Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
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music_LYLBBirdhouseWhat a difference a year can make. Last Halloween, when a group of friends thought the best way to spend the masked affair would be to jam out some Grateful Dead tunes at a Santa Cruz house party, little could they have guessed that by the next Day of the Dead they’d be garnering notice for playing solid original tunes under the name Birdhouse. Now, with no covers in sight, the quartet balances jazz virtuosity with jam band dexterity, and the resulting patchwork morphs with each show. A conglomerate of UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College students, the guys in Birdhouse, according to drummer Jeff Wilson, formed “to play old time, good feeling rock music with a country feel, but we’re all jazz guys.” With guitarist/lead vocalist Daniel Talamantes (“He’s constantly on his typewriter all day writing,” Wilson says), lead guitarist Jeff Carter, and bassist Chris McIntyre rounding out the crew, Birdhouse lights up an ever-changing set through a knack for tight improv and technical precision. An appreciation for bluegrass and funk certainly informs the set, with Wilson favoring African rhythms and atypical syncopation as the lively undercurrent to the band’s rock meanderings, while Carter’s stinging pedal steel guitar is scene-stealing.

“If you’re taking a lot of different styles the end product can be kind of cheesy, and we’re trying to do that without that happening,” Wilson says. “We try to create the music in the moment so that it’s supportive of musoc_LYLBBirdhouse2emotional wavering. The last thing you want to do is become stagnant.” Armed with a debut, self-titled EP, Birdhouse plays at The Crepe Place on Friday, Nov. 19, and will be joined by Grand Lake and Matador. Maintaining a nod to sounds of the past while laying down spacious seven-minute and 11-minute numbers with fresh appeal, Wilson says Birdhouse is all about eschewing trends. “Music for a long time has been about what’s cool and what’s not cool in the moment. We’re just trying to be good people playing real music.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 429-6994.


Comments (4)Add Comment
written by Elvis Pena, February 02, 2012
I've seen Birdhouse in the past when Jeff Carter was on the Pedal Steel and Guitar. Jeff gave the band a real special sound, sort of a strong passionate vibe from those strings. I believe Jeff and Dan grew up together and formed this band at a young age. Their talents together made Birdhouse. Recently I listened to Birdhouse without Jeff Carter. What a mess! It's a shame this band let this happen. I've heard that Birdhouse is trying to go on without Jeff as their lead guitarist and everyone who really knows this band understands that the heart is out of the Birdhouse. Such a shame that bandmates let these things happen.
written by Kirk, May 30, 2011
I have been witness to the talented band Birdhouse. The sound and energy from Birdhouse take me back to a time when records would put you in a positive and happy place. The guitar and pedal steel play is nothing short of amazing. The sounds and words of Birdhouse are a notch above any band out there today. It's like a throw-back to times of the past.
written by Beaux Biddley, November 22, 2010
Birdhouse for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Seriously. I'm not joking. It's the break they've been waiting for.
written by David Warren-Angleucci, November 11, 2010
Birdhouse is a band like not many others. The three good men who make up this delightful enthusiastic music making machine are all some of the most down-to-earth well-natured and all around honestly good-hearted guys I know. Jeff "Jah" Wilson is easily one of the most talented musicians I know and with his modesty and low blood sugar it is almost impossible not to love the tall pale handsome stud that is he.
It won't be long until Birdhouse makes it big in the music industry, however, the trio will undoubtedly remain close to their roots and will resist becoming a "mainstream" sellout band.
To all those who enjoy the wonderful music that Birdhouse creates, please show your support and enthusiasm towards them by attending their shows and purchasing their music.
Birdhouse brings an energy in its music which can only be compared to an atomic bomb mixed with a blackhole supoernova

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