.Music Picks: Feb. 12-18



What does it take to earn the title of “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling?”

I’m not exactly sure, but I’m guessing it has something to do with Alasdair’s 30-plus-year resume on the instrument as both a Scottish traditionalist and an innovator of fiddle technique. For the past two decades, Fraser has been also playing with cellist Natalie Hasss, and they’ve become a favorite among fans of string dance music. The duo’s fiddle and cello pairing might seem odd for Celtic music fans, but it actually harkens to a much older tradition of Scottish dance music where cello was key. A little detail a Michael Jordan type fiddler would know. AC

INFO: 7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $27. 427-2227. 




This year, pre-game your Valentine’s weekend with the sounds of jazz harpist Motoshi Kosako, and bassist Michael Manring. These two team up to play the gentle soundtrack for your romantic evening. Kosako’s origins as an electric jazz guitarist lends a unique style to the self-taught harp player’s technique, often referred to as the harpist version of Keith Jarrett. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Ask Michael Manring, since he’s played it before. Pupiled under the late, great Jaco Pastorius, Manring continued his teacher’s experimental style and evolved it for audiences worldwide. MAT WEIR

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INFO: 7:30pm. Michaels on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $15. 479-9777.





Hardcore Mother Hips fans—and there are a lot of them in Santa Cruz—have long had the pleasure of diving into guitarist/singer Tim Bluhm’s excellent solo career. Meanwhile, while other guitarist/singer Greg Loiacono was involved with other people’s projects, he never put out that quintessential solo record we’d all been waiting for. Fortunately, he finally released Songs From A Golden Dream, a tender collection of songs showing off his folksy psych-pop side. Loiacono brings his backing band the Sensie Nation Review to play these stellar tunes. AC

INFO: 8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 479-1854. 





The North Mississippi Allstars became stars in the blues scene in the early 2000s with a familiar heavy blues-rock. The group has evolved to embrace a little bit more of a laid-back, hippie vibe in their more recent tunes with easy grooves, soulful organs, lush harmonies, and lyrics about “mushroom tea” and “hippies tripping LSD.” It’s still strictly blues-based, but you won’t hear any of the clichés that make non-blues fans cringe. These are just great tunes that will get you moving, and maybe even ease you into becoming a hardcore blues fanatic. AC

INFO: 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $27/adv, $31/door. 704-7113. 




Not even 25 years old, this Floridian turned Californian has already been doing stand-up for four years. She’s been featured on Comedy Central and Seth Rogan’s Hilarity for Charity, has written for Tosh 2.0 and E! Television’s The Soup, has the Comedian Vs. Hottie love-and-dating-themed vlog, and continues to slay tiny clubs along her way. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate love with Sinclair and her stories about drag queens, drugged out exes stealing jokes and other dating and non-dating related topics. MW

INFO: 7 & 9:30pm. DNA’s Comedy Lab, 155 S. River St., Santa Cruz. $20adv, $25/door. 900-5123. 




If you’re feeling the need for some healing love on Valentine’s Day a soothing dose of Tuck and Patti is just what the love doctor ordered. The husband and wife team turns concerts into besotted communal celebrations of the human heart’s unlimited capacity. Tuck Andress is a phenomenal guitarist who combines rhythmic agility with a potently distilled harmonic palette. Possessing a voice full of passion and glory, Patti Cathcart delivers every note swaddled in velvet. They’ve been performing together as a duo for some three decades and still bring a sense of discovery to the bandstand. ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.





If you’re into collecting obscure ’60s psych-rock records, you’ll quickly discover that there are thousands upon thousands of these records floating around in thrift shops and dusty garages. Matt Adams, the sole consistent member of the Blank Tapes, is kind of like a modern version of these obscure ’60s psych records in band form. He records as fast as he writes, which is to say really fast. He captures the delightfully strange aspects of the ’60s underbelly, with songs that can be atmospheric, drift into cosmic netherworlds, be poppy and sometimes just rock hard. It’s an all-in-one obscure ’60s grab bag. AC

INFO: 9pm. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $6. 429-6994.





Once upon a time, Ani DiFranco was a DIY folk music rebel. Politically and personally fierce, she challenged people’s ideas about activism and feminism. Where she might have shocked some people was how she evolved into one of the most eclectic working musicians, experimenting with soul, jazz, hip-hop, alt-rock and spoken word. Her music has matured to the point of being so reflective, it’ll make you take a good hard look at yourself and examine your own inner workings. Speaking of deep self-reflection, last year she released her memoir No Walls and the Recurring Dream, a great, and thoughtful read. AC

INFO: 8pm. Rio Theater, $40. 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 423-8209.




If you want to call it retro soul or vintage R&B, it really misses the point. Singer-songwriter Son Little is a master of taking emotions almost too big for words and distilling them down to the tiniest sounding, simplest expressions. On his latest record, Aloha, which he wrote and recorded—mostly by himself—in just eight days, he constantly sounds restrained and on the verge of exploding into a million pieces. This powerful control creates intoxicating music that will send you into deep existential tears. AC

INFO: 8pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $16/adv, $20/door. 479-1854. 


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