.Things to Do in Santa Cruz: April 5-11

Creed Bratton, Stinkfoot Orchestra, Painted Mandolin and More

ARTS AND MUSIC

THE BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH WITH NASHVILLE HONEYMOON Mark Stuart was personally permitted to use the band’s name by Johnny Cash himself and was also honored by the Man in Black with an invitation to record songs at Cash’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were also early believers who were instrumental in helping Stuart get his start. With the release of their critically acclaimed 1999 debut, Walk Alone, the Bastard Sons quickly proved they weren’t another “wedding band” performing straightforward covers. With solid songwriting and musicianship, the outfit jumped to the forefront of the growing alt-country music scene. Their constant touring has resulted in a loyal fanbase in the States and overseas. Meanwhile, songwriting duo Hank Maninger and Lynne Maes’ shared love of country music blossomed into an inspired partnership, onstage and off. Nashville Honeymoon’s original tunes are inspired by a cornucopia of country, rockabilly and honky tonk. $15/$20 plus fees. Wednesday, April 5, 8pm (two-step lesson at 7:30pm). Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com

CREED BRATTON WITH RORY LYNCH “I am not offended by homosexuality. In the ’60s, I made love to many women, often outdoors in the mud and rain. It’s possible a man could’ve slipped in there. There’d be no way of knowing.” If you’re a fan of The Office, you likely know which character said this. Creed Bratton, who played Creed Bratton on The Office during its nine-season lifespan, took what was initially intended to be a background character without any dialogue and created a fan favorite. Creed’s wonderfully cryptic—and somewhat shady—backstory oozed out more and more with each season. Creed is THE quality assurance department; he might have been a cult leader, he enjoys dining at soup kitchens, enjoys mind-altering substances, has four toes, and “the only difference between me and a homeless man is this job. I will do whatever it takes to survive—like I did when I was a homeless man.” The now 80-year-old Bratton’s unexpected stardom revealed another side of the actor: He’s a musician and played lead guitar for the mildly successful psych-rock group the Grass Roots in the late ’60s. In 2018, Bratton released a well-received solo record, While The Young Punks Dance. His live shows are a mix of comedy and music, and Office fans should not miss them. $25/$29 plus fees. Friday, April 7, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com

TAYLOR RAE WITH MOKILI WA Santa Cruz Mountains’ singer-songwriter Taylor Rae has consistently released music since she was a sophomore in high school. Now at 27, Rae has modernized her ’70s-inspired sound with a blend of jazz, psych-folk and blues-rock that she calls “Soul and Roll.” Now living in Austin, Rae has immersed herself in the live music scene while performing an average of 200 shows yearly, playing in 28 cities across America in 2022, and hit some major festivals, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival and NPR’s Mountain Stage. Rae’s Top 20 Americana Music Album Chart debut, Mad Twenties, is the culmination of a mildly frenzied decade lived with courageous grit. A new-found maturity resonates throughout her acclaimed recent LP, Mad Twenties. The single “Home on the Road” was on the Top 10 Americana Music Singles Chart for five consecutive weeks. $15/$20 plus fees. Friday, April 7, 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com

STINKFOOT ORCHESTRA FEATURING NAPOLEON MURPHY BROCK The debut of Mountain Music Productions’ Santa Cruz Veterans Hall concert series features Napoleon Murphy Brock, iconic frontman for Frank Zappa’s 1970s ensemble. Brock is known for helping breathe life into many of Zappa’s most enduring tunes throughout four albums, including what many consider his best live release, Roxy and Elsewhere. Decades later, Brock’s Grammy Award-winning voice is as strong as ever. The San Jose native still boasts a four-octave range, bringing an immediate sense of familiarity to the music of the Stinkfoot Orchestra. Using a 6-piece horn section, four vocalists and a trio of percussionists, the ensemble delivers the intricacies and eccentricities of Frank’s music with power, authenticity and musical prowess. Founded by a 35-year veteran of the South Bay music scene, Nick Chargin, the Stinkfoot Orchestra spent most of the pandemic honing their craft and transcribing horn charts, finally bringing their show to the stage in September of 2021. Boosted by a few articles that got international attention, the band hit the road with multiple trips to the Pacific Northwest in 2022, exposing new audiences to Zappa’s music and wowing the most devout Zappa heads. $25/$30. Friday, April 7, 8pm. Veterans Memorial Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. mountainmusicproductions.com

PAINTED MANDOLIN: A BENEFIT FOR THE LAND TRUST OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY From 1991-94, Joe Craven was a member of the Garcia/Grisman Band, and from 1989-2004, he was part of the David Grisman Quintet. So, with the multi-instrumentalist Craven (mandolin, fiddle, vocals and percussion) at the helm, Painted Mandolin has an ideal frontman to carry on Jerry Garcia’s music, touching on most of the Grateful Dead frontman’s musical journey. The quartet performs tunes from Garcia’s early jug band days, his bluegrass-saturated Old and In the Way era, and many of the Dead acoustic songs most famously showcased on their beloved album Reckoning. Proceeds from Painted Mandolin’s show will go to the Santa Cruz Land Trust, a foundation dedicated to preserving the open spaces around Santa Cruz. $27-32. Saturday, April 8, 7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. kuumbwajazz.org

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BILL AND JILIAN NERSHI WITH JASON HANN The String Cheese Incident guitarist and co-founder Bill Nershi and his wife, Jilian, unleash harmonies and powerful acoustic guitar, immediately drawing in the listener. An inspired journey through various styles and influences, a throwback to the roots of American music, the Nershis have a relaxed way of connecting with the audience through the stories in their songs. Constantly finding ways to make the music sound complete as a duo, unique arrangements and an extensive catalog of original songs highlight the couple’s dedication to their craft. $36 plus fees. Saturday, April 8, 7pm. Big Basin Vineyards, 830 Memory Lane, Boulder Creek. bigbasinvineyards.com

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Adam Joseph
Before Delaware native Adam Joseph was brought on as managing editor for Good Times Santa Cruz in 2021, he spent several years with the Monterey County Weekly as a music writer and calendar editor. In addition to music, he has covered film, people, food, places and everything in between. Adam’s work has appeared in Relix Magazine, 65 Degrees, the Salinas Californian and Gayot. From January to May 2023, Adam served as Good Times’ interim editor.
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