It's Big Week around here, but instead of referring to California Rodeo Salinas activities, it should be applied to all the musical events running roughshod all over town.
I'm sure many of you are going to country superstar Alan Jackson's sold-out show Saturday night as part of rodeo weekend. But if you aren't, there are plenty of things to do, even in a country vein, if you will.
There's the Asleep at the Wheel show at Galante Vineyards in Cachagua Saturday afternoon (and early evening) or the Mike Beck & The Bohemian Saints show later Saturday night at the Pacific Grove Art Center.
And if you play your cards right, you can probably go to both of them, since the Galante event ends at 6 p.m. and the PGAC event starts at 8 p.m. You're welcome.
Beck will have Tom Ayres back on guitar for the PGAC show, which is a 8-midnight show that's a benefit for the art center. Beer and wine will be available as well as the newly installed group art show at the center. $10 at the door.
And as a preview, you can catch Mike and the boys Friday night at around 9:30 (depending on the dinner crowd) at The Running Iron in Carmel Valley Village.
There are other country-flavored artists performing this weekend, in addition to a litany of rock, blues, folk, jazz and even ukulele shows. Big Week, remember?
There's the incomparable Kelli Scarr, touring in support of her new album "Dangling Teeth," Thursday night at the new Kiki Wow Presents venue at the new
Scarr, a native of Folsom, near Sacramento, has a folky/countryish sound, especially on her new album, which features her sweet voice and pedal steel guitar, Western guitar and fiddle accompaniment.
In fact, Scarr, who toured for two years as electronica artist Moby's opening act and frequent collaborator, reminds me of the great Lucinda Williams in her phrasing (such as in the way she sings "You could be so 'crew-well, you acted like a fool,' elongating the word "cruel") and hard-won subject matter — heartbreak and loss, love and redemption.
And check out her clever video of "You Could Be So Great," which also has the classic country line "I was proud to love you, but not too proud to leave."
That's a 7-9 p.m. show, admission is by donation instead of the standard $10 Kiki used to charge at the old Plaza Linda. My prediction is folks would be happy to pony up $10 after they hear Scarr singing. Info's at 235-7662 or kikiwow.com.
Other country-flavored offerings includes Alli Clarke Haylings' final solo show before she embarks as a member of a Monterey County choir to the London Olympics. That's at 7 p.m. Friday at Jack London's in Carmel. She performs with the choir the following Friday at 8 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church in Carmel.
And although she's not strictly country, another Northern California singer-songwriter, Mariee Sioux, performs Friday night, with fellow singer-songwriter Eliza Rickman opening at 8:30 p.m.
Sioux's music is folk-based, with some country and heavily influenced by Native American culture. Her press materials describe it as "benevolent psychedelia."
In fact, the entire lineup this week at The Alternative Cafe (and Plaza Linda as well) is like a Whitman's Sampler of music, with the folk-pop of Sioux and Rickman; the '60s and '70s-style British boogie rock of the Honey Wilders on Saturday night (thinks Faces, Humble Pie, Foghat, Stones); the punk-pop of Sub Pop Records artist La Sera (punk diva Katy Goodman); the feel-good fusion of reggae, funk and pop of Robin Applewood (aka Dogman Joe) on Monday night; and quirky/witty singer-songwriter Steve Poltz, who almost upstaged headliner Peter Case the last time he played the cafe, on Tuesday night. Info at 583-0913 or
In addition to Scarr, Plaza Linda hosts Kiki Wow & Guitar Bob on Friday night from 7-9; singer-songwriter Burton Jesperson Saturday night; and SoCal pop-rock trio American Bloomers on Sunday night from 5-7 p.m.
That Sunday show is part of the grand reopening of the Mexican restaurant, which will be celebrating from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Bloomers have a very accessible pop-rock sound that seems influenced by Fleetwood Mac.
And before I go, let me mention a few shows worth checking out: the debut of the Konsept Party Band Friday night at 9 at Sly McFly's; jazz flutist and Monterey Jazz Festival head honcho Tim Jackson at the Hyatt Regency Monterey on Friday night at 7; Tom Faia & The Juice celebrating the release of Tommy's new CD, Friday night at 7 at Gilbert's Red Snapper (formerly the Marina Lounge); the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra's local debut Saturday night at the Carmel High Performing Arts Center; and blues guitar ace Walter Trout, with the Chicano All-Stars opening at 1 p.m., at the Sunday Blues in the Park in Seaside.
Now that's what I call a Big Week!GO!
Beyond the Bay: "Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse" opened in San Jose Wednesday, July 18 under the White Big Top, at the intersection of Hwy 101 and 87 East on the 101 Tech campus site, across Highway 101 from the San Jose Airport. Tickets are available at www.cavalia.net or by calling (866) 999-8111. $44.50 to $139.50, plus applicable fees. Special pricing and packages also available for groups, children (2-12), juniors (13-17) and seniors (65+). Info at www.cavalia.net.