Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 07th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Evolutionists

music WaterTowerBluegrass band-turned-rockers embrace change, new challenges

Kenny Feinstein, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and sole remaining founding member of Water Tower Bucket Boys, has seen his share of changes occur in the band over the years. For example, their moniker has recently been shortened to Water Tower.

“We took ‘Bucket Boys’ off our name because we lost our banjo player and gained a drummer about a year and a half ago,” Feinstein explains. “We’ve started leaving bluegrass music behind to a certain extent, from a traditional standpoint, because we’re a lot more rockin’ now. So we changed the named to just Water Tower because Bucket Boys has that traditional sound to it and makes it sound like the Soggy Bottom Boys.”

Other changes include a shift in genre—at one point the band focused on traditional square dance music—and lineup. It’s been a bumpy ride at times, but Feinstein has learned to roll with the band’s evolution. 

“We’ve probably got like 30 ex-members at this point,” Feinstein jokes. “We require a lot of time and have high standards, so sometimes we part ways with members because of a lack of improvement and sometimes it’s just hard to keep the same members together because people want to do different things. The guy I started the band with, for example, wanted to make guitars, so he’s off making guitars now.”

Throughout its history, Water Tower has been inspired by old-time bluegrass, jazz, pop and even punk music—as heard on the band’s varied discography—so its progression into a rock and roll-type band makes sense, in that its members never do the same thing twice. Still, tracks like the mournful Americana dirge “Meet Me Where the Crow Don’t Fly” and the rollicking bluegrass number “Walkin’ the Road,” both off 2011’s Where the Crow Don’t Fly, won’t go away.

“We’re moving in a slightly different direction, but it doesn’t feel like we’re starting over or anything because it’s the same songs and the same kind of vibe,” Feinstein says. “It’s really the same thing, it’s just that it’s a bit of a different rhythm section and we’re leaning more towards the rock direction now.”

Feinstein is hard at work on a new record, tentatively titled Secret Love Buzz, with a new lineup—featuring Heath Baron, Matthew Elliott, Patrick Norris and Peter Daggatt—and while he is keeping mum about the details at the moment, his enthusiasm for the project is palpable.

“I have never been this excited,” Feinstein says. “We have new musicians, we’re about to go out on the road. You don’t know what to expect with the new record, but it’s the most exciting time ever because we’re doing what we want to do and we get to do it together.”

No one knows what the future holds for Water Tower—more changes could be just around the corner for all Feinstein knows—but he is happy about how things are looking at the moment. A lot of this has to do with the fact that he is playing music with his friends these days, and that is what matters most to him.

“The touring band is going to be people who are my really close friends,” says Feinstein. “To me, the band is just about friendship and brotherhood and love, and that’s one of the main reasons why I just want to play music with my best friends. And for a touring group, you can tour with the best musicians in the world, but if you don’t get along then you’re not gonna be very happy.” 

Water Tower will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 429-6994.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Stoked for Crepe show
written by Ian Gillberg, June 09, 2013
Great writeup Kenny, couldn't be more pumped for my band The Nobs to open for you guys. Can't wait to see the what the new lineup can do!!!
written by Jeanie Ogden, June 08, 2013
He is a cool guy - and I can't wait to see and hear the "new" Water Tower when they play in Washington!
written by Ron Tess, June 07, 2013
He seems like a really cool guy! I am going to check this band out on wednesday!

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


The New Tech Nexus

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


At Clothes Range

FashionART’s 10th anniversary show introduces a new generation of designers on the edge


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired


Wargin Wines

The wine world is buzzing about this Pinot Gris