With the Wind at His Back – Yeshe Jackson Art

By Julie Horner

A great rigged ship plowed through outer space, floating along in full sail aided by rocket thrusters. An astronaut tripped slowly down the plank into the vast starry vacuum while a great white shark and all the pirates looked on, big glass bubbles around their heads (the shark’s bubble was full of sea water, of course). “Everything was ridiculous but rendered with very precise detail…painstaking.” Space Pirates, the gigantic 4’x5’ original painting by Boulder Creek artist, Yeshe Jackson, hangs at Gilded Lily on Mission Street in Santa Cruz.

The SLV native met me at the Boulder Creek Brewery Outpost one sunny spring afternoon for a bit of refreshment and to chat about his art – now a full time occupation – his bread and butter. “Imagine an endless chasm and envision stepping over the edge with trust. Each month gets better,” he says.

Yeshe took his first art class at SLVHS during his junior year. It was an end-of-semester acrylic paint project that became the life-changing experience. When it was time to declare a major at Humbolt State, he said, “Art was the one thing that came to mind that I was good at and that I enjoyed.” And he didn’t do math. “Not that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t want to do it. Art is real, a valid major…I went for it.”

And after graduation did the whole starving artist thing while trying to find his artistic niche, working in construction and taking what seemed like a pretty cool opportunity as an apprentice tattoo artist at the Gilded Lily in Felton. But tattoos didn’t work out. “I got zero clients, I was starving. Clients had been coming in for free tattoos but that dried up.

During long afternoons with no one to ink, he hand-painted “flash” designs (mockup tattoos in watercolor).  “A lightbulb went off. If I’m not doing tattoos, why not work on my art?” Canvases were on sale “so I bought two” and he started painting landscapes from a few photos that local landscape photographer, Neil Simmons, had let him have.” Someone came into the shop, saw the work, and asked if it was for sale. He sold the piece for a couple hundred bucks.

Now he paints prolifically from his home studio – “taking out all the crutches from under and digging a little deeper” – capturing the movement of life in his own interpretations of local landscapes, underwater creatures, swirling sea and breaking surf.

Recently momentum is off the hook for Yeshe’s “Pint and Paint” events, which he started almost a year ago at New Bohemia Brewing in Capitola. Nubo hosts twice a month and the events always sell out. He’s started a series at Boulder Creek’s lille aeske, Ben Lomond’s Casa Nostra, and other venues public and private.

“I’m still getting my feet wet, willing to try a bunch of different venues. These events help crack the shell on some people who haven’t painted in a long time or maybe never in their life. And having a pint or two is not a bad thing to do, helps people loosen up.”

$45 gets you free beer, a 16×20 canvas, brushes and paint, he provides all the materials. “You just show up and get to take home a painting.” It’s a great way to meet people and network. “Too many people spend too much of their time mind-numbing in front of the TV,” he says. “It’s so much more fulfilling to spend an evening creating something – we all have so much more potential than we realize. If you’re reading a book, painting a picture, sculpting – anything – there’s something about that that’s so much more satisfying.”

The success of Pint and Paint is a testament to the locals. “People want to support you, no matter what it is, like the wind at your back.” And there’s no better life than doing what he loves to do.  “I couldn’t fathom or even stomach the idea of not being an artist. When I think about art I think about possibilities for the future, and I have to be thankful – it feels pretty amazing.”

On the Web: squareup.com/store/yeshe-jackson-art

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/yeshepaints

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. #slvpost | http://www.slvpost.com
Email: leap2three@gmail.com
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/santacruzmountainslocal

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Tilting Gravity ~ Kenny Hill, Gentleman Luthier

By Julie Horner

A solo classical guitar breathed seductively into the winter chill as I let myself into the Hill Guitar Company showroom in Ben Lomond, CA. Gentleman luthier, Kenny Hill, sat just inside, momentarily absorbed in music making, hands wrapped purposefully sensuous around one of his own instruments. The music was written by someone he knew, “It’s a lovely piece, full of tucks and folds.”

Master builder of contemporary nylon strung classical guitars in San Lorenzo Valley since the 1970s, Kenny Hill enjoys a personal and well-rounded relationship with guitar making. He started out as a guitarist – an aspiring classical player – who began making guitars as a hobby “to get a more complete feel for the instrument as an extension of the music, to understand the instrument more biologically.”

