrified show at 775 After Dark in Sebastopol with the help of rockers Bang! Bang! and Bumblin’ Bones. 7pm. $4.
He’s got a baby face, but there’s nothing infantile about blues guitarist Jules Leyhe, except maybe his band name. Along with the Family Jules Band, Oakland’s own Leyhe is blazing a trail of true blues music in the vein of legends like Buddy Guy, who he has already shared stages with in his young career.
This summer, Leyhe released his latest album, “Juicebox.” The title track and album single has got a kickin’ rock and roll rhythm and funky organ under Leyhe’s stinging guitars and rowdy sing-along chorus. Named one of Guitar Player Magazine’s 12 Players of Christmas in 2014 as well as the Bay Area Blues Foundation’s All Stars in 2015, Leyhe is a sight to be seen and heard, and your next chance comes tonight, when he plays Silo’s in Napa. James Regan from the Deadlies opens the show.
Listen to “Juicebox” below.
Jules Leyhe & the Family Jules Band gets down and bluesy at Silo’s, 530 Main St, Napa. 7pm. 707.251.5833.
Over the last year, the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma has risen from the ashes of a spotty concert history and is bringing a slew of exciting and immensely popular bands to the historic venue, courtesy of booker Jim Agius.
This last summer, the venue sold out for 90’s alternative act Neutral Milk Hotel, and in the last month, news of concerts from a variety of acts, like hardcore punks the Misfits and scene-shaking reggae band The Green, have further boosted the Phoenix’s standings in North Bay music purveyors.
Oberst first burst onto the national music scene as the wunderkind behind Omaha-based Bright Eyes. He has also played in hardcore acts like Desaparecidos and, since 2008, has produced several acclaimed albums under his own name.
M. Ward rose to prominence as a solo artist in the Portland, Oregon music scene at the turn of the century before teaming up with actress and vocalist Zooey Deschanel for the poppy indie duo She & Him. His alt-country styling and deep drawl make him an instantly recognizable voice.
Both Oberst and Ward are also part of the Monsters of Folk super group that’s been on-again-off-again since 2004 and also features Jim James from My Morning Jacket.
As if these two powerhouse performers were not enough, the Felice Brothers are opening the show, offering up a country-tinged rock that was born busking the subways of New York City.
Conor Oberst and M. Ward perform on Thursday, Oct 1, at The Phoenix Theater, 201 Washington St, Petaluma. 8pm. $30. 707.762.3565.
Led by the tireless efforts of Santa Rosa’s Josh Windmiller, the North Bay Hootenanny has become a powerful proponent of live music in the North Bay, hosting gigs at small venues, farmers markets and recently throwing the wildly successful Railroad Square Music Festival in downtown Santa Rosa last June.
Now the Hootenanny is heading into the city to host a monthly residency of shows at Doc’s Lab in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. This Friday, Aug 7, Northern California singer-songwriter bandleader and creative speller Misisipi Mike headlines the Lab, showing off why he’s considered one of the best in the Bay area right now and laying down a Delta Blues inspired rock and roll with his new ensemble The Gilroy Tall Boys. Local favorites Frankie Boots & the County Line open the show.
Next Friday, Aug 14, the Hootenanny is back at it, with Windmiller’s own group of outlaws, the Crux topping the bill for a rollicking night of chain-rattling and boot-stomping. San Francisco’s own the Vivants start the show with their Southern brand of showmanship and swing.
Get ready to celebrate Halloween twice this year, as the classic horror punk band the Misfits are scheduled to make their way to the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma on Friday, November 20.
The show is sure to sell out, so you’ll want to grab tickets when they become available tomorrow, Aug 5, at 10am.
An eerie entity since their formation in 1977, the Misfits are known for their dark, raging live shows complete with handcrafted instruments, painted faces and intense visuals. Currently on their 2015 “Static Age Revisited” world tour, the band is celebrating their classic debut album Static Age, recorded in 1978 and released as singles and EPs, but unreleased in its entirety until 1997.
This year, the Misfits are playing Static Age all the way through on stage, as well as a full set of the band’s fiendishly frightening catalog of classic and current material. This year, the Misfits’ line up has gone generational as founding member Jerry Only (bass/vocals) is joined by his son Jerry Caiafa Jr on guitar and Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums.
Misfits play on Friday, November 20, at the Phoenix Theater, 201 Washington St, Petaluma. 8pm. $25. 707.762.3565. http://www.thephoenixtheater.com
Looking at the music listings in this week’s Bohemian, it struck me that there are a host, a horde, a gaggle, a ton, just a whole lot of music legends playing in the North Bay this weekend. From Nicasio to Napa, here’s a breakdown of the who’s who of musicians playing live concerts in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties over the next three days.
