FREAK-FOLK TRIFECTA: If “more bang for your buck” is your show-going model, then this week’s triple bill at Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) is one for you. This Saturday, my favorite little coffee spot-cum-music venue plays host to three sets worth of top-notch folk from Castanets, Dolorean, and Holy Sons. As the lone visionary behind Castanets’ ever-evolving lineup, Ray Raposa is one of folk rock’s true hidden gems. Since starting the project in 2003, Raposa has released no less than six full-length albums, and gained the attention—and recognition—of avant-pop mastermind Sufjan Stevens. Now a well-situated staple of Stevens’s Asthmatic Kitty label, Raposa has mastered the art of stripped-down songwriting. Here, the guitars are minimal and haunting, the vocals are guttural and grainy, and the orchestrations are bleak, heartfelt, and resonating.
Better still, those playing supporting roles in Saturday night’s production are just as much worth the price of admission. Portland’s Dolorean (not to be confused with those Spanish electro rockers of the almost same name) dishes up tunes that call to mind genre monoliths like Ryan Adams and Wilco. The band also spent a solid chunk of their formative years backing found-sound folkster Damien Jurado, indicating to me that the group is as technically proficient as it is sonically creative. As the night’s opener, Holy Sons (aka Emil Amos) are guaranteed to kick start the festivities with a unique brand of folk-inspired alt-rock. (Think Jim James meets Frank Black.) Currently touting a new record (Survivalist Tales!) and a whole slew of soundscape-making tricks, Amos’s show is one not to miss, and a perfect mood setter for this night-long showcase of some of Portland’s finest.
Castanets, Dolorean, and Holy Sons play Muddy Waters Café this Saturday, March 12, at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets.
SOUTHERN POINT: And if that’s not enough to fill your folk-craving appetite, don’t fret. This Thursday, March 10, Los Angeles troubadour Jay Nash comes up the coast for a very special performance at Ventura’s Zoey’s Café (185 E. Santa Clara St.). The show comes just two nights after the release of Nash’s fifth studio album, Diamonds and Blood, and is guaranteed to be chock-full of new and old tunes. For the unacquainted, Nash’s songwriting and delivery have drawn comparison to luminaries ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Jeff Tweedy, thanks in no small part to his gruff speak-sing and sweeping guitar lines. In addition, his tracks have been featured on no shortage of television projects and ad campaigns, meaning you’re sure to recognize a few of the jams. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Call 652-1137 or visit zoeyscafe.com for tickets.
GROOVE IS IN THE HEART: Also this week, SOhO (1221 State St.) hosts Santa Barbara-cum-Santa Cruz reggae stars Soul Majestic. Since first forming (then as Lightning Bug Johnson) in 1994, the band has grown from a three-piece to a fully orchestrated 11-member collective, and recorded with reggae legends Sly & Robbie and Tony Moses. Famous friends aside, the band has gained quite the reputation on and around the West Coast thanks to groove-heavy, positive-vibe-filled live shows and a keen ear for authenticity. Soul Majestic plays a 21+ show at SOhO with opener Indubious this Saturday, March 12, at 9:30 p.m. For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.