Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for the week of Feb. 19
RON ARTIS II AND THE TRUTH
Singer songwriter Ron Artist II has a backing band called the Truth. He also has a song called “The Truth.” On it, he rips through funk music at about twice the speed of James Brown’s “Get on Up”—and his band somehow manages to play it flawlessly and funky. As impressive as his hyperspeed funk is, what’s more amazing is his range. He plays downtempo bluesy tunes, soul, and even strums several easy going acoustic songs that will make you think of Jack Johnson or Ben Harper. AC
INFO: 8pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
MICHAEL DOUCET & SARAH QUINTANA
Arguably the most renowned musician in modern Cajun music, Michael Doucet is not only the recipient of multiple Grammy awards but also the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship. On “Water, Water,” the first single from this year’s solo outing Lacher Prise (“Let it Go”), the Louisianian fiddler surrenders to nature’s whims, coaxing a fine mid-tempo groove out of a song about being flooded in bayou water. Doucet is joined by guitarist/songwriter Sarah Quintana, whose soulful voice buoys the spirits of “Water, Water.” MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 7:30pm. Michael’s On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $22 adv/$25 door. 479-9777.
Whether you call it “California Country” (or “Diet Country” as Mira Goto calls it), there’s no denying that Los Gatos native Goto has a knack for good ol’ fashioned singing, songwriting and storytelling. Currently a resident of Nashville, Goto returns to our neck of the woods. Her music is a staple around these parts and can be heard frequently on KPIG. This homecoming show is also Goto’s record release party for her latest album, Nobody Warned Me. MAT WEIR
INFO: 7:30pm. Michaels at Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $10. 479-9777.
Be careful with your heartstrings around Kris Delmhorst, or they may just get tugged. With a voice like Sarah McLachlan or Nicki Bluhm, Delmhorst sings a kind of forlorn folk populated with heroes straight out of a Willy Vlautin novel: denim-clad dreamers who walk dusty country roads looking for something like home. 2017’s The Wild (her most recent) finds the songwriter opening up sonically, creating spacious soundscapes that evoke an American wilderness living both out there in the land, as well as in the dark interior of the heart. MH
INFO: 9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 429-6994.
THE COWTOWN SERENADERS
The musical saw is the perfect instrument for Arcata’s Cowtown Serenaders. They harken back to the simplicity of early Americana, both in their makeshift acoustic music and their knack for DIY theatrics and vivid storytelling. The group isn’t necessarily a time capsule of this bygone era; they use it as a background for their theatrical performances and push to move Americana into the new millennium. AC
INFO: 8pm. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek. $20/adv, $25/door. 703-4183.
Eddie Pepitone would like to kindly remind you that the rich have been, um, “screwing” us all since the dawn of Capitalism. “They were [screwing] us back then,” he says in a Comedy Central Special, “but now they’ve drugged us, they have us in a trunk, they’re making us dig our own graves.” But that’s not the only screwing going on, because Pepitone couches this social history lesson within an anecdote about losing his virginity to his college history teacher. It’s smart, but it’s also filthy, and screaming at you. What’s not to like? MH
INFO: 7 and 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S River St, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 900-5123.
LEON THE GOD
Some rappers go for that laid-back, weed-soaked sound, but New Orleans emcee Leon the God takes that sound and dials it down another 10 notches. Leon brings literally the lowest key beats you’ve ever heard—but it won’t put you to sleep. He spits clever verses while hyping you up to groove your hips along to the slow-grinding beat. AC
INFO: 9pm. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 423-7117.
Over his 55 years in the industry, J.D. Souther has floated from behind the scenes to in the public eye to back behind the scenes. Heavily influenced by Roy Orbison, Souther co-wrote some of the Eagles’ biggest hits (“New Kid In Town,” “How Long,” “Best of My Love”) after becoming friends with Glenn Frey. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he would cut his own solo albums, scoring his biggest solo hit with 1979’s “You’re Only Lonely,” and collaborating with friends like James Taylor. But throughout it all, Souther continued to pen hit songs for Don Henley, Linda Ronstadt, George Strait and Roy Orbison. MW
INFO: 8pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $40. 423-8209.
A gamine singer who combines probing literary intelligence, a good feel for understatement, and a finely calibrated emotional palette, Stacey Kent has honed a fascinating repertoire that includes original songs with her husband, British saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, and celebrated British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. She sounds glorious on her latest album, I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions, but she’s just as effective in small group settings. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $47.25/adv, $52.50/door. 427-2227.