St. Vincent Folk brings dark-humored music to Big Sur’s renovated Maiden Pub.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Sometimes you have to ask: “Is that you who farted under the covers?” Or maybe that’s just Vincent Bernardy.
He poses that very question in “Drug Lovers” on his most recent St. Vincent Folk album, Acoustic Chocolate Songs Volume 2. Like Beck’s “Pay No Mind,” Bernardy layers stream-of-consciousness lyrics loaded with absurdity and delivered matter-of-fact-like under the guise of a folk tune. The song closes with a minute of the sounds of farm animals and chirping birds.
Bernardy never had a formal music education – though he spent many nights drinking beers with The Replacements’ guitarist Bob Stinson in the ’80s – so he approaches songwriting instinctively.
“I just try to create a feeling,” he says.
Over the years, Bernardy – performing Saturday at the Maiden Pub in Big Sur – has dabbled in just about every music genre. There’s even a cheesy album of dance songs in his versatile catalog titled Andy & Vincent’s Gay 90s Songs, originally written for a former P Diddy back-up singer – and friend of Bernardy’s brother – who intended to perform the tunes live. It never worked out but Bernardy decided to release the album anyway and give it a memorable name.
“I thought that maybe down the line someone – not me – may want to perform one of the songs,” he says.
Also a self-taught artist, Bernardy approaches art the way he approaches music: fearless and from the gut. The result is bold outsider oil paintings that drip with raunchy aesthetic and punk attitude. Though it’s been a while since his punk rock days, Bernardy says the mentality will always be there.
“You don’t really lose the angst, it just looks different when you get older,” he says.
Keeping in the spirit of self-taught musicians riding on impulse, local opener Levi Strom has developed a style best described as lo-fi alt-country. On his new two-song EP – featuring Kath Bloom on backing vocals and harmonica and Neal Casal on lead guitar – Strom reiterates that sometimes no education is the best education.
St. Vincent Folk and Levi Strom play 9pm Saturday, Aug. 18, at Maiden Publick House, Big Sur California Village Center Shops Highway 1, Big Sur. Free. 667-2355.