John Primer (left) and Bob Corritore will perform at Santa Barbara Blues Society at the Carrillo Rec Center on November 12. | Credit: Ted Rhodes

The Santa Barbara Blues Society rightly prides itself for its status as “the oldest continuous blues society in the U.S.,” and the continuity continues, at last, this Saturday, November 12. Its vital function of ushering blues musicians of national repute through town has been missing-in-action thanks to the pandemic’s suspension of live music, which has returned with a happy intensity this fall.

On Saturday night, the blues rebounds in earnest in the SBBS’ home turf of the Carrillo Recreation Center, the vibe-filled historic room with the spring-loaded dance floor and a bounty of good memories. In the spotlight and taking the stage will be Chicago blues vet John Primer, guitar and vocals, with mainstay blues harpist Bob Corritore. Both musicians have lit up the Blues Music Award ceremonies. For a taste of what they have to offer, check out the 2020 album The Gypsy Woman Told Me, the title track of which is a slow, saucy and gritty-seductive thing. As with their duo project from 2013 Knockin’ Around These Blues, the album kickoff with Primer giving a count-off, as if in a ceremonial prelude to the blues ritual to come.

While Saturday’s show is the first outta-towner blues concert for the Society in nearly three years, SBBS presented a special benefit show in September. Local blues bands led the charge and paid respects to two significant locally-based blues (and rhythm & blues) players, slide guitar legend Tom Murray and Café R&B ringleader Byl Carruthers — both of whom sadly passed away this year. These were inspired and deep musicians who validated the reasonable notion that Santa Barbara is, after all, a haven for the blues, in its varied incarnations.

Café Café Tacvba at the Arlington on Sunday, November 6. | Credit: Josef Woodard

The World Dances Its Way Into the 805

It was another busy week in Santa Barbara concert-ville, and with music hailing from divergent ports. Last Wednesday, we got a hearty and inspiring taste of gospel music culture from South Africa courtesy of the now 20-year-old Soweto Gospel Choir, brought to Campbell Hall by UCSB Arts & Lectures. On the road on the heels of its new album Hope, the 22-singer group laid out its infectious choreography of enmeshed voices and stage moves at Campbell Hall. The program leaned on South African tunes in the first half (my favorite half) and American repertoire with themes of hope and protest in the second, including Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” and Sam Cooke’s hope-filled anthem “A Change is Gonna’ Come.”
Nashville came calling on Thursday night at the Lobero, in the form of multi-talented twentysomething wonder Molly Tuttle, with her fine band the Golden Road — who played SOhO in January and bumped up to the Lobero last week. Tuttle, a wondrous singer-songwriter and guitar flat-picker of no small mastery, had the crowd in her corner from the outset, issuing a seamless smooth and fiery guitar solo to announce what was to come. Tuttle and her band (3/5 of which is female, incidentally) could do no wrong, whether dealing with original material from the new album Crooked Tree or covers such as “White Rabbit,” and the Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow.”
Sunday night brought on a return of the alternative Mexico City-born sensation Café Tacvba, sparking up the Arlington with its energetic and eclectic blends of regional Mexican sounds — including merengue and norteño — and the signature ’90s-style alt-rock en Español … and beyond. The concert made for a fascinating, varied ride through the 33-year-old group’s fantastical musical landscape. Suddenly, towards the concert’s end, they dipped into a sort of punk banda song. Even this deep into the band’s story, surprises are always around the corner wherever Café Tacvba chooses to tread, concert-wise or album-wise.


One of the many memorable shows to pass through the Chumash Casino’s Samala Showroom in the past decade was the night Lyle and John stopped by to swap songs, stories and witty quips. That, of course, is Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, two great American men of song (who also appeared in a foursome show at the Arlington with Joe Ely and song master Guy Clark). The casino has been slowly picking up steam and adding music shows of note since recovering from the pandemic blues, and Lovett and Hiatt’s return on November 12 is sure to satisfy Americana-loving customers.
In other Americana news … the ever-loveable “Tales from the Tavern” series at Santa Ynez’ ever-loveable cowboy bar Maverick’s, brings its autumn series to a close on Wednesday (November 16), on a glowing note. A dazzling twofer slate of Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones haspredictably sold-out. Keep an eye and wallet out for cancellations.
Speaking of twofers, a pair of world class jazz concerts descends on the calendar this week — the Django Festival Allstars returns to the Lobero on Tuesday, November 15, and wunderkind pianist Matthew Whitaker makes his local debut at Campbell Hall on Thursday (November 17).

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.