Thursday, January 20, 2000
What''s Up, Chuck?
It''s an appetizers-for-dinner kind of week. The kind of week where there''s lots of good stuff on the table, but there''s no standout dish.
It''s another one of those weeks when a true headline act would round out the meal very nicely.
Don''t get me wrong, these are all shows that are worth seeing. They''re all veteran, world-traveled acts who have proven their durability and quality. But what we''re lacking is a "must-see" act, the kind of show in the kind of venue that forms the center of a vital music scene.
Still, especially after the dark days of the last few months, this weekend''s offerings look mighty tasty.
Talk about a guy who''s been around. Kenny "Blue" Ray made his first album appearance in 1978 and since then, he''s shown up on more than 30 albums, usually as a sideman or a studio musician, sometimes as the guy out front. What''s particularly mind-boggling is the number of albums--27--that have featured Ray since 1994. Over the years, he''s appeared with old-time legends like Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, and Pee Wee Crayton, as well as more contemporary bluesers William Clarke, Charlie Musselwhite, Smokey Wilson, Albert Collins, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Aside from his prolific musicianship, Ray is also remarkable for becoming something of a nationally notable blues dude strictly on the basis of his instrumental prowess. A double threat--on guitar (lead and rhythm) and Hammond B3 organ--Ray leaves the vocals to others, even when he''s the star of the show.
Get your dancing shoes and get ready for some swingin'' Texas-style blues.
Kenny Blue Ray, Saturday, 9pm. Sly McFly''s, Cannery Row, 649-8050.
They say there''s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. At least there''s a logical progression, because they also say you have to sin to get saved.
But maybe if you show up for the 5 for the Gospel concert on Friday night, you can sin on Saturday but sleep in on Sunday.
The Kentucky-based bluegrass/gospel quintet has been performing together since 1989 and was twice named "Traditional Gospel Group of the Year" by the National Bluegrass Society. Although it''s music that will appeal only to a select portion of the Friday night party crowd, it is one of the few local music events that''s actually billed as a "family-friendly event."
5 for the Gospel, Friday, 7pm. Monterey United Methodist Church, Soledad Street and Munras Avenue, Monterey. Free. 375-8285.
Elisabeth Carlisle grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains, went to school in Santa Barbara, worked the L.A. nightclub scene and apparently became somewhat of a star in Sweden, where she played for the Ice Hockey World Championship celebration and "other festivals."
Writers have compared Carlisle to both Joni Mitchell and Melissa Etheridge--which says something either about her range or about how confused music writers can be.
Elisabeth Carlisle, Saturday, 9pm. Bullwacker''s, Cannery Row, 373-1353.
Fingerstyle guitar phenom Peppino D''Agostino returns to Pacific Grove. The Italian-born guitar picker''s blend of traditional, pop and jazz styles has been compared to such guitar giants as Leo Kottke, Doc Watson, and John Renbourn. But with a Mediterranean flavor.
Peppino D''Agostino, Saturday, 8pm. Capsicum, Pacific Grove, 373-7379.
More on this one next week, but you might want to make some advance plans for next Thursday. Leif Sorbye and Tempest are returning to Monterey for their first gig at The Long Bar. I got a chance to listen to their newest release, a limited-edition live recording from the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the powerhouse Celtic rockers sound as strong as ever.
Tempest, Thursday (1/27). The Long Bar, Monterey, 372-2244.