He played professionally for a few years then dropped out of the scene briefly in the 80s. He got back into it after the earthquake. “I got really shaken up…I was on 17 and wrecked my car.” He came back to guitar making with a more businesslike approach. “I got organized, more realistic about running a business. It was a second beginning.”

Now with worldwide renown, the secret ingredient for him is his lifelong immersion in the instrument as a player, a composer, and a builder. “It gives me a certain insight,” he says. He developed his own uniquely personal guitar building style based on classic Spanish traditions and global influences, pulling from a number of different inspirations to “produce something very full of life for players and for audiences…capable of playing adventurous new music” while still holding true to rigor. “It makes for a great feel.”

Admitting to having a certain creative arrogance from youth, “I wanted to keep my artistic purity pure, so I ignored the past.” Part of his second beginning included realizing that he was a fool for not learning from the ones who came before. “I was a presumptuous schmuck.”

“We tend to be lone wolves, very opinionated and stubborn, which can make for a lot of boondoggles and blind alleys” in making a fine instrument.

The instinct to break barriers remains; to be “tilting the gravity a bit.”

“Innovation is finding a need that no one knew they had. And it helps to be right about it and persistent. I find what pleases me, that’s the best way.” He gets flashes of insight which compel him to straddle different aesthetics. “I love finding something completely new and unexpected. I revere the work of the future.”

Quality is “under the hood” in the engineering that makes his guitars excel. “Playing a guitar, you’re embracing it, caressing it with both hands – that’s one of the things that’s so magical about it.” He explained that nylon strings are softer, more embraceable, and the tension is lower for a more relaxed instrument. “It’s more dynamic, you can shape the sound. I want the player to be able to coax whatever they want out of the guitar. It’s a matter of flavor and style, the guitar will give you back whatever you can put in.”

“Some guitar makers are trying to find an engineered formula, trying to predict outcomes.” Kenny creates things that suit his fancy. Most of the time he doesn’t know what he’s doing going in, he says. “I’m making strokes, seeing patterns emerging.”

He notes that custom guitar makers, especially in the US, enjoy three kinds of prestige: Which famous artists buy your instruments, how much you charge, and how long you have to wait for the instrument to be made. “I don’t like that. I’m a musician.” But of course he’s flattered when a big time artist picks up one of his instruments. “Great musicians inspire me. I become inspired as a maker, a player, as a person.”

Top classical guitarists from around the world revere Kenny Hill guitars. “We have a very good reputation,” Hill says. “And I answer the phone.”

He’s swamped with custom orders right now. When asked how long it takes to build a custom guitar, Kenny says he “puts it together like a meal. Any guitar is made out of 4 or 5 kinds of wood from all over the world. It’s a little bit like selecting ingredients, you want good quality ingredients. I get them from the source.” A Hill guitar takes a few months to build once an order is placed.

“I want to see the instruments getting into people’s hands. I love it when young, upcoming players get one. My most satisfying client base is young kids taking up the instrument and taking it seriously. It becomes part of their growth, part of their musical evolution,” he says.

For Kenny the joy of guitar making is everything from “the wood, the tools, the satisfaction of the craftsmanship, the cross-cultural relationships, an opening of the world – it’s got the whole thing.”

“And it’s very cool to be here in the valley – an ideal, marvelous place to be based.” For his family, the village atmosphere, plus the cultural stimulation from Santa Cruz. “It’s a great springboard.”

“We’re trying to make the world a better place, it’s pretty simple, through affection for the guitar. We’re not destroying resources, not taking away from more important things in life, we’re not bad for your health. It’s low impact in a global sense but high impact on the quality of the person’s life.”

“The intensity of thought, the hope in every living soul. Making guitars has vitality and impact and gives me a great deal of pleasure.”

On the Web: http://www.hillguitar.com/

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hillguitarcompany/

Phone: 831-336-9317

Email: showroom1@hillguitar.com

Kenny Hill performs monthly at Casa Nostra and has a CD, Pilgrimage.

