The year may have gotten off to a slow start — musically speaking, that is — but this week, things start to pick up considerably.

But is it just a blip on the screen, an anomaly? A quick look at the next two weeks' offerings — and mind you, that's AT&T golf tournament time when all the celebrities and tourists are in town — exhibits a dearth of interesting shows.

In fact, save for a show here and there and two big shows next month at the Golden State Theatre — the Feb. 7 appearance by New Orleans piano great Dr. John and blues great B.B. King on Feb. 26 (and you could add comedian George Lopez on Feb. 17 to the mix) — there's not a whole lot on the near horizon. Maybe I just haven't received the press releases yet!

The Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur has announced a few shows for its highly anticipated season of music, but most of those start in April, including Grizzly Bear on April 15-16, Beach House on April 17 and Bat for Lashes on April 19.

Beach House is already sold out, tickets are still available for BFL and Grizzly Bear goes on sale Thursday at noon at That show is co-promoted by FolkYEAH! Presents.

Oh, and there is a show at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Library with newgrass string band The Bee Eaters.


That should be about the time the 49ers are accepting its Vince Lombardi Trophy, right?

But I digress (go Niners!), are you ready for this week? Amazingly enough, there are still tickets left for country star Clint Black's show Monday night at 7:30 at the Sunset Center in Carmel.

Get those tickets at 620-204 or online at

So, with so many shows this week and precious little space, here's a brief rundown of the top shows, in my humble opinion.

· This one came as a pleasant surprise: reggae bands Mystic Roots, Arden Parks Roots and The Closeouts will play a free concert Friday night at 9 at the Cannery Row Brewing Co. in Monterey.

These are the type of up-and-coming, popular reggae acts that would play at the California Roots Festival in the summer, so having three in one venue (did I mention it's free?) is quite a coup for promoters of the show.

Chico-based Mystic Roots, by mixing in elements hip-hop, funk and ska, have been described as "Bob Marley meets the Black Eyed Peas." Arden Park Roots is one of the top reggae bands out of Sacramento and a top-seller on iTunes reggae charts.

· Western singer-songwriter Mike Beck goes solo for one night in Monterey, celebrating the release of his new album "Pine Street Girl" with a show Saturday night at the Golden State Theatre.

Beck is not only an exemplary and sensitive songwriter (his cowboy songs have been called some of the best of the genre, ranking him with Ian Tyson and Tom Russell), but an excellent guitarist, both acoustic and on the unique B-Bender Telecaster.

Show starts at 8 p.m. in the lobby, $10 at the door.

· The 26-voice jazz choir led by Sean Boulware, Urban Renewal, plays Friday night at 7 at the Santa Catalina School auditorium. The choir features local standout singers, including Richard Bryant of the White Album Ensemble.

The crack all-star band features Dennis Murphy on bass, Ron. E. Beck on drums, Gary Meek on piano and sax and Michael Martinez on keyboards.

Tickets are $20 general, $10 students, available at or 920-1310.

· Acoustic jazz group Trio Globo plays Friday night at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Carmel. The trio features cellist Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort), pianist and master harmonica player Howard Levy (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Kenny Loggins) and percussionist Glen Velez (also of Paul Winter Consort).

Tickets at; 624-3883.

· Long-running local classic rock band Cheeky Spanks is calling it a day (decade?) with two afternoon shows (at 2 and 4:30 p.m.) paying tribute to Led Zeppelin Saturday at the Hartnell Planetarium in Salinas.

"We've sure had a hell of a good run!" writes guitarist John Sherry. "For a number of reasons we've come to the conclusion that now is our time to go out on a high note."

Thanks for the rockin' good times John, Jill, Kirk and Jimmy! Call 770-6160 to reserve seats.

· Monterey's popular The Money Band is going to try a two-night run at Sly McFly's on Cannery Row this Friday and Saturday night. The band packs the joint on Fridays, so it's not a stretch they can do the same on Saturdays.

· Two of my favorites, singer Chris Webster (Mumbo Gumbo) and guitarist Nina Gerber (Kate Wolf) play the Aromas Grange at 7:30 on Saturday night. Tickets at, info at or 726-3609.

· Casa Sorrento kicks off a new series of reggae shows Saturday night with L.A.-based reggae band Fortunate Youth. More on that series next week.

As for Santa Cruz, l'm looking forward to Billy Cobham's "Spectrum 40," Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.

The tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of Cobham's seminal jazz-funk album "Spectrum," so he has recruited fellow ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra bandmate Jerry Goodman on violin, along with long-time cohorts Dean Brown on guitar, Gary Husband on keyboards and Ric Fierabracci on bass.

The original album featured Tommy Bolin (James Gang, Deep Purple) on guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards and bassist Lee Sklar, a powerhouse lineup if there ever was one.

Two shows, 7 and 9 p.m. $26 in advance, $29 door, available at 427-5100 or Info at 427-2227.

Also at Kuumbwa, Joe Lovano Us Five featuring James Weidman, Esperanza Spalding, Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela plays Monday night at 7 and 9. Santya Cruz funk-rock band Wasabi plays there Thursday night.

Over at Moe's Alley, another Santa Cruz band, the retro soul-funk band Harry & The Hitmen plays Saturday night while Cambodian psychedelic rockers Dengue Fever plays Wednesday night at 8:30.

Audiafauna 2.0 opens that show, $15 advance, $18.

At Don Quixote's in Felton, Sat. Jan. 26 at 8pm Dead Winter Carpenters plus The Bluetail Flies Roots Rockin' Americana & Bluegrass. $10 adv./$10 door Dance — ages 21 +