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Unmatched

Unmatched

Legendary finger-style master Tommy Emmanuel talks childhood and the power of music

For more than half a century, Tommy Emmanuel has traveled the globe, touring relentlessly and gaining widespread recognition for his peerless technical skill, passion for music, and his heartwarming personality.

Like many who have found their true calling in life, Emmanuel discovered his passion at a young age—a very young age.

“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 4,” says Emmanuel, “but I didn’t turn professional till I was 6,” he adds, with a laugh. “All I knew when I was a kid was that I wanted to play, and that it was exciting to play with my family. I’m one of six kids; four of us played music and we all played together, and it was great making music as a family.”

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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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Features

The Best Part Of Breaking Up

The Best Part Of Breaking Up

While working on a breakup record, Binki Shapiro finds a match made in heaven 

What’s the reward for being brave all the time?” Binki Shapiro sweetly sings with a lingering and captivating languor. As listeners, we aren’t certain what the answer is, and perhaps never will be, since the question posed at the beginning of “What’s The Reward” is addressed to a former lover, just like the other tracks on Adam Green & Binki Shapiro. 

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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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Features

Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts

Amidst adversity Tristan Prettyman reconnects with music and soars

After nearly eight years of recording and touring, singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman found herself in a terrible position: She no longer had any interest in music. “I got really burnt out and I just took a break from music all together,” she says. “It was supposed to be just like a year or six months that ended up turning into almost four years.”

Luckily for fans, all of Prettyman’s disinterest in music evaporated the morning she went into surgery to remove the polyps from her vocal cords that threatened her career.

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Love Your Local Band

Something Collective

Something Collective

Strip away the religious ramifications of reggae music and it comes down to love and respect for all things. This is the starting block for Luke Kinney, guitarist, lead vocalist and founder of Something Collective, a 10-piece roots reggae band, featuring three horns, keyboards, percussionists, a drummer, bassist and guitarists, that has been performing since 2011. “We have multiple musicians if somebody cannot make a show; I have people on standby that know all the songs,” Kinney exclaims.

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Features

Examining Exhibitionism

Examining Exhibitionism

San Francesca turns off the computer, flips on the synths, takes a look in the mirror 

Examining the cover of San Francesca’s latest release, you might observe that the nine, evenly spaced square images—which, in turn, form a larger square—were taken using the popular photo-sharing application Instagram. You’d be wrong.

“None of us own a smart phone,” shrugs Cody Rhodes, drummer for the San Jose-based alt-rock trio, as he sits behind his kit in the band’s Campbell rehearsal space. San Francesca is practicing for a short string of upcoming shows in San Francisco, Las Vegas and at The Crepe Place on Jan. 13, with Moon Eater and E V Kain (members of Hella, Cigar and Broken Bells).

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Love Your Local Band

Rushad Eggleston

Rushad Eggleston

Like many classically trained musicians, Rushad Eggleston started playing music at a young age, picking up the violin at 3 and moving to the cello at age 8. But unlike many classical musicians, he straps his instrument to his body like an enormous guitar, and occasionally hangs from the ceiling—if the situation calls for it. “It was a huge deal,” says Eggleston, remembering the first time he played the cello with a strap while standing. “I mean can you imagine? I guess it’s like a bird realizing it had wings.” Following Eggleston’s epiphany, it didn’t take long for him to bring his new technique to the stage, first with his rock band, Tornado Rider, and then solo.

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Love Your Local Band

The Ghost of Wrights

The Ghost of Wrights

Straight out of the Santa Cruz Mountains, The Ghost of Wrights are a manifestation of the spirits of a time and place forgotten by many. “We tend to write about the late 1800s—we’re big storytellers,” says Nate Nauseda, vocalist and guitarist for the band. “We both live a stone’s throw away from Wrights Station, which is an old train depot in the Santa Cruz mountains,” adds banjo and dulcimer player Cody Franks. “Some of those people—and their ghosts—are still around ... we are trying to embody the spirit of [that] area.” Informed by a wide range of influences, The Ghost of Wrights balance the twang of plucked banjo against Andrew Martin’s thumping, jazzy bass and the mellow driving drums of Brandon Otto.

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Features

Sliding Doors

Sliding Doors

The Doors’ Ray Manzarek and slide guitar virtuoso Roy Rogers on performing, grasping the infinite moment and teaching Jim Morrison to sing

You have to give Ray Manzarek credit for helping keep the memory of The Doors alive. He’s not afraid to pay homage to his own history by putting out a movie and soundtrack called Love Her Madly, nor is he above reenacting his days as The Doors’ keyboardist in a spoof by Weird Al. And if he wants to tour with a Jim Morrison impersonator from a Doors tribute act (as he does in the band Manzarek-Kreiger, also featuring his old bandmate Robby Krieger), he’s not going to let the jeers of fans, Morrison’s relatives and former Doors drummer John Densmore stop him.

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Features

Far From Catatonic

Far From Catatonic

The Brothers Comatose craft high-energy indie bluegrass

Though the moniker, chord changes and twangy, lamenting storyline might seem similar, The Brothers Comatose have carved out a sound all their own among the brotherhood of “brothers” folk bands.

And besides, singer/guitarist Ben Morrison says that he and his band are simply following in the footsteps of a deeply rooted American tradition.

“I don’t worry about it,” says Morrison, who had just wrapped a rehearsal in Petaluma—one of the band’s two practice spots (the other is in San Francisco). “I think that’s part of the tradition of everything—the whole family band.”

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Love Your Local Band

Doors To No Where

Doors To No Where

Marc Lewis, guitarist and founder of Santa Cruz rock outfit Doors To No Where, is somewhat elusive about the band’s moniker. “The name really came from the idea of being different, intuitive and into exploration. It's very open to interpretation,” says Lewis, who has just returned to the scene after taking several years off. “When I started to play music again it was after being down some dark paths and getting lost a bit,” he explains. “The name Doors To No Where is a reminder of that.”

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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.