It's been a rough week... but it doesn't have to stay that way. Check out John Cowan and Kathleen Cairns.
Thursday, April 13, 2000
What''s Up, Chuck?
The stock market''s skydiving, your 401K is in the toilet... and you just had to file taxes. It''s not an easy week to get happy. But I have a couple suggestions for easing the pain of the ides of April.
You have to start out with John Cowan, who''s appearing (courtesy of Nina Kelly''s Grass in the Grove productions) at the United Methodist Church in Monterey. Cowan is probably best known for his work with the pioneering band, Newgrass Revival (with Bela Fleck, Sam Bush and Pat Flynn). During the last 10 years since the group disbanded, he''s sort of tried to distance himself from the band''s sound. But his latest release, John Cowan--his first solo effort--just came out this year, and it has the earmarks of a performer coming to grips with his past.
To say John Cowan is a tour de force may be an understatement. As Cowan fans know, Cowan''s tenor voice can be absolutely riveting, and the album is a showcase for the singer''s ability to shift from genre to genre with a soulful ease that could be any musician''s envy. But that isn''t even the point. While each song retains enough of its roots to be identified in its respective category (we''re talking a range from R&B to country, blues, jazz and rock), each one is presented in the context of the bluegrass fusion that Newgrass set out to explore in the early ''80s. But, if you''re looking for some warmed-over rehash of Newgrass history, keep looking. This is Y2Kgrass.
In live performance, Cowan is dynamic and charismatic, the music is uptempo and stirring. In short, this is a show you don''t want to miss, and it doesn''t matter what kind of music you think you like. This is the kind of show that transcends genres.
John Cowan, Friday, 8pm. United Methodist Church, Soledad Street between Pacific Street and Munras Avenue, Monterey. $18.50/advance; $21/door. 372-5641.
If you''re more into soaking up some blues to go with the tears in your beer, you might want to check out Kathleen Cairns and Tattoo Blue at Sly''s on Saturday. Cairns delivers a hot, humid blues that swerves down a twisting road from New Orleans jump blues through scorching Texas powerhouse to West Coast swing. (If I was writing the scenario for a Cairns'' video it would go something like this: It''s an early fall Friday, and your third beer is sitting on the bar, soaking the pink slip you just got from your boss. It''s hot and a trickle of sweat is just starting to snake its way out of your hair and down your collar. The bar is dark... until the swinging door opens, and silhouetted in the doorway is a vision in skin-tight jeans and shirt unbuttoned halfway to the navel. Hope is suddenly reborn in your heart. Onstage, Cairns and company are rocking the blues.)
Whether you''re looking for pelvis-lock slow dance, some down ''n'' dirty booty-shake boogie, or a soundtrack for your beer drinking, you''ll get the action from Cairns and Tattoo Blue.
Kathleen Cairns and Tattoo Blue, Saturday, 9pm. Sly McFly''s, 649-8050.