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

Copyright 2017 Julie Horner

Curating the Sustainable Aesthetic ~ Foundre

By Julie Horner

Low light spills warmly through watery storefront windows at the quiet and otherwise dark south end of town next to the empty hull of the once buzzing Boulder Creek Brewery. A minimalist frieze of objects, iron, wood, fabric and paper, are melded symmetrically in tandem displays – artifacts dancing on the imagination, suspended in their

cases, as if on stage. The word “Foundre,” burned with blue fire onto a sheet of rusted metal, hangs under the eaves welcoming visitors to duck through the open double doors and over the well-worn stoop.

Boot heels resonate upon the 100-year old wood planks stained dark with use and age, the boards undulating and creaking here and there as the floors of storied old buildings do. The ceiling soars high above giving the space an immediate openness that invites visitors to move among compelling displays, islands of hand-curated wares carefully placed just where the eye lands and the heart seeks to go. Curiosities large and small, from homespun tableware to African made jewelry and utensils; pillows, serving vessels, found objects and the rustic, reclaimed, and re-purposed…most pieces chosen to support worthy global causes or to celebrate the exceptional talent of amazing friends.

By day, the cheery chiffon yellow Victorian, which was home to The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union dating from 1892, is a Santa Cruz County historical landmark and is arguably one of the most handsome buildings downtown. It stands miraculously unscathed after the Brewery fire in March of 2015, an evening that Foundre proprietor, curator and designer, Stephanie Hauck, still cannot bring herself to talk about fully: “There was no smoke in this building. I don’t know how it has survived…earthquakes, fires…” The building remains, enduring and elegant, nestled between one of Boulder Creek’s charming garden alleyways and the busy Scarborough lumberyard.

Stephanie describes how she captures the aesthetic for Foundre, “I buy things that I love…I enjoy small artisan goods,” especially if there’s a cause she can get behind. She carries Sasa Designs for the Deaf, for instance, which offers empowering opportunities for disadvantaged African jewelry artists. She also invites artist friends to display their work on her walls. “I am lucky to be gifted with a 6th sense for finding talented people,” including Santa Cruz iron sculpture artist, Payson Foster McNett, who was featured at Foundre’s recent “Found Friday” community art walk and whose installations are still on display at Foundre through the month of December. She has plans to feature a different artist every month.

A sweeping theater-sized curtain separates cozy, well-appointed living quarters at the back of the building from mercantile space at the front, suggesting a place for stagecraft where the honesty of artistic expression is confessed. “I live here, this is my home…the shop is an extension of my personal aesthetic.” And it continues to evolve. “Creativity fills my soul. I’ve never spent a day without being inspired.”

Impressed by Sarah and James Mackessy’s lille aeske studio, and Scott Graham and Cristy Aloysi’s Viscosity Glass, both located midtown, she also draws inspiration from Jorah and Andi’s rusty Americana meets back-to-the-earth at Mountain Feed in Ben Lomond. “Mountain Feed is one of my favorite places on the planet. They’re one of the reasons why I thought I could make a go of it.” These stores opened “with a vibrance and change…we’re all new to here and we’ve migrated toward each other in a very organic way.” These spaces lend themselves to art and music. “The town is hungry for that,” she says. “We care about making a great community.”

Even with the loss of the Brewery, Stephanie is hopeful. “I just want it to be positive. I want to stay and have it work.” There is a synchronistic nature to what’s happening now. “It’s the right direction for the town.”

Stephanie also takes on a variety of creative projects including professional wedding planning, special events, gifting (corporate or personal), and holiday decorating. She simply delights in exploring new opportunities, including re-designing Boulder Creek’s Goble Coffee Roasting Company’s image: They are now “Coffeeville.” She carries the locally roasted whole bean coffee among the finery on her shelves. “They are my friends, I want them to be successful, sustainable.”

Foundre is a truly eclectic collective of the delicious and the divine, the name itself reflecting something found and something created, as molten metal might be cast into a new form, repurposed to a better use. Indeed, the concept mirrors a vision of transformation: To build upon the best a small town has to offer, changing the business model to attract visitors, the curious and the passionate, to invest in the energy that is already happening.

