New Year’s Live
Three choice live music events to close out ’06.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
On a night crowded with en vivo options, several shows stand apart—and offer locals and visitors a healthy diversity of good club-based entertainment:
Kent Burnside and the New Generation
Kent Burnside learned an important lesson in playing music from his grandfather, famed Delta bluesman R. L. Burnside. The elder Burnside confided to his grandson that too many musicians try to lay down a bunch of impressive licks at the beginning of a song. “Get a good rhythm and build it to the end,” R. L. told Kent. “You want to keep the song interesting.”
Tracks from Kent’s recently released Cotton Field Disco reveal that the singer-guitarist has taken his grandfather’s advice. “Jumper,” a killer version of R. L.’s “Jumper Hanging Out On the Line,” begins with some jaunty, greasy riffs over a very propulsive beat that keeps the song careening forward; another number transforms Donny Hathaways’ “The Ghetto” into lean electric blues punctuated by an earthy and effectively-rapped middle section.
Kent put his own band together two months ago. Before that, he spent a lot of time soaking up different styles of music and touring with folks like Jimbo Mathus, an eccentric musician who was recently a member of Buddy Guy’s band. “I wanted to learn all I could,” he says.
This New Year’s Eve, the bluesman is unveiling raw funk blues originals along with covers of tunes by Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. Kent will also play a healthy serving of R.L.’s material, including “Poor Black Mattie” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin.’” “I do some of my grandfather’s stuff,” he says, “but I up it a notch.”
KENT BURNSIDE AND THE NEW GENERATION play at 9pm at Fernwood Bar, located 24 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, Big Sur. $20 at Fernwoodbigsur.com and at the door. 667-2422.
Fish Ranch Road
Billy Cory and J.T. Taylor of Fish Ranch Road have been recording parts of the band’s upcoming untitled album during lunch breaks while working at a realty company. It helps that the realty company is owned by Taylor, who also has a recording studio behind the office.
The self-produced work, tentatively titled Tartar Sauce and Barbed Wire, is a slight departure from the sound of their former band, The Uninvited, a power pop band with a big Monterey following in the late ‘90s. “It’s got more of an organic acoustic feel than The Uninvited,” Cory says. “The new band has a more John Mayer and Counting Crows vibe.”
Fish Ranch Road will probably pull out The Uninvited’s “Temporary Vegetarian” and “Another Shade of Grey” for the performance.
“[New Year’s Eve] is going to be like a big, drunken high school reunion,” Cory says.
FISH RANCH ROAD plays at 9pm at Monterey Live, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey. $20/general; $30/with wine and champagne. 646-1415.
J.C. Smith Blues Band
It’s been a good year for the J.C. Smith Blues Band. In March, the band won the 2006 West Coast Blues Band of the Year from the Bay Area Blues Society. This summer, the Bay Area outfit played high profile gigs at the Reno Brews and Blues Festival and the San Jose Jazz Festival.
The band will close the year with a performance at Sly McFly’s. Along with nimble blues originals, expect Smith and his band to pull out the classic party anthem, “Let the Good Times Roll.”
In 2007, Smith wants to cut a new album with covers of Freddie King and Ray Charles songs alongside a batch of originals.
THE J.C. SMITH BLUES BAND plays at 9pm at Sly McFly’s, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey. $15/general; $45/with dinner from 7pm to 9pm. 649-8050.