Music highlights for the week of December 6, 2017.
Described as a cross between Bonnie Raitt, the Civil Wars and Lady Antebellum, Gypsy Soul adds a multicultural perspective to the mix that sets them a class apart. Comprising singer-songwriter Cilette Swann and multi-instrumentalist Roman Morykit, the duo is now in its 20th year as an independent touring and recording act. Gypsy Soul returns to Santa Cruz to perform “A Gift Within the Song,” a collection of traditional holiday songs reworked in acoustic rock and blues styles. The evening promises to be a soul-stirring, inspiring affair. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $17. 335-2800.
McCoy Tyler has always worked hard to weave together many influences to create impactful music. The local singer-songwriter’s background of rock, metal, bluegrass and who-knows-what-else informs his unique approach to the singer-songwriter Americana style. For “26,” the lead single on his latest album, he’s created a picture of the day-to-day struggle that all of us are dealing with by telling several stories of hardship that speak to that larger truth. This new self-titled album is a powerful entry into his already exceptional discography. He’s backed by the Coffis Brothers, who gel with his style perfectly. Kelly McFarling opens the show. AC
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $7/adv, $10/door. 479-1854.
Does the idea of bagpipes make you think of Christmas? If that’s the case, you need to be at the Winterdance. Hell, even if you don’t, you might still want to spend the evening hearing traditional Scottish and Irish Christmas carols. The Winterdance is an annual concert held by local purveyors of Celtic music, Molly’s Revenge. They always play new and old Christmas songs. Let’s just say it’s not a stuffy affair. Joining them this year will be guest vocalist Christa Burch and the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers. AC
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $22. 335-2800.
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
The son of Steve Earle, JTE has made his own name with a decade’s worth of records—and in the Bay Area, years of playing the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. By blending a hearty mixture of blues, rock, country, folk and more, he creates a style that ranges from a good ol’ time to the kind of introspection that follows heartbreak. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1208 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $26.25/gen, $36.75/gold. 423-8209.
Peter Rowan is well-known as a bluegrass artist, first landing a spot in Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys in the mid-’60s. But Rowan’s musical interest and technical expertise aren’t limited to bluegrass—or even American roots music, for that matter. On his latest album, this year’s My Aloha!, Rowan digs into the roots of Hawaiian music and emerges with 11 original tunes that borrow from island traditions and blend with contemporary folk, bluegrass and classic country. The result is a showcase of the interconnected roots of all of these styles. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $40/gold. 427-2227.
The Itals are one of most important ’70s roots reggae bands still actively touring. And more importantly, they still record new music. The last album that the Jamaican group put out was 2015’s Let’s Get It On, which is a tribute to classic R&B songs. Old Jamaican music from the ’50s and early ’60 was largely influenced by American R&B, though they flipped the beat to make it their own. On the Itals tribute to the genre, they cover a lot of soul and R&B from the late ’60s and ’70s, and it works splendidly. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.
As co-founder of Denver-based indie-rock band Paper Bird, Esmé Patterson established the band as a regional standout. After four albums with the band, however, she struck out on her own to pursue a solo career. Fast-forward a few years and Patterson has relocated to Portland, Oregon, branched out into rock and psych territory, and caught the attention of the New York Times, the Guardian, David Letterman and more. Her latest album, We Were Wild, sees Patterson taking her time—the album took a year to complete—and digging deeper into her own life and perspective. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $13/adv, $15/door. 423-1338.
MIKE STERN BAND with RANDY BRECKER AND DAVE WECKL
While everything about guitarist Mike Stern’s band screams “power chops,” this rock/jazz fusion icon has always been more interested in creating something beautiful than in blowing the socks off of his audiences. A superb foil for Miles Davis during the trumpeter’s early 1980s reemergence, Stern possesses a singularly searing sound that can wail, whisper or sweetly croon. He’s joined by trumpet great Randy Brecker, a player who combines puckish humor, grandeur and slashing wit, and much-imitated drummer Dave Weckl, who gained fame during his 1980s stint in the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Though he’s not billed, bassist Tom Kennedy is also a creative force whether playing standup or electric, and his long standing rhythm section partnership with Weckl makes him an ideal choice for this tour. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 & 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.
THE GROUCH & DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN
For 11 years, hip-hop guru the Grouch, has been stealing stages during the holidays with a who’s-who cast of DJs and MCs straight outta Whoville. This year he takes Bay Area lyricist and friend Del the Funky Homosapien out on the road for a one-of-a-kind festive treat for hip-hop heads. If you’ve been particularly naughty this year, buy a pair of tickets for your special someone and show them you care. They might even say your heart grew three sizes that day. MW
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $29/door. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
Funk and soul outfit from Seattle. Wednesday at Moe’s Alley
Eclectic rock out of Oakland. Thursday at Crepe Place
Legendary, Cleveland-based rap group. Friday at Catalyst
Classic rock Christmas music. Saturday at Rio Theatre
Tribute to the late, great Tom Petty. Saturday at Catalyst