CALIFORNIA COUNTRY: For many Californians, country music is a genre that glorifies all that they see as backward about red-state conservatism. Yet alt-country is experiencing a surge in popularity partly due to acts like Bright Eyes and Ryan Adams, who have proven that their sound can appeal to the NPR set without forgetting its Americana roots. Drew Victor, Widower, and a Locomotive-three Brooklyn-based outfits whose members often intermingle-are also part of this movement. Victor’s style is a unique blend of stark lyricism and acoustic minimalism with a subtle banjo twang. Similarly, Widower and A Locomotive embrace a folksy wistfulness that channels Harvest-era Neil Young. The result is a trio of enthralling folk-country acts that is both sophisticated and colloquial. The bands will appear at Muddy Waters on Sunday, July 1 at 8p.m. -Joel Aurora
Marco Antonio Solis
- When: Friday, June 29, 2007, 7 p.m.
- Where: S.B. Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, CA
- Cost: $43 - $93
- Age limit: Not available
EL BUKI IS BACK: Though the feathered locks and sequined costumes of Los Bukis are long gone, the qualities that made Marco Antonio Sol-s the group’s unstoppable force-his flair for the dramatic, consummate musicianship, and dashing good looks-are alive and well. In his latest solo release, Trozos de Mi Alma 2, Sol-s fuses elements of contemporary rock, big band, and dance with modern norte±o and tejano sounds. The result-10 lovely tracks of romance and yearning-proves that his illustrious, decades-old career has only just begun. With the heart-wrenching vulnerability and vocal force of Harry Nilsson, the versatile showmanship and orchestral know-how of Bobby Darin, and live orchestral accompaniment, Sol-s is sure to impress. He performs bellbottom-free at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Friday, June 29 at 7p.m.-Jessica Hilo