Flow Boulder Creek – Yoga and Wellness Collaborative

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By Julie Horner

Westering sunlight filters through diaphanous drapery, warming the newly re-finished floorboards to a honeyed hue. The expanse is immediately welcoming and calm, the subtle, provocative scents of a well-loved old building mingling with hints of lavender and spice. Meditative ethnic devotional music instantly melts the day’s cares.

Positive energy seems to have settled upon the south end of downtown Boulder Creek, now with the grand opening, September 10, of Flow Boulder Creek Yoga and Wellness Collective in the sunny yellow building between the former Boulder Creek Brewery building and Ace Hardware.

April Winona Levine and Adam Tracy Mendoza opened the space as a wellness collaborative offering yoga, meditation, and massage. Adam says. “We provide a place for artists, teachers, and practitioners to gather.”

Yoga is the first component. They’ve started by offering 3 to 4 classes a day, Monday through Sunday, with local teachers and new teachers from Santa Cruz teaching all levels. Adam says the backstory is really kind of remarkable. “April finished her yoga training – an amazing journey – now what do you do?”

You open your own yoga studio.

“Our grand opening day was nothing short of magical,” April says. She calls yoga a labor of love, and her journey through yoga inspires Adam. “We have a lot of great plans. We want to bring in other components, a juice bar, a vegan snack shop and other ideas to support wellbeing.” Cacao, superfoods, easy recipes you can make from home. “I would love to have some community synergy with New Leaf. We’d like to have a café here.”

The main area is a yoga floor that accommodates up to 20 people for classes. They are interviewing massage therapists now.

Adam says, “Practitioners can come and have the space. Our success will depend on our partners. Without getting too globally out there, we need to start healing, start small. It starts at the community level and branches out. We’re charged by that. Whether it’s one person or a group of people, singers, musicians, having a sense of space is so important…that’s the tool we’re offering.”

“We want to grow to be a viable resource for wellness in SLV.” They see youth mentoring, peer counseling, healing and learning going hand in hand. They plan to have after school activities for the little kids and welcome SLVHS and UCSC students. “Growing spiritually, it’s a learned activity, it’s not a get well quick thing, it’s tools to help people on the path.”

They also offer an open mic series on Fridays in addition to Saturday night acoustic music in the garden. Saturday nights are already booked through early October with local acoustic artists.

Flow Boulder Creek is open every day of the week for a variety of classes including many styles of yoga and meditation. Reiki sessions are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Adam says, “We offer a variety of classes to suit all your wellness interests. It’s an open door and an open invitation. We offer rejuvenation, healing, and most yoga offerings will be for all levels, focusing on centering and grounding.”

“And it’s a cool hang, too. Being amongst people who are just alive. This is a great place for Flow. This is our tribe. We’re going to have an amazing time.”

Flow Boulder Creek

13026 Highway 9

(831) 703-4727

On the Web: flowbouldercreek.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/flowbouldercreek/

Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin: http://mountainbulletin.com/article/flow-boulder-creek-yoga-and-wellness-collaborative/

Also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/

Julie Horner is a writer and Irish style musician who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Contact The Crooked Road Ceili Band for lively Irish music for any occasion.

Heathen Hill – American Roots Music

By Julie Horner

The Memorial Day weekend weather was perfect. Burgers and bacon on the grill, Richard Thompson on the iPod, a cold brew in hand, and the happy din of laughter and live music drifting through the forest and among the tents and tapestries as another day of magic at Strawberry Music Festival transcended the twilight between sunny lounging on the green and the communal energy of all-night acoustic jams. I was sharing the vibe (and a mean plate of tasty BBQ) with San Lorenzo Valley’s Americana/Bluegrass “house band,” Heathen Hill.

“We originated as people who jammed together at Strawberry,” my host and Heathen Hill singer/songwriter, Mark Becker, told me. “We’ve been an evolving band over the years,” with an impressive roster of musicians. The core of the band, Mark (guitar, vocals), Rick Ednie (guitar, vocals), and Jeff Hayes (standup bass, vocals), all Santa Cruz Mountain dwellers, have been playing together for years, starting out at the Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather setting up camp year after year on a knoll they named, “Heathen Hill.”

Known around the valley for hosting Sunday Bluegrass jams at the Boulder Creek Brewery, and lately playing 4th Fridays at the Felton Trout Farm, their first big performance together was at The ShobeFest acoustic music festival in Santa Barbara. Familiar faces at the Brookdale Bluegrass Festival, the original foursome kicked off with Mark, Rick, Jeff, and Dave Kaufman on mandolin. “Dave contributed his originals to our covers before he moved to San Francisco…he could jump in on the guitar, banjo, and piano in addition to mandolin,” Mark said. “Since the Brewery burned down, we ended up ultimately going into our current configuration.”  Randy “Rando Mando” Hudson recently joined the group with his lightning fast fingers.

Mark and crew travel in a wider family of esteemed musical company, so much so that several of the Heathen Hill Americana/Bluegrass bandies also have a hand in Homebrew Jam, a new local Americana/Folk outfit. “We play with so many talented folks, it was better to put different styles into two different bands.” Homebrew Jam was one of the last bands to play at the Trout Farm, on a sweltering first Friday in June, filling the room to the rafters with lively toe-tapping down-home music. A fine sendoff, indeed, as the Trout Farm succumbed to fire two days later.

Heathen Hill plays with a warm, welcoming upbeat energy. “It’s part of what we like to do – we started at the Strawberry Festival with the idea of having fun, lending that festival feel to create a good atmosphere.”

Heathen Hill is gaining momentum in the mountains. “Most folks like our sound. We have a good following and we get people out to come see us. We’re happy to be local.” This year they were invited to play at the Redwood Mountain Faire, sharing a stage with legendary performers such as Harpin’ Johnny and Larry Hosford.

Mark said, “After the ShobeFest there was talk about getting us into shows in LA and into the studio in Santa Barbara to record a CD…no way we could do that with our day jobs and family. Sounds exciting but it doesn’t offset the money you’d make at your regular job.” While a locally produced CD is certainly being considered, he says it’s rewarding to play just for the success of improving, working on new material, and being with good people. “The real payback is the camaraderie and having people really enjoying themselves when you’re playing for them.”

Heathen Hill plays a mix of original and cover songs in the Americana style with a progressive Bluegrass edge. Powerhouse singer/songwriter, Rick Ednie, contributes much of the original material. “Rick has his solo album [White Turtle Dove] and we do a lot of his material.” With his roots in Rock, Mark wrote “Work” and “We’re Flying on the Wind,” “Keep on Dancing,” and “The Hot Tub Song,” among others, in the Americana vein with catchy choruses, almost a Country feel. “I try to run the gamut, mix it up quite a bit.”

An evening with Heathen Hill promises good times and good sounds. “We like to throw in a Dead song or two.”

Heathen Hill plays at LuLu Carpenter’s in Santa Cruz about once a month, and Mark says they’re hoping to become regulars at the Summit House up on Highway 17. “We had the great treat and good fortune to be invited to play at Redwood Mountain Faire…maybe in the future we’ll be asked to play at Roaring Camp.”

“All I can say is my heart just aches for the folks at the Trout Farm, the staff, the whole family working there. It is an oddity that a couple of places that we’ve played at have burned down. I’m hoping they’ll be able to get back on their feet quickly.”

“We live and play in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Performing is our way of generating and sharing festival energy all year long.”

On the Web: heathenhillmusic.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/HeathenHillMusic

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Julie Horner is a writer and Irish style musician living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, CA. This story was originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, June 2016: http://mountainbulletin.com/article/heathen-hill-american-roots-music/

Wax Moon – Like a Small Fire Burning

By Julie Horner

The sound of two voices bound together in spare, earthy harmony touches a vaulted ceiling – natural elements provide an enveloping warmth, rusted steel, handmade paper and melted beeswax. Walls hum and the space between fills with the subtle yearning of souls leaning unconsciously forward. Spellbound by shared imagining and hands clasped virtually walking as one the well-worn paths of human experience through simple storytelling.

“We’re all part of it – acoustic music,” says guitarist and vocalist for Wax Moon, John Blatchford. “Paul and I have been experimenting with space – space being occupied – giving it room. It’s tricky: Two guitarists, two voices, creating as much room to breathe as possible.”

Singer/songwriter and guitarist, Paul Kimball, adds that the sound of their duo, Wax Moon, is “personal, intimate…we put the lyrics up front. The music is deceptively simple…we try to create as much complexity while still keeping it simple.”

Sensational in the Bay Area house concert scene, Wax Moon is making a habit of playing unusual, “completely awesome” performance spaces, debuting locally on June 11 at lille aeske in downtown Boulder Creek. With two acoustic guitars “played only with their fingers,” in this venue they can sing at a volume that’s appropriate to their songs and “isn’t behind a coffee maker.”

John is a recording engineer, sax player and veteran of hard working bands living, for the moment, in San Francisco. Paul, who writes all the lyrics for Wax Moon, lives in San Jose. He says, “I picked up a disdain for country music while living in Texas and found a love for punk rock.” At some point he was reintroduced to folk music, “a strange meandering path that took them back to country down to Americana.” A mutual friend got them together a couple of years ago. They felt a natural musical connection and started working on their own music not long after that. “It helps that it’s just two of us, all matters are easy to resolve. We take it pretty seriously but there isn’t as much stress as bands with lots of members. We’re not about making a brand but more about creating the moment.”

Their debut EP, Ready or Not, was released in November 2015. “We’ve done a lot of work in the past with rich overdubs. Now we’re focusing on the songs themselves, being as in-the-moment as possible, accepting the vagaries of whatever happens.” Ready or Not is a compilation of live takes, basically capturing the essence of what they do.

“We’ve chosen to record the way that we play. When you’re isolating tracks you can become kind of obsessive.” Recording their way means “the music is performed in its natural habitat” – the control room and live room are the same room. “We’re in a room, hanging out playing music and there just happens to be a person there twiddling knobs.”

Wax Moon transcends “the intersection of visual art and music – we can create new experiences that way.” And it’s another reason why lille aeske is such a perfect fit. “It’s like picking up a conversation. We’re such a small unit, creating the energy in a small space…like a small fire burning.”

Paul says, “What’s important to me as a writer is that you’re communicating – it’s a communion with people – you’re making people want to lean into it. We don’t have the advantage of 150 watt amps…it takes a skilled listener to appreciate.

“A big thing for me in this is the vocal harmonizing…that’s something we can really grow with…I just love singing harmonies with John…it’s so frickin’ flattering to sing with.”

As a newer group, they’re “encompassing liftoff in small batches.” Their most recent digital EP, called Cool Blue Heat, is a continuation of music from the first recording with broader themes while still being very simple and spaced around simple melodies and harmonies. It also includes a booklet featuring artwork by Renee French with lyrics and a fanzine. “People like to have something to take home with them to remember the show…give them something they don’t already have.”

John says the new music is modest on some levels and he’d like to keep developing the “artistical” for larger audiences. “If you have ears and heart you’ll enjoy this.” No strings are attached to this process. “This has been more of a clinic for me – Paul has been such a prolific songwriter – like a master class on how to write songs.” John continues, “I was always wrapped up in the music. I’m such a saxophone melody person that the words layered on top weren’t as meaningful. Now it’s awesome to focus on the storyline instead of the backdrop.”

Wax Moon’s music is intimate and stripped down to the essential; their shared faith in the power of song is the way they connect with audiences and with one another. There’s an inherent optimistic humanism, even while veering towards the melancholy. If they take you to difficult places, you can be confident that Wax Moon will also walk you safely back from the edge.

Everything is so damn fragile
Every goddam thing we’ve got
Here right now, lost in a minute
Whether you’re ready or whether you’re not
Whether you’re ready or not – Title track from Ready or Not by Wax Moon

On the Web: http://waxmoonmusic.com/home

Live at lille aeske June 11, 2016: http://www.facebook.com/events/273869662950009/

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

This article was originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin: http://mountainbulletin.com/

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The ‘grass is Always Greener – Rick Ednie’s Bluegrass Roundup

By Julie Horner

Singer-songwriter, Rick Ednie, has advice for budding musicians and writers: Keep whatever you do. In 1998 or so he first tried writing songs, by hand, which he held onto in a folder for years, dragging it around thinking, “why am I saving this crap?” “Some of the thoughts were immature,” he felt, “Not focused, rambling.” He kept the old material anyway and it has proven to be a goldmine. “It might instill something in you that might inspire something else.” Like a seed. “I have this image of people writing something then saying, ‘oh this sucks,’ and crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash. Don’t do that!”