Tonight, rock and roll power couple Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo storm the stage at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. This summer marks 35 years of partnership for the singer and guitarist, who have been married since 1982 and who still tour constantly, bringing the battle cries and ballads to the North Bay with a 35-year Anniversary CD/DVD package available.
In Petaluma, the retro-swing and big band sound of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy can be heard as the opening night concert of the annual Petaluma Music Festival. A first this year for the event, the show tonight features a special VIP dinner and drinks package available at 5pm as well as general admission tickets just for the show, which starts at 7:30pm. The Petaluma Music Fest continues all day Saturday as well, with headliners Nahko & Medicine for the People, the Woods Brothers and ALO all on hand.
Also in Petaluma on Saturday is longtime ska and funk ground breakers Fishbone, playing Aug 1 at Zodiacs downtown. Now celebrating 25 years together, the band has cultivated a following for their dynamic one-of-kind sound and electrifying live shows.
Saturday also sees several talented singers and songwriters appearing throughout the area. At the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, Natalie Cole keeps the torch of her family’s musical dynasty burning brightly with a concert at Weill Hall. Cole will be performing hits from her 40 years as a singer, including the “Unforgettable” tracks she famously recorded with her late father, Nate King Cole.
Over in Napa, the Uptown Theatre presents Nashville Hall of Fame member Mary Chapin Carpenter in a show that is very nearly sold-out. After performing with full orchestras last year, Carpenter returns to the acoustic intimacy of her country folk roots, joined on stage this time by longtime friends Jon Carroll (piano) and Austin Nevins (guitars). Give the Uptown a call at 707.259.0123 to reserve spots or get on the wait list.
Sunday boasts a couple of shows so popular, they’re already out of tickets. Rancho Nicasio’s pairing of guitarist Elvin Bishop, harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite and BBQ on the lawn was too irresistible for patrons to pass up. It’s totally sold-out.
In Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s annual “Coahoma to Sonoma County Blues Festival” is already sold-out for early admittance, meaning that you can show up, but it’s going to be crowded in front. Still, there’s no problem with listening to veteran Texas songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard while enjoying a tasty brew in the back. Bill Abel, Markus James and Layla Musselwhite also play that show, which is free and open to the general public at 11:30am.
Santa Rosa guitarist and songwriter Francesco Catania is a bit of a musical chameleon, able to rock a melodic soul jam as easily as a post punk anthem. He’s been seen playing alongside local favorites like John Courage, and recently went on the road with Arizona garage rock duo Burning Palms.
This weekend, Catania dusts off his gold cape and shiny shoes to show a different side of his musical personality when he performs under his solo electronic outfit Frances Wolfe. An ongoing project since 2013, Frances Wolfe allows Catania to go deep into his inner cosmos, producing synth and reverb-soaked atmospheres that blissfully explore ambient sounds and abstract melodies for a down-tempo chill wave head trip.
In anticipation of a new EP this fall, Frances Wolfe has released his latest single, “Portrait.” The tune wanders in and out of a trippy guitar riff as building feedback menacingly encroaches and Catania’s voice floats like an out-of-body experience. Listen to “Portrait” below:
On Sunday, Aug 2, Frances Wolfe performs at the Arlene Francis Center as part of an eclectic showthat also includes face-melting jazz from InOverOut, rock and roll from Sleepwalk Sunday, dreamy punk from Plastic Ghost, groovy pianos from Saffell and more. 99 Sixth St, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $5-$10. For more details, click here.
Brooklyn pianist and songwriter Erik Deutsch has long been called on by the most prolific entertainers in music, from Norah Jones to Shooter Jennings, to tickle the ivories on tours with them. When he’s not on stage as a hired gun, this outlaw musician makes his own brand of experimental modern jazz as a solo performer and bandleader.
This year, Deutsch unleashed his latest album, Outlaw Jazz, to wide acclaim. Melding psychedelic soul and rough-and-tumble country rock, the record was funded through a wildly successful Kickstarter fund that allowed Deutsch to assemble a dream team of musicians to accompany him, including Tony Mason (drums), Jeff Hill (bass), Jon Gray (trumpet), and Avi Bortnick (guitar) among others.
This week, Erik Deutsch & the Jazz Outlaws come to the North Bay for a special appearance on Thursday, July 9, at Terrapin Crossroads. 100 Yacht Club Dr, San Rafael. 8pm. $15. 415.524.2773.