THE TALE END: With big-time shows from Sugarland and Merle Haggard fast approaching, it seems Santa Barbara might soon become the Left Coast’s answer to Nashville, especially if you get a look at this week’s live music offerings. Whether or not it’s signaling a new wave for all things country in our little beachside city, I can’t say. But if you’re looking for an excuse to throw on your boots and get in touch with your inner American, April’s your month. Similarly, if you’ve never gotten the chance to take in live music at Santa Ynez’s Maverick Saloon (3687 Sagunto St.), this Wednesday’s your lucky day. The Mav plays host to this season’s final Tales from the Tavern concert, featuring both Jim Lauderdale and Audrey Auld starting at 7 p.m.
Both Lauderdale and Auld hail from Music City, U.S.A., but that’s where the similarities end for these two co-headliners. Lauderdale possesses that low-register country drawl that sounds downright syrupy when layered over twangy, rapid-fire banjo playing. He’s also currently touring on behalf of his soon-to-be-released album, Patchwork River. In addition to some seriously catchy guitar lines and super snappy lyrics, Lauderdale’s new record boasts a veritable roster of country and Americana heavyweights, including James Burton, Al Perkins, Ron Tutt, Garry Tallent, Kenny Vaughan, and Patty Griffin. Meanwhile, Auld lays claim to a sweet, songbird-like speak-sing that begs comparison to folk greats like Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell.
For show tickets and information, call 688-0383 or visit talesfromthetavern.com.
FROM COUNTRY TO CLAPTON: Moving things a little closer to home, SOhO (1221 State St.) plays host to a stellar trio of alt-country crooners and shredders this Tuesday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. Lending their names to this week’s local music night offering are folk pop duo Ben and Ash, finger-pickin’ wizard Dave Gleason, and out-of-towners Mars Arizona, who hail from, well, Mars, Arizona.
While the traveling headliners lay claim to a more beefed-up take on classic Americana, complete with electric guitars and hard-rockin’ solos, it’s Gleason’s stripped-down originals that will likely steal the show. Blessed with an enigmatic and resonating voice and an appreciation for straightforward country blues, Gleason is undoubtedly one of California’s unsung musical heroes and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to country guitar.
Also this week, be sure to catch that other S.B. shredder, Alastair Greene, when he returns to SOhO with his Eric Clapton tribute project, Slowhand. Since Greene’s last ode to all things Clapton, the guitarist has signed on—and toured extensively—with the genre-defining prog rock outfit Alan Parsons Project. This time around, Greene will change out his European sensibilities for something decidedly American, playing mostly tunes from Clapton’s ’70s material, as well as a short set of Cream songs. Slowhand plays SOhO this Friday, April 9, at 9 p.m. For tickets and info for both shows, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
THE YOUNG GUNS: And if you’re in the mood for something a little farther off the beaten path, I recommend venturing up to Isla Vista this Monday, April 12, when Ventura’s Franklin for Short will team up with Ohio’s Psychedelic Horseshit for a show at the Biko Co-Op Garage (6612 Sueno Rd.).
You might recognize Psychedelic frontman Matt Whitehurst as the man behind all the lo-fi band beef that’s been making its way around the interweb of late. Lucky for us, Whitehurst’s not simply full of hot air, and his mix of distortion, ’50s rock ’n’ roll, and wall-of-sound-style volume is actually pretty darn good. In addition, showgoers get the benefit of catching Franklin for Short in S.B. for the last time before they head out on tour with those other indie heavyweights, Kings of Convenience. If you’re in the market for a new favorite band, I highly suggest you check them out. For show info, visit sbdiy.org.