You know when you're in a kind of mood and then music comes to you that does more than reflects that mood, it soaks right into you and you soak in it, revel in it, until that weird sadness you were feeling evaporates away with the music? That's where I found myself while listening to Charlie Greene's eponymous new album.
Some of Greene's songs, like "Lost and Found," are melancholy and sweet. Some, like "Honorable Women," are rambunctious and dirty. Many are full of odd imagery: "I remove my lower jaw/Place it in your shopping cart/Could you reach down my throat/Both hands rip out my heart," from "Man on Fire." All of them, depending on how you're feeling, conjure forth emotion or tangle up with your existing ones. Or, for the happy-go-lucky among us, they will please you. (You will have to have a certain appreciation for some twang.)
From Greene's bio: "Born the son of a touring singer/songwriter and recording artist, the grandson of a big band leader from the '40s and '50s, and the great-grandson of a front-porch, Georgia banjo player, music is in his blood. ... Charlie was greatly influenced by the lives of the musicians in his family as well as their interpretation of original American music." He lists influences ranging from Harry Nilsson and Merle Haggard to Burl Ives and Charles Bukowski, which makes perfect sense.
And he's been written up in Rolling Stone and Paste magazines, among others, which I mention because, folks, the Alibi's Ian Hiler has done Humboldt a solid once again by bringing a musician of this caliber to our little corner of the world. In reading through the interviews, another thing became clear: Charlie Greene is a foxy guy, sly and quick and cute and shadowy. He'll be with his band on Saturday at the aforementioned Alibi — take a nap if you need to, because, as usual, the music doesn't get started until around 11 p.m. Only $5! Locals Moon Pine join, 21-and-over.
Backing up a bit ...
Santa Cruz-based rock/surf icons The Expendables blend reggae, punk and '80s-style dueling guitar solos. If you, like I, are not sure what an "'80s-style dueling guitar solo" is, let me save you the trouble of Googling by informing you that in 1986, in the Ralph Macchio vehicle Crossroads, based on the legend of bluesman Robert Johnson, the climactic scene involves Macchio's character playing guitar against a guitarist under the employ of the devil, played by Steve Vai — are you following? Anyway, this gig takes place at the Mateel Community Center and should be a raucous time. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $20 advance, $25 at the door, all ages.
Get into the groove with the multi-talented Motherlode and Dubadubs at the Jambalaya. Cover is $10, doors at 9 p.m., 21-and-over.
Earlier in the evening, violinist Michael Donovan performs at Westhaven Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Donovan plays with the No Good Redwood Ramblers, The Attics and La Musique Diabolique, and is a regular at Blondie's Sunday Jazz Jams. Cover is $5 to $10 sliding scale.
Humboldt's favorite out-to-seduce-you band, Cliff Dallas and the Death Valley Troubadors, casts an Americana spell at the Siren's Song, 9 p.m., along with Kindred Spirits. Adding to the enticement, the show is free. (That's how they hook you, kids!)
Saturday is also national Record Store Day and Arcata's Blondies invites you to head over following your hard copy acquisitioning. The coffee house/beer joint hosts live music with Santa Rosa mathy-jazz rockers Modern Jazz, sci-fi-prog punks Boilermaker, plus A-town's own Wrecks Goliath and the Mother Vines. Music starts at 8 p.m., all ages, $5.
HSU Percussion Ensemble breaks out all the instruments for classic works by Carlos Chavez, Lou Harrison and John Cage. Plus, the World Percussion Group, directed by Howard Kaufman, follows with a set that features "Takada," Ghana's traditional celebration of a woman's right to drum. HSU student teacher Joe Bishop leads a suite of Mandeng drumming from West Africa. The performance takes place at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall. Tickets from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door: $8 general, $5 seniors and children, HSU students with ID admitted free. More information at www.hsumusic.blogspot.com.
If you have lived in Humboldt for any length of time and are a fan of the bluegrass, you already know all about SF's Hot Buttered Rum and Humboldt's Absynth Quintet. (Did you know you can mix rum and absinthe with orgeat, simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters to make a cocktail called the "Absinthe-Minded Professor? True!) If you are new to town, please know that these are two of the West Coast's most outstanding, creative, sexy bluegrass bands in existence. Something else to know about HBR: The band is committed to achieving its musical goals in an environmentally sensitive manner and toured for years in an old school bus converted to run on 100 percent vegetable oil and recently traded up for a newer van that runs on biofuel. So, all due props to them for loving the Earth so well. Catch 'em 9 p.m. at Humbrews. $15.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.