Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Under the Idaho Sun

milkdriveBluegrass string quartet, MilkDrive, pluck their way to Santa Cruz
In the distant past, under the red-hot Idaho summer sun, three burgeoning boys unknowingly awaited their destiny. Following an afternoon garage jam session, guitarist Noah Jeffries, mandolin player Dennis Ludiker and fiddler Brian Beken stood on a dusty street corner, just down the road from a dairy. The only shade from the unrelenting rays was a lowly street sign, aptly titled: Milk Drive.

Fast forward to the present, where Beken fondly remembers those good ol' summer days, before he and his friends formed the old-timey alt-folk band stopping by Don Quixote’s Sunday. “It's always been that unspoken bond we've had,” says Beken. “We all knew one day we would be in a band together, not only because of the way we play together, but how we hang out together. Once the opportunity arose, it was a no-brainer.”

Now those youngsters are all grown up, and their dreams of taking their progressive acoustics across the country are coming true. They've since added bassist Matt Mefford to their line-up—Ludiker and Beken met him in Austin—and formed MilkDrive: a four-piece traveling string band with bittersweet harmonies and an arsenal of quick-plucking fingers.

Like most musical troupes, the band hates the thought of being lumped into a predetermined genre, so Beken finds it fortunate that MilkDrive is largely identified by its string instruments. They're "just the kind of instruments we learned on. We took those instruments and all our influences, and decided to play anything we liked, on what happened to be bluegrass instruments.”

milkdrive2Sure, they listen to Bela Fleck—one of the greatest banjo pickers to walk the earth—but the guys are just as happy jamming to Mars Volta and Nine Inch Nails on their strings.

That profound respect for traditional Americana, paired with new-age flavor, is the beauty of MilkDrive: every member understands each string instrument, like a fiddle knows a bow, and together, they form one reverberating sound. "Once you learn one instrument, it just connects to the other one,” says Beken, of being in sync with his band mates. “You just fill in the blanks.”

INFO: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Don Quixote's, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

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


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location