Olde Blue – Roots in Windy City Blues


By Julie Horner

Dashing out of a drenching downpour into the warmth of the Felton Community Hall on a late November morning, I was eager to mingle with local crafters and listen to area musicians who had come together to support the Santa Cruz Mountains Holiday Makers Market. One of the scheduled bands was Olde Blue, a name that has been the local buzz all summer.

Morgan Monticue was the first to arrive, lookin’ sharp all creases and cuffs with slicked-back hair and standup bass, eager and unfazed by the wet weather. The other band members, Marcus Thayer (drums) and Yeshe Jackson (vocals, guitar), set up their rigs in a flash of tattoos and ties, and right on time with a tip of a hat commenced to righteously rock the scene.

Olde Blue started out as a cool duo with a Chicago blues attitude: Marcus’ fat snare and hi-hat adding kickin’ groove to Yeshe’s growling original vocals and guitar-driven electric blues licks, evoking an indigenous urban West Side sound, Muddy Waters meets Howlin’ Wolf. Both guys had years of experience playing with other projects, so when they decided to launch Olde Blue, it was a natural fit. Marcus already had the chops, Yeshe could count off a shuffle beat and Marcus “would just go,” the two of them reading each other’s body language intuitively.

They already had a spate of high-energy gigs, slick YouTube videos, and a CD under their belts when their future third band member threw his hat in the ring. While playing the Boulder Creek Harvest Festival, Yeshe said that Morgan was standing front and center, “You could see it, his fingers twitching.” After they’d finished their set, Morgan invited the guys to open up for his band at Joe’s Bar. Yeshe swears Morgan had it all planned out as part of an evil scheme. Halfway through their first set Morgan asked to sit in with his standup bass, and sure enough it was like a hand in a glove; the trio had the place jumpin’ to a rolling boil.

Looking natty in white button-ups and black ties, they’re packing venues from Santa Cruz and Pacifica to Napa and beyond, performing up-tempo classic blues songs from the legends of the genre, as well as original material inspired by them. While oozing with vintage charm, the music is not “go-to-sleep blues,” as Yeshe puts it. He seems still surprised by the realization that Olde Blue is not just “back-of-the-café background music” but that the band can entertain a “big ol’ club packed full of people” gettin’ down to highly infectious dancin’ blues, a little pop, and good old American roots music.

The guys are having heavy fun figuring out their musical options, working hard writing new songs and wandering off into all kinds of solos on stage with the leeway that having three accomplished musicians affords. Olde Blue’s music and manner harken to a bygone era, when gents held the door for ladies, and people lived by finer standards. Yeshe said he’s learned that live music is a visual experience – anyone can listen to an iPod – but people who come to a show want to connect with the music differently and Olde Blue aims to look and sound the part. Yeshe told me that at a recent performance, the maid behind the bar said, “You’re the band, huh? I can tell because of your hats.”

On the Web: http://www.reverbnation.com/oldeblue

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oldeblueband


(c) 2014 Julia Horner

Julie Horner is an Irish-American folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com

Tina Saso Photography – Community, Captured


By Julie Horner

What caught my eye was the recent iconic photograph of local American roots musicians, Sugar by the Pound. It was a Marilyn Monroe moment. The photographer had captured the very essence of femininity and strength and sheer porcelain beauty in a series of relaxed looking shots; in-the-moment expression and sense of playful movement, the honesty of cotton fabric against smooth skin and the function of well worn instruments.

The photographer is Tina Saso, a San Lorenzo Valley native who now calls Boulder Creek home. That series of photographs was taken just moments after Sugar by the Pound had wrapped up their set at the Boulder Creek Harvest Festival. They’d ducked into a friend’s yard to shake off the heat of the day and the high of being “on” in front of hundreds of folks enjoying the lingering warmth of a long, hot summer in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can see in those photographs Tina’s ability as a genuine people-person to put her subjects at ease, feeling themselves and having fun so that personalities shine through.

It’s a natural impulse for Tina to photograph family and friends. Drawn by everyday people, mamas and babies, the rustic and the well-lit, she becomes the story teller and a recorder of moments in time. She told me that she especially enjoys photographing her subjects on-location outdoors, incorporating the environment whenever she can. Wilder Ranch, Henry Cowell State Park, and Boulder Creek’s Camp Joy Gardens are favorite locations, providing color- and texture-rich backdrops for her subjects.

Tina enjoys a deep connection with Camp Joy, having spent many days of youth with Leifin and Towhee Nelson on the acreage. Now their children run wild in that wondrous landscape, and Tina can be found chasing the kids around, adding her personal perspective to capturing what they do among the orchard trees and arbors.

“I have always been a social person and love working with people of all ages.” According to Tina, her enthusiasm for photography is complementary to that love. She is passionate about lighting and composition and facilitating the perfect environment for feeling joy, to reach that moment together at a shoot “when magic is happening.”

While her favorite experiences involve photographing individuals in a natural setting, she also has a keen eye for large compositions involving company staff and is in high demand as an event and corporate photographer. Her expertise includes evocative wedding portraiture and exquisitely pristine landscape and nature photography. Capturing life as she sees it: From the glow of the mother-to-be to the delicate form of the newborn asleep; children innocently at play to teens and adults at ease in the everyday.

Several times a year Tina hosts professional photo sessions by appointment at Camp Joy Garden. I can think of no finer place to create family memories through portraiture, to bookmark a place in time for loved ones framed by the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Email: tinasasophotography@me.com

On the Web: http://www.tinasasophotography.com/Tina_Saso_Photography/Welcome.html

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaSasoPhotography


Sugar by the Pound by Tina Saso Photography, Boulder Creek CA.

(c) 2014 Julia Horner

This article was originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, December 2014. Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com

The Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin ~ Small Town America Newspaper, San Lorenzo Valley, CA

Support your local Santa Cruz Mountains newspaper! Invest in your community!


Did you know that San Lorenzo Valley has its own newspaper? Based in Boulder Creek just above Jenna Sue’s cafe, a small mostly volunteer staff of die-hard community members works to gather local information and interesting stories about the people who live in the Santa Cruz Mountains. From Felton and Scotts Valley to Bonny Doon and points north, the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin is your community newspaper reaching some 6000 residents close to home and potentially many thousands more during tourist season.

The Santa Cruz Mountains is home to a rich array of restaurateurs, musicians, artists, crafters, writers, makers, growers, educators, brewers, business owners, healers, do-gooders, and contributors of all kinds to the local economy. We boast dozens of wineries and vineyards in a booming wine region that is touted to be one of the most unique natural environments in the world. We are home to Big Basin and Henry Cowell State Parks, the Santa Cruz Sandhills, Fall Creek, and countless natural destinations. We attract international and local talent to several live music venues, and offer sumptuous dining opportunities at any number of fantastic locally owned and operated restaurants.

As we turn our hearts and efforts toward the “think local” movement, consider displaying, reading, and advertising in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Small town newspapers are the life blood of the community, and when the community pulls together, we all succeed.

Visit the Santa Cruz Mountains Bulletin online:


Send advertising inquiries to: scmbulletin@gmail.com