BRYAN SUTTON BAND
Bluegrass is often about tradition. But sometimes, it’s about giving a middle finger to what came before. That’s where Bryan Sutton stands apart. You could say he’s a “new traditionalist.” He’s a student of the classic bluegrass techniques, clearly paying tribute to what paved the way. But his music doesn’t sound old. He’s a phenomenal player, long a sought-after sideman in Nashville’s competitive session musician scene. Now he’s creating something of his own, and man, it’s worth checking out. AARON CARNES
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
JOHN HANRAHAN QUARTET
A veteran of the creatively fecund Chicago jazz scene, Santa Cruz-based drummer John Hanrahan has made a strong impression in the area with his quartet’s galvanizing performances of John Coltrane’s prayerful masterpiece A Love Supreme. He gets an early start celebrating the golden anniversary of an epochal musical year with “Sounds from ’67—Miles to McCoy, Jimi to The Beatles,” a program celebrating some of the recordings that defined a transitional era, as rock embraced psychedelia and jazz musicians explored new structures and forms. Featuring saxophonist Jay Moynihan, pianist Brother John Kattke, and bassist Chris Bernhardt, Hanrahan’s quartet is a formidable unit capable of putting a personal stamp on compositions defined by iconic performances. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 427-2227.
DEAD WINTER CARPENTERS
The Lake Tahoe area has a small but thriving music scene, and one of its standout bands is Dead Winter Carpenters, a rootsy outfit that blends elements of Americana, progressive bluegrass and country with indie sensibilities and a touch of California psychedelic rock. The band has a reputation for high-energy performances that appeal to folkies and indie hipsters alike, and has been credited with helping to redefine string music. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.
GYPSY ROCK & AMERICANA
DIEGO’S UMBRELLA AND THE SAM CHASE
San Francisco band Diego’s Umbrella blends traditional Eastern European sounds with traces of flamenco, ska, and polka, for what can only be described as “gypsy music.” Over a decade of international touring has given the band a refined sound, but each performance boasts the youthful energy of a sweaty punk rock pit, featuring a robust percussion section and ample accordion—if you’ve been craving an opportunity to enthusiastically make a fool of yourself on the dance floor, this is it. Sharing the bill is fellow San Francisco native Sam Chase, with his six-piece band the Untraditional. Chase’s powerful voice and dynamic range makes a compelling vessel for his emotional Americana music. Lyrical themes involve whiskey, women, and journeys through the great unknown. KATIE SMALL
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
VOODOO GLOW SKULLS
On Voodoo Glow Skulls’ second album, Firme, released in 1995, the group recorded a song in Spanish called “El Coo Cooi”—“Boogeyman.” The ska-punk ensemble then re-recorded the whole record in Spanish, at a time when that was pretty much unheard of in the scene. Now, there are Spanish (or Spanglish) bands in the U.S. playing every alternative style imaginable. Voodoos’ Spanish record even predates Ozomatli. All that aside, Voodoo is a phenomenal high-energy ska-punk band that has carved out a sound unlike any of their ’90s ska-punk peers: lots of distortion, shouting hardcore vocals, and bright, chirpy brass. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $13/adv, $15/door. 429-4135.
Hailed as one of the best new music string quartets, the JACK Quartet has established itself as a standout of the contemporary classical music scene. On Friday, the quartet collaborates with local contemporary gamelan group Lightbulb Ensemble on three new pieces, plus a performance of local composer Brian Baumbusch’s piece “Hydrogen(2)Oxygen” from October 2015. For fans of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, this performance offers a another opportunity to see a world-class new music in our own backyard. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High St., Santa Cruz. $8/students, $20/gen. More info: indexical.org.
FRIDAY 1/13 AND SATURDAY 1/14
Alternative rock meets reggae in Iration, a five-piece collective formed in 2006. Four of the five members grew up together in Hawaii, before reconnecting in Santa Barbara, where they got their start playing college parties at Cal Poly SLO, Chico State and UC Davis. Iration is hailed as the leading group in the subgenre of “sunshine reggae”—reggae with tropical vibes. Back in Santa Cruz by popular demand, the group will headline two nights at the Catalyst, joined onstage by Protoje, a Jamaican singer/songwriter who combines his unique hip-hop lyrical style with reggae and dub beats, backed by his band the Indiggnation. KS
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $27.50. 429-4135.
You say you’re not going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year, but we both know you will. So, when you get to mid-January and you’re already back to overeating, overdrinking, and over-whatever else you shouldn’t be doing, don’t just mope about it. Get out and dance your blues away; Sweet Plot’s funkified Southern rock will get you in the right state of mind. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
Singer-songwriter John McCutcheon is a master of the hammered dulcimer, but he doesn’t stop there. A longstanding favorite of folkies, McCutcheon is a celebrated multi-instrumentalist—Johnny Cash called him “the most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard,”—whose skillset extends to guitar, banjo, autoharp, fiddle, jaw harp and more. Described as more of an author than a journalist, McCutcheon brings the stories of everyday people to life through his songs and entertaining storytelling. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. $18-$35. 423-1626.
IN THE QUEUE
Award-winning, cowboy singer-songwriter. Thursday at Don Quixote’s
Electro synth-pop out of Los Angeles. Thursday at Catalyst
Santa Cruz’s favorite Afro-Brazilian party band. Saturday at Moe’s Alley
SLESS, SEARS, MOLO, BARRACO & SKENE
Jam band supergroup. Sunday at Don Quixote’s
Florida-based rapper with a penchant for R&B and anime. Monday at Catalyst