ON the Beat | Societal Blues on the Rebound, at the Carrillo Rec Center

The Santa Barbara Blues Society rightly prides itself on its status as “the oldest continuous blues company in the United States,” and the continuity finally continues this Saturday, November 12. Its vital function of introducing nationally acclaimed blues musicians across the city has failed in action thanks to the pandemic-induced suspension of live music, which returned with happy intensity this fall.

On Saturday night, the blues bounce back in earnest in SBBS territory at the Carrillo Recreation Center, the historic, atmospheric venue with the spring-loaded dance floor and an abundance of fond memories. In the spotlight and on stage, the Chicago blues veteran John Primerguitar and vocals, with an essential blues harpist Bob Corritor. The two musicians lit up the ceremonies of the Blues Music Awards. For a taste of what they have to offer, check out the 2020 album The gypsy told me, whose title track is a slow, sassy, ​​gritty-seductive thing. As with their 2013 duo project Knock around these blueskicking off the album with Primer giving a count, as if in a ceremonial prelude to the blues ritual to come.

While Saturday’s show is the first out-of-town blues concert for the Society in nearly three years, SBBS performed a special benefit show in September. Local blues bands led the charge and paid tribute to two prominent local blues (and rhythm & blues) players, slide guitar legend Tom Murray and leader of the R&B Café Byl Carruthers – both sadly passed away this year. They are inspired and profound musicians who have validated the reasonable idea that Santa Barbara is, after all, a paradise for the blues, in its various incarnations.


Café Café Tacvba at the Arlington on Sunday, November 6. | Credit: Joseph Woodard

The world is dancing in the 805

It’s been another busy week in Santa Barbara concert-town, and with music coming from divergent ports. Last Wednesday, we got a hearty and inspiring taste of South African gospel music culture thanks to the 20-year-old. Soweto Gospel Choir, brought to Campbell Hall by UCSB Arts & Lectures. On the road in the wake of his new album Hope, the 22-singer group performed their infectious choreography of tangled vocals and stage moves at Campbell Hall. The program relied on South African tunes in the first half (my favorite half) and American repertoire with themes of hope and protest in the second, including Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All,” Aretha Franklin’s Respect and Sam Cooke’s Hope-filled anthem “A Change is Gonna ‘Come.”

Nashville came calling Thursday night at the Lobero, in the form of a multi-talented 20-something wonder Molly Tuttle, with his excellent band The Golden Road – who played SOhO in January and found themselves at Lobero last week. Tuttle, a marvelous singer-songwriter and highly skilled guitar picker, had the crowd in her corner from the get-go, delivering a flowing, spirited guitar solo to herald what was to come. Tuttle and her band (3/5 of whom are women, by the way) couldn’t be wrong whether it’s original material from the new album twisted tree or covers such as “White Rabbit” and “She’s a Rainbow” by the Stones.

Sunday night, the return of the alternative sensation born in Mexico City Cafe Tacvba. in Spanish … and beyond. The concert was a fascinating and varied walk through the fantastic musical landscape of the 33-year-old band. Suddenly, towards the end of the concert, they were immersed in a kind of banda punk song. Even though deep in the band’s history, surprises are always around the corner wherever Café Tacvba chooses to walk, in terms of gigs or albums.


To do

One of the many memorable shows to pass through the Chumash Casino’s Samala showroom over the past decade was the night Lyle and John stopped by to swap songs, stories and witty banter. . This, of course, is Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, two great American singers (who also appeared in a four-way show at the Arlington with Joe Ely and master singer Guy Clark). The casino has been slowly gaining momentum and adding notable music shows since recovering from the pandemic blues, and the return of Lovett and Hiatt on Nov. 12 is sure to satisfy Americana-loving patrons.

In other Americana news…the always adorable “Tales from the Tavern” series at Santa Ynez Maverick’s always adorable cowboy bar, ends its fall run on Wednesday (Nov. 16), on a high note. A dazzling slate of two Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin and the culprits was predictably exhausted. Keep an eye and your wallet on cancellations.

Speaking of two, a pair of world-class jazz concerts are hitting the schedule this week – the Django Festival Allstars returns to the Lobero on Tuesday November 15 and pianist prodigy Matthew Whitaker makes its local debut at Campbell Hall on Thursday (November 17).


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