Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Barenaked Lady

BarenakedladyNew West Guitar Trio proves that less is more.

Everybody’s familiar with that common affliction that plagues many bands. You know, the inherent case of the LGES, otherwise known as Lead Guitarist Ego Syndrome, which can breed head-to-head vying for the spotlight between singer and ripping soloist; that Catch-22 that can ultimately make and then break a band.

It’s a tough life being so good, and sometimes the Keith Richards of the crew needs to step back rather than overindulge in all the ingenuity. For Los Angeles’ New West Guitar Trio, however, it’s all about three lead guitarists shredding side-by-side in peace.

“There’s billions of guitar players out there, but how many guitar ensembles—not many,” says John Storie, before adding with a laugh, “And now I know why.” Storie admits that “it’s really difficult and we’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t,” referencing his bandmates, Perry Smith and Brady Cohan, who together complete the young ensemble that intricately punctuates a jazz foundation with folk, rock and blues elements. Whether it’s marrying three egos or three of the same mid-range instrument, finding a balanced yet dynamic sound is no easy task—and New West beats the odds.

As a quartet on the band’s first two releases, 2005’s Introducing and 2007’s Wide Awake, New West stepped out with high octane textures combining their usual electric and acoustic guitars. On the outfit’s latest album, Sleeping Lady, they take things down a notch—as a trio wholly unplugged. This time, it’s all about acoustic strings fashioned by Santa Cruz luthier Jeff Traugott, and this week’s show at the Kuumbwa on Saturday, July 18, is a rare gig that will remain faithful to the record and keep the electrics in their cases. 

“He’s as much a part of this group as we are,” Storie says of  Traugott, who produced Sleeping Lady, built all the guitars used on the album recorded in Marin, and is best known as the go-to guitar maker for eight-string phenom Charlie Hunter. “These are no ordinary Guitar Center guitars. There’s something about the acoustics by Jeff that have so much life to them, whether we’re strumming or finger picking.”

Whereas in years past it’s always been about packing a punch with the electric screaming atop all the layers, the three twentysomething-year-olds known to swap guitars onstage just as much as songwriting duties offstage, had to find a new approach without the benefits of the old electric. “We had to figure out how to keep the excitement and the kick that we’ve always had, throughout this record with only acoustic guitars,” Storie recalls. The result? Some high energy blues helmed by Cohan, staple jazz melody panache from Smith, and fluid finger picking from Storie. Plus, there’s more room for vocals, which has got Storie exploring some folk singer-songwriter ambitions on the current tour.

Moreover, the all-acoustic performance will showcase the band in a “new” light—with a penchant for chamber music rising to the surface. Tighter and more intimate, the trio’s set will include Storie’s rendition of orchestral favorite, Manuel Ponce’s “Estrellita,” and though the lack of nylon strings keeps them from truly entering Romeros territory, he and his cohorts prove that they can just as proficiently satisfy a classical enthusiast as their usual jazz audience.

All in all, New West Guitar Trio hits town revealing more than ever before. No electrics—and no egos—in sight.


New West Guitar Trio performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $18. For more information, call 426-2313. To learn more about Jeff Traugott, go to traugottguitars.com .

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster