Mark Growden

Saint Judas

Mark Growden performs Friday, June 11, 8 p.m., at 1078 Gallery.

1078 Gallery

820 Broadway St.
Chico, CA 95928

(530) 343-1973

“Oh well, now you’re the saint of the sinners, boy/ So won’t you buy us all another round?!” You can just see a hipster bar full of all the good freaks of Mark Growden’s home city of San Francisco raising glasses to his invented patron saint, a flawed man who sinned for their sins—“Bottoms up to you, buddy, ’cause somebody had to take the blame.” For his return to the Bay Area scene Growden teamed up with engineer Oz Fritz (Tom Waits) to record Saint Judas live in the studio with an ensemble of Bay Area ringers: guitarist Myles Boison, stand-up bassist Seth Ford-Young, percussionist Jenya Chernoff, cellist Alex Kelly and trumpet player Chris Grady. Growden brought his banjo, accordion, a folk-bluesy singing style, and the unwavering emotional commitment to what this writer has previously called “a lusty, somewhat loosely presented collection of poems set to disjointed waltzes and dark ballads of biblical proportion.” The growling, title track is the standout, but killing me right now is “Faith in My Pocket,” a sweet, herky-jerky banjo-driven number that opens with a little snapshot—“I thought I saw a shootin’ star/ It was a cigarette thrown from a trucker’s window”—and continues to try and wring a little hope from the cold night: “I’m gonna lay a fat kiss on the cold, wet cheeks of winter/ and watch her blush.”