You can’t hurry love

It’s been a not-too-well-kept secret around town for quite a while: Kevin and Allyson Seconds, of Go National fame, have been looking to open up their own live-music venue. The couple was close to buying Café Paris on K Street for months, but they couldn’t agree to terms with that club’s (now former) owner. They’ve been looking hard at places around Sacramento, especially in Midtown, and a few promising spots turned up. But nothing too promising.

Until now.

Credit ubiquitous local singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau for spotting the J Street location, one block up and one block over from Café Paris. The late, lamented SereniTea, where one could go decompress from the rigors of the go-go-go Sacramento urban lifestyle by experiencing the age-old tea ceremony, apparently couldn’t find enough takers for its ritualistic sipping. So it went dark.

“Anton was actually the one who turned us on to the place,” Seconds says. “He kept calling us and saying, ‘I’m playing at this little café, and you guys gotta check it out.’ And we’d be playing out of town. Finally, he called us up and said, ‘Look, the owner is selling this place. You’ve gotta come down.’ We did, and we instantly fell in love with it.”

The Seconds’ new venue, True Love, will open in the vacated space, at 2406 J St., on Thursday, Jan. 18. Naturally, the café’s opening-night performer will be Barbeau, who will share the stage with another ubiquitous area songwriter, David Houston.

Kevin Seconds may or may not play a solo set the following night, but Red Star Memorial and Naked Nathan will. And on Saturday, Jan. 20, Nevada City singer-songwriter Elena Powell will perform; Rachel Garlin and Allete Brooks share that bill.

Obviously, given the “comfy, homey-like place, with couches” that Seconds describes, we’re talking about acoustic music here, the kind that stays close to the former occupant’s herbal-tea roots. “You probably won’t see Magnolia Thunderfinger play—at least for a while,” Seconds deadpans.

The hitch is that the nitery won’t have a beer and wine license, at least until March or April. “Between now and then,” Seconds says, “once we apply for it and, you know, then the neighborhood association’s gonna protest, we’re just going to keep things really low key—not to give them any fodder to screw with us or anything. But it’d be ridiculous for us to do loud stuff.”

Seconds cites the café’s enclosed outdoor patio as another good reason to keep the volume a good deal below 11 decibels. “Ideally,” he says, “if we can get a sound system set up in the back, we can try to do afternoon shows on weekends.”

No tea ceremonies?

“I wouldn’t know how to do it if I tried,” Seconds says, laughing. “The woman we’re buying the place from, she’s got all these little knick-knacks and stuff inside there. I never knew the whole tea process could be so complicated.”

True Love’s approach to tea—and other beverages—will most likely be much more low key. Food will be served, too: sandwiches, quesadillas, bagels.

Sound like a winner?