Santa Cruz County live entertainment picks for March 4-10
French settlers in Eastern Canada evolved the traditional music of their native land into something new and distinct—a smooth, breezy sound somewhere between Celtic sing-alongs and down-home Appalachian fiddle tunes. If there’s a modern day ambassador of this genre, it’s Canada’s Vishten. The three members all grew up in a home on the eastern Canadian Islands where this music was a part of everyday life. They modernize it with a mix of instruments—keys, accordion and electric guitar, as well as the acoustic guitar, fiddle and flute. But at its heart, it’s a window into 17th century French-Canadian home life. AC
INFO: 7:30pm. Michaels On Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $20/adv, $22/door. 479-9777.
Native Iowan turned Nashville singer Hailey Whitters has steadily built her career and fanbase since her 2015 debut, Black Sheep. More recently, she made country waves with last year’s introspective “Ten Year Town.” Now Whitters is turning heads with “Janice at the Hotel Bar,” the first single off her new album, The Dream, which Rolling Stone recently chose for their “Song You Need To Know” column. MAT WEIR
INFO: 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15/adv. $18/door. 704-7113.
Someone better check on ol’ Lucifer, because hell just froze over—the Groggs are playing a reunion show! During the late 2000s and early 2010s, the Groggs (named for the band’s once-local liquor store off Ocean Street) were a staple in the local rock scene with their barebones beats that dredged up garage rock and psych but kept a hardline punk vibe. Songs like “Lies & Alibis” and “You’re Gonna Leave Me” were punches to the face, relieved only by killer covers of classic tunes like The Animals’ “Misunderstood.” They’ll have a five-dollar deal at this show featuring their classic seven-inch plus download codes to their entire catalogue. MW
INFO: 7pm. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, $7. 423-7117.
It’s not often a folk musician gets compared to comedian Mitch Hedberg, but a playful, offbeat streak cuts across John Craigie’s dusty folk tunes. “I been singing to these hipsters, but they ain’t singing back,” he intones on the rollicking “Bucket List Grandmas,” a song about scraping by as a relative unknown in the music industry. While he may not be a household name yet, Craigie’s one-of-a-kind folk sense has won him many high-profile fans, including Jack Johnson, Todd Snider, and human-roundhouse-kick Chuck Norris. MIKE HUGUENOR
INFO: 7:30pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. $27. 423-8209.
Linda McRae is a national treasure. She performs the kind of folk music that unfolds before your ears as honest, sincere stories that have the wisdom of the ages buried within her simple chords. A master at the banjo, guitar and accordion, she’s traversed the country for three decades with three chords and the truth. Her music harkens to a time before technology controlled the musical landscape, and yet the raw emotionality of her songs are timeless just like the beauty of a sunset or the taste of a fresh loaf of bread just out of the oven. AC
INFO: 8pm. Lille Aeske, 13160 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek. $20. 703-4183.
For the amount of work he’s done, it’s almost hard to believe there’s only one Jerry Douglas. The undisputed master of the Dobro (or “resonator guitar”), Douglas’s blazing slide guitar work has appeared on a jaw-dropping 1,600 albums, including those of Alison Krauss, Paul Simon, and Ray Charles. As a solo artist, his deft blend of Americana and Celtic music has won him CMA awards and Grammy’s alike (14 of them, in fact), and the sheer speed with which he plays has won over countless audiences. You better believe it: there’s only one Jerry Douglas. MH
INFO: 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $35/adv, $40 door. 704-7113.
GONE GONE BEYOND
What is “electro-folk?” On Things Are Changing by NY collective Gone Gone Beyond, electro-folk is the subtle beat underlying the acoustics in sultry single “By the Sea.” It’s the sampled bass drum that pulses beneath the spooky western folk of “You Can’t Go Wrong,” the faint glimmer of effects on (Santa Cruz based!) singer Kat Factor’s voice. The brainchild of electronic producer David Block, Gone Gone Beyond delights in crossing boundaries, blurring lines, and just generally going (going) beyond things. MH
INFO: 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Dr., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 479-1854.
After her groundbreaking triumph at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, Chilean tenor player Melissa Aldana spent several years touring and recording with a stripped down trio. Following in the footsteps of her tenor hero Sonny Rollins, she mastered the harmonically unfettered realms opened up with the backing of only bass and drums. But with last year’s acclaimed Visions, she started painting with a more subtle palette. Inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo, Aldana composed a suite, an extended work that’s often the centerpiece of performances with her Vision Quartet. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $31.50/adv, $36.75/door. 427-2227.
For the record, the Groggs are named after a still-open liquor shop off of Ocean Street. The Grog Shop is also famous for being WC Field’s “favorite beverage emporium”.