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Jul 22nd
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Love Your Local Band

Music - Love Your Local Band

Steep Ravine

Steep Ravine

For the members of bluegrass/folk band Steep Ravine, springboards are important. “Bluegrass is a springboard for our compositional ideas,” says violinist Jan Purat. “A lot of bluegrass bands play traditional bluegrass or learn a Bill Monroe mandolin solo and play it note for note. But with us, each player brings something special to the table when they’re soloing. We’re not intentionally trying to make these songs sound new, but that’s what pours out of us.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Maybe it was fate. Or perhaps it’s simply yet another example of social media's power to bring people together. Whatever the case, local violinist Laurel Thomsen says it seems as if she and prolific Canadian singer-songwiter Dan Frechette were made to collaborate. The 36-year-old Frechette, a Manitoba-native who has penned more than 1,300 songs in his career, first reached out to the 31-year-old Thomsen after seeing one of her performances on YouTube. "All of a sudden, I saw this video," Frechette recalls. "I thought, ‘Wow! That woman really has it.'"

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Steven Graves

Steven Graves

Local singer-songwriter Steven Graves was a land management consultant in Southern California for almost 25 years before he retired in 2011 to pursue a full-time music career. The switch has been gratifying for him. “When you have a career doing something you’re passionate about that you feel has meaning, then that’s very satisfying,” Graves says. “Not everybody can do that, so I am grateful I’m able to.” And Graves is not the only one.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Sean Ryan Duo

Sean Ryan Duo

There are plenty of guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and singers who will tell you that music is the only thing they could ever see themselves doing. But for Sean Ryan, music is just about the only thing he has ever done—literally. At 25 years old, Ryan has more experience working as a professional musician than many of his contemporaries will have by their mid-30s. He began drumming for his father's smooth jazz trio when he was 11, squeezing in home-school lessons in between gigs at clubs, private parties, weddings and restaurants.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Subtle Tease

The Subtle Tease

Nothing stays the same, for better or for worse. It's something that Jon Banda, frontman for The Subtle Tease, thinks about often. Just before the alternative indie rock/electronica quartet from Watsonville formed in 2009, Banda was in a dark place. “I was totally secluded and really having a hard time getting through a couple things,” he says. Serendipitously, Banda bumped into an old friend from Watsonville High School, bassist Clay Alves, and the first thing Alves asked him was if he was still playing guitar.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Eliquate

Eliquate

When Elliot Wright was attending UC Santa Cruz in 2006, he would show up at parties, plug his iPod into a sound system and rock the microphone. “When I moved to Santa Cruz I found so many amazing musicians that I realized I had to step up my game,” says Wright. That solo act evolved into Eliquate, a five-member hip-hop outfit featuring Jamie Schnetzler (guitar), Cosmo Stevens (bass), Dan Wells (drums) and Tanner Christiansen (samples, keys, percussion).

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Requiem for the Dead

Requiem for the Dead

Combine the take-no-prisoners attitude of hardcore metal and the raw intensity of a symphony orchestra, and you’ve got Requiem for the Dead, a band that speaks to the macabre with a dark eeriness that would make Tim Burton squeal with glee. The band, led by Santa Cruz native Steve Juliano, the former frontman for the world-touring metal band I Am Ghost, emerged locally in 2011. Juliano walked away from I Am Ghost, despite the band’s immense popularity, because, he says, all of the fun was being sucked out of the project by the overwhelming demands of business and ceaseless touring schedule.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Head Casket

Head Casket

For the three members of local horror-punk group Head Casket, there's nothing to fear about zombies. In fact, singer and guitarist Rick Deschamp, bassist Brendan Brose, and drummer Nicole Hatchet all seem pretty comfortable with the idea of hanging out with the undead. "Zombies aren't scary," Deschamp says. "They're awesome." Elaborating on why he and his bandmates are drawn to the reanimated, the singer explains, "It's one of those things in pop culture that really never goes away. Zombies have been around for years—no matter what, they'll always be a part of our culture."

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Sista Monica

Sista Monica

For two decades, Santa Cruz soul, blues and gospel singer Sista Monica Parker has drawn musical inspiration from her experiences in love and lust, and the pains of leaving and letting go. Those are hard facts of life that passionate people can always relate to, Parker admits with a laugh. “And that's the kind of music that always seems to feed my soul,” she says. To celebrate her 20 years of performing, Parker will sing at a concert called “Acoustic Honey” on Saturday, along with a four-piece band at Kuumbwa Jazz.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Amee Chapman & The Velvet Tumbleweeds

Amee Chapman & The Velvet Tumbleweeds

Raising a family, working multiple jobs and making music isn't an easy lifestyle—some days it has Amee Chapman feeling worn down. But expressing that struggle in her music helps her pull everything back to center. On the title track of her new album, Grace is Hell to Keep, which she recorded with her band, The Velvet Tumbleweeds, Chapman conveys some of those feelings through a slow ballad about a musician who tries to present a positive, manicured appearance, but actually feels torn to pieces. “It tells the story of how you can push through something and try to be polished all the time, but it's just not possible,” she says.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Pure Roots

Pure Roots

With a booming three-piece horn section and positive vibes, Santa Cruz-based roots reggae outfit Pure Roots strives to bring audiences to higher levels of positive consciousness and to the dance floor. Though the band formed in 2007, 23-year-old founder Jeff Allgrove admits that 2012 was a breakthrough year for Pure Roots. Over the course of the year, the band completed a seven-city tour with Daniel "Bambaata" Marley—the grandson of Bob Marley—and shared the stage with artists such as Black Uhuru and Don Carlos, in addition to performing at the annual Monterey Bay Reggaefest.

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Art Files: Opposites Attract

Using found objects, Victoria May seeks beauty in dichotomy and tension, the creepy and absurd

 

A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 18

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Desserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

Although drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.