Locals will recognize Rick as a lead proponent in Santa Cruz Mountains-based band, Heathen Hill, favorites on the regional Americana folk music scene who play regularly at the Trout Farm, Joe’s Bar, LuLu Carpenter’s downtown Santa Cruz, and who used to have a regular Sunday slot at the Boulder Creek Brewery before fire gutted the building in March, 2015. Rick is quick to mention that Heathen Hill is far from a bluegrass band. “There’s no fiddle, no banjo.” It’s something they’re always talking about, he says.

In the meantime, Rick has branched out by forming another musical endeavor, which he calls Rick Ednie’s Bluegrass Roundup. “I’ve been a gig getter for many years. I wanted to get gigs but didn’t necessarily have the musicians to support it.” So he’d call around to find players to plug in to various gigs as he got them, basically rounding them up. He’d get calls from musician friends saying, “Hey Rick, why don’t you do another roundup gig?” So with a core group of four or five members in rotation, he started at farmers’ markets then helped make popular the Wednesday night Java Jam, which used to be at Coffee Cat up in Scotts Valley and is now down at LuLu Carpenter’s with a rotating roster of top folk musicians.

And with the help of his core posse, Rick Ednie’s Bluegrass Roundup has a new CD called White Turtle Dove. It’s his second CD and third time working in a studio environment. “I find it a challenge – the right people have to be together – there are so many variables, like getting the same people to focus on similar goals. We’re all just weekend warriors; I try to make a better effort.”

Most of the people on the CD are close friends, a few were hired as professional studio players. The album includes Rick on guitar, vocals, and mandolin; Bradley Richter on mandolin and vocals; Suzanne Suwanda on bass; Jason Lampel on banjo; Luke Abbott on fiddle; Liz Smith on fiddle and vocals; Mike Witcher on dobro; and Jered Chaney on banjo and vocals. Recorded at Joe Weed’s Highland Studios in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the album features outstanding bluegrass musicianship and showcases Rick’s songs, some new, some reworked from his saved archive of originals from his early songwriting years.

“I’m really happy with it. The first CD I did was definitely Americana, singer-songwriter stuff. This one is contemporary bluegrass. Or at least it’s structurally traditional – but I’m not from Tennessee, it’s how I hear the music, my expression.”

“Recording is a great way to improve your craft, to learn what you can do in that kind of environment – it’s not forgiving – it’s made me a better musician.” And he’s still feeling the love of recording with really professional players. “To have them on the project was encouraging for me, made me step up to the plate to play at a better level.”

This year Rick has been invited to play at the upcoming Brookdale Bluegrass Festival Spring Fling put on by the Northern California Bluegrass Society. The event takes place March 18 and 19 at Scopazzi’s in Boulder Creek – Rick Ednie’s Bluegrass Roundup plays Saturday the 19th from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Rick says they’ll be doing a lot of songs off the CD. “The CD has some of the best songs I’ve ever written.”

“It’s my hope to get my music out there – I like to play music with people, and I also want to do more solo work.” He thanks the guys in Heathen Hill for being patient while he reworked his originals for the CD and for performing with them. “They allowed me the space to do that…to work through that. They weren’t judgmental about it…I mean, sure, they’d bust my balls about it, ‘You’re changing the song again?’ But they always allowed me the space to do it.”

Rick is a “project person” and with White Turtle Dove has a hand in everything from the artwork and design of the trifold CD case (make sure you look for the insert) to the promotion and booking. “I love the project aspect of it – it’s there to do – I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

The songwriting is the heart of it. “When I get a song the right way, I can say it’s new, it’s very fulfilling. I have the experience at the Brewery to thank for that, Heathen Hill, the music rights people,” who forced him to turn away from performing cover material and focus on writing his own songs. With White Turtle Dove “It’s not all me. I produced it, I’m on the cover, it’s got my name, but it’s more than that.”

