Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013. Looks like we not only survived Dec. 21 (which, let's face it, was an overblown farce from the get-go), but the transition from 2012 to 2013 — the supposedly unlucky '13! But even that has been debunked lately — 13 is no unluckier than 12 or 14 for that matter.
In fact, in the late 1880s, a group, The Thirteen Club, was formed to debunk the superstition of, among other things, 13 at a table (which stated that when 13 people are seated at a table, one will die within a year). They met on the 13th of the month and had dinner with precisely 13 at each table. Five U.S. Presidents were members. Nothing out of the ordinary happened to members of the group, which numbered 400-strong at its height.
And, 2013 is the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Snake, water snake to be exact. But instead of bringing dire consequences, the snake sign is a sign of luck, wisdom, intelligence and self-control, something we could use a lot of this year.
So, when it comes down to it, we don't have to fear the year 2013, but embrace it, make significant changes, be wise, love and laugh often. And, since this is a live music column, get out there and support live music.
This is the slowest time of the year, not only economically (especially for the hospitality, restaurant and nightclub businesses), but musically.
But that doesn't mean everything comes to a standstill — the music actually never stops.
The Golden State Theatre hosts one of the first live music shows of the new year with an appearance Thursday night by Santa Cruz Americana band Deep Ellum, with folkie Big Sur singer-songwriter Levi Strom opening the show at 8 p.m.
Deep Ellum has been awfully busy since being formed in 2011 in Santa Cruz. The band released its first album last October, "Welcome to Deep Ellum," has played extensively in its hometown and locally at the annual The Mother Hips' HipNic and at Fernwood Tavern, both in Big Sur.
But this will be their debut in Monterey, which bandleader David Glasebrook said the band is "very excited" to play.
Glasebrook describes the band as "bootcut boogie" and "cosmic country," with influences ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival and Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers to Crazy Horse, The Band and Sir Douglas Quintet.
In fact, the band's song "Mississippi Moon" from its debut sounds like CCR and Tony Joe White ("Polk Salad Annie") collaborated on the song.
The band's 2013 plans include a tour of California tour, a stop at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, and the start of a partnership backing the renowned singer-songwriter Peter Case.
Strom is a familiar face around here, playing up and down the coast, solo and with an informal collection of local musicians.
He describes his folksy, hearfelt music as "surf country," which happens to be the title of his soon-to-be-released third full-length album, due in March on Vow Records.
This time he teamed up with Atascadero country rockers Sparrows Gate to record the album.
"The music kinda wrote itself," said Strom, who has also played the HipNic festival and other Big Sur music events. "They have this cool house out in the country, with mules and chickens running around, and during the day to take a break from recording, we would go surfing. At the end of the day the music sounded exactly like that, surf country!"
Another way to get your year off to a great start is to attend Thursday's Independent Marketplace at The Independent in Sand City. This month's theme is "New Year's Revolution: Rejuvenating Mind, Body and Soul," with the merchants and purveyors all offering goods and service that will help you attain those rejuvenating goals.
Musically, Michael Glines & Sugar Sauce will be performing at the 4-9 p.m. event, with DJ Lance providing music in between sets. Info is at: www.facebook.com/TheIndependentMarketplace.
Another venue keeping music alive is the intimate Pierce Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room at Wave Street and McClellan Avenue, a few blocks from Cannery Row.
This Friday at 8:30 p.m., it's singer-songwriters Andrew Shaw-Kitch and David Molina. Only $5 at the door, with Pierce Ranch wines available by the glass.
Cibo's Sunday jazz jam is from 3:30-6:30 p.m. this sunday at the downtown Monterey eatery. This is the former Hyatt jazz jam moved to downtown and features co-hosts, David Morwood on drums and Lee Durley on vocals. Special guest this Sunday is trumpeter Tony Horowitz, who has played with Ray Charles and Louis Bellson, among others., No cover, happy hour prices at the bar.GO!
Award-winning Alligator Records artists Rick Estrin and Joe Louis Walker will perform at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz on Thursday night. Harpist/vocalist/songwriter Estrin and guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Walker will appear as part of "Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout" that also features Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lazy Lester, Little Charlie Baty (of Little Charlie & The Nightcats), Ron Thompson and Aki Kumar. Tickets are $30 advance, $33 day of show, showtime is 8 p.m.479-1854, www.moesalley.com.
Well-traveled Bay Area jam band Moonalice plays Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Don Quixote's in Felton. $10, for ages 21-plus.
Also dream-pop singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler, touring in support of her brand new album, "The Sister," available now on her own Box Of Cedar Records, plays Thursday night at 9 at Don Quixote's. Cost is $10 advance, $12 door, 21 and older. http://marissanadler.com.
Popular Texas blues singer-guitarist Hamilton Loomis plays Wednesday night at 8 at Moe's Alley. Loomis plays two sets with his full band. $12 advance, $15 door.
Monterey's The Money Band plays Friday night at 9 at the Crow's Nest in Santa Cruz. Word is that a lot of Monterey Peninsula folks are making the trek to the venue. And at least one of them is celebrating a birthday: Happy Birthday Wendy!