Forget the rainstorms of El Ni& %s;o, you're gonna get soaked by musical storms this week.
Thursday, January 15, 1998
The year-end holidays are finally well-and-truly over. The decorations are back in the garage, the tree is ready for chipping.and there''s lots of fresh music in the air. Lots.
On the folk front, both Morgan''s and Portofino Presents offer notable offerings this week.
Start with Portofino''s Friday show.
Mark Graham and Orville Johnson, together known as The Kings of Mongrel Folk, make an appearance at Carleton Hall. If you know the group Trout Fishing in America, you''ll have some idea what The Kings are all about: a blend of humor and fine musicianship delivered in a gentle sort of way.
Their current album, Kings of Mongrel Folk, demonstrates a musical range that runs from Appalachia to Mississippi. Although the duo evinces convincing musical skills on an army of instruments (human vocal chords, harmonica, clarinet, guitars, dobro, mandolin and it sounds like spoons), you gotta enjoy novelty numbers to truly enjoy the album. If you''re looking for a musically enjoyable, uplifting evening, you''re sure to find it on Saturday.
Then, on Sunday at Carleton Hall, the traditional Irish trio Jody''s Heaven makes their MoCo debut. The group''s been around for a couple years now, playing mostly in the Bay Area and Japan. With nary an Irishperson in the group, the trio offers up music that sounds like it could have come fresh from a ceilidh on the outskirts of Dublin. Fiddler Dale Russ has an international reputation for his Irish styling, even earning high marks from Irish fiddling phenom Martin Hayes, who told Folk World Magazine, "Dale Russ is one of the greatest fiddlers I know in traditional Irish music." In Jody''s Heaven, Russ teams with concertina/flute player Jack Gilder and guitar/mandola player Junji Shirota, who played for 20 years in a bluegrass band in Japan.
Mongrels of Folk, Friday, 8pm. Jody''s Heaven, Saturday, 8pm. Carleton Hall, Monterey Church of Religious Science. 373-7379.
Meanwhile, at Morgan''s.
Big Sur poet Ric Masten kicks things off with a poetry reading that will be filmed as part of a documentary on the poet''s life. Then, after the quatrain-and-verso crowd has thinned, the Virginia-based quartet Eddie From Ohio makes their first appearance in Monterey. The group''s new album Big Noise is a big winner. It''s filled with songs that delve into hidden brain corners of a collection of quirky characters.
The group manages a fine balance between clever writing, snappy folk/pop/rock arrangements and lead singer''s Julie Murphy Wells'' intense, impassioned vocals.
Joining Wells in the band are guitarist Robbie Schaefer, guitarist/bassist/harpist Michael Clem and percussionist Eddie Hartness (who lent his name to the band). Together the band offers up a harmonic sound that drops into a groove and stays there behind Hartness'' driving percussion. I keep wanting to say EFO has some sort of musical connection with Rikki Lee Jones but it doesn''t sound as.premeditated? It''s very cool stuff. Lots of crossover potential for audiences between 25 and 55.
And on Tuesday, singer/songwriter Susan Werner returns to Morgan''s. Since the last time Werner was here, she made an appearance on National Public Radio that apparently had national public telephones ringing off the hook.
Ric Masten, Saturday, 7pm, $2. Eddie From Ohio, Saturday, 9:30pm, $10. Susan Werner, Tuesday, 8pm, $10. Morgan''s Coffee and Tea, 655-6868.
Carla Benejam of the Bookworm Cabaret in Salinas called, all hot-and-bothered about the gig she''s got booked for her bookstore. As you probably already know, for the last couple of months, the Bookworm bookstore has been flirting with a variety of musical events and this coming Wednesday-a sorta combination of music and poetry-promises to be the biggest one yet.
Poet Mark Gurley has just published his first book of poetry, Salinas Blues, and it''s time to party. Open-mic aficionadoes may remember Gurley from back around ''93 and ''94 when he was delivering his poems at Juice ''n'' Java and Morgan''s.
"Salinas Blues was written when I moved into Salinas in 1993," says Gurley. "It''s a book of 40 of my favorite poems, not necessarily my best poems.
"So Carla''s putting on a big party. She has exclusive rights to sell the book in Salinas. She''s invited some people to buy the book and I''ll be signing copies.
"I trust her instincts and she says the poems are really good. And other people think have said so, too. If you''re at a club and you''re in front of people who have been drinking you can get away with a lot of stuff. But when you''re at a coffeehouse in front of a lot of people who are tanked up on triple latts, they can be pretty brutal."
Through one connection and another, Gurley made friends with some local musicians and so, in between poems and signing and general frivolity, there''s going to be music from the Blues Wizards (who have written some songs based on Gurley''s poetry), Brad Mallory and Roy Kurano-who used to provide background music during Gurley''s poetry-reading gigs.
Sounds like a damn-good time will be had by all.
Salinas Blues with Mark Gurley, Wednesday, 5pm. Bookworm Cabaret, 342 Main St., Salinas. 753-2099.
And another Wednesday thing: Nina "My House is My Concert Hall" Kelly called to let us know she''s got another concert happening this week in her living room. This time she''s hosting The Lost and Found, a bluegrass band out of Virginia.
The Lost and Found, Wednesday, 7pm. Nina''s House (call for info), $12, Pacific Grove, 372-5641
And file this under "the more things change."
Nick Manzo is back. After an aborted attempt at escaping from the pressures of operating his Franklin Street nightclub he''s returning to the helm. And this time he''s got something different in mind.
On the one hand, he''s going back to the club''s original name, Nick''s Place. On the other hand, it ain''t gonna be no dance club no more.
"I just want to make it a gathering place," says Manzo. "My emphasis is on making this a bar. I gotta get the Monterey people back in there. We''re gonna put in four pool tables, serve $2 domestic pints and play music like CD 93, rock ''n'' roll and oldies. It''s not gonna be a dance club."
In fact, Manzo says, the dance floor will be reduced in size by half.
"I wanna create a nice pleasant atmosphere," says Manzo. "If you want to get up there and dance you can. My emphasis on this is as a bar. We''re going to have 50-cent pool tables.it''s not gonna be some place where you have to buy a $7 martini." cw