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Jul 28th
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Love Your Local Band

Music - Love Your Local Band

Johanna Lefever

Johanna Lefever

Regardless of what she tells you, Johanna LeFever is anything but ordinary. Based in the hills of Santa Cruz, the down-to-earth singer/songwriter has conquered multiple musical genres and instruments since childhood—and enjoyed every aspect of her development. Not only a champion of music, LeFever is an avid and insightful writer. “The way I approach my music is to first write prose on my typewriter and then adapt it to music,” she admits, with a laugh. “I am primarily a songwriter. It's my expressive outlet. When I write, I write about love ... you know, the common denominator.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Harpin’ Jonny

Harpin’ Jonny

Jonny Troutner (a.k.a. Harpin’ Jonny) has been playing harmonica in Santa Cruz since 1992. “It was a character I created to publicize my previous business, Antolini Masonry and Landscape Supplies,” Troutner explains. “You might have heard the catchy jingles on KPIG.” The gifted harpist has accompanied dozens of local musicians for several decades and has a laid-back disposition that could have been Jeff Bridges’ inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Danny Mayer

Danny Mayer

Every Tuesday for the last three years, the faithful have gathered at The Crepe Place, spurred on by resident funk band 7 Come 11, and particularly the sounds coming from Danny Mayer’s guitar. This is not to say that drummer Beaumont Bradbury and organist Gianni Staiano aren’t brilliant—they are—but Florida-born Mayer is a revelation. So it shouldn’t come as a total shock that Mayer will no longer be playing with the band beginning in mid-August.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Afro Beat Box

Afro Beat Box

Will Kahn understands the value of combining musical talents. “I never could play drums by myself,” he says, recalling his teenage years, “so I set them up at a friend’s house, who was playing bass. … That’s how I started—playing with someone else.” Things haven’t changed much over the years for the multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, and studio manager at Paradise Recording. Kahn joined the Afro/samba/funk group SambaDá in 1998, and has been collaborating with local musicians ever since. For the last decade, it has been his dream to form a “total Santa Cruz supergroup” made up of his many gifted friends—and finally, that band has taken shape, under the moniker Afro Beat Box.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Deepfried

Deepfried

Though the moniker sounds unhealthy, Deepfried’s experimental trip-hop tracks are fresh and easy to stomach. Formed in 2000, when Peter Chester (vocals/keys/guitar) and Robbie Cross (bass/vocals/guitar) were studying electronic music at UC Santa Cruz, Deepfried has become known for its organic blend of electronica. “Something we became pretty fascinated with was using computers to do looping,” Chester recalls. Using the computer software Cycling 74's MAX/MSP, they created the "cuisNart”: a personally designed digital looping instrument. The sounds they created were magical, he says—“sorta like grabbing water from a stream and putting Kool-Aid in it.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The MonDays

The MonDays

After watching Office Space, Gabe Robledo couldn’t stop repeating the quote: “Uh-oh, sounds like somebody’s got a case of The Mondays!” The 20-year-old singer/guitarist’s favorite scene became the inspiration behind the moniker of his band, The MonDays. Along with fellow Pajaro Valley High School graduates—Miguel Soriano (bass/sax/guitar), and twins Jesse Flores (drums/shaker) and Ivan Flores (keyboards)—this rock/R&B/hip-hop quartet has transformed the mundane weekday into music that drags on, but solely because their sound is timeless and infectious.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Rob Owen

Rob Owen

The message at the heart of Rob Owen’s music is perfectly encapsulated by the title of his first EP, Common Ground. “The songs are about interconnection or ‘inter-being,’” he explains. “They are about the common ground we all stand on but often forget about.” Tugging at the heartstrings and capturing the soul of audience members, is one of Owen’s strong suits as a singer/songwriter. His journey as a musician began when he moved from Silicon Valley to Aptos, and the change in scenery added what he calls a “different dimension in [his] writing.” Here, he has found solace in his family and a muse in everyday life. “I find that at the place where inspiration and influence collide, there is an infinite ocean of creativity,” says Owen.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Slop Opera

Slop Opera

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, or so the saying goes. Well, since 2004, that fat lady has been pushed aside, multiplied, and renamed Slop Opera: an all-male, hip-hop/rap collective. According to Mike Ross, the emcee/producer known as Ross Rock—a nickname coined by his football coach at Soquel High School—the group started as a quintet, consisting of himself and emcee Addamantium, DJ/producer Mr. Bean, Debris the Emcee and emcee Slie.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Al Frisby

Al Frisby

From a short distance, Al Frisby looks like a classic Santa Cruz surfer: rich silver locks atop a lanky frame. But when face-to-face, Frisby’s drawl reveals his Louisiana roots. The beloved singer/songwriter spouts a wellspring of local lore, has an encyclopedic knowledge of New Orleans music, and offers a slightly demented view of the world—in other words, he’s a colorful character. By the time Frisby arrived in Santa Cruz in the early ’90s, he had made a name for himself by writing comical novelty songs that poked fun at the counterculture. For example, “Deadheads on Bad Paper Acid,” is, according to Frisby, “A good ballad waltz about being raised in a VW van and traveling around the country.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Thrive

Thrive

Thrive, a Santa Cruz reggae/rock hybrid, is pioneering a mood, sound and philosophy that elevates the listener. “Originally starting as a party band, we decided to create music that we can stand behind,” says singer/guitarist Aaron Borowitz. He and drummer/lead singer Kenny Rogers work to create a positive musical experience by writing lyrics about ordinary occurrences with a conscious perspective, and, in doing so, Thrive is ushering in a new essence for pop music.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Comfort Twin

Comfort Twin

It isn't exactly easy for Comfort Twin to rehearse. Yet, while members of the Santa Cruz-based indie-Americana octet are spread far and wide—some live as far away as Berkeley and Sacramento—the group makes it work. And even though guitarists/vocalists Scott Ferreter and Zane Griffin—the Santa Cruz portion of the band—could probably find any number of talented musicians in town to back them up when they play The Crepe Place this Friday and Saturday, it just wouldn't be right if they did.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.