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June 9, 2005

The Hum


Photo and headline -- Louise TaylorWHEN SONGWRITER LOUISE TAYLOR [photo at right] CALLED ME THIS morning, she was far from her home in Arkansas working on a new album in the Bay Area and preparing for a jaunt up to Arcata where she performs a solo house concert Friday, June 10.

Taylor says she's moving in a slightly different direction as she lays down tracks for her work-in-progress. "This CD is coming out a little more bluesy than the last one. The last one was more jazzy. This one is more finger-style blues, although it is still my songwriting, so it's not traditional blues."

Of course Taylor's exquisite, literate songs have always fallen far outside the bounds of the she-done-him-wrong, I'm-so-sad blues vein. "Lyrics are very important to me," said Taylor. "That's where I put my efforts."

Why music? "After struggling with the business side of it, I've learned a lot about sticking with something, about examining yourself. It's not a glamorous business like some think it is -- it's a lot of hard work. I love to travel and it's helped me see the world in a way I wouldn't have had a chance to. It has also been a spiritual journey leading me to self-discovery. That's why I've stayed with it."

Interested in hearing Taylor perform in the intimate setting of a house concert? Call Joel at 839-7063 and make a reservation. To get on the list for future concerts shoot him an e-mail:

You may remember Jensen Rufe from his days as Humboldt County Film Commissioner or from one of several rock combos he played in, The Sin Men and Guided by Voices cover band Tigerbalm among them. Rufe left Arcata for the bright lights of L.A. in 2001, but he's back in town this week, holed up in the Hotel Arcata shooting a pilot for what could potentially be a TV series.

Rufe says his documentary, Rural Rock `n' Roll, is "inspired by the time I spent up here playing music and observing the scene, aghast at the amount of talent and interesting characters who may never be heard [outside the area]. Take The Cutters for example; they're basically broken up and everyone here knows they're immensely talented, [but] the rock `n' roll world at large has no idea that this great band came and went. There are a zillion similar stories across the country, hence this pilot, which I'm hoping will be episode No. 1."

Rufe is working with another formerly local filmmaker, Tracy Boyd. On Tuesday they were part way through a succession of interviews with a dozen or so bands, most of whom are set to play this weekend in a mini-indie rock fest associated with the film. The first show is a house party Thursday at Rob Reardon's place in Eureka with Rob's wild noise band Candy Muscle, plus neo-new wavers Monster Women and The Ravens, who are playing out for the first time since Bandon took over as drummer from Buffy, the golden girl.

Friday the action moves to The 330 Club where The Buffy Swayze, The Great Salvation, Eureka Garbage Co. and JPG hold court. Then on Saturday it's back to the Plaza for a show at the Alibi with garage rockers Trash and Roll, the Mendocino post-grunge band, The Blue Dot, and those sweet young things, The Ian Fayes. (Watch out. The twins celebrate their 21st birthday that night.) Rufe also plans to slip across town at some point Saturday to Humboldt Brews where Dragged by Horses are having a CD release party with self-described "prissy prima donnas" Que La Chinga sharing the bill. Closing out Rural R'n'R weekend, another show at the Alibi on Sunday with Irish-style folk/punk rockers The Smashed Glass and my favorite metal monsters, The Hitch, playing a Humboldt Free Radio show celebrating the second anniversary of live music at the always-packed Plaza hangout.

Friday's Arts Arcata includes a preview of this weekend's northern leg of the Open Studios tour with art at Arcata Artisans and around the corner at the HSU Sculpture Garden, plus an event at the Co-op where the massive Pan Dulce Steel Orchestra sets up outside. Kate Lang slipped me a copy of their brand new debut CD, Pan Yard Vibrations at the Farmers' Market Saturday where they wowed the crowd. The mostly Trinidadian tunes match the band's name: Sweet.

There's also music around the Plaza: multi-instrumentalist David Isley is in his usual spot at Rookery Books; Sean Powers plays accordion at Simply Macintosh, and across the way at The Metro, The Living Rooms offer their eclectic acoustic mélange.

Saturday evening at the Metro, the soulful Earl Thomas celebrates the release of his latest CD, Intersection.

Friday, Placebo founder Abe Ray offers a recording workshop with participants invited to "bring anything you have: musical instruments, microphones, recording equipment: tape recorders, minidisk, multitrack, etc." to learn how to better capture those sounds you hear in your head.

At the Placebo Saturday, June 11, Constants, a trio from Boston, plays sprawling, epic compositions akin to math rock, but drawing influence from prog rockers like Yes and Pink Floyd. Locals Stereo Chromatic, Give Dad the Gristle and Mind Versus Matter complete the four-band bill.

As you may have heard, the Placebo is getting ready to leave their space in Manila. (The last show there is June 25.) At this point the kids are not totally sure where they're headed. IMHO they belong in Arcata where the whole thing began, but the city doesn't seem to be showing them much love, and the rental situation is kind of tight, so they will probably end up with their second choice, a space in Eureka. Got a place to rent? Want to help them out? Contact Julie at and she'll clue you in on what you can do.

The North Coast's LGBT community is out and about all weekend for various Humboldt Pride Festival events beginning with the 2nd annual Queer Film and Art Festival on Friday, June 10, at the Redwood Peace and Justice Center in Arcata.

The action moves outdoors Saturday with a trip to Fern Canyon and a potluck picnic at Redwood Park sponsored by Pride Parents. Then it's on to the Bayside Grange Saturday evening for the folk-oriented Rainbow Coffeehouse with Calleaghn Kinnamon, Tamaras and Marc Pedraza plus Lisa Sanders and Irina Rivkin from Rose Street House of Music in Berkeley. (Irina and Lisa also play at Cecil's in Garberville Friday night with our own Lila Nelson.) Later on at Club West, it's a Saturday edition of Club Triangle with assorted DJs.

Sunday it's the Pride Parade in Arcata starting at Stewart Park (14th and F streets) with a serenade by The Raging Grannies, a humorous political a cappella ensemble (which just happens to include my own dear mother). The Pride Marching Band leads the parade to the Plaza where local politicos speechify between sets by Magnolia, Vintage Soul, and the folks from the night before: Irina, Lisa, Marc, Tamaras and Calleaghn. For further details on any of this check

Coming up Thursday, June 16, at Blue Lake Casino, Tab Benoit plays down home Louisiana blues. (More on this next week.)

At Six Rivers Brewery that same night it's "Keep the Lights On," a benefit for the seriously underfunded McKinleyville Library. The blues/soul band Big Earl and the Cryin' Shame and jammers Papa Bear are donating their musical services. There's a raffle and a silent auction, and the brewery is generously offering 10 percent of their sales that night for this worthy cause. Give 'em a hand; we all know how hard it is to read in the dark.


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