A fresh Singer-Songwriter Acoustic Showcase at Carbone’s features six musicians on the last Tuesday of every month.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
There aren’t many hidden gems lurking uncovered in New Monterey’s music scene. But there’s one goodie that’s been hiding out right under the area’s collective nose for the past several months: Chicago native Cowboy Starr’s Singer-Songwriter Acoustic Showcase, which brings a half-dozen acts to Carbone’s on the last Tuesday of every month. With no cover.
Over the past few years, Starr has been involved in beat making, engineering, producing and playing bass in several acts including the Secret Parade and the Cowboy Starr Project, but his songwriter showcase is a reflection of his life-long love of stripped down, good old fashioned songwriting goodness. Past performers have included everyone from Jordan Smart to Mikey Silbecky to Michael Glines to The Lightfighters.
“It’s really important to always have a strong emphasis on songwriting,” he says.
On Tuesday, the fifth installment of the showcase will deliver a diverse lineup of songwriters. Mike PZ (of Mike PZ & The Associates) does standard blues-meets-rockabilly. Mike Dilks (aka Walter Rose) trafficks in crisp fingerpicking anchored by his raspy whisper of a voice. Button Phace (Brandon Burdon) leans toward folk with a jazzy twist, Adam Behan (The Adorkables drummer) translates pop punk through his acoustic axe and Jonathan Glines (brother of Michael Glines) delivers complex melodies guided by vocals that are part M. Ward, part Sean Hayes. And one of Starr’s longtime Illinois acquaintances, Dan Guzman, anchors the evening.
Guzman and Starr originally met several years back while attending North Central College in the suburb of Naperville outside of Chicago. They crossed paths again shortly after Guzman relocated to Santa Cruz around the same time Starr moved to Monterey.
Guzman hasn’t recorded an album yet but he already has an arsenal of original tunes – some of which come from Hypnotist Collector (a line from a Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me”), a former band he had with his late brother – that span the genre mill. “Bricklayer” and “We Can Walk” bring heavy up-stroke, Sublime-style reggae/ska, while the electronica-centric “You Never” tastes like it was flavored with Portishead’s brand of down-tempo dreaminess.
On the nearly seven-minute “Two Tone Eyes,” which is soaked with jam band style blues and rock inspiration, Guzman shows off his talent on guitar. The last half of the track moves onward into a Built to Spill-like cyclical riff that’s fully equipped with mesmerizing tendencies.
Thanks to a mid-westerner named Cowboy, New Monterey has another option for music lovers, and one that focuses on the important but sometimes overlooked role of the songwriter.
But best of all, it won’t break the bank.
THE SINGER-SONGWRITER ACOUSTIC SHOWCASE happens at 8:30pm Tuesday, July 31, at Carbone’s, 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. Free. 643-9169.