Music to Your Ears
By Michael Henningsen
While the name “Friday Night Debut” is something of a mystery, the special show scheduled Friday night, Feb. 20, at Puccini's Golden West Saloon should be one hell of a local rock event. The bill features Once Misguided, an acoustic set by Mosquito to Moscow, Soular and Breaker 19. ... Speaking of Breaker 19, someone please inform guitarist and radio blowhole Michael Moxey that his band will also be performing on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Atomic Cantina with simple. and a hack bluegrass band consisting of several members of the Alibi staff. Bring veggies to throw. ... There's still time to break your bank account and attend the 16th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference in San Diego, Calif., Feb. 26-29. It'll cost you roughly $500, but if folk music is your thing, this is certainly the event for you. Visit www.folk.org for more information. ... Or, for an additional $50 and a rock fetish, you can check out South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 bands from all over the world will perform during the five-day event, including our very own 12 Step Rebels and Fivehundred (a.k.a. Mr. Spectacular). Try www.sxsw.com for information. ... Weekly Alibi is proud to sponsor phenomenal French guitar master Pierre Bensusan on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Outpost Performance Space. A full preview of the concert will appear in next week's issue, but there's a good chance it'll be sold out by then, so get your tickets now at the Book Stop in Nob Hill (268-8898) or at the Outpost (268-0044).
By Michael Henningsen
Cassandra Wilson Graces the Outpost
For the past decade or so, vocalist extraordinary Cassandra Wilson has become most widely known for her "popification" of jazz—gently blurring the chalky line that separates pop from jazz until it blends with the colors on both sides, creating countless ghostly hues with a peerless contra-alto voice and supreme melodic sensibilities. And it's inside that no-man's land that Wilson seems most comfortable, flirting with funk, soul, jazz, pop and blues until she finds just the right combination for each song.
On Glamoured, her new Blue Note release, Wilson strips away the horns, pianos and orchestrations that marked some of her previous releases in favor of groove-oriented instrumentation, and the organic combo of guitars, upright bass and percussion—and the occasional harmonica and banjo—serves both her original material and eclectic selection of covers extraordinarily well. In Wilson's hands, Willie Nelson's "Crazy," Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" and Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away" emerge from the trappings of timelessness as rekindled souls. But it's Wilson's original compositions that transcend, from the Latin essence of "Heaven Knows" to the blues-inflected "On This Train."
By Michael Henningsen
The Red Thread Tension Pins (Badman)
Jason Lakis' (a.k.a. The Red Thread) debut was built on understated alt.country pop numbers that flirted with the broad, windswept soundscape tendencies of bands like Lanterna and the folk-heartedness of the Idahos and Haydens of the music world. Tension Pins doesn't stray far from that elegant formula, but Lakis nonetheless sounds more confident, more in-the-moment and startlingly more relevant with regard to both lyrical content and compositional skill. These 11 songs harbor a dreamlike quality that enables the vilified notions of soft rock to coalesce with indie aesthetics and inklings of countrified pop. Incredible songwriting and unpretentious instrumental prowess. Killer.
Kurt Travis • alternative rock • Eidola • Amarrionette
By Megan Reneau
I love Kurt Travis ... I said it! I don't regret it, either! (Well, I actually hardly know the man—i.e. not at all—I just love his music.) I know you won't regret seeing him…
Jenna Dunlap • singer-songwriter • Keith Sanchez & the Moon Thieves • folk
By August March
I read a recent review that said Jenna Dunlap's debut recording was “sweet,” with “wistful vocals.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Dunlap—who was recorded by Cinder Cone Media's wizard of an engineer Howard Wulkan for her first studio outing, Out of My Head—is dynamic and thoughtful, with a rumbling, tumbling vocal nuance and muscular musical style…
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Delphia Giovanna • singer-