After more than a decade of playing a crowd-pleasing and foot-stomping brand of folk rock, Sonoma County songwriter Arann Harris is hanging up his hat and guitar, apparently for good. Harris performs a farewell concert this weekend, June 4, at McNear’s Mystic Theatre in his hometown of Petaluma.
The word from Harris is that he’s giving up a life on the road to focus on his family and work at Windrush Farm. Founded by his mother, Mimi Luebbermann, the working sheep farm produces quality wool fiber and educates the public about farm life through classes and camp events.
While it’s understandable, it’s no less a huge loss for Sonoma County’s music scene. Harris has long been a regular figure at the North Bay’s best events as well as its many clubs and venues, both with his own Farm Band and alongside fellow songwriters like David Lunning, Frankie Boots and others.
For this final concert at the Mystic Theatre, Portland blues duo Hillstomp and veteran solo performer Sean Hayes join Harris in what’s expected to be a blowout party. Get details on tickets and more by clicking here.
Best of luck, Arann. Thanks for the music and the memories.
Taking place in the cultural heart of Santa Rosa, last year’s inaugural Railroad Square Music Festival, presented by the North Bay Hootenanny, was hands down one of 2015’s best days of music in Sonoma County. With two stages of bands belting out folk, rock and country music and wild acts from performance art groups like Circus Maximus, the free-admission and all-ages event perfectly captured the freewheeling, laid back and friendly way most people around here like to live their life.
Now, the Railroad Square Music Festival is in the planning stages for round two, set to take place once again in the historic square on Sunday, June 5, 2016. And the first wave of acts has already been announced.
Slated to appear at this year’s fest are the Easy Leaves, Royal Jelly Jive, the Dixie Giants, the Bootleg Honeys and John Courage; an eclectic blend of traditional country, gypsy jazz, New Orleans jazz, Americana and rock and roll. And that’s only the ones we know about so far. To stayed tuned to the happenings with 2016’s Railroad Square Music Festival, check the website here. To see highlights of last year’s event, click on the video.
In the wake of the devastating Valley Fire that wreaked havoc on Lake, Napa and even parts of Sonoma County two months ago, community support has remained strong. One such support group is Love Lake County, who have helped organize relief efforts and events since September.
This weekend, Love Lake County hosts their next rocking charity event, with a gaggle of local acts taking the stage at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa to show support and gather funds for victims of the fire.
Santa Rosa rock band Girls & Boys will be bringing their energetic, power-packed music to the show. Currently finishing their sophomore album, Girls & Boys have been touring California the past year opening for Elvis Costello, Allen Stone, Goo Goo Dolls and Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers.
The Corner Store Kids will also be on hand, offering their lo-fi funk and jazz jams to get the dance floor grooving. Finally, soul funk outfit Marshall House Project are going to rock the night away with their uplifting sounds.
All proceeds go to Valley Fire victims, so get out and show Lake County some love tomorrow, Nov 7, at Arlene Francis Center. 99 Sixth St, Santa Rosa. Doors at 6pm, music at 8pm. $10-$20.
Northern California slacker-art house garage band the Imperfections fall somewhere between the Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth in the underground rock spectrum. Their heavy distortions screams rock and roll, yet their tight rhythms and addictive hooks display a pop sensibility that’s practically (college) radio friendly.
Active since 2013, the band already has two nicely fuzzed and noisy albums under their belt, and last month, the Imperfections released their latest single, “Maureen.” An upbeat and lo-fi ditty, this throwback power pop song is toe-tapping and sunny with an awesomely off-kilter guitar solo that gets slightly shoegazing.
Tonight, the band plays Spancky’s Bar in Cotati with fellow North bay acts Flyover States and Bucc Nyfe. You can get more details of the show by clicking here. And get in the mood by listening to the single below.
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.
The 6th year of the Rivertown Revival, the local, arts-based, community festival that highlights the Petaluma River and all of the amazing artists who call our county home, takes place on Saturday, July 18.
This year’s party includes an art boat race and parade, floating art barges and an all-day festival which highlights local music, art, food and drink and over 40 fabulous local vendors. The Rivertown Revival is sure to be 2015’s most unique and creative summer festival. The music lineup is, of course, packed; with several stages and tents offering up something for everyone, even the kids.
The lineup features Marshall House Project, Corner Store Kids, David Luning, the Crux, Royal Jelly Jive, Circus Maximus, the Dixie Giants, Sally Haggard, and so many more. For full details check iout the Rivertown Revival web page here.
Why is this blog called City Sound Inertia?
I’m destined to be asked this question sooner or later, so I may as well answer it in my first-ever blog posting.
In 2003, I put together a compilation CD of local Santa Rosa bands who, due to a variety of reasons (lack of press coverage, the nonexistence of MySpace), no one had heard outside of occasional house parties and dingy fly-by-night clubs. I wanted to remedy that. So I collected together 11 songs that I felt were best representative of Santa Rosa’s local music scene at the time, put them on a CD, and sold it for $2.99.
Lots of people, including those at the Bohemian (funny how life works out), took note; but unfortunately, more than a few people, while I was getting songs together, told me something along the lines of “that’s so great, man, ’cause this town sucks for music!”
It hurt. Those of you who know me also know that I’m awfully defensive about Santa Rosa, and by putting together the compilation I wanted to outline precisely that this town does not suck for music; in fact, there’s fantastic music in this town around every corner. It’s hard to get people to take notice of it, true, and being in a band can be a very uphill and very expensive battle, but year in and year out, good music seems to constantly prevail.
With that in mind, I gave the CD a title: City Sound Inertia.
Half the bands on the CD have broken up by now, but the compilation’s liner notes conveying my optimism still hold true. I wrote them quickly but passionately, and in essence, they apply to the future of this blog as well. Read on: