Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
May 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Ain’t That America

music_WaterTowerBucketBoysOregon-based alt-country Bucket Boys are patriots in their own way
Back in 2000, when jailbirds Ulysses Everett McGill, Delmar O’Donnell and Pete Hogwallop broke out of Depression-era Mississippi and onto the silver screen in Joel and Ethan Cohen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the trio’s ensuing adventure did not only draw attention to Homer’s “The Odyssey,” upon which the movie was based.

According to Kenny Feinstein—the Santa Cruz-born guitarist and mandolin player for The Water Tower Bucket Boys—the movie’s heroes helped turn the youth of this country (and him, in particular) on to the rich tradition of Americana music.

Specifically, Feinstein believes that “Man of Constant Sorrow”—an early 20th century song popularized by the film—provided the spark that ignited the bluegrass and folk revival, which has left a mark on the indie music scene for the past decade.

“I think that spurred it for everybody,” Feinstein says of the song, originally recorded by Kentucky singer Dick Burnett, and interpreted by The Soggy Bottom Boys—Ulysses, Delmar and Pete’s musical alter ego in O Brother. “I remember hearing that song and thinking,‘Wow! This is amazing.’”

He felt an immediate and visceral connection to the song deep in his bones—it drew him closer to his identity as an American. “You can feel that music. It’s part of our blood. It’s part of our culture.”

Feinstein hopes that fans of The Water Tower Bucket Boys feel that same nostalgia he experienced when he first saw O Brother and heard “Man of Constant Sorrow.”

For Feinstein and the Bucket Boys, country music—and being American, for that matter—isn’t about being the toughest guy on the block with the biggest truck.

On “Telegraph,” from the band’s fourth LP and first national release, Sole Kitchen, the Bucket Boys sing about staying up late, drinking beer and playing Rancid songs in Berkeley—presumably somewhere near 924 Gilman St. In the song, the band seems to be singing to a demographic that commercial country music would never address.

“Our goals with Sole Kitchen are to reach people who have never enjoyed the banjo, mandolin, or fiddle. To bring songs that are relevant in today's social climate while maintaining their roots,” Feinstein says.

There was a time, not so long ago—from the mid-’60s to early ’70s—when groups like The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band merged the spirit of that era’s youth movement with the old-timey sounds of roots Americana and bluegrass.

In the decades that followed, with the emergence of new wave, electronica, rap, metal and alternative, country music fell out of vogue with the counter culture crowd, and by the late ’90s, commercial country radio was ruled by pop acts like Shania Twain and the macho, jingoistic jams of Toby Keith. For some millennials living in major metropolitan areas, the entire country genre was something to be avoided at all costs, precisely because of its rabid nationalist tendencies.

That’s not the Bucket Boys’ scene at all. Like contemporaries Old Crow Medicine Show, The Builders and the Butchers, The Avett Brothers, and Mumford & Sons, Feinstein’s band is crafting an alternative country sound, which, if all goes according to plan, will make all people—even the punk rock kids hanging out on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley—proud to be American.


The Water Tower Bucket Boys play with Vandaveer and Cheyenne Marie Mize at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8. Call 429-6994.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Ocean Odyssey

Sailing the high seas from Santa Cruz to French Polynesia, Sally-Christine Rodgers documents the trials, tribulations and joys of exploring the world by boat

 

Gemini Festival of Goodwill, World Invocation Day

This entire week is a preparation by the New Group of World Servers (NGWS) for the June full moon (Tuesday) and to welcome the Forces of Reconstruction, great outer planetary forces streaming into the Earth at the Gemini Solar Festival. The Gemini Festival at the June full moon is called the Festival of Goodwill and World Invocation Day (recitation of the Great Invocation, the mantram of direction for humanity, hourly around the world). During the (12 degrees) Gemini festival, the Wesak blessing of the will-to-good is released and radiated (Gemini distributes) to humanity. When the will-to-good is received, humanity is then able to radiate goodwill to each other and to the kingdoms. The Gemini Festival is the third of the Three Spring Festivals (triangle of Force), setting the spiritual template and resources for Earth for the rest of the year (‘til next spring). This festival recognizes the true spirit of humanity—aspiring toward and seeking the will of God, dedicated to right human relation. At the full moon, the Divine nature of humanity is recognized. Christ stands with humanity, leader of his people, “the Eldest in a great family of brothers” (Romans VIII, 29.) Each year at the Gemini festival, Christ preaches the last sermon of Buddha, His brother, a sermon calling forth human and spiritual unity, represented by an outflow of love (work of the Christ) and wisdom (work of the Buddha). The forces of reconstruction stream in during the Festival, ushering in an era of pronounced creative activity, rebuilding the tangible world on new creative lines. This necessitates the total destruction of the old forms no longer useful for the new world era. Everyone is invited. Join us everyone for this Festival of Goodwill by reciting the Great Invocation.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 29

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

 

The Main Avant

Jozseph Schultz caters New Music Works’ 35th annual Avant Garden Party, plus brews for a cause

 

What will Santa Cruz be like in the future?

 society that is more awakened and realizes its own value and the beauty of the stunning Earth. Marguerite Clifford, Felton, Nutrition Health Care

 

Chesebro Wines

Piedras Blancas-Roussanne 2011

 

Real Thai Kitchen

Ratana Bowden on why Thai cuisine isn’t as spicy as everyone thinks