Chat about tapping in to Boulder Creek’s potential, reach out, and ask questions any time: stephanie@thefoundre.com

Foundre is located at 13026 Highway 9, Boulder Creek CA 95006

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays, and by appointment
info@thefoundre.com
831 703 4692

On the Web: www.thefoundre.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefoundre

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

Earth Without Art is “eh” – Boulder Creek Elementary’s Art Masterpiece Program

Partial proceeds from the Santa Cruz Mountain Art, Wine, and Music Festival, September 5 and 6, 2015 at Garrahan Park in Boulder Creek support the BCE Art Masterpiece program. Proceeds also support San Lorenzo Valley High School’s participation in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) Scholarship fund.

Visit http://www.scmountainfestival.com
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by Kili Crandall

The Art Masterpiece program at Boulder Creek Elementary School is not just about creating art… it’s about “touching the lives of the Art Masters over the past few centuries…” and understanding their art as well as what their influences were.

The program has evolved over the past two decades since its implementation in the mid-1990s with Andrea Burgon at its helm. Mrs. Burgon sought to “bring the Art Masters to the San Lorenzo Valley” so that her four children and their classmates could benefit from the amazing talent in our community. “We have so many incredible artists here, living in this beautiful valley, who want to inspire our youth, let’s provide them with an opportunity.”

The program showcases a variety of “art by The Masters” for each grade level, following a set schedule monthly, so that, ideally, by the end of fifth grade students will have been influenced by not only the Renaissance Art of Brueghel and the Impressionist Art of Cassatt, Renoir and Monet, but also the Surrealism of Miro and Chagall, the passion of Rivera and Kahlo, the Pop Art of Warhol and Thiebaud, even the amazing hanging mobile sculpture by Alexander Calder, which provides a fun way to learn about movement powered only by natural elements.

I have known Andrea since I moved to SLV, twenty years ago. I didn’t know anything about the program though, until my oldest son Max, now 15 and a sophomore at SLVHS, started kindergarten at BCE. Kathy Ritchie was heading the AM program then and asked me to “get on board” and volunteer in the kindergarten class. I never looked back! I took over running the program a few years ago and I’m going to stay as long as they’ll have me!

All the BCE teachers participate. They even do the projects with their class, if they want to, although it’s not required… but they get inspired along with the students.

We begin getting our volunteers at Open House, which is during the first few weeks after school starts. I hold and orientation (about two hours) for the volunteers to fill them in on our program and update them with new artists we might have added in. We have at least one volunteer for each classroom. Usually two or three volunteers will team up for each class and then help each other out, trading off responsibilities: One teaching and one assisting one month and then switching for the next. Most volunteers love it and come back each year for their child’s new class.

Our first art project begins in October, with our last being in May, in time for the Art Show. One project each month, depending on the schedule and desires of the teacher and volunteer(s). Some teachers enjoy having the AM volunteer come in twice a month, and we can certainly accommodate!

Supplies for each project are provided by the Art Masterpiece program, which is fully funded by the BCE Parent Club and past fundraisers. We have watercolor, tempera, chalk pastels, oil pastels, clay, tissue paper, charcoal, a variety of mediums. Our biggest expense is watercolor paper, which is mandatory for some projects. Having good supplies is so necessary, but having enough of the good supplies is also key. We do our best to keep supplies stocked using our $600 annual budget. We also stress using nature and recycling. We bring in tree branches and household items, showing the students that art doesn’t have to be expensive.

Over time though, our paint brushes get rather beat up and our paints always need refurbishing, so any extra money is put towards supplies that will endure several years of students. We were able to purchase new packets this year for each grade and Mary Beth Curley (who has been co-coordinator for the past couple of years), graciously spent the summer refreshing and renewing all our packets for the 2015-16 school year! So exciting!!

The teachers still present a variety of art projects in their classrooms and BCE budgets for Spectre Arts in most classes as well. Mountain Arts also has an after school art class, for a fee, that allows ten or so students, once a week for a month, to do a themed project.

My boys (now 12 and 15) always enjoyed Art Masterpiece throughout their years at BCE. I know they miss it in the older grades! It really has been very inspiring to so many students because they recognize “art.” They know the “masters.” They understand the types of art through the centuries and they are able to see art around them. It gives so many children joy because, although they may not be good at sports or math…. art is subjective and completely their own interpretation, so there is no standard of what is right or wrong or beautiful. It is all up to them, it empowers them.

I hope to keep this program going forever. When will there be a time when it is not important? Art has and will always be an important part of life. I can’t imagine BCE without it. Of course, if we come up against an issue of no funding, I’m not sure what we will do. Probably look to the students to pay for the opportunity to create art. That would be very unfortunate, if it came to that. I know they have already cut the band program back so that just fifth graders have the opportunity to learn an instrument. It used to be fourth and fifth grades. Maybe we will be forced to cut the Art Masterpiece program to only three artists/projects a year or possibly just upper grades… I cannot imagine. As we all know – “earth without art is eh”. That really says it all!

Second Annual Santa Cruz Mountains Art, Wine, & Music Festival 2015

art and wine fest

Labor Day Weekend – Saturday & Sunday, September 5 & 6 2015
11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Garrahan Park, Hwy 9 Boulder Creek
On Facebook

By Julie Horner

Enjoy the last days of summer with family, friends and community at the second annual Santa Cruz Mountain Art, Wine, and Music Festival at Boulder Creek’s Garrahan Park. Showcasing local artists and musicians, the Boulder Creek Brewery and mountain wineries will be pouring. Expect great food and drink, groovin’ times in the sunshine; face painting, a jumpy house and other activities for the kids. More to be announced!

http://www.scmountainfestival.com

Proceeds benefit the Art Masterpiece program at Boulder Creek Elementary (see story in the Arts section) and the SLV High IOOF Scholarship Fund.

Here’s a taste of some of the artists and musical talent lined up for this year’s festival!

The Crafty Fox – Heather Richman

I love working with glass in all its forms – molten glass is probably my favorite.  When the glass is heated to molten, it can be manipulated into simple shapes like spheres, cylinders, and barrels.  It can also be rolled and pressed and then decorated with more molten glass, or it can be sculpted into complex shapes – like plants and animals.

 LW glass Pendant

My inspiration comes from nature.  Anyone who sees my glass work would probably say I love the ocean and all its creatures.  My torch-worked glass bead creations are often sculpted creatures (sea stars, jellies, turtles, etc.), but I also create mini ocean scenes on my pressed glass beads.  I make 3-D aquarium beads that are a bit like swimming in the reef (only smaller).

I also work in fused glass – cutting sheet glass and melting it in a kiln.  Some of my plates include Monet-like backgrounds with inlaid copper sea creatures and hand-pulled glass “plants” – creating the illusion of depth.  While my Ocean Series plates tend towards the cool colors of blues and greens, my Caribbean Series plates are very bright and colorful.  I love working in different color palettes, often pushing myself to try new combinations.

While I love the ocean, I also love the forest.  The redwood and oak forests speak to me in birdsong and babbling brooks rather than in crashing waves.  I often use the forest solitude to come up with new ideas and directions.  Standing beneath the redwoods and looking up can make one feel quite insignificant – a bit like a banana slug.

Originally from Riverside, California, I spent 8 years in Seattle, WA before returning to the Golden State and making Santa Cruz my home.  I’ve been here for 15 years and still love it!  The majority of my glass work is available at Art of Santa Cruz (inside the Capitola Mall at the Target end) and Monterey Bay Artisans (Monterey).  I also have limited work at Beach Girl, Many Hands Gallery, Henry Cowell, Seacliff State Beach, and Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center.  I do many shows and festivals in Santa Cruz County, including Open Studios.  My studio is also open by appointment.

On the Web: http://glass.crafty-fox.com

His Broidery – Eric Olson Artist

“Express who you are through embroidery art.” The art of raised stitching can transform ordinary clothing and fabric into stylish personalized expressions of one’s self. Embroidered designs can be frilly, whimsical, edgy, strong, or compelling. While flowers, puppy dogs, and swirly letters have provided decorative flair for shirts, coats, pillow cases, and towels for eons, so much more is possible. In addition to cutesy, stitching can be alarming, disarming, and sublime.

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San Lorenzo Valley is full of culture… there is so much to find here.  We have Buddhists, we have people who were part of the 60’s culture change, and we have the outdoors and beautiful trees.  All of these things are great for inspiration.

