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Living the Blues 

Courtney's story, plus Devil Makes Three, Anthony B and Django's 100th

click to enlarge Courtney Weaver. Photo by Bob Doran
  • Courtney Weaver. Photo by Bob Doran

She's fixing her makeup, getting ready for a night on the town dancing at the Jam to Moo-Got-2. Then suddenly it's like something from one of the old blues songs she sings. The man she loves appears at the door with blood on his hands, and before she knows it, he's pulled out a .45.

"He grabs his gun out of his safe and I try to stop him from leaving, reassuring him everything will be fine and to just breath. He runs toward the kitchen door and I try to stop him. He turns, looks in my eyes, and I no longer see the man I know and love. In a split-second he points the gun in my face, I hold my arms up screeching as the bullet goes through my right forearm, my top right lip, shattering my top right jaw as well as lower left jaw, lodging the bullet there."

Courtney Weaver, who sings the blues with St. John and the Sinners, survived the shooting, lived to tell her tale. From her hospital bed in Sacramento, she's sending out messages to her friends on Facebook, and, despite what she's been through, she's maintaining a positive attitude.

She does have some complaints. In a personal note Tuesday morning she wrote, "It took 20 minutes for an ambulance and only three minutes for the police [to come] last Friday, and instead of trying to calm me, they insisted on asking a multitude of questions as blood spurted out of my arm and both my maxillary and mandible were badly shattered. It took until midnight to get morphine and until 3 a.m. to finally be airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center."

Four surgeries later she's patched up and out of the ICU. In between procedures, she's been writing songs, left-handed.

"Before this all happened I was planning to go back into the studio to record my first original CD," she noted. "Although [that's] now delayed until May, I am very pleased with the lyrics pouring out and the notes floating around my head. I am still awed by all the concern and outreach from the community and will be excited to get back on the scene with my newfound fervor and zeal. Nowhere else could I imagine residing. My main goal is for everyone to maintain positive vibes."

That "outreach from the community" is taking multiple forms. Chelsea Hoff Brown put together the "Support for shooting victim Courtney Weaver" Facebook group almost overnight with help from Deep Groovers Laura Trevino and Marc Gummic (445 members and growing as of Tuesday). Saturday they pulled in $500 at a Red Fox dubstep show; more donations came in at Sunday's Deep Groove night at the Jambalaya and Monday at the Boiler Room's open mic. As we go to press Tuesday, plans are underway for a full court press at the Jam's Blues Jam. Courtney would have been singing with St. John and the Sinners this Friday at the Wave. They'll marshal on without her and will definitely be passing the hat.

The popularity of the alt. Americana trio Devil Makes Three has grown by leaps and bounds since I first heard their country-blues-ragtime-folk-rock at Muddy Waters a few years back. They've played a bigger venue on each return visit; Thursday they hit the historic (and large) Eureka Theater with post-bluegrass quintet Trampled by Turtles from Minnesota opening. Catch TbT live on KHUM Friday morning at 10:30. DM3 frontman Pete Bernhard returns Feb. 23, for a solo show at Jambalaya.

Also on Thursday, gypsy jazz guitarist Tom Toohey and friends celebrate Django Reinhardt's 100th birthday at Libation. The "friends" include Ryan Roberts (from Absynthe Q) Jessie Elias, Shao Way Wu and Zach Stone (on sax). "Should be a great evening of wine and traditional arrangements of one the greatest jazz guitar players of all time," promises Roberts. For a preview, tune in KHUM at noon that day when Toohey joins deejay Mike Dronkers for the Django centennial.

Thursday is also tango night at the Jambalaya with Yo Tango! playing for dancers. No Liquid Lounge since Noonan's on the road with Moo-Got-2; instead the Pete Ciotti Trio holds down the fort -- that's Pete on drums, Piet Dalmolen guitar and John Murdock bass, "plus many special guests."

For the dancehall reggae massive the Arcata Theatre Lounge is the place to be Thursday. Anthony B is headliner, and Jahdan Blakkamoore joins him as they big-up the dancehall. As he started his Cali tour last week, I asked Anthony about the impact of artists having shows cancelled because of gay-bashing lyrics on dancehall as a whole. "In a culture, and in a genre of music, and in a society where you find so many entertainers doing dancehall music, you can't judge all by two or three or four or five people," he replied. "All of us have some untold story -- we have to just shed it and move on. If we don't, and we start to digging up things from the past, how will we talk about equal right and justice and love when there's so many things still not repaid between different classes and races of people who have been brutalized, discriminated and murdered. What I'm searching for in the world is not the way to hate, but the way to love; the way to appreciate, not the way to discriminate."

More reggae? On Friday, Lion Paw presents Army from St. Croix (in the Virgin Islands) at the Red Fox, with local support from Woven Roots and DJ Supa Mario. Saturday it's a Lion's Den show at Nocturnum with another young Jamaican inna dancehall, Konshens, backed by the Home Grown Band from Bermuda with Akaboom, High Grade Sound and Beatnok mixing beforehand. (Akaboom returns Sunday.)

If electro and dubstep is more your thing, there's a show Thursday (Jan. 21) at Nocturnum with R/D and "conscious-wordsmith" Souleye plus Masta Shredda and Mike D. Then Saturday the Helicopter Showdown crew and Western Science bring GeT TuFF to the Arcata Theatre Lounge with DJ Bitcrusher and Devour plus Cardboard Papercut (from the ZombieLust Collective) and Psy-Fi.

There's still more dubstep and drum 'n' bass Wednesday, Jan. 27, again at Nocturnum. Local dubstepper Marc G tells us: "Heavy hitter Alfonz De La Mota is coming to Humboldt, representing the MIA DnB Collective out of the Midwest accompanied by Grasshoppa. Having been in the game for well over a decade, at this point he has drum and bass refined down to a science... a true junglist, now a rare breed."

Antióquia rolls into Arcata Friday in some sort of biodiesel vehicle to play some post-peak oil tribal punk/funk/jam/rock. (They call it "progress rock.") The Oakland-based quartet will be joined by local beatmeisters SambAmore and Dun Dun Fare at the Jambalaya. Come prepared to dance with wild abandon.

The beat goes on Saturday at the Red Fox with SambaDá up from Santa Cruz for a rhythmic blast of "AfroBrazilian samba funk dance music." They're also playing Friday night at the Mattole Grange in shaky Petrolia.

Saturday at the Wave it's The Kid and Nic Show from SoCal. Nicole Tracy is Nic; her husband Kirk is The Kid. "We play casinos primarily, along with county fairs and so forth," said Nic calling from L.A. "We mostly play swingin' blues, but with different casinos you get different demographics. We'll play anything from country and rock to old jazz Louis Armstrong-style. I'll even put a bandana on my head and play 'Sweet Child of Mine.' It's a nice little package -- we're proud of it."

Elsewhere in Blue Lake Saturday, specifically at the Logger Bar, The Hard Ride and Radio Moscow offer two different takes on rock, both heavy (and no Axl Rose impressions).

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Bob Doran

Bob Doran

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Contributing photographer.

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