Guitarist and producer Matthew Molarius likens The Redwoods Revue to a collective of talent that performs together in various solo projects and bands – think Stax meets the Wrecking Crew.
“We develop our albums using the same players across all the different records on our label,” Molarius explains. “The Redwoods Revue takes over a venue and the band will stay on stage all night, but we’ll change the lighting and projections so there’s a whole different experience based around the singer.”
The San Diego-based outfit will feature two Redwoods Music artists, Birdy Bardot and The Midnight Pine, with Shelbi Bennett, at Fernwood Resort. The performance follows The Redwood Revue’s third visit to BottleRock in Napa Valley. This year, soul-infused Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact perform the large-scale, wine-happy festival.
Back to Birdy Bardot (the stage name of Emily Reilly): She has a voice that is made for garage rock with a psychedelic branch hanging twistedly from a folky Laurel Canyon oak tree. On the ethereal and soulful “Slowly Know Me” (featuring Dani Bell) off the full-length Birdy Bardot II, Bardot marries otherworldly Aimee Mann vocal phrasing to Liz Phair angst and Nico’s mesmerizing nihilism.
The singer’s voice is cloaked in jazzy blotter noir: organ, drums, guitar and background vocal effects move at a thoughtful pace, in the character of something Angelo Badalamenti would have composed for an early episode of Twin Peaks.
Birdy Bardot II is probably the most collaborative Redwoods album to date. Many of the songs began with lyrics, then came melodic ideas, which were worked out with Bardot. The result is a batch of songs explored in their most fledgling forms and fully realized in the studio.
Tone is one of The Midnight Pine’s most important elements in their recordings and live shows. Leading the way, Shelbi Bennett’s enchanting and powerful vocals drift carefree over the group’s vast bluesy soundscapes.
Check out the band’s mystical rendition of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” for many goosebump-inducing moments, courtesy of Bennett’s voice alongside a spectral collage of strings.
Molarius urges folks to sign up for The Redwoods Summer Singles Project on the group’s website. Every Friday, starting this week, a new single from the Redwoods Revue family will be available for free.
THE REDWOODS REVUE featuring Birdy Bardot and The Midnight Pine happens at 10pm Sunday, May 26. Fernwood Resort, 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur. No cover. 667-2422, theredwoodsmusic.com