I still make everything at my house in Boulder Creek and my family and I show most of what I make at art shows.  Originally I started making things I wanted to wear, doing whole jackets and hats that represented my aesthetic.  What I create has changed over time, adding some things here and there that, while they may not be what I would wear, I think others might.

I guess one thing about my embroidery is that it reflects different cultures in some way.  My inspiration may be from the Pacific Northwest Native American Tribal art, or Norwegian (my ancestry), or Japanese.  I know it when I see it and I can’t get it out of my head until I can do something with it.

On the Web: www.hisbroidery.biz/index.htm

Carol L. Riddle Watercolors

“It is my hope that viewing my paintings will evoke a sense of peace and fond recognition, by locals and visitors alike.”

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Felton Library Watercolor by Carol Riddle

I try to capture the beauty of our local scene, choosing to depict what one might see while visiting Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas. I think my favorite thing is “getting lost” in the painting while creating.  That and the “surprises” that the watercolor medium presents.  You just have to adjust as you go.

I like landscapes and the out-of-doors. My family went for camping vacations growing up. Our favorite was the Redwoods, so when I got the opportunity, I bought a house among them. I love color. I use color to represent how I feel when visiting the places I paint.  Since I am SOOOOO into detail, I take my own photographs on location and paint at home in my Ben Lomond studio. The light changes too fast when I try to paint while I am at the location, and it is never the same the next day. So when I see something which inspires me, I take photos. I don’t try to replicate the photo; I try to paint what I felt while at the site.

My best memories in SLV are of quiet, peace. Home.  I volunteer at the Henry Cowell Nature Store at the State Park in Felton.  It is run by local volunteers and Mountain Parks Foundation, which supports Henry Cowell and Big Basin through educational programs for the public about how to preserve our heritage.  We appreciate all the local support.

On the Web: www.artbycarol.com

The Naked Bootleggers

Local favorites from the Santa Cruz Mountains, The Naked Bootleggers are reviving the standards of yesterday while writing the standards for tomorrow. Local musicians Don Mackessy (banjo/vocals), Ona Stewart (guitar/vocals), S.T. Young (guitar/harmonica/vocals), James Mackessy (bass/vocals), Jeremy Lampel (mandolin/vocals) span the gap between old time and contemporary music with captivating vocal harmonies, lyrical creativity and that high lonesome sound of old.

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We love all the great music that comes through this area, and we really enjoy working together to present our art for people to enjoy, especially if they like to dance, drink and get just rowdy enough to make it pure fun.

On the Web: www.reverbnation.com/thenakedbootleggers

The Leftovers

The Leftovers are a reggae rock group from the Santa Cruz Mountains, a close group of friends that grew up together in the San Lorenzo Valley. Joey Storm and Sean Conner started the band about three years ago writing songs on the beach in their free time. Slowly adding members Travis Salangsang on drums, David Churchill on keyboard, Brendan Brose on bass guitar, Greg Del Bene on percussion, and female backup vocalists Taylor Rae and Sydney Gorham; the band now consists of seven members.

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We play upbeat and fun music by fusing roots-reggae music of the past with popular reggae styles of the present, as well as some rock. Some of our biggest influences include Sublime, Rebelution, The Expendables, Bob Marley and many others.

The goal is to create “feel-good” music that will put smiles on the audience’s face as well as lure them out onto the dance floor to join in on the fun. We love music and are very excited to be able to share our passion. We love playing for the local community because they are so supportive, and because we grew up here we know most everyone!

On the Web: www.reverbnation.com/theleftoversSCM

Acoustic Shadows

They say an acoustic shadow can cause sound to be refracted to an unexpected location similar to how light is transformed by mirage. Acoustic Shadows all-original jam band was born deep in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Infectiously affable, Erik Rozite fronts the band with a signature conviction, that right hand in constant motion driving the rhythm on guitar. Lead guitarist, Zac Clow never breaks a sweat squeezing out the high wail, and Paul Stevens holds down some serious drum beats while “Wygz” William Van Kol keeps it cool and steady on bass. Jim Anderson (booty shakin’ percussion), and Brian Valentine (screamin’ harmonica) fill out the Acoustic Shadows sound, an intoxicating jambalaya of solid rock rhythm and atmospheric groove.

The group has released five CDs professionally recorded at local studios, and they are ever present in the mountains and performing at familiar venues all over the greater Santa Cruz area. The band is eager to share their “cask fermented and high times” Acoustic Shadows vibe!

On the Web: www.reverbnation.com/acousticshadowsshadowman

Who’s Holdin’

Hailing from SLV and Santa Cruz, Who’s Holdin’ is a kick ass rock band that’s been around for over a decade creating an energetic, ultra-addictive sound!

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Featuring Ian McDonough (vocals, guitar), Matt Harris (guitar, vocals), Troy Tano (horn, vocals, percussion), Morgan Monticue (bass), Zac Farmer (drums), Who’s Holdin’ promises “slammin’ rock, high energy, punk-tinted, groove- laced, thoughtful-fun music for partyin’, playin’, drivin’, downloadin’, home chillin’, layin’ around the pool drinkin’ and just about anything.”

On the Web: www.facebook.com/pages/Whos-Holdin/125428067503661

Medicine Road

“Our theme is Native American rock centered on musical healing and positive energy. We feel our music is good medicine for the heart, soul, and body.”

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Boulder Creek’s Medicine Road formed in 2008 and has been playing steadily ever since. We love every single song we do. How could a band play music just for someone else and not themselves? It’s the same as how can someone love you if you don’t love yourself? We love our music; therefore, we are putting out love in the most peaceful and loving way.

The medicine is the music, which heals the soul, nurtures the body’s need to move in a positive flow, and stimulates the brain to think about the positive change needed to heal ourselves and our planet. When viewing the earth from a distance, we look like ants with our ant hills, living close to each other to advance our ability to survive. Every living thing on this planet is sacred. Every living thing is exactly that, living. If you value life as a huge thing, then all things fall under that huge thing, ALIVE.

On the Web: www.reverbnation.com/medicineroad

Grampa’s Chili

Born in the Bay Area and adopted by the Santa Cruz Mountains, this legendary group of players is more than a band; they’ve created their own community attracting generations of people from all over to their shows to groove together. Grampa’s Chili has a long history starting in the 1990s with original members from Old Dead Bug, The Bliss Ninnies, and Soup and they’ve kept a following of fans from the early days known collectively as the “Vibe Tribe.”

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The current incarnation of Grampa’s Chili includes Mike Boston (vocals), Victor Manning (guitar, vocals), Jerry Brown (bass, vocals), Tom McQuillen (guitar), Michael Palladino (drums, vocals).

“Songs are like children, you can’t force them to be something they’re not, they’ve got to take their own direction.” The band has been going through a prolific period of writing new songs, and the new material wants to be played.

On the Web: www.reverbnation.com/grampaschili

Crooked Branches

The Crooked Branches Band plays original music with lyrical influences ranging from soul to roots rock and country.  Their songs exhibit a blend of styles from their current home in the Santa Cruz Mountains and former homes in the Midwest, Southern states and Latin America.

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The band has two members from San Jose, two from southern California, and one from Illinois. They now all reside in Santa Cruz County (three in the mountains and two in Santa Cruz) and play most shows in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Band member, Manny Steffen says, “My favorite thing about playing music in this band is that I get to hang out with four of my best friends…our friends, family and others who have come out to our shows have been so great in showing their support. They’re the best part of each of our shows.” The bass player recently got married among the redwoods here, and when they can, they partake in the local hiking and swimming hole action.

On the Web: www.crookedbranchesband.com/music

Rollin’ Hazard

Whiskey driven, heartbreak influenced, good time music, Rollin’ Hazard is an original country, alt-country outfit out of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Including members, O.T. Duvall on 6-string flat top (also the band’s eye candy), Anders ‘Virginia Nasty’ Steele on Telecaster (with attitude), Ebin Lee on Bass, Boss Doss on drums, and the ghost of John Barleycorn as spiritual advisor.

On the Web: www.facebook.com/RollinHazard

(c) 2015 Julie Horner

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California.

Email: leap2three@gmail.com

On the Web: leap2three.com

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/santacruzmountainslocal