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Sep 01st
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Love Your Local Band

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Naked Bootleggers

The Naked Bootleggers

Thanks to Ona Stewart, guitarist and songwriter for Santa Cruz bluegrass/Americana band The Naked Bootleggers, you might have a secret life you don’t know about. “When I see somebody on the street, I always make up a story,” Stewart says with a chuckle. “My wife laughs at me because I’m constantly saying, ‘Look at that couple. They’ve only been together for a week.’ I just try to make things up in my head.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Larry Hosford

Larry Hosford

Larry Hosford has been making music since the 1960s, and the reason he keeps recording and performing after all these years is quite simple. “It’s easy to get into music, but I looked around one day and discovered that it’s very hard to get out,” Hosford says with a laugh. “So I’ve just kept on doing it.” Hosford has had one prolific career. He played for multiple Santa Cruz-area bands back in the ’60s and ’70s—most notably in the seminal band Snail—before going solo, recorded two albums for Leon Russell’s Shelter Records label in Los Angeles, got four songs to appear on Billboard’s country music charts, and even jammed once with Willie Nelson. But he does have one regret.

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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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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.