Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Aug 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Gypsy Queens

music_PoGirlFor Po’ Girl, home is where the harmony is

Speaking from a gas station in Canada on her band’s way to Vancouver, singer Allison Russell shares her admiration for one B.B. King—because of his admiration for the road.

“B.B.’s an example of a true performer who loves his audience and what he does,” she begins. “He says, ‘Nobody pays me to play, they just pay me to travel.’ I think that’s how we feel about what we do as well.”

Referencing her three bandmates in Po’ Girl, the founding member of the 6-year-old Canadian urban roots ensemble admits that although they love being a crew of troubadours, they are now “consciously attempting to have a little balance.” That “balance” has translated into two new CD releases this summer (Deer in the Night and Po’ Girl Live) and a change from 300 shows last year to just over 250 this year—that’s not exactly the most relaxing schedule.

But for Russell and co-frontwoman Awna Teixeira, an untraditional life on the run is no new thing. Each singer-songwriter avoided troubled situations at the age of 14 by seeking refuge in the outside world of a big city—and in music.

“Awna and I both left home very early and I was really lucky in that I was in a city that had a lot of 24-hour things,” the Montreal native remembers. “I had enough friends that I could shuffle around from one couch to another and sometimes spend all night in a 24-hour café, playing chess with random strangers who came in, writing the beginnings of my first songs, reading, and just being fairly safe in an unsafe situation. I met a bunch of musicians who’d come in late night to eat and drink, and that was my first inkling that you could play music [as a career].”

With music serving as the thread that kept the two women “healthy and self-loving” during their lives as runaways, Russell calls both singers, and their music with Po’ Girl, products of an urban environment despite the old-timey apparatus and twang they employ. Though the band draws from country, blues, old jazz, and folk roots, and has a name that honors an earlier period of New Orleans jazz (it’s a take on the Louisiana Po’ Boy sandwich), Russell says that Po’ Girl is made up of “modern people who play music in modern settings of the city.”

Proficient multi-instrumentalists who enjoy musical chairs onstage with their collection of guitars, banjo, clarinet, accordion, electric bass, gutbucket bass, glockenspiel, Wurlitzer, and bicycle bell, Russell and Teixeira are best known for weaving the most natural tools they possess—their vocal harmonies. Telling their personal histories in songs that combine their stunning pipes into a powerhouse combo, the two can sing smooth, seductive melodies against a klezmer backdrop. And they’re known to attract a crowd just as diverse as their sound.

With everyone from 88-year-old grandmothers to transgendered anarchist punks having been magnetized by their show, Russell and Teixeira stir together down-home, country atmospherics with city wit and banter. The pair, guitarist Benny Sidelinger, and drummer JJ Jones return to Felton for this week’s special Thanksgiving Eve performance at Don Quixote’s, 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Before hanging up the phone to head off to a mechanic to check on their van’s latest “brake and rotor issues,” the result of Po’ Girl’s relentless touring, Russell says that her life of wandering now has direction. And even though the band will spend this year’s Thanksgiving holidays (Canadian and American) on the road, a sense of family and familiarity remains in tact.

“Things are always in flux with our life and that’s one of the things we adjust to constantly,” she says. “But we have each other and wonderful fans and friends, so we always end up having a feeling of home everywhere we go.”


Po’ Girl performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, call 603-2294.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.