Rick’s CDs, A Fine Place to Start and White Turtle Dove, are on the Web: www.rickednie.com/home/

Experience Rick Ednie’s Bluegrass Roundup at the Brookdale Bluegrass Festival at Scopazzi’s March 19th at 6:00 pm, 13300 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA 95006. Full festival schedule: http://www.brookdalebluegrass.com/

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

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Tilting Gravity ~ Kenny Hill, 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:  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 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin February, 2016. www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net

A Sea of Shoulder-High Grasses ~ The Music and Imagining of Laurel Thomsen & Dan Frechette

By Julie Horner

Bending and swaying in unison like tawny tassels of tall grass rippling in a late summer breeze, singer/song writer, Dan Frechette and violinist, Laurel Thomsen, boots and bare feet on the simple Corralitos Open Farm Tour stage, sang to an intimate throng of young families and barnyard critters in early October. A chorus of baby goats and a Biblical sized sheep provided unexpectedly hilarious accompaniment while a gaggle of youngsters commandeering four-legged accomplices ran in capricious circles. Right on schedule, a tractor pulling families beaming and bumping along on hay bales spent the day making the rounds.

The Crooked Road had just wrapped up the morning’s music and we had time to grab lunch from one of the local vendors at this annual farm tour held at the Agriculture Museum at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds and enjoy Dan and Laurel’s fresh roots-folk. It was our first time. We sat on the edge of the stage enthralled by perfect harmonies and enchanting lyrics, watching children and baby animals frolic, swept into an easy, rhythmic day dream.

I’d actually just spent an afternoon the week prior chatting with Dan and Laurel over coffee at White Raven. Strangers at the time, serendipity put us together on that farm tour stage a few days later and presented the opportunity to appreciate the music first hand, the words of the artist interview manifested in live performance. And a new friendship was kindled.

During our interview Dan had said, “On stage, you can feel the audience like a collective wave.” He loves intimate venues where he can see individual faces. “You need them to help you make the show…it’s not just about us.” Music is the real connector. “People come up after your show to say that they had a really personal experience from the song you wrote. And you share the moment when you’re teary eyed, your hearts connect. You can’t just get there any day, it’s a very special experience.”

A prolific and passionate song writer influenced by many diverse genres, Dan points out that “you want it to make sense, you want to make people excited to hear you…there has to be an occasion for people to come see you. We get really happy when people ask us to play. Better to play when it makes sense to play.”

When writing songs, Dan says, you have to “turn off the more critical side and be in the more flowy side. Step outside of the song and see it for what it is…it’s good to have written the song for the outlet…for validating your life force…at the end of the day it’s gotta be fun.”

Classically trained and sharing a unique chemistry together, Laurel’s violin and voice swirl in tandem with Dan’s vocals and guitar, and as one reviewer put it, “Their energy, winsome personalities, and toe tapping rhythms, keep audiences engaged with every song.” Laurel says, “The music I’m excited about sharing is that which I’m most passionate about. And you can really be carried along by the people, the music lovers’ reaction.”

Dan is a force. With his engaging energy and gift for bringing people together, he told me, “I asked to play at lille aeske…that’s how it starts with me for a lot of things.” On the night before Halloween, the duo will play as part of the downtown Boulder Creek art house collective’s Performance Series. Laurel says, “It’s really cool to be able to play an intimate concert close to home.” The show is sold out.

Dan and Laurel have done two CDs together. “She tailors these great violin parts that are intertwined with the song,” Dan says. She loves how he has so many different styles of original songs. They’ve honed together the harmonies, interweaving the fiddle and guitar into what she now calls the “Dan and Laurel sound.” They both love surfing along on the wave of the music and what the audience gives back in return.

Dan, a native of Winnipeg, Canada, and Laurel, a Monterey, CA native, are a real-life couple now living in Bonny Doon “for community,” Dan says. They just recorded their recent CD, New Disguise, at Justin Meyer’s Bear Creek Studios. “Justin’s wonderful, the facilitates, the music, being there. There’s no negative vibes left behind from the previous recording artists. There’s a connection. There’s fancy studios all over the place but they don’t have the same vibe.”

As for small town mountain living, Dan said, “I heard about Sugar by the Pound…I’m just thrilled that there’s old time music right up the street from me. We’re both so excited to watch the little sparks fly with new community and just having fun with new people.”

The couple agrees: “The music is an adventure. It’s best having no expectations…only trying to be prepared for magic. The focus is more on the really awesome times…this is our journey. You have to have a genuine path…the people who are there really want to be there…it’s not a popularity contest.

“Looking forward to sharing music and smiles all over the place in the coming months. We’re sending daily applause and appreciation to the exquisite hosts, venues, and festivals we’ve visited or will visit very soon. Thank you for having us!!”

On the Web: www.danandlaurel.ca/Home.html

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

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California.
Email: leap2three@gmail.com
Santa Cruz Mountains Local on the Web: https://santacruzmountainslocal.com/
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/santacruzmountainslocal

Live at lille aeske Boulder Creek

Live at lille aeske Boulder Creek

Like the Flicker of a Meteor – Spurs

An interview by Julie Horner with vocalist Terry McCants and singer/songwriter David Stockhausen of local Avant Folk band, Spurs. Performing July 19 with Olde Blue and Acoustic Shadows at the Santa Cruz Mountains Makers Market, Mountain Community Resources 6134 Highway 9, Felton, CA.

How did you meet and where?

Terry: David and I met one night in a super artsy scene-y café in Burlington, VT called Radio Bean that hosts local and touring bands. We exchanged courtesies, but then he was quick to share that we’d already met several times before. I was living upstairs from the café with our mutual friend Caroline. Within months he moved in. David would tell you it was a total Three’s Company scene, which is entirely true.

Back then, the only memory of any musical collaboration between us was when I convinced him to pull out his guitar and back me up for a Lucinda Williams song in the living room. I couldn’t play the chords and sing at the same time. He made it look easy.

Are you an actual romantic couple or simply a fabulously dynamic duo?

David: No, we’re more like estranged and reunited siblings.

Terry: David and I have been friends ever since, although there were a few lost years in there. Ironically, we lost touch when he moved to San Francisco. So when I got the phone call that he was moving down to Santa Cruz with his wife, Jade, that was pretty exciting. He wrote a song about that time called “New Scene.” It’s a song that puts you right in the car with everything you own and a dream just outside the window. Some of his songs have a very cinematic quality to them.

What’s cool about living in the Santa Cruz area?

David: The privacy and tranquility of the San Lorenzo Valley helps me write. Not a bad place for a tot either. A great deal of the overdubs and songs for our record, “Til the Sea Meets the Sky,” were recorded in Felton at my place. Not to mention it is where we rehearse almost every week.  So the San Lorenzo Valley is certainly a home for Spurs.

Terry: I live in Santa Cruz in the heart of Seabright, which is great. I can bike anywhere and also walk downtown. I don’t own a car. Aside from having affordable rent, a great housemate, and a house with lots of character, I kind of secretly enjoy knowing all the business owners and such in the ‘hood. They’re my neighbors.

What do you love about the Santa Cruz music scene?

Terry: Santa Cruz folk musicians seem very supportive of each other’s endeavors, and it feels like a community. The Do-It-Ourselves Festival in Boulder Creek has played a significant role in this.

How do you get your inspiration?

David: Human relationships have been my muse most consistently.  I have political concerns and environmental concerns that find their way into songs too, but usually as an undercurrent or sideline. Mostly, the complexity of humans finding ways to be with or without each other is a constant wellspring of material.  Sometimes good fiction begins with the best truths.

Terry: I wake up every day around 6:30 to write. I also do a form of Asian bodywork called Yin Tuina.

David: I’m an avid surfer, writer, and visual artist. And, professionally, I’m a chef so I’ve always got my hands into creating things. Down time for me is playing with my son around Fall Creek or watching the steam engines at Roaring Camp.

What do people take with them from experiencing one of your shows?

Terry: David writes these poetic, introspective lyrics, and the nuances in the music, harmonies included, can be delicate at times.

David: We love it when an audience is prepared to sit and listen and reflect. Like the flicker of a meteor, it requires some attention or it might be missed.

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

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spurs.band

(c) 2015 Julie Horner
Originally written for and published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin: http://mountainbulletin.com/article/like-the-flicker-of-a-meteor-spurs/

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

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