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Apr 26th
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Santa Cruz Music Calendar

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Wednesday | 22

At the intersection of bluegrass, gypsy-jazz and American folk music you’ll find husband-and-wife duo Taarka. Led by David Pelta-Tiller and Enion Pelta-Tiller, the band’s roots include classical, Celtic, punk, jazz and rock, and has been called a “collision of Django Reinhardt and David Grisman.” But there’s a softness and accessibility to Taarka that speaks more to the contemporary singer-songwriter tradition than either of those two artists. Hailing from roots music hotbed Lyons, Colorado, Taarka is nicely placed to make a name for itself on the folk music scene. Also on the bill is the wildly inventive bluegrass cello shredder Rushad Eggleston, whose skill set includes acrobatics, clowning, and all-around mischief making. CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $10. 603-2294.

When describing Canadian singer-songwriter Carolyn Mark, it makes sense to mention Neko Case. The two musicians often work together—they even started together in the late ’90s, in the Americana duo the Corn Sisters. They also have similar commanding, husky voices, and a unique take on roots music. While Case has evolved into a somber, heartfelt singer-songwriter, Mark has always expressed herself in a more light-hearted, self-deprecating way. Her homespun tunes sometime cross the line of what many folks would consider appropriate humor, but what they may not see is that she’s deflecting the deeper, harsher content in her lyrics—the bitter disappointments of life. What do they say about a spoonful of sugar? AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.

Thursday | 23

A celebrated Americana producer—whose résumé includes work with Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Slaid Cleaves and Warren Zevon—Gurf Morlix is a talented songsmith in his own right, with eight albums to his name. His latest, this year’s Eatin’ At Me, is full of the no-bullshit directness Morlix is famous for, including the song “Dirty Ol’ Buffalo,” which provides a glimpse into Morlix’s Rust Belt upbringing. The rest of the songs on the album are equally straightforward and raw, dealing with matters of heartache, regret, love, and imperfection. CJ
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Corralitos Cultural Center, 127 Hames Road, Corralitos. $15-$20 suggested donation. 831-254-2669.

On Frankie Ballard’s smash hit song “Helluva Life,” the country breakout star sings about longneck bottles, barefoot country girls, bad times, and good music—typical radio country stuff—but the song is catchy, and it shot him into country stardom. The baby-faced Michigan native knows how to deliver a pop-country tune, but says his inspiration ranges from classic country and blues to Southern rock and current pop music. He recently received a big nod from the Nashville music machine when he was invited to play the Grand Ole Opry. A helluva life, indeed. CJ
9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $25/door. 423-1338.

Friday | 24

Wale’s rise to fame is truly one from the streets. The Washington D.C. rapper started out as an independent artist, earning radio play—and local notoriety—with his hit “Dig Dug (Shake It).” The following year, he was discovered by producer/artist Mark Ronson and in 2008 he signed with Interscope Records for $1.3 million and never looked back. His fourth album, The Album About Nothing, just dropped on March 31 and features collaborations with the man-about-nothing himself, Jerry Seinfeld, proving Wale still has plenty of tricks to bring serenity now. MAT WEIR
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $33/adv, $35/door. 429-4135.

You can’t blame the Merman for actively running away from the “surf” label. Even in the early days, when they played instrumental, reverbed guitar-led tunes, it wasn’t exactly surf the way most of us think of it (Dick Dale, Surfaris, Del-Tones). The Mermen always played moody, eclectic music, and since the late ’80s, it’s only gotten more psychedelic. Yet, as they push the boundaries of their music, there remain certain truths that transcend all their genre tinkering. For instance, they remain an instrumental band, and more importantly, they keep it simple and stripped-down. These are emotional, instrumental journeys that will enthrall any music lover who gives them a chance. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854.

Saturday | 25

By the ’80s, as the United States and the rest of the world were catching on to reggae, the style was mostly winding down in Jamaica, replaced by the higher energy, mostly digital dancehall music. Jamaican Prezident Brown started his career in the late ’80s, rising to fame in the mid-’90s during a brief roots reggae renaissance. But what set him apart was that while he kept the tradition and the rawness of the roots grooves, he was a formidable ragamuffin—a Jamaican rapper, or toaster—who would have been at home in any number of dancehall tunes. He exists outside of the distinct Jamaican genre lines. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 479-1854. 

Take a local-done-right-turned-celebrity, mix-in the psychedelic and blazing music from two of rock’s most mysterious groups and let it percolate in one of the city’s favorite historic theatres. The result? Destroy the Night! Big-name locals James Durbin and Dale Ockerman be rocking the Rio with covers of their favorite Led Zeppelin & Doors songs, and donate part of the proceeds to Guitars not Guns and the Musicscool Scholarships Fund. MW
INFO: 8 p.m. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $25/gen, $40/gold. 423-8209.

Monday | 27

The definitive drummer of the jazz/rock fusion era, Billy Cobham is a polyrhythmic powerhouse who combines ferocious technique, pummeling energy and feathery finesse. A rising force on the New York scene when he started working with Miles Davis (including the epochal 1971 album Jack Johnson), he became a bona fide rock star as a founding member of John McLaughlin’s torrential Mahavishnu Orchestra, a band too volatile to last long. Striking out on his own, Cobham recorded the classic 1973 album Spectrum, and he’s celebrating its 40th anniversary (and change) with a formidable band of longtime collaborators, including guitarist Dean Brown, bassist Ric Fierabracci and keyboardist Gary Husband. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $30/adv, $35/door. 427-2227.



Jamaica’s “royal family of reggae.” Wednesday at Moe’s Alley


12-piece, rocking jazz band. Thursday at Kuumbwa


Classic rock outfit out of the Bay Area. Friday at Don Quixote's


Futuristic sci-fi, glam rock and rollers. Saturday at Catalyst


Michigan-based Americana trio. Sunday at Crepe Place


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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake


International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit;; and for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.


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How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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