Music highlights for the week of January 17, 2018.
I have no idea what the roots music scene is like in Stillwater, New Jersey, but if Railroad Earth is any indication, the rural town has it going on. Formed in 2001, the Americana/newgrass band with a penchant for jamming made a splash almost as soon as it was formed, performing at the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival that same year. Led by singer-songwriter/frontman Todd Sheaffer, Railroad Earth has released a steady stream of albums since then, each of them capturing the upbeat, downhome fusion of traditional techniques and contemporary delivery. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 8 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $28/adv, $34/door. 423-1338.
EVE OF EDEN
Aliza Hava wants you to get back to the garden with her local group Eve of Eden. The music brings to mind the fusion of spiritualism and psychedelic folk-rock that used to populate Haight Street in the Summer of Love. But Eve of Eden is no retro psych-rock band. The group’s most recent EP, Songs for Social Change, comments on issues relevant to today’s complex political climate, like opening track “Water to Fire,” a song for Standing Rock. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.
ERICA SUNSHINE LEE
If Erica Sunshine Lee isn’t a household name to country music fans, that’s about to change. Nicknamed the Georgia Gypsy because of her rural upbringing, she now resides in the heart of the music genre’s home—Nashville—and has taken the underground scene by storm. Not your dad’s country, her voice is as warm as the Southern sun with a twangy-kick that will have you searching for a lime chaser. Her prolific writing saw the release of her eighth studio album, Buried Treasure, last August and her relentless touring led Skope magazine to call her “one of modern country music’s hardest working performers.” Just like her song, “Drinking and Praying,” Lee is one part wild woman, one part good girl and all parts sassy country. MAT WEIR
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 S Main St., Soquel. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-9777.
Clearly any band that would name themselves STRFKR doesn’t take themselves all that seriously. Band leader Josh Hodges has described the band’s mission in the past: “Good pop songs, but also you can dance to it.” Well, it’s been a decade that Hodges has been making music under the moniker, and on his latest, Being No One, Going Nowhere, he’s exploring Eastern philosophy, his personal identity, and his place in the grand universe. Not exactly mindless fun, but it’s still great dance music. And hey, you can think about deeper issues of your mortality while you get your groove on. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $22.50/adv, $25/door. 429-4135.
THE SAM CHASE & HILLSTOMP
Named the Best Band in the 2013 SF Weekly’s Readers’ Poll, the Sam Chase is one of the ambassadors of Bay Area roots music. With a big, soulful delivery, a solid musical foundation and a fearlessness around taking on tough topics, the band is a favorite of local music lovers for good reason. This Friday, the band is joined by Hillstomp, a must-see “junkbox blues” duo whose DIY approach to making music—think cardboard boxes and car parts—predates most of those garage blues bands that are all the rage these days. If you take your roots music with a healthy dose of punk rock attitude running through it, this evening promises to be just your thing. CJ
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $10/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.
It’s unclear whether the members of Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin are lesbians—and it’s beside the point. As lead guitarist Steph Paynes, who pays proper respect to Jimmy Page with her blistering guitarwork, said in an interview with Today, “It’s better to keep it all a mystery, and in the end it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the music.” In a sea of rock tribute bands, Lez Zeppelin stands out for its longevity—the band has been together since 2004—technical skills and ass-kicking stage show. Author Chuck Klosterman suggested that the band might be “the most powerful all-female band in rock history.” As such, the band’s reach extends far beyond the LGBTQ community. “There is some gay and lesbian following,” Paynes explains, “but it’s mostly just a Led Zeppelin following.” CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $26/gen, $36/gold. 423-8209.
In the late 1970s, Michael Rose joined the iconic reggae group Black Uhuru as their lead singer. Over his 10 years with the band, their success blossomed with international acclaim, earning them the first reggae Grammy Award. But even after he left the band in the late 1980s, Rose continued to amaze critics and fans alike with his more than 30 solo albums to date. Opening for Rose with their own blend of thanks and praise is local reggae favorite Ancestree. MW
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
JASON MARSALIS QUARTET
Jason Marsalis first made a name for himself as a drummer eager to explore an array of African diaspora rhythms with Los Hombres Calientes. He refined his touch working extensively with two master pianists, his father Ellis Marsalis and Marcus Roberts. But about a decade ago he decided to exchange his drum sticks for vibraphone mallets, and he’s been leading a quietly sensational quartet ever since. Now known as Jason Marsalis & the 21st Century Trad Band, the combo features bassist Will Goble, pianist Austin Johnson and drummer David Potter, the same longtime collaborators featured on his new album Melody Reimagined, Book 1 (Basin Street Records). ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 427-2227.
GREEN LEAF RUSTLERS
Chris Robinson can’t be stopped. The Black Crowes/Chris Robinson Brotherhood singer-songwriter is constantly on the road and in the studio. And fans keep supporting his projects. This January, he’s playing six shows with a new one, Green Leaf Rustlers. It’s an all-star project with Mother Hips’ Greg Loiacono, Barry Sless, Pete Sears, and John Molo. The group will do two sets. They’ll play select cover tunes and material from their respective individual catalogs. Will this be an ongoing project or just a one-off six show tour? Who knows? Better go to the Felton show just in case. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $25. 335-2800.
IN THE QUEUE
Bay Area all-female garage rock outfit. Wednesday at Crepe Place
Mexico’s “King of Cumbia.” Thursday at Moe’s Alley
THIS SAXOPHONE KILLS FASCISTS
Free jazz. Friday at Radius Gallery
James Brown tribute band. Saturday at Don Quixote’s
West Coast folk and rock. Tuesday at Catalyst