“The heart of the ocean beats in mine,” The Gembrokers confess on the stripped-down track “Mountain Lion,” off their 2012 self-titled release. This notion—a tranquil, undulating heartbeat—permeates the trio’s sound. But unlike the sea, which has existed since the beginning of time, The Gembrokers came together just four and a half years ago, when Dorothy (guitar/banjo/autoharp/harmonica) saw two people—Chelsea (slide guitar/fiddle) and Amelia (guitar/banjo/accordion/fiddle) – playing music in a UC Santa Cruz meadow.
“I grabbed my guitar and introduced myself, and then we just started playing music immediately, before we even knew each other,” recalls Dorothy. Since that day, the three have established a distinctive brand of acoustic folk carried by a bewitching blend of tri-vocals. “There’s something about playing with Amelia and Chelsea … it really hits my heart,” Dorothy muses. “We create a space with each other that is inviting to really let go.” This special realm is inspired by everything from classic American folk to music with Eastern European, Irish and Celtic roots. Dorothy adds, “I think a lot of our music comes out of a place of struggle, particularly about defending the earth and protection of the earth. [Our new record] is kind of ominous and dark, but it’s also uplifting, and definitely by the end of the album, it’s a complete journey. There’s a lot of that [earth-related] imagery like there was in the first album, but it’s a lot more dynamic musically.” At the end of May, The Gembrokers will release the aforementioned sophomore record—Bury The Sound—recorded at an all-analog studio in San Francisco. After the release—and playing the Northwest Folklife Festival—the band will tour Europe with Blackbird Raum. Catch them while you can, Friday at The Crepe Place.
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, April 26. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.