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Forrest Day

Chances are, Saturday is going to be a sunny day. How do I know this? Because it's going to be a freakin' dry January, according to weather reports. Can you believe there won't be one drop of rain this month after our deluge in December? Seems to be the way of the weather patterns now; basically there are no patterns.

But what does one do when given this eventuality? If you ask me, go to Big Sur, book a campground at Fernwood, and rock out to Forrest Day at the Ferndawg, as the Fernwood Bar and Grill is fondly referred to by the locals.

During a phone conversation with Day, the songwriter/leader of the band, it was sort of determined that this was the fifth annual appearance by the Bay Area-based group in the Sur. According to him, these concerts are more special than your run-of-the-mill Forrest Day appearances — they mark the annual migration of "Dayheads" to the land of redwoods and rivers. This is where things get a little more heated, and the proceedings a lot more elastic. When the bar shuts down, the party moves to the campground.

"The energy is really special," Day said. "It only happens there. It gets really high-spirited, and there are campfires with people singing and playing music afterwards. There's nothing like it for us. Fans come out from San Luis Obispo, San Francisco and Oakland. It's just a big, awesome hang."


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This is the second "official" release party for their six-song EP, "Familiar Company"; the first was last fall in Monterey at Planet Gemini. While the band will be back to the same venue March 20 to play, Day says that shouldn't make a difference as to whether people come out for the Big Sur show. It's that special element of getting out of town and into the wild that brings out the raging best in the five-piece band.

To catch up, Day is really excited about the new studio he finished building about the time he completed the EP recording. Set up in a warehouse in West Oakland, the as-of-yet unnamed studio was only partially put together when he began to record the music. Yet by the time the EP was mixed, pressed and ready for primetime, he had the studio all together. Problem was, he maxed out his computer's memory in the process, and he had to get a new one set up before he could polish his pieces. Admitting it was a huge pain in the butt and a setback, he pushed through the tech problem and got the recording done in a crunch. What else would you expect from a musician who likes to fly by the seat of his pants in concert?

"The reason for the EP at the time," he said, "was I've got a lot of new music. Got almost two albums worth of stuff to record. I started the project late summer, and did the whole EP really fast, in about two months. The main reason to me was, I had this music that was getting older, like I am (34 years old). I didn't want to mix it with my newest material. They were songs people kept asking me about. They were all, 'You've got to record this.' It felt like make-up work."

So he plugged away at it in his shiny new space.

"This is also a great way to break in the studio, I thought. Like using it to get good at this new thing before I put out another full-length album. I wound up being so proud of the EP, and connected with the music as if it was brand new. The process of doing in-house at my own place was incredible. I've now started working on the new one. It's fresher, with more passion."

Day has a distinctive, bouncy style that translates to conveying really good energy. Sometimes the songs have that edgy hip-hop attitude, or they can get avant grade in an eclectic mix. But he does admit that as he's aged and experienced more emotional growth, he's beginning to get more melodic and introspective about his lyrical material.

"I am still raging," he said. "I haven't changed too much in certain regards — still very free, not too settled in my ways. I think the way I'm maturing is my subject matter. I'm not afraid to say things, like stuff that's not edgy. How much I love a girl or something. I just got out of a four-year relationship. I've been writing songs about that."

Overall, he describes the EP as warm, eclectic, vibrant. Maybe a little soulful. And the song "What To Do" is one of the most requested songs on Live 105, a Bay Area radio station.

Don't miss the big annual party in Big Sur with Forrest Day. Music gets started at 9 p.m., and tickets are available at Eventbrite for $15, with a $1.82 fee. Visit www.fernwoodbigsur.com to click through from the Calendar of Events page.

Beth Peerless can be reached at beth@2bpeerless.com.