Sail Away

The band Bay Station takes their name from the Alameda neighborhood near Oakland where the group lives. The neighborhood grew around a railroad station.

Bay Station’s “Look But Don’t Touch” is a fairly straightforward rock tune about a stripper who also works at an adult store somewhere in the middle of the California desert.

“Gal waving a sign for the triple-X store/ ‘Business is slow this year,’ they say at the door,” Deborah Crooks sings.

Crooks recalls driving through Yucca Valley and seeing a woman outside of an adult book store waving a sign advertising DVDs and videos for sale.

“I just imagined this person’s life, living in a small town in the desert,” Crooks explains.

In fact, Other Desert Cities, Bay Station’s third record, is mostly about the gritty romance of the small desert towns surrounding the Joshua Tree area. The Alameda duo Bay Station, which also features Kwame Copeland (guitar and vocals), wrote most of the tunes on the album during songwriting retreats that took place in that region.

“[Other Desert Cities] became themed around things we were noticing in the desert,” Crooks says.

Songs like “Sleeping Hard Waking Slow” deliver a cornucopia of folk and blues rock that grooves your soul until you find yourself dancing without even realizing you’re moving.

“For the most part, we are all Americana roots-rock songwriter stuff,” Crooks says. “But we are likely to throw stuff against the wall and say, ‘That’s fun.’ There are definitely a couple wildcards [on the album].”

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One of the wildcards exists within the twangy “Baja Blues,” which is crafted like a Marty Robbins story ballad (think “El Paso”).

“Lolling in the sand going to a burn from a tan, Mexicali, Ensenada, anywhere I choose/ Still got a case of the Baja Blues,” croons Crooks.

Meanwhile, “Love the Bay” mixes the couple’s affinity for music and sailing. The monthly video series features guest musicians. They sail first, then Crooks interviews the artists – a jam session follows after the boat is docked.

“It’s just a fun way to really enjoy our music community and tie in all the things we do,” Crooks says. “Everybody we have on is a gigging musician and seasoned songwriter – this has been a fun way to celebrate what’s good about music and own it in a different way.”

BAY STATION 6:30pm Saturday, Sept. 14. East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey. $10. 373-5601.

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