Liz Cooper

Music Picks: May 8-16

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 8, 2019

Nashville's Liz Cooper plays the Catalyst on Saturday, May 11

Santa Cruz live music highlights for the week of May 8, 2019




Since 1984, Jamaican reggae artist Cocoa Tea has delivered a mix of roots reggae and dancehall to open ears all over the world. But it wasn’t until the early 1990s that his fame hit internationally with the release of his Oil Ting album all about the First Gulf War. It was banned in the U.K. but made it to the top of the charts in the U.S. MAT WEIR

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. 479-1854.





One of the first times Eugene, Oregon, singer-songwriter Jaron Yancey got stoned, he jammed out on the guitar with his drummer friend Chubs for 15 minutes. That whole time, Yancey strummed the A, G and E chords and Chubs grooved along, and they just felt the power of psych-blues. This stoned jam session is also the moment that Yancey knew that he wanted to pursue music full-time. You can hear that love of all things sonic in his current tunes, with psychedelic, loose grooves that are grounded in the blues—but aren’t particularly grounded at all. It’s like the slowest, trippiest Pink Floyd stuff you can picture. AARON CARNES

INFO: 9 p.m. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.



Had it been recorded in 1970, “Catch Me I’m Falling,” the lead single from Kelly Finnigan’s debut solo album, would probably have been on the Jackie Brown soundtrack. With its vibraphone and falsetto, the song aims for a spot right there next to the Delfonics, Bloodstone and Eddie Holman. The longtime singer of Bay Area soul group the Monophonics, Kelly Finnegan has spent the last 15 years developing a sound that is true to the classics, without sounding stuck in the past. Now backed by a new band, he’s breathing new life into Morpheus’s favorite music genre, neo-soul. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12 adv/$15 door. 479-1854.





Nashville singer-songwriter Liz Cooper writes music that sounds like that quiet little moment of feel-good solitude you get when you’re driving by yourself. But of course, it wouldn’t sound so perfectly breezy without the assistance of her backing band Stampede. I know what you’re thinking—sounds like country music. But actually, Cooper writes folk-rock with a flair of beach-bop, psych and an almost-microscopic dose of country. It’s complicated music that will suit you on you loneliest of moments when you need to sort out some feelings while still feeling good to just be alive. AC

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $10 adv/$12 door. 423-1338.



Comedy duo and sisters Tiffany and Danielle Puterbaugh (of Chicago’s Entertaining Julia fame) have a thing for absurd and ridiculous subjects, be it the nefarious implications behind naming a store Forever 21 or how great everything seems when one is getting laid a lot. They share the stage and riff back and forth, often egging each other on and cracking each other up with zany characterizations and silly voices. The Puterbaugh Sisters are all about making sure everyone has fun, often spurring crazy impromptu dance parties after their performance. AMY BEE

INFO: 7:30 and 10 p.m., DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 River St., Santa Cruz. $20 adv/$25 door. (530) 592-5250,





With the voice of an angel, it’s a surprise folk singer Olivia Millerschin isn’t more of a household name. Then again, this early 20-something still has plenty of time to get her music out there. Besides constantly touring, she was a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent and has not one, but two John Lennon Songwriting awards. Like Lennon, Millerschin combines a classic folksy style with modern pop sensibilities for a sound that is deep and emotional. MW

INFO: 8 p.m. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy. 9, Boulder Creek. $20-$25. 703-4183.





Daytime beach parties eventually evolve into nighttime bonfires. As things get cozy in front of the fire, it’s time for some Spooky Mansion to turn those playful surf-rock riffs into an edgier, more torrid sound. Not exactly spooky, unless you’re sitting just a tad too far away from the flames, but definitely darker, and sexier. AB

INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 429-6994.



As a pianist, composer and bandleader, Eddie Palmieri has been at the center of New York’s Latin music scene for more than six decades. After making a name for himself at the Palladium, the dance hall that served as homebase for the era’s greatest Latin dance bands, he introduced a revolutionary brass-powered sound with his ensemble La Perfecta. He’s been an innovative force ever since, both as a composer and a rhythmic dynamo on stage, where his percussive attack and harmonic voicings reveal his abiding love of Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50 adv/$47.25 door. 427-2227.





Though the band’s biggest U.S. hit might have been a cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” the Cowboy Junkies have always been about earnest self-expression. In an era of digitization, the group remained rootsy, opting out of fancy studios and recording its first two albums with a single microphone. The second, The Trinity Sessions, broke the band through to the mainstream with its loose and Reed-esque version of country, folk and blues music. Made up of three siblings (and a friend), the Junkies have grown, but never changed, as evidenced by last year’s All That Reckoning. MH

INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $35 general/$50 gold circle. 423-8209.

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