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Couches, Concerts and Caffeine

blog_noise_UglyMugHow to book the acoustic music series at the Ugly Mug
In today’s high-tech music market, sometimes you just can’t trust what you hear. Consider the ease with which artists can produce their own tracks bursting with string quartets, drum lines and back-up gospel choirs. These days CDs can sometimes lie, and Dick Brundle and Marky Starks fancy their music more on the truth side. Producers of the bi-monthly acoustic music series at the Ugly Mug in Soquel (4640 Soquel Drive), Dick and Marky don’t want your CD, preferring to see what you can do live before presenting you to their ultra music-loving audiences.

Veterans of the Santa Cruz music scene, Dick runs Fiddling Cricket Music, which specializes in arranging acoustic music events in intimate settings, while Marky runs The Canyon Acoustic Society, a venue for house concerts, workshops and jamming.

With a longstanding open mic on Monday nights, the Ugly Mug has never been a stranger to supporting live music. Upping the ante, owner Steve Volk began collaborating with the acoustic music series about two years ago. Usually running on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, the series hosts a wide variety of genres including folk, traditional, bluegrass, old time, blues, Americana, Celtic, world music and eclectic mixes. Tickets are always $10 and the artist always gets the lion’s share of proceeds from the door. Doors typically open at 7 p.m. and shows run from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Food, beer and, of course, coffee are available at shows while, mercifully, laptops are banned during the performances.

The café feels full and everyone is happy if an artist can bring in about 30 to 40 people, although at their recent Sharon Allen show, more than 50 eager fans were able to squeeze in the door. On Wednesday, Dec. 15 the series will host Americana singer-songwriter Christie McCarthy, a recent Santa Cruz transplant by way of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Athens, Georgia.

If you’re interested in being part of this series that’s more old-school than iPod, Dick and Marky recommend heading over to the Ugly Mug and meeting the crew in person. Take the time to make an investment in the community they are creating, experience the venue first hand and then email them your live video or track for future consideration.

It is dedicated music fans like Dick Brundle and Marky Starks who are keeping the acoustic music tradition alive and well in Santa Cruz—and that’s the truth.

For more details on how to book the Acoustic Music Series at the Ugly Mug, click here.

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