Virtually emerging as newly minted veterans at the Yarmony Festival in Colorado, Tumbleweed Wanderers have already become known for rocking notable Bay Area stages such as The Great American Music Hall and Slim’s. Nailing three shows at Outside Lands landed them the opening slot on Angus Stone’s North American tour, which rolled through sold-out shows at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom and Toronto’s grand Opera House. Playing constantly for the past two years, these guys are certified rising-stars. All along the way, they have not missed a single opportunity; delivering each and every time. Their debut album, “So Long”, showcases so well an inventiveness that reaches deep. Feel the soul stylings evoked straight from their record collections through their fiery instruments. Listen for the finely honed vocal harmonies over funky banjo licks. Groove to rhythms that are everywhere at once and exactly right where they should. Tumbleweed Wanderers possess pure musical spirit. Check ’em out here at home while they are still approachable. They’re not the next-big-thing…they’re big right now!
Now Marty O’Reilly, is a big man. He has a whole place inside of him. It’s the place most players go when they “tap-in” but Marty doesn’t get to “that place” solely by exploration of, or even admiration for the Delta Blues, he embodies the tradition. This twenty two year old has been hoisted on to the eternal back porch of the blues by steel guitar spirits and now that’s where he’s comin’ from. His writing is intuitive, his natural slide and gravel gravy vocal styles are tasteful, smooth and wrung out. The trio he’s playing with is an amping-up of everything he does. One of the best violinists on the scene today, Chris Lynch is a wonder to hear and see. His ensemble playing is so sympathetic you could cry and when he peels off on a solo he guides us through a very modern and brilliant swamp of influences and interests. Jeff Kissell holds it all down with a joyful thunder on his particularly golden-toned bass. His serene expression masks the relentless awareness that keeps the bass and the band in line