DO YOU SUPPOSE THERE'S ANY SIGNIFICANCE IN THE fact that this year, the unlucky Friday the Thirteenth is immediately followed by Valentine's Day? Probably not, but just in case, be careful.
It's a busy weekend and week ahead, once again displaying the wide variety of entertainment available here in rural Humboldt. Friday night at the Red Radish, it's Canadian mandolinist John Reischman and the Jaybirds (despite the name, John insists that the band is not really focused on him). [photo at right] His current home might be over the border, but Reischman is semi-local; he grew up in Ukiah, and that's where he discovered the mando, eventually falling in with the California blue/newgrass crowd in the '70s and playing with the Good Ol' Persons (including a couple of shows at the Jambalaya) and with the jazzier Tony Rice Unit.
"Nowadays when I play, I try to stay true to the style of the band I'm with," he said, in a call from the road. "I also play in a duo with [guitarist] John Miller; that's mostly original stuff in a jazz and Latin vein. Then with the Jaybirds, it's bluegrass with a traditional orientation. We don't exactly imitate Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs or the Stanley Brothers," he continued, "it's more our own take on it -- but we're a band with a healthy respect for the tradition. We write our own tunes and try to find some that haven't been recorded that much, but all basically in the old time style."
That night at the Van Duzer, CenterArts presents folk diva Judy Collins, in a show that sold out long ago. What does she sound like? According to the late great Richard Farina, "If amethysts could sing -- they would sound like Judy Collins."
Also on Friday night, the Joyce Hough Band plays at a dance at the Bayside Grange to benefit the Multiple Assistance Transitional Housing Center, serving homeless singles and families. Then there's the benefit for KMUD radio at Mazzotti's with the B-Side Players mixing reggae, funk, Latin jazz, rock, and hip-hop in a multi-culti stew. Local jammers Something Different open. And in yet another benefit, hard-rockin' folky Tamaras plays at Redwood Yogurt to support V-Day activities.
Now that the Eureka Inn is padlocked, jazzman John Raczka needs a new place to play. This weekend that would be the Saffire Rose. He's there with trumpeter Sam Maez Friday night; bassist Geoff Daugherty makes it a trio Valentine's Day.
At Ragg's Rack Room Friday night (formerly Icabod's Billiards) it's SoHum rockers N*P*K (whom you read about here last week). And at Muddy Waters, Blue Lake's beloved raconteur Jeff DeMark presents Went to Lunch, Never Returned: A Love Story for the Vocationally Impaired, at a low, low price for the un- or underemployed, the outsourced and for those lucky and/or unlucky in love. (Everyone.)
Saturday, Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, you can start your morning with love songs at the Anchor sung by Rosy Rosenfeld along with her blues brother, Mojo, and pianist, Bob Ebenstein.
There are a number of places to take your Valentine dancing that night. A Valentine's Ball at the Trinidad Town Hall features the Owl and the Pussycat Salon Orchestra with Jolianne Von Einem and Rob Diggins from Cuckoo's Nest playing swing, cha-cha and fox trot.
The Arcata Volunteer Fire Department Dance at the Community Center features country vets, the Roadmasters, with proceeds supporting plans for a new AFD station. And the Humboldt Folklife Society presents old-time, pre-radio music by Huckleberry Flint and Wrangletown for contra dancers at the Arcata Vets Hall. Natalie Cabrera does the calling. Slackjaw plays more old timey music in Eureka at Old Town Coffee, a place where you can also satisfy your chocolate craving.
At the Van Duzer it's a Middle Eastern dance thing called Laylot Hob, which is Arabic for "love night" with the Lailaa Chandani Dance Ensemble featuring Shoshanna (who tells me she's leaving town soon).
Meanwhile the Deep Groove Society is "keepin' the love out on the dance floor" at Muddy Waters with special guest DJs Moody Eva and Cameron; Christian Clark and Jrush, all from SF; along with the usual DGS suspects. And at Six Rivers Old Town it's more SoHum rock, but on the psychedelic side with the Non-Prophets.
A classical Valentine's Day? You got it. The Eureka Chamber Music Series presents a bonus benefit concert with San Francisco Opera Center Singers, Karen Slack and Katherine Rohrer performing, accompanied by pianist Monica Vanderveen at Calvary Lutheran Church. HSU faculty members John Brecher (a violinist) and pianist Deborah Clasquin and friends perform Bach, Brahms and Debussy at Fulkerson Hall. And at the Fortuna Monday Club it's Christina Souza, a soprano, and her husband Jonathan, a tenor, offering their favorite moments in musical theater.
It's not quite a play to take a date to, but you could also see Eve Ensler's collection of stories about violence against women, The Vagina Monologues, on V-Day at HSU's Kate Buchanan Room.
OK, Valentine's is past, and now you want to help save some trees. Sunday, Feb. 15, certified tree-hugger Joanne Rand is down from Orleans for a benefit for local tree-sitters at the Bayside Grange, joined by eco-folksinger Mokai, who was once a treesitter himself (in Oregon, not here). The infamous Remedy will be the emcee. (She's the one the recall people are up in arms about because she just got a $10 fine, which is all you typically get for one count of trespassing. And since she just went up her tree once, and stayed there for almost one year, that's all she was guilty of.)
Coming up Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Alibi, the return of alt. folkrockers the Dolly Ranchers. Incidentally, I first heard about this show from Arno, who sent me a note about it from Berlin, saying, "You gotta see these girls; not as flashy as Hell's Belles, but a good, rocking fun girl band." The Lowlights open.
One more return, and it's this Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Shanty: Alaska! an organic, alt. folk rock combo that was traveling with Lou Barlow when he was last in town. The L.A.-based trio includes members of the New Folk Implosion, Sebadoh and lowercase: Imaad Wasif on guitar and Russell Pollard on bass with Lesley Ishino from the Red Aunts on drums. As I recall, the music they make is loose, earthy and a lot of fun.
© Copyright 2003, North Coast Journal, Inc.