Dread-Free and Silver Hair

THE DYLAN JUDAH REPORT: Well, Santa Barbara’s most notorious dread shaved his dome recently, but his dancehall reggae style is still in full effect. Says current L.A. resident Dylan Judah, “Big t’ings are happening, bro!” Those things include Dylan and Sugar Black — who together are known as Black Judah — signing record deals with both Scientist’s label to support the albums they’ve done under Mountain Paradise Records and a Bay Area upstart company called Teflon Blood, which Dylan claims is aiming to take Jamaica by storm. Meanwhile, the Black Judah video “Give It to Me” is sliding up the Jamaican music vid charts and, thanks to the deals, Dylan expects to be working with such forces as Capleton, Sizzla, and Jah Mason in the near future. We get a chance to see him and Sugar Black do their Black Judah thing at Cooney’s next week, June 20, for yet another Reggae Tuesday explosion. In support will be Cornerstone, Jah Len, and, of course, Beenie Man. See for the latest. — Matt Kettmann

SILVER-HAIRED TROUBADOUR: Leon Russell has written some of our most memorable songs. “This Masquerade” was his first song to be number one on the jazz, pop, and R&B charts. “Delta Lady” was a defining moment in Joe Cocker’s career. B.B. King covered “Hummingbird,” Ray Charles covered “A Song for You,” and Eric Clapton’s hit, “Blues Power,” is Russell’s. He released four gold albums, and produced and played on sessions with Dylan, Sinatra, the Stones, the Byrds, and the Beach Boys, among many others. Yet still, his own versions — with the combo of his plaintive voice and hauntingly beautiful lyrics — hold special power. Russell is at the peak of his powers and having him and his new band come to a relatively small club like SOhO, where he plays on Sunday, June 18, is an exciting prospect. — Stanley Naftaly

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: The Song Tree Concert Series brings an evening of intimate and soulful entertainment to town on Saturday, June 17, when former resident Penny Nichols — a Grammy Award-winner who has rocked out on stage with such legendaries as Jackson Browne and Janis Joplin — performs. Also on the bill are Sloan Wainwright — a leading contemporary folk singer renowned for her fearless lyrics — and the witty, award‑winning David Roth. The performance, which is at Goleta’s Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, benefits that church. Before the show, attend a unique event for Song Tree as Nichols conducts a harmony and singing workshop, beginning at noon. Tickets (the workshop is $30, the show is just $15) are available at Jensen’s Guitar and Music, Folk Mote Music, and at the door. — Sophia Kercher

FRENCH PIANO GIANT: At least for those of us on the West Coast, Jean-Michel Pilc seems to have appeared fully formed with incredible chops and his own, very definite and very interesting ideas. Jazz Times said that Pilc’s 2003 album Cardinal Points “should be studied in every music school in the galaxy,” and the Chicago Tribune calls him one of the most accomplished and stylistically daring jazz pianists working today. His playing is dense and powerful and his reshaping of standards is surprising and challenging. It seems clear that he’s destined to be a major force in jazz. See him Monday, June 19, at SOhO. — SN

¿QUÉ MÁS? Surf music legend Gary Hoey hangs ten into SOhO this evening, June 15, bringing with him his decades-honed brand of riffing and jamming. S.B.’s own Kelp opens the show. … Speaking of our town’s most consistent venue, Reid Spencer, the Kinsella Brothers, and MaGISTiR land on the SOhO stage this Saturday evening. … The Wildcat’s ever impressive Thursday DJ nights feature Richard Humpty Vission tonight, June 15, and continues next Thursday, June 22, with world-renowned Christopher Lawrence. … Velvet Jones keeps it rocking with Entoven and Inmind tonight, Sicker than Others, Code 415, and the Awakend on Friday, and reggae stars Iration on Saturday. — MK

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