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January 5, 2006

The Hum heading


It can get a bit confusing. Breeze is the nom de plume of singer/songwriter Jenifer Doyle, but it's also the name she uses for her band, at least part of the time, when it's not identified as the Breeze Band. I had the pleasure of hearing Breeze perform a few songs at the end-of-summer North Country Fair, among them one called "Someday," which seemed to show where she was coming from, harkening back to the days of '60s folk-rock in sound and in its plea for peace and love and an end to war.

It must have been early on in the history of the Breeze Band, assembled in August, but the band seemed together, all working in harmony backing Breeze's songs. "When we started, it was like a force of inspiration; we played 15 gigs in the first three months," she notes in her MySpace blog. Since then she has laid down a few tracks, recording with Mike Kapitan at his studio.

"We want to spread positive vibes and bring spiritual energy into music," she explains, adding, "Our deep grooves and conscious lyrics are what make us unique."


True to form, bassist Justin Brown from Moo-Got-2 laid down the deep groove when I heard them, along with a drummer who has since moved on. The drummer was recently replaced by Nathan Kaplan from Buddy Brown and the Hound Dogs and various other blues/soul congregations.

Breeze and her band have a busy week ahead: Thursday, Jan. 5, they play The Boiler Room in Eureka. Then on Saturday, it's a special appearance at Humboldt Brews with a special guest, guitar wizard Ruben Diaz.

Continuing in its role as the prime local venue for country stars, Cher Ae Heights Casino presents an evening with BlackHawk this coming Tuesday, Jan. 10. Those who do not listen to KRED may not be familiar with this stellar trio that rose to fame in the '90s. The band's story begins long before that. Back in the early '70s, founding member Henry Paul was part of a southern rock outfit called The Outlaws, cohorts of Lynyrd Skynyrd who recorded for Arista in the Clive Davis days. By the end of that decade, Paul had gone solo with the Henry Paul Band. Meanwhile in Nashville, two songwriters, Van Stephenson and Dave Robbins, both of them selling tunes to country bigshots like Kenny Rogers, formed a partnership. A decade (and a couple of Outlaw reunions) later, around 1990, Paul met Stephenson and Robbins and the three formed BlackHawk. They signed a deal with Arista and, throughout the '90s, recorded a series of hit records in the country-meets-southern-rock vein. Sadness followed soon thereafter: Stephenson learned in 1999 that he had melanoma; he died from the cancer in 2001. Robbins and Paul marshaled on, recording the acclaimed album Spirit Dancer, dedicated to their friend, then in 2003, enlisted the services of Anthony Crawford, a veteran rocker who had toured in the '80s with Neil Young and in the '90s with Stevie Winwood. More recently the band has been back in the recording studio working on new songs, at least when they're not bouncing around the country. They play this weekend at a South Dakota Corn Growers Association convention in Sioux Falls, then, as mentioned above, hit Trinidad Jan. 10, for an early show in the casino's big room. ,

The casino-hoppers out there (you know who you are) might want to stop by the Blue Lake Casino Saturday, Jan. 7, to hear some rollicking Cajun tunes by Bayou Swamis. Then on Sunday, Jan. 8, head down to Bear River Casino where they're celebrating Elvis' birthday all day with free cake, followed by an Elvis tribute featuring Tony La Torre, whose "heart of a legend" show depicts Elvis at all stages in his career.

The Lost Coast Live concert series continues this Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Ferndale Theatre with another pair of unidentified singer/songwriters ready to be discovered by what has become a trusting audience. Once again the names of the players are embargoed, but listening to the ad on KHUM, you will learn, among other things, that one is known as "the folk Hendrix," and the other has written songs for movies including Message in a Bottle and The Rookie and for TV shows including ER and Dawson's Creek. (Anyone marginally adept with Google should be able to discern their identities.)

In what is an unfortunate coincidence or simply bad planning, the LCL event takes place at exactly the same time as the KHUM 10th Birthday Party at the Bayside Grange. Need I point out that KHUM is an LCL sponsor and the station's hometown listeners are the core audience for the LCL shows? The Grange show should be memorable -- The Delta Nationals, Kulica and Earl Thomas are all Humboldt treasures (Kulica and Thomas both show up in the KHUM Blend CD, which I'm sure will be available that night.) And the food should be great: dinner catered by Curley's Grill and birthday cake from Ramone's. Yum. And happy birthday to KHUM!

Speaking of Kulica, you can catch them grooving at a dinner show at the Lost Whale Inn out past Trinidad this coming Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 9 and 10.

This Saturday is also Arts Alive! night in Eureka. Among the music you might hear during or after the stroll in search of art: the arty rock band Spudgun, playing at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates. The Michael Curran Sextet with Sam Maez plays at Pearl Lounge that evening. ("Sam sat in with us on opening night at the Pearl, so it was a natural," explained Curran.) Pianist Brian Post and friends play jazz at the Graves. And the always funky Moo-Got-2 get funky after-hours at Empire Squared.

Coming up next Wednesday at Empire Squared, a Placebo show that sounds pretty cool. The headliner is The Advantage, a band assembled by Spence Seim of Hella that plays tunes from Nintendo games. Then there's Opposites Attack, an awesome trio featuring screaming/dueling brother and sister Max and Jada Brotman in a sibling rage with Willoughby Arevalo of Winston Smith wailing on the drums. Filling out the five-band bill: Faulouah (friends of The Advantage) plus locals Polar Bodies, a new alt. pop trio, and Stereoprimer, Mike Kennedy's one-man neo-electro blast.

In the classical mode, we have young Ryan MacEvoy McCullough back in town for winter break and eager to perform in front of a hometown audience. He plays on that fine grand piano at Morris Graves Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 8.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but the Graves is also leaping into the already crowded open mike game starting Thursday, Jan. 12. The event is billed as "open to musicians, authors and poets to share their talents."

And -- this just in -- also on Thursday, Jan. 12, a show at The Alibi (which BTW will not have music this weekend) featuring Shellshag, the punk/pop husband/wife duo that's 2/3 of Kung Fu USA, plus The Buffy Swayze. I'm told film-maker Jensen Rufe will be in attendance, so let's call this the kick-off to a Rural Rock weekend, which will include the premier of Rufe's film on the local scene Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Van Duzer.


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