Live music highlights for the week of July 26, 2017.
Drake White is what happens if your favorite rugged roots artist became a big country star. The Alabama-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter has a knack for crafting catchy pop-country tunes that stay with you long after you hear them, and he’s one of the emerging darlings of the radio country scene. But White has a multi-dimensionality that sets him apart from the canned country some American roots music fans steer hard away from. Though he’s a chart-topping artist, he has a vibe that feels more underground roots hero than polished-up Nashville showman. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.
There’s a reason reggae fanatics refer to Marcia Griffiths as the empress of reggae music. You’ve heard her strong, yet smooth voice on several of Bob Marley’s most iconic songs. Starting in 1974, she, Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt formed the I Threes, the backing vocalists for Bob Marley and the Wailers. Their harmonies were a huge part of what elevated Marley’s later work. Griffiths was already a well-known singer before backing Marley. She’s continued to carry the flame of this music. This is her first performance at Moe’s. She’ll be backed by the legendary Sly & Robbie and The Taxi Gang. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
CAMINOS FLAMENCOS PRESENTS SOLO FLAMENCO
Flamenco guitar is typically presented as an archaic form of traditional music suitable only for background music at high-end Spanish restaurants. But the genre has been evolving. Newer forms of the music, called Nuevo Flamenco, get blended with jazz, Middle Eastern, rock, and bossa nova. Caminos Flamencos, a nonprofit in San Francisco, seeks to bridge the gap between traditional and Nuevo Flamenco. They are bringing their show Solo Flamenco to the Kuumbwa. The music for this event is composed and arranged by Caminos Flamencos guitarist El Rubio, and choreographed by Yaelisa. It’ll be an evening that includes cross-generational flamenco guitar, raw and improvised. AC
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 #2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227
Working at the “unusual intersection where music and motherhood meet,” singer-songwriter Amanda West takes an existential approach to crafting songs. Through her music, she explores what it means to be human and how to fully live the life we’re given—something West contemplated deeply after surviving a serious car accident. A longtime musician who grew up singing and playing, West blends folk music styles and a sweet voice with consciousness about social and environmental issues, and a drive to embrace music as a form of personal and cultural healing. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $20. 703-4183.
Moe’s afternoon blues series has been doing a great job of bringing in blues legends at a reasonable hour. This week, it features blues-rock singer/guitarist Jimmy Thackery, who’s been tearing up stages since the early ’70s. He started at 14 with Washington D.C,’s the Nighthawks, who gave blues a hard-driving roots-rock edge. Thackery went solo in 1986. His music is much closer to the blues, complemented by his weathered voice that sounds like a man on the edge trying to hold himself up with what little strength he has left. AC
INFO: 4 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
EAGLE ROCK GOSPEL SINGERS
You don’t hear the names Washington Phillips, the Dixie Hummingbirds and Sister Rosetta Tharpe thrown around too much these days. But the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers aim to change that. Hailing from Los Angeles, the group began as a loose collective of more than a dozen friends and has evolved into an outfit of six committed artists. By reviving the roots of the gospel music, the Singers introduce the spirit and music to new audiences. The group also works to bridge the divide between today’s American roots and gospel-influenced acts, such as the Black Keys and Wilco, and the pioneers that popularized the genre. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.
LAVAY SMITH & HER RED HOT SKILLET LICKERS
Although big bandleader and jazz legend, Edward “Duke” Ellington, has been dead for the past 43 years, his mark on American music is immortal—and Lavay Smith knows this. The Californian jazz and blues singer—along with her “little big band,” the eight-piece Red Hot Skillet Lickers—will celebrate the maestro’s biggest hits and hidden gems. MW
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.
What do you think of when someone says “extreme metal?” If, for some reason, your answers are “France” and “environmental-themed lyrics,” then you are in luck, ’cause Gojira is coming to town. The band has gone from cult sensation to a big star in the metal scene in recent years, crafting a sound that is both fire-in-your-belly intense and extremely accessible, with catchy scream-sings, anthemic choruses, and technically proficient, high-speed chops. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
MARTY O’REILLY & THE OLD SOUL ORCHESTRA
Homegrown roots, rock, gospel and blues. Thursday at Crepe Place
Legendary Los Angeles-based rock and roll band. Friday at Beach Boardwalk
LA MISA NEGRA
Eight-piece cumbia outfit out of Oakland. Saturday at Moe’s Alley
Psychedelic roots-rock. Saturday at Don Quixote’s
TAKING BACK SUNDAY
Emo and post-punk from Long Island. Monday at Catalyst