Supaphat is more alternative rock than R&B or funk, especially on tunes like “Please You,” but the band shows its funk-ability—with a heavy blues influence—on the appropriately titled “Funk with Me.” Before you can label them, the members close in on a Frank Zappa groove on “Drama,” peppered with a few turntable scratches, and roll into straight-ahead pop on “Tomorrow,” a song that sounds like it was borrowed from Rob Thomas. Strong performances all around, particularly from vocalist Eric Schley, have landed them in the Sammies pool.
Art Luna, owner of Luna’s Cafe, calls the Bennys music “definitely great funk”—a sentiment echoed by a small legion of fans. The band certainly appeals to fans of super-cool Jack Johnson with a touch of pop, a touch of reggae beat and a heaping helping of “laid back.” While they sometimes channel the lighter side of Sublime, the Bennys are equally able to sustain a long Grateful Dead-like jam. Definitely danceable. Brother Nefarious
Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith says Brother Nefarious “sounds like a collision between the 1970s edition of the Isley Brothers and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” Bro-Nef melodies are soft, but the slap-bass is tight, like Motown meshing with Simon and Garfunkel. The blues grooves move like Led Zeppelin’s best, and the style remains fresh with plenty of time changes and instrumental sections to keep things interesting. Winners of last year’s Sammie for Outstanding R&B/Funk band, the Brother is looking for a repeat. Compadre
Compadre is certainly more R&B and hip-hop than funk. The band mixes a keyboard sound from Steely Dan with raps akin to A Tribe Called Quest or Jurassic 5, before shifting to a sound that’s a bit contemporary hip-hop, a bit ’80s smooth R&B. And Compadre is philanthropic; the band will donate a portion of the sales of its upcoming album to help support disabled veterans and their families. Feva in Da Funkhouse
Though the band has “funk” in its name and its grooves, Feva in Da Funkhouse is actually an influential hip-hop group in Sacramento. The eight-member ensemble is determined to spread its Hip-Hop Nationalist Theory—a musical manifesto aimed at countering the “powers that be,” who attempt to destroy hip-hop by labeling its true goals as violence and materialism. Leading lyricists include Magilla, Infinity, Xclusive and Mz. Bebe London, with musical accompaniment handled by Animal, Maurice, Malcolm 2001 and WesMarsh. After the release of the underground album The Cloud 9 Lounge, Sacramento quickly caught the ‘feva’ and joined the ranks of the Hip Hop Nationalists.
Hard Rock/MetalThe New Plague
The New Plague is the most traditional metal band in the Hard Rock/Metal category this year, complete with Cookie Monster vocalist Adam Whitley; a drummer who sounds as though he has four arms, and wrist-snapping, carpal-tunnel inducing guitar riffs and solos. The music recalls the early days of Megadeth and Slayer, but those bands are as intimidating as yogurt after hearing The New Plague. Warning: May cause nightmares and feelings of impending Armageddon and apocalypse. Hot Pistol
SN&R contributor Cary Rodda says of Hot Pistol, “It’s awesome to see a group of young guys who understand how to make rockin’ music.” And they rock something fierce, taking their lead from acts like Jet and AC/DC. Hot Pistol may look like the Mars Volta, but its music is more T. Rex (right down to a cover of “20th Century Boy”). This is the sexy rock ’n’ roll that’s been missing from the scene for years, a style that would make the rock gods proud. Tera Melos
Tera Melos is certainly the love child of Hella and Primus, and the godchild of Frank Zappa. And Billy Corgan’s nephew. And the Kinsella Brothers’ cousin. And Rob Crow’s long-lost high-school sweetheart. Tera Melos perpetuates beautiful musical abuse, like being run over by a herd of donkeys followed by a flock of ducks wearing silk slippers. “The music is so much more than metal,” says Clayton Nutting of Concerts4Charity, “It’s jazz, maniacal and methodical. Just brilliant.” Red Tape
Red Tape has two speeds: “fast” and “this might kill you.” The band fits the punk/screamo template, but its music is clean and clear, featuring ’80s-style guitar instead of the typical screamo guitars tuned down to “H.” The band’s guitar solos channel Metallica’s Kirk Hammett before he turned 30. To borrow a favorite phrase from a local fitness guru, the music is like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the head. Brand X Savior
Reminiscent of Tool and Korn, and specializing in all things black and disturbing, this band is sure to please the metal base. Crunching guitars, cavernous drums and angry but melodic vocals, delivered by Jason Fralish, dictate the power of the music. Check the band’s Myspace page at www.myspace.com/brandxsavior for the impressive music video “No Apologies”—a dark, crisp vision of a woman in a tattered red dress chasing a priest with a meat hook. That’s good metal.
RockBright Light Fever
With its raw rock sound, Bright Light Fever from Placerville easily recalls the Strokes. Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith writes, “[Bright Light Fever] can bring the rock, the kind of pharmacologically hyperactive minor-key guitar noise that makes underfed Gotham fashionistas swoon.” Brothers Evan and Matt Ferro, along with bassist Dan Sauve and drummer Robert Torres, currently are recording their debut record, Bright Light Fever Presents: The Evening Owl, due on Stolen Transmission Records in September. Th’ Losin Streaks
These local sweethearts feature Sammies Hall of Famer Mike Farrell, Sacramento’s (and possibly California’s) best guitarist. Retaining a ’60s-rock sound akin to the Who, the Sonics and the Rolling Stones, this band destroys stages wherever it plays—sometimes literally. The Streaks’ debut LP, Sounds of Violence, received rave reviews and charted many radio stations throughout the United States. As SN&R contributing writer Dennis Yudt surmised, “The only thing that can stop these guys are four well-placed bullets, but whydja want to do that?” Pets
Faith Wolfram, founder of Blue Bell Records, calls Pets “the cutest and most talented rockers in Sacramento right now. They are definitely a band to watch!” Allison Jones and Derek Fieth combine crunchy distorted bass, fuzzed-out reverb, effect-drenched guitars and a ready-to-rock drum machine to create their sound. They have been compared to the Jesus & Mary Chain and Love and Rockets, with a sound SN&R contributing writer Cary Rodda calls, “Great electronic sex-pop!” Rock the Light
Ambitious? Yes. A bit crazy? Perhaps. SN&R contributing writer Christian Kiefer says Rock the Light “has a commitment to absurdity one doesn’t see that often in music. … Rock music has made itself absurd, and the only way to really play is to recognize the ridiculousness of it all, accept it and take that self-knowledge out onstage.” This attitude is even evident in the band’s MySpace blog, where it made this announcement: “We know we’re the best rock band in the whole Union, but thanks, Sammie, for reminding us. Oh yeah, you should throw a bone to that Jackie Greene kid.” Two Sheds
One of Sacramento’s most celebrated bands, Two Sheds features Caitlin Gutenberger, her husband, Johnny, and his Jackpot bandmate Rusty Miller. Clayton Nutting of Concerts4Charity describes Two Sheds as “shoe-gazing, lo-fi, whiskey-sippin’ blues.” SN&R’s Erin Sierchio calls Caitlin’s voice “strongly reminiscent of Chan Marshall of Cat Power, and that could never be considered a bad thing.” Poetic, moving and subtly powerful, Two Sheds is a local force. Witness its new release, Strange Ammunition, on UnderAcloud Records.
Ruben Reveles, one of the founding members of MothSpyEros, describes his band’s upcoming debut album, Sueño Rojo, as “a soundtrack to a dream in red. Where ambient sounds, words [and] thoughts come together in an abstract world of beauty and chaos.” The album, due later this month, features core members Reveles, Kevin Dockter and Ruebi Freyja, as well as a host of other local musicians, including Amber Padgett (Spider Silk Dress), Sam Coe (Low Flying Owls), Brianna Lea Pruett and Sean Hayashi. Tycho
Local electronica artist Tycho, a.k.a. Scott Hansen, is a true triple threat. He’s got the charm, the good looks (the ladies will agree) and the talent (he’s a gifted graphic designer and musician). Tycho, a moniker paying homage to the Danish Renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe, creates hip-hop-styled beats, lush harmonies and haunting melodies that are beautiful and entrancing. “Tycho never ceases to create sublime melodies that can actually bring you to another place. The man is awesome,” exclaimed Faith Wolfram of Blue Bell Records. The Evening Episode
“There are not too many bands that can pull off the sultry-electro-lounge-dance thing the way the Evening Episode does,” remarked Clayton Nutting of Concerts4Charity. Inspired by the likes of Portishead, Blonde Redhead and the Notwist, the Evening Episode—which consists of Teresa Eggers, Chris Loental, Ira Skinner and Brian True—specializes in a haunting combination of electronic beats, organic sounds and emotive vocals. The quartet’s debut album, The Physicist Has Known Sin, is due this July. Two Playa Game
Xtra Man (a.k.a. Takeshi Lewis) and Game Bwoy (Evan Schneider) are Two Playa Game, an electronica/experimental duo that describes itself as “two young male humans on a mission to find the soul that lies within the plastic and metal housing of a game console.” Given the duo’s mission, it’s not surprising that it cites Pitfall, Q-Bert and Mario Paint as its major influences. The song “First Strike Weapon,” available for your listening pleasure at www.myspace.com/twoplayagame, features a series of blips and beeps with the WarGames-sampled “Shall we play a game?” repeated throughout the video-game-inspired track. Tha Fruitbat
On Tha Fruitbat’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/thafruitbat), he claims to be a “nocturnal vegetarian.” This makes sense—his introspective, complexly arranged drum ’n’ bass, breakbeat, jungle, and psychedelic beats speak to the up-all-night, socially conscious herbivore crowd. But he’s also experimental, be it busting out sounds en homage to Louis Malle films or exploring more interstellar fare, like on his self-titled LunaticWorks debut album. His latest album, of which SN&R has heard tidbits, is due to drop this summer—it’ll keep you up all night.
When all live performances carry the disclaimer “Beware of large inflatable ‘appendages’ crowd-surfing the audience,” you know you’ve found a true punk band. Coming together to form the Secretions are Mickie Rat, Danny Secretion and Paul Filthy—a trio with obviously biblical last names who create a sound reminiscent of the Ramones, the Germs and Motörhead after a 12-pack of java. If 15 years in the Sacramento punk scene, the new album Coming To Save The World and large appendages are not enough for you, the Secretions also have a battle cry: “We secrete and you suck!” The Walking Dead
Formerly the house band at Shady Brady’s in Roseville, the Walking Dead are a sonic assault on the Sacramento music scene. Only a year old, the band produces raucous live music, mixing early-Rancid-style street anthems with the swingin’ sophistication that band members Andy Christ, Tony Dead and Zack B. Hectic simply ooze. Whiskey Rebels
As if whiskey could nurture anything but rebellion. Frontman Big Chuck’s lyrics focus on personal tales of life on the street and the hardships of surviving “the bullshit of daily life.” Mixing old-school oi! with a hardcore pace and aggression, the music aims to inspire anyone who faces troubles similar to those the Rebels have confronted.
Featuring Jayson and Nate A. on guitar, Nate D. on drums and Jimmy on bass, the Whiskey Rebels have been together for six years and recorded five albums, and are currently on a nationwide tour.Pressure Point
Conflict. From its conspiracy-ridden formation out of another local punk band, Deep Six, to its nonracist skinhead anthems, Pressure Point is aptly named; it’s here to push your buttons. Since 1994, the band has scrambled politics, oi! and a loud, hard, fast punk sound that, love it or hate it, always stirs emotions in the audience—occasionally to the point of all-out brawls. Helper Monkeys
How many punk bands do you know that started when their members were 12 years old? The Panda Bear Greens—who added one member to become the Helper Monkeys—did. Somewhere between NOFX and AC/DC, the group says they’re just “too dumb to quit.” Blaming not only their love of “wicked sick” music, but also their poor social skills and desire for “smokeables,” Jaz Brown, Jeffrey Valentine, Mac Ryan and Craig Hancock have been satisfying their primordial urges onstage for over a decade now.
Do you need a drummer to form a strong jazz band? Apt. 12 has been doing just fine without one. Cole Cuchna (guitar, piano and harmonica) and bandmate Jaydn DeWald (bass and piano) abandoned their distortion-driven songs to form a more gentle, intricate sound with vocalist Natalie Portlock. Rehearsing in Portlock’s studio apartment did not provide the space for a drumset, but it did provide the intimacy needed to create the sound they were looking for. Since its creation in 2004, the group has catalogued roughly 25 soulful ballads together. RACE!!!
The self-described “electric improvising collective” released its debut album, Travels, in 2005 and continues to hold down the stage at Old Ironsides every Sunday night. Guitarist Ross Hammond, whose eponymous trio was nominated for a Sammie in 2004, is now joined by Scott Anderson, Erik Kleven, Tony Passarell and Tom Monson to complete the quintet and generate what SN&R contibuting writer Dennis Yudt calls “the sound of free Sacramento.” Vivian Lee Quintet
Vivian Lee brings a smoky beauty to her lyrical interpretation of jazz standards, both in live performance and on her three CDs. As much of a player offstage as she is on, this two-time Sammie nominee is part of an ongoing initiative to support jazz programs in local high schools, and is a driving force behind the Sunday jazz series at Savanna’s Lounge inside the Red Lion Hotel. A staple performer at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Lee’s rapport with the crowd easily includes others in her personal world of jazz. Capital Jazz Project
Part community jazz-education program and part improvisational ensemble, the Capital Jazz Project has been a solid presence in the Sacramento arts community since the late ’90s. Beginning as a seven person ensemble, the group—which features American River College music professor Joe Gilman, Mike McMullen and a revolving list of guest artists—has given more than 40 self-produced concerts featuring the work of legends like Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck, as well as original compositions. Capital Jazz Project has released three albums and continues to stimulate the public’s interest in jazz through education and performances. Four Guys From Reno
And the award for most misleading name goes to … Four Guys From Reno! With a 50 percent accuracy grade on the band’s name—the band actually consists of three guys from Sacramento—its eclectic mix of contemporary jazz, reggae and world beats gives it more than enough extra credit to skyrocket the trio to an A+. Winners of both the 2004 and 2005 Sammies for Outstanding Jazz Band, the Four Guys are looking for a third win (and entry into the Hall of Fame) in 2006.
Though Diciembre Gris draws its influences from British post-punk groups, the band’s Latin heritage and international fanbase have landed it in this category for the second time. Together since 1997, brothers Daniel and Erick Villegas and friend Alex Reyes have completed many successful tours of Mexico in both Baja California and Guadalajara, putting Sacramento on the map for audiences across the border. With another tour planned for the Southwest later this year, Diciembre Gris is racking up the fans stateside as well. Habañero
This Latin-jazz supergroup seeks to revive the standards of the genre while creating fiery original compositions with Cuban flare. Together since 1996, the group includes Berklee College of Music alumni Doug Pauly and Rob Lautz, American River College jazz bass professor Kerry Kashiwagi, noted West African-style percussionist Kamau Mensah, and Brian Kendrick, director of the California State University, Stanislaus, Jazz Ensemble. All those credentials don’t weigh them down a bit; this quintet’s music is as fiery as its name. Nagual
When a band names itself after a mystical consciousness alluded to in Carlos Castaneda’s body of psychedelic, spiritual literature, you can bet its members are focused on transformation. The group describes its music as “in sync with the progressive and boundary-busting musical philosophies of musicians who are redefining what’s been called the ‘perfect union’ of Latin jazz.” Respected local musicians Scott Anderson, Victor Contreras, Harold Muñiz, Ron Ochoa and Sammie-winning bassist Erik Kleven will open your mind—if you let them. Raigambre
Last year’s Sammie winner for outstanding world/Latin band, Raigambre’s socially conscious lyrics—set to rollicking Afro-Cuban-Chicano grooves—have entertained Sacramento audiences at nightclubs and community events for five years. During that time, they’ve also shared stages with national acts like War and Ozomatli. Since the addition of vocalist Celia Hernandez-Lopez last year, the band has increased its impressive versatility. Sol Peligro
With a name that literally means “the sun that people feel threatened by,” Sol Peligro is not a band to be taken casually. This powerful eight-member ensemble, headed by one-time Raigambre frontman Sam Miranda, stays rooted in Mexican cumbia rhythms while dancing its way through Jamaican reggae and rocksteady. With a trio of horns, percussionists and a strong rhythm section, this sun shows no signs of setting.
Rap/Hip-HopThe Addict Merchants
The Addict Merchants operate on the theory that jazz and hip-hop are two great sounds that sound great together, especially when enhanced by social awareness. Holding their own on bills with hip-hop legends like Mos Def, De La Soul and Afrika Bambaataa, the Merchants have continued to prove their hypothesis through five years of live performance. Look for a new full-length CD from the band this fall, the latest in a line of “Merchantdise.” Crazy Ballhead
Crazy Ballhead hasn’t slowed a bit since winning the 2005 Sammie for outstanding rap/hip-hop musician. He’s finishing up production for his fifth album, The Children of Hope, due out this summer, and acting as composer and executive producer for a collaborative spoken-word CD titled Weapons of Mass Instruction. In his spare time, Crazy B runs a record label, a production studio and a clothing line, and regularly shakes up Sacramento-area clubs with his hometown anthem, “The Valley Rumble.” LockMonsta
As with the Loch Ness monster, a sighting of LockMonsta can be rare, mind-blowing and leave the townsfolk talking about it for weeks at a time. LockMonsta’s rap repertoire runs the gamut, from serene to hard-hitting, and never lets his listeners forget where he’s from or what’s really important. As he says on his single “One Pearl”: “My kids can’t eat CDs or tapes / Went on hiatus for a minute / I’m glad you waited … when it’s time to change diapers, I discontinue practicing and kick into dad mode again.” Mr. P Chill & Trunk of Funk
The Sammies nominating committee debated whether Mr. P Chill and his band, Trunk of Funk, belonged in the rap/hip-hop or R&B/funk category. That controversy is nothing new to rapper Chill, whose back-up musicians have been called one of the area’s “finest live-funk ensembles” by Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith. “The biggest compliment I get,” Chill said, “is from people who don’t like hip-hop, but they love this band.” Having just completed a West Coast tour for his new CD, Organic Hip Hop Vol. 2, Chill’s summer-gig schedule already is filling up. When you’re hot, there’s no time to chill. Who Cares
Sometimes labeled “emo-rap” because of singer Borg One’s tendency to write personal lyrics about growing up sad and overweight, Who Cares has gained a national cult following since forming in 2002. As Phoenix New Times writer Brendan Joel Kelley said, “Who Cares is a band that gets inside of you and shares your pain; as antithetical to hip-hop’s orthodox anger and misanthropy as that is, it’s what makes Who Cares the real fucking deal.”
Country/BluegrassThe Devil Makes Three
This acoustic trio, which cites such influences as Steve Earle, the Memphis Jug Band and Django Reinhardt, has been playing to capacity crowds since its self-titled debut album was released in 2002. It’s no wonder, given that the band describes itself as “the best band ever. Really. That’s the only way to describe it.” Lucia Turino (stand-up bass), Pete Bernhard (guitar, banjo and harmonica) and Cooper McBean (guitar, banjo and musical saw) all hail from the East Coast, but as luck would have it, they’ve migrated to our fair state—Turino and Bernhard live in Sac, and McBean resides in Santa Cruz. Despite the three-hour commute, the band still manages to stay together, churning out the unusual blend of ragtime and country songs that local audiences have come to know and love. Richard March
Richard March is arguably the reigning king of the local Americana scene. First, March (along with buddy Scott McChane) held court for “Nashville Nights,” a now defunct showcase of Americana acts held at the Blue Lamp. Nowadays, he presides over the “Americana Ramble,” a similarly themed concert series that takes place Wednesday evenings at Marilyn’s on K Street. SN&R contributing writer Christian Kiefer had this to say about the consummate leader and performer: “Among singer-songwriters in this town, he has the most professional stage presence, hands down—so much so that local musicians of any genre would be well-served watching a Richard March show and studying how the man performs his songs.” Amee Chapman and the Big Finish
Amee Chapman, backed by her band the Big Finish, is currently putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to 2004’s Still Life, which SN&R contributing writer Jason Roberts described as “a collection of beautiful, intimate sketches that tell tales of the lonely and wounded.” While we’ve yet to hear any of Chapman’s new material, we suspect that Grace Is Hell to Keep will be a bundle of whiskey-soaked country tunes and folk-infused ballads. The Haints
“The Haints are not even necessarily a country band,” remarked SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen. “Their clever and catchy melodies, and Kepi’s sweet and highly emotive voice, bring to mind the Rolling Stones’ first few albums more than anything by George Jones or Hank Williams Sr.” So, you may be wondering why the band (which includes all three members of local punk outfit the Groovie Ghoulies) is nominated in the country category. Well, despite their rock ’n’ roll and punk roots, there’s no denying the band’s country-infused sound. Their debut album, Hurt & Alone, released in November of 2004, consists of eight upbeat country tracks that will have you begging for more. The Alkali Flats
“When I saw [the Alkali Flats] at Old Ironsides with Devil Makes Three, their old-timey melodies stole the show,” explained SN&R contributing writer Jimmy Calanchini. The band owes its traditional country-western sound to the various instrumentation enlisted (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, banjo and accordion), and to Tim White and Chris Harvey’s twangy vocals. The band occasionally takes the stage at local clubs but admits that it’s more likely to be spotted playing a small rural bar in Nevada. If you can’t make it to a local show, we suggest that you gas up your tank and head to the Silver State—this band is well worth the time and money.
Folk/AcousticBe Brave Bold Robot
Who they are: frontman Dean Haakenson on vocals and guitar, bassist Matthew Gerken, drummer Aaron Haakenson and vocalist Raquel “Rocky” Rupple. What they are: “A collection of people who play music in the same room at the same time.” Well, OK, maybe a little more than that. Why they are being described here: the appealing combination of experimental flair and true tunefulness. The palpable sense of “Hey, we’re making good music and what fun it is.” Roberta Chevrette
Luna’s Café proprietor Art Luna calls Roberta Chevrette “a folk singer-songwriter in every sense of the word! Roberta is political, insightful and poetic, executing her songs with style, passion and accomplished guitar work.” Like Ani DiFranco, but with less of the rage and more of a sweetly serious Earth-mom thing going on, Chevrette has a name for what she makes: “fast, fierce, feminist folk music.” And she means business, as in the song “Can You Hear This”: “Yeah sometimes I just feel so powerless / cuz I know my vote doesn’t count for shit / and I wonder what happened to democracy / cuz I know this isn’t it.” Dre
Nowadays, when Dre asks the musical question, “Do You Feel Me?” The answer is, um, heck yeah. As a singer, she’s a natural who knows both how to fill a room and how to command it; her songs come off comfy and sultry all at once. Now fronting the trio Parlour Dames—or, as she would put it, “folkin’ it up” with bassist Jacob Chilton and drummer Brent Wiggans—Dre has entered the rotation of local Fox & Goose favorites, and much-loved Sammie nominees. Justin Farren
Art Luna of Luna’s Café wants you to know that Justin Farren is quite the “charismatic performer” and, in fact, “just an amazing talent as a singer-songwriter.” But come on; you already knew that. Farren seems so winningly open to his own inspiration—explaining one song’s origins, he simply writes, “Fell asleep in a parking lot. Had a dream about transforming into a tadpole.” Likewise, his songs often take the shape of sunny, melodic charmers. They’ve made Farren something of a local golden boy—yet he’s still gracious enough not to be all in-your-face about it. Julie Meyers
Now some of you might be asking, “What’s such a proud purveyor of knife-edged, electrified alt-pop doing in the folk category?” Well, you need to get outside the category walls, as Julie Meyers often does. After all, as she admits on MySpace, “I still own Tiffany’s first record from when I was six years old, and I have a Journey and Boston fetish.” A veteran of varied Sacramento acts—SquishtheBadMan, the Famous Celebrities, the Splints, the Sores—guitarist-singer-songwriter Meyers says she “never wanted to be a solo artist.” Well, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
“Girl, you can boogie,” John Lee Hooker told her at their gig together and, well, there you have it. Who’d ever argue with him? Anyway, the assessment still holds. Apparently GG stands for “Good God!” as some version of that exclamation is what many people say upon hearing this blues lady for the first time. The nimble phrasing of her vocal work and her guitar’s warm, open tone make for a real double-threat. Also, she’s rather partial to soulfully funking things up. Kentucky Slim
Here’s a guy who knows where he comes from. Yeah, that would be Kentucky, where Southern-fried blues-rock is a birthright. Slim wears it well, without wearing it out. He came out to Cali from Lexington in ’91 and paid his guitar-slinger dues in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he hosted a weekly blues jam for years. Slim counts a few easily recognizable icons among his varied influences—Muddy, Hendrix, Skynyrd, Cash—and works their sounds all up into a big, fat, rootsy stew. Then he puts it on a slow burner and lets it simmer. Stacie Eakes and the Superfreakes
You take the blistering bravado of Janis Joplin, the sultry grace of Aretha Franklin, and the balls to compare yourself to both of them and you’re gonna do OK. Must I explain why local belle blues belter Stacie Eakes just scored her second consecutive Sammie nomination? Whether out on the road opening for national names like Coco Montoya and Bettye LaVette, or staying home to keep the Torch Club lit, Eakes and the Superfreakes (bassist and former Beer Dawg Joe Lev, guitar-phenom and fellow Sammie-nom Jimmy Pailer, drummer Leigh Lunetta, and guitarist/singer Bob Fogle) obviously have mastered their “techneakes.” Bill Scholer Blues Band
Guitarist Bill Scholer’s rightly well known for his work with the Joy Buzzards, an acoustic trio once described by SN&R’s Jackson Griffith as “a cosmically comic stewpot of musical roadkill” (he meant it as a compliment). Scholer’s also picked up some trade secrets opening for the likes of Willie Dixon, Paul Butterfield and Jeff Healey, and fronts the multiple-Sammie-nominated Bill Scholer Blues Band, which teams him up with Dale Lyberger on bass and vocals, Jim Monroe on keyboards and vocals, and Craig Faria on drums. Together they get back to the true beauty of blues basics. The Jimmy Pailer Band
As esteemed for his “Blues in the Schools” gig with the Sacramento Blues Society as he is for tearing it up around town with Mark Harmon on bass and Leigh Lunetta on drums, axe-wielder extraordinaire Jimmy Pailer really, really loves the blues. This man means it. Not that it makes him at all hard to take. Mixing energetic originals with covers of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King and others, the Pailer band knows plenty well how to please a crowd.
When he’s not jet-setting between Sacramento and Oxford, England, this singer-songwriter clocks time in the studio—in both countries! This summer, fans will see the release of three Anton Barbeau albums. In June, look for the long-awaited “psychedelic odyssey” In the Village of the Apple Sun. Come July, fans will get a taste of What If It Works?, a collaborative project with Scott Miller of the Loud Family. Finally, if you’ve yet to get your fill of Barbeau, the prolific artist will release Drug Free. Is it possible that Barbeau is trying to take over the world one album at a time? We can only hope.
“This unassuming pop band has some of the best songs I’ve heard,” writer Cary Rodda observed of local pop outfit Knock Knock. The band—which consists of Allen Maxwell, Heather Conway, Mike Cinciripino and Nicola Miller—will return to the studio this summer to record the follow-up to its debut, Warm Fronts, Cold Shoulders, which consists of 12 head-bopping, toe-tapping, feel-good pop songs. We’ve heard they’ve got a lot of new material; here’s hoping it’s comparable to the pop perfection that blew our way last year. Didley Squat
Picking up two Sammies (Outstanding Pop Band and Keyboardist) at last year’s event, these grandkids of the Sacramento music scene—did we mention the median age of the group is 20?—are back for another go at the coveted pop award. With two albums already under its collective belt, the pop quartet is already back in the studio doing preproduction on a third yet-to-be-titled album. We can’t wait to see what Didley Squat comes up with this time. Adrian Bourgeois
It’s official! Adrian Bourgeois has graduated from the Jammies, nabbing his first Sammies nomination, thanks in part to his many adoring fans, including Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith, who described Bourgeois’ songs as “among the finest post-Beatles pop tunes [he’s] ever heard.” Another local music legend in his court is Kevin Seconds, who had this to say about Bourgeois: “He’s so good and writes some pretty kick-ass pop songs, and I’m not talking about current bullshit radio-pop stuff but more like the Beatles, Beach Boys-type stuff that came out of the ’60s and ’70s. Really awesome stuff.”
Formed in 1992 by then-sweethearts Mike Farrell (guitar) and Tatiana LaTour (vocals), Daisy Spot took a hiatus during which Farrell went through a dark period of self-destruction and subsequent rehabilitation. When the two decided to collaborate again, they asked bassist Brian LaTour (Tatiana’s hubby) and drummer Alex Jenkins to come on board. The quartet released a self-titled debut album, which was well-received by fans, including SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen, who called it “an eclectic mix of decidedly noncontemporary sounds.”