Brother Ali

Music Picks: November 28-December 4

Live music highlights for the week of Nov. 28, 2018

Brother Ali plays the Catalyst on Dec. 2.

Live music highlights for the week of Nov. 28, 2018




Misner and Smith are an eclectic folk duo whose vocal harmonies are chillingly beautiful, but also haunting—even foreboding. To really understand the diversity of influences of the group that covers a wide range of American songwriters, you should check out their latest project Headwaters. It’s an all-covers album made with the purpose of giving folks a little sneak behind their creative curtain. It includes songs written by Paul Simon, Neil Young, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Talking Heads, and Dr. Dog. They transform all of these songs with the group’s unique stirring folk sound. AARON CARNES

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-9777.



It’s hard to know which to admire more: Sue Foley’s confident, full-throttled guitar skills, or her sultry, kick ass vocals. The blues-rocker effortlessly struts from sweet-as-you-please rhythm and blues to fiery, whiskey-rasp roadhouse rock, even throwing in some Texas shuffle, because it ain’t no thing. Anyone with a pulse who hears Foley’s fevered heartbreak ballads will be smitten all the way down to their cowboy boots and immediately take to drinking bourbon. It’s just what happens when faced with an extraordinarily talented, guitar-slinging blueswoman. AMY BEE

INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854.





Just before the dawn of December, the Central Coast’s own Celtic folk trio Molly’s Revenge kick off the holiday season at Flynn’s with their special annual Winterdance show, with traditional (and new) Celtic Christmas songs. What makes Celtic music and Christmas go together so well? Maybe it’s the light-hearted melodies, the penny whistle, or the holiday’s pagan origins. Whatever the reason, Molly’s Revenge’s annual Winterdance is always the perfect opportunity to toast the ghosts of past and to kick off the new year. MAT WEIR

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Flynn’s Cabaret & Steakhouse, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $18/adv, $20/door. 335-2800.



Born and raised in São Paulo, Luciana Souza is one of the most expressive and versatile singers in jazz. Her recent album The Book of Longing stands out as an extraordinary achievement at a time when many of jazz’s leading artists have found inspiration in verse. With her luxuriantly velvet-smooth tone, she delivers her original compositions, creating incantatory songs from the prose and poetry of Emily Dickinson, Edna St . Vincent Millay, Christina Rossetti and Leonard Cohen. Joined by the acclaimed Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinheiro and bass virtuoso Scott Colley, Souza says she plans on mixing in uptempo pieces from the Brazilian songbook. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.





It’s impossible for Patti Maxine to add up how many shows she’s played in her 80 years on the planet. But in that time, the queen of the lap steel has played mostly on the sidelines: sitting in with other people, or as part of someone else’s band. It’s not often that she gets the spotlight. This pair of upcoming shows are particularly special because not only is Maxine the star, but it’s her 80th birthday party and the release of her debut album Steelin’ Home. She can play country, Hawaiian music, Western swing, and anything that a lap steel will make sound better, which is everything! AC

INFO: 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $25-35/adv, $30/door. 427-2227



Have your children shown an interest in the concrete business lately? If so, be on alert. If they’re anything like Tom Ralston—local concrete layer and award winning concrete artist—the cement game may just be the first step on that paved sidewalk leading to celebrated musical showmanship, 15-person bands, and the dusky AM pop of Hunky Dory era Bowie. It’s a tale as old as time, and one that Santa Cruzans can experience live when Tom Ralston and the All Star Band lays it down at the Rio Theatre this Saturday. MIKE HUGUENOR

INFO: 7 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $20. 423-8209.



The word legend gets thrown around a lot, but when it comes to Keak Da Sneak and his role in hip-hop, there’s no other way to describe him. Along with other Bay Area rappers like Mac Dre and E-40, Keak pioneered the hyphy movement—even down to coining the name. After building a career spanning two decades, he was almost taken in a flash last year when he was shot in a calculated attack. Lucky for us and hip-hop, they couldn’t kill the legend. He returns to the Catalyst with his “white shirt, blue jeans and Nikes.” Santa Cruz’s own Chris Rene will open. MW

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $16/adv, $20/door. 423-1338.





For almost two decades, Brother Ali has been one of the most uplifting and socially conscious voices in hip-hop. Ali comes to the Catalyst to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Shadows on the Sun, the flawless LP that made the Minneapolis emcee a bona fide heavyweight of the underground. With him is Busdriver, a genre-defying artist who just this June released the mammoth Electricity is on Our Side. Formless and bracing, Electricity is a wild ride through hip-hop’s outer edges, and an excellent compliment to Ali’s reverent boombap. MH

INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $24/door. 423-1338.



There’s a rawness to Sean Rowe’s folksy blues that comes through even when he’s singing a carefully arranged gospel tune. His rich voice is deep and growly, which couples well with clean, unpretentious lyrics that explore his relationship to nature, himself, and the concept of emotional legacy. Modestly layered instrumentation adds to the starkness of the songs, enhancing its vulnerability. A playful streak winds its way throughout, breaking up somber musings with moments of quiet surprise: an odd note here, an unusual vocal repetition there. Rowe has that sense of individuality all singer-songwriters strive for. AB

INFO: 9 p.m., Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $15. 429-6994.

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