In a recent blog post, singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault writes, “I fished every day for a week straight and forgot about working. I didn’t miss it.” He goes on to describe the rugged shape of his hands, time disappearing, and standing in the spring runoff. In reading the words, one can’t help feel spacious and grounded—and so it goes with Foucault, who has been writing and singing for so long that he’s closing the distance between himself and the greats who paved the way for him: Townes, John Prine, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, Greg Brown and more. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $18. 335-2800.
Apart from Jamaican artists in the 1960s, U.K.’s the Specials have been the most influential (and arguably) best group to wave the ska flag. Guitarist Roddy Radiation was never the Special who got the most attention, but he penned three of their best tunes: “Concrete Jungle,” “Rat Race” and “Little Rich Girl.” Within the Specials’ diverse cast of characters, he was the punk—in fact Elvis Costello, who produced the Specials’ first record, thought he was too punk. Since the Specials dissolved, Roddy’s had an on-again, off-again career involving both ska and punked-up rockabilly—and, at his best, a combination of both styles. Check him out with his own group, and marvel at just what an amazing, underrated guitarist he is. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE
After a decade of music, Memphis May Fire is still pulling tricks out of its sleeves. Earlier this year, the band announced that its fifth full-length album will be dropped later this year, and then embarked on a month-long, nationwide tour. Not bad for a band who has survived the not-so-accepted metalcore genre. Matty Mullins’ dynamic vocals range from brutal death metal screams to crescendoing harmonies with Kellen McGregor’s backing vocals. MAT WEIR
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Catalyst Club, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $23/door. 429-4135.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Wild Reeds blends folk and roots with rock and ethereal pop to create a down-home sound with a bit of L.A. edginess to it. But the remarkable thing about this band is its impeccable sense of harmony. Fronted by Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva, Wild Reeds is a showcase for the trio’s tight, perfectly placed three-part harmonies that break from tradition to create something a little darker, heavier, and less predictable. Highly recommended if you like the Be Good Tanyas. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
KYLE JESTER BLUES SHOW
Kyle Jester might’ve been born in San Diego, but he picked up some of his chops while living in Chicago. Now that he’s back in the Bay Area, Jester cooks up hot licks that continue to keep the original blues and R&B genres alive. One night with him and listeners are taken on a journey through time with original numbers that sound straight out of the ’50s and ’60s, and a few familiar covers. Set in the ambiance of the Pocket, this is the closest anyone will get to the roadhouse jams grampy always talked about. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. The Pocket, 3102 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 475-9819.
There’s a reason Michael Jackson is considered the King of Pop. He was an amazing singer, an incredible dancer, and an overall phenomenal performer. So it makes sense that Foreverland, the area’s leading MJ tribute band, is a 14-piece ensemble. Four of those members tackle lead vocals. That’s the kind of range Jackson had. The group covers Jackson’s entire career, starting with the Jackson Five. Sure, nothing will ever compare to the real deal, and there will never be another King of Pop, but for anyone looking for a close second, Foreverland makes for a great night out. AC
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $17/adv, $20/door. 335-2800.
A singer-songwriter with a butter-melting warm voice, an emotional fearlessness, and a deep and soulful delivery, Matt Andersen is one of the treasures of the contemporary folk-rock scene. He’s already an award-winning, well-known artist in his native New Brunswick, and his star is starting to shine around the world as audiences discover the magnetic power of his music and performances. His latest offering, Honest Man, has been described as a “watershed album full of transcendent musical moments that should elevate the songwriter from internationally acclaimed to world renowned.” CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $9/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.
ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ TRIO
Quincy Jones has proven to be a savvy mentor for Alfredo Rodriguez. Since first hearing the conservatory-trained Cuban pianist at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, the legendary producer has helped turn Rodriguez into one of the most visible and creatively unfettered Cuban musicians in the U.S. Based in Los Angeles, the pianist has released a series of increasingly expansive albums, with the new Tocororo incorporating sounds from South India, Argentina, Spain, the Middle East, and beyond. His exceptional trio will be joined by special guest Ganavya Doraiswamy, an extravagantly gifted Carnatic vocalist also steeped in jazz. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.
There isn’t a long history of artists from Malaysia cracking the U.S. Billboard charts. That’s only one of the things that makes singer-songwriter Yuna so unique. She started writing music at the age of 14, but the rest of the world first became aware of her in 2011, and she’s built a cult fan base over the past five years. She sounds on one hand like indie darling Feist, and on the other like U.K. R&B starlet Amy Winehouse. As she’s gotten bigger, with more access to studio polish, she’s been able to do so in a way that highlights rather than buries the beautiful simplicity of her music. AC
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $16/adv, $19/door. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
BRUCE FORMAN TRIO
California jazz guitarist. Thursday at Kuumbwa
PLATEAU DIXIELAND BAND
Santa Cruz-based Dixieland and jazz outfit. Thursday at Crepe Place
THE RECORD COMPANY
Blues and punk-fueled rock ’n’ roll. Friday at Moe’s Alley
Indie-folk out of Portland, Oregon. Friday at Catalyst
Renowned singer-songwriter, musician and actor. Sunday at Don Quixote’s