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October 13, 2005

The Hum
Title: Powerful


photo of Joanne Rand's CD, Where Our Power LiesThere's power in the words and power in the delivery of the set of songs Joanne Rand wrote for her new CD, Where Our Power Lies. Calling from her home near Orleans, Joanne explained that she sees her "anthems of grassroots power and personal transformation," as, "a gift of this place: the confluence of the Klamath and the Salmon" she has called home since 2002.

Joanne's songs have always touched on issues of the day; this time she talks world politics (in "Newspaper Song") and eco-activism (note to the Times-Standard reviewer, "Remedy `03" is not about Julia Butterfly, it's about Jen "Remedy" Card), but this time out she's more interested in the big picture, touching on spiritual issues in "Vault of Heaven" and the opening track, "Looking Up" (with guitarist Steve Kimock sitting in as a special guest). The imagery ranges from post-Christian to pre-Christian with mention of the Goddess, but she manages to avoid sounding too New Agey.

"I'm not really a New Age type," she tells me, "but I'd say I channel my feelings, channel the energy that comes from some other place. People recognize that, it reminds them of a source that's beyond themselves. It reminds them of deep feeling: They cry and laugh and dance..."

My personal favorite is a song she calls "Best Thing" about waiting until late in life to pursue marriage and motherhood. "Sometimes the best things come after a lifetime of waiting," she sings, in a message that could refer to her husband Greg, or to her six-year-old daughter, Georgia, or both.

Incidentally, with Georgia in school, Joanne and company have been splitting their time between Arcata and Orleans, so we may see more of them. Joanne Rand and her band, the Rhythm of the Open Hearts play on Saturday, Oct. 15, at The Red Radish, celebrating the new CD --- and, knowing Joanne, life in general. Join them, and come prepared to laugh, cry and dance.

Those who neglected to get tickets to Thursday's sold-out show by Flogging Molly can hear something along the same lines --- loud, wild, Irish punk --- at the Alibi Saturday Oct. 15, where The Smashed Glass shares the bill with mutant blue/nu-grassers, Slewfoot Stringband.

For more traditional bluegrass stop by Humboldt Brews this Thursday for the monthly Compost Mountain Boys show, or see CMB on the Plaza Saturday morning where they play for the Farmers' Market.

The Rubberneckers are back in action this weekend playing at Six Rivers Friday with their buddies Que La Chinga (whose new CD finally came in) and that new something-grass band Bucky Walters. The `Neckers then play Saturday at Muddy's with Huckleberry Flint, an unlikely combination, since Huck Flint's gospel bluegrass tends toward sweetness and light, as evidenced by the fact that they play Sunday morning for the Bayside Grange breakfast. I'm not saying that the bad boys from Blue Lake embrace the dark side, but they are known for getting a tad rowdy at times.

Don't be surprised if you don't see the usual crew on hand at Muddy's Saturday night. B. Loose and company are also involved in Inferknow's Fire Fall, an all-nighter in the hills featuring DJ dance music from Moontribe and Deep Groove and live bands like Moo-Got-2, Dukes of Ted and The Samba Troupe, plus fire spinners and a fiery exhibition by Scotty the Maniacal Pyro. Stop by Muddy's or the Metro for tickets and details.

And back in the bluegrass vein we have Colorado-based Victor Barnes returning to Muddy Waters Wednesday, Oct. 19. Calling what they do "insurgent bluegrass," V.B. deviates from tradition by adding drums and keys and playing covers of Motown tunes and the like.

The folks behind the 39th annual Humboldt International Short Film Festival offer a multimedia blast Friday, Oct. 14, in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room. Jam Fest combines bands on the funky jammish side, Moo-Got-2, Ground Control and Delectable, with a moving image jam session with Christa Dickman merging on-the-fly digital editing of her imagery with clips from indie films. As fest organizer Mary Cruse put it, "There will be a lot of media stimulation."

Get your dancing shoes ready; The Delta Nationals are playing Six Rivers Saturday. "It will be the place to go, whether you're feeling high or low, and especially if you don't know," said D. N. drummer Paul DeMark.

Elsewhere Saturday evening, at Sacred Grounds to be exact, Karuk bluesman Julian Lang sings of "life, death and everything in between," accompanied by guitarist Ike McCovey and The Native Honeys.

At Mazzotti's Saturday, it's Sound of Urchin, a loud, heavy, funny rock band from New York City who ask if you are ready to have "your minds, hearts, ears and asses blown apart."

Meanwhile at the Eureka Muni it's hard-edged hip hop out of Vallejo with E-40 and his Sic-Wid-It Record family, The Click. While E-40 has never hit it big, he's been quite influential, in particular for lingo innovation including popularizing the addition of"-izzle" or "-eezy" to the ends of words, as adopted by Snoop Dogg and others.

You'll hear none of that talkizzle at The Beer and Peanuts Show at Fortuna's River Lodge where they offer harmonious family entertainment featuring the Humboldt Harmonaires Barbershop Chorus.

As promised last week, here's a bit more on Lost Coast Live, returning Nov. 5. OK, so who's playing? I don't know. And that's part of the answer to the second question: What it is? The bimonthly concert at the Ferndale Rep Theatre showcases musicians you've never heard of in what is called by organizers a "music discovery" series.

It's an interesting concept. A pair of unidentified "unknown" singer/songwriters plays to an audience who have probably not heard their music before --- not played by them anyway. As Mac McAnally, one of the s/s-ers put it, it's a "musical blind date," albeit one held in a setting reminiscent of a glossy music magazine, complete with pre-recorded video artist interviews shown on a giant screen with a gilded frame, the central element of LCL's velvet-draped set.

While you probably do not recognize McAnally's name or those of the others featured so far, they are not struggling musicians looking for a break. In fact they are more or less industry insiders. For example, Tony Simms, from July's show, won a Grammy for "Song of the Year" for "Change the World," as recorded by Eric Clapton. September's show brought McAnally, who tours with and produces for Jimmy Buffet, and Philly-based songwriter Phil Roy, whose tenure in Los Angeles found him placing his music in major motion pictures like Leaving Las Vegas and As Good As It Gets, and writing songs recorded by artists including Mavis Staples and the Neville Brothers.

Both McAnally and Roy were engaging performers presenting solid sets of straight-from-the-heart songs in the AAA style (that's radio lingo for Adult Alternative Artist), and while it was almost too straight-down-the-middle for my taste (even though I'm in the baby boomer age group that made up the bulk of the LCL crowd), I enjoyed the songs and the experience.

Did I mention that the whole thing is a benefit? All ticket money goes to the Ferndale Rep or Ferndale Community Chest, and I mean all of it. Concert production expenses are covered by the largesse of Jon Phelps, a part-time Ferndale resident who runs several businesses, among them DC3 Records and Full Sail Real World Education, a tech school in Florida where one can learn music and film recording, concert production and computer game design.

Speaking of benefits, a last-minute note from the Mateel informs me that next Thursday's Community Jam has been turned into a Katrina benefit with scheduled SoHum rockers Night Hawk and Black Sand joined by the kick-ass Mardi Gras Indian band The Wild Magnolias, plus a Southern dinner and a movie on New Orleans' Mardi Gras culture. Admission is free, but "donations to the cause are strongly encouraged."


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