True love, tune-ups and twerking in the 916
Hello, goodbye: To some, the True Love Coffeehouse is a bittersweet memory. To new Sacramento residents such as myself, it’s a mystical wonder—an all-ages, what-could-have-been venue courtesy of Kevin and Allyson Seconds.
When True Love closed a few years back, one of its casualties was a weekly singer-songwriter showcase. Good news: The Tune-Up Songwriter’s Showcase revived the tradition at Colonial Cafe (3520 Stockton Boulevard) back in December 2013, with co-hosts Kevin Seconds and David Houston.
Bad news: Last Wednesday marked the series’ final edition for a couple of months, while Seconds goes on tour for his recent solo album, Off Stockton, and later with his longstanding punk band 7Seconds.
But it will be back, eventually. And it goes something like this: Seconds and Houston sandwich a special guest on Colonial Cafe’s makeshift stage, and they play songs down the line, one by one. Meanwhile, audience members are asked to engage with the performers. In other words, it’s an ideal opportunity for fans to raise their hands and beg for secrets.
As the featured songwriter last week, Damon Wyckoff, frontman for Forever Goldrush, shared old stories of his “discovery” by music execs and days spent touring with major artists—like Lucinda Williams, who immediately proved to be a popular topic.
Wyckoff’s folk-rock sound—an ideal accompaniment to those of Seconds and Houston—included some fingerpicking and mountain flair. Seconds shared a few of the powerful folk songs from his new record, and the audience maintained complete silence for Houston’s soft crooning.
Admittedly, the audience was small—maybe about 10 people. Of course its members were attentive. But you’d think a bigger crowd would form. Perhaps it’s the venue’s obscure location, but Seconds and Houston are two of Sacramento’s foremost singer-songwriters, and to see them with another huge talent, for free, in an intimate, casual setting makes for an entirely pleasant and rewarding weeknight evening. And it will again, in a couple of months.—J.B.
From the cutting-room floor: The Lgndvry & Mixtape Mobb Presents Hometown Heroes series celebrates the diversity of the Sacramento rap scene. While club-pandering, twerk anthems clutter up the mixtape’s first side, the flip side focuses on rap traditionalists who prefer soul-tinged and grimier production with no interest in radio play. For the clubbier offerings, it raises the question: Is it possible to hear Lil Darrion’s “Twerk Dat Shit” or Magik & DP’s “On the Low” at Nex Downtown? Do these songs have a fighting chance for deejay spins, be it club or radio? Or will they only exist strictly on a digital mixtape on www.livemixtapes.com, rap’s equivalent to a trash island in the Pacific Ocean?
Among the trend-hoppers, there exist a few beacons deserving of the “hero” title. Dizzy earns his keep on “SacTown,” which features a sample of 2Pac shouting the city out on “California Love.” His raspy delivery is unique to him, with no trace of Bay Area piggybacking. Dizzy’s “SacTown” might be the closest a Sacramento rapper has gotten to writing a fitting anthem for this town. On “Blood Diamonds” D-Rek’s lineage can be traced to Black Market Records heyday and legends such as Brotha Lynch Hung and X-Raided. Doey Rock, a.k.a. Mean Doe Green, has changed his moniker again. Now known as Kahali Oden, his “Wild” track is ripe with intricate stylings that are best unpacked upon repeated listens. While Lil Darrion will settle for any female willing to twerk for him, Kahali Oden levels a higher standard of appreciation, strictly to “Young birds with a sponsor / with donkey asses / bouncing in Bahamas waters.”
Unfortunately, the mixtape feels as though even its more widely celebrated heroes like C Plus, Blee, Peso Harlem and Chuuwee contributed cutting-room floor tracks, coveting their better material for upcoming projects, Oden’s “Wild” being the exception. With no production credits cited, I can’t help but wonder how much of the record was produced in the 916 since it sounds as though it’s largely lacking Hippie Sabotage and Tynethys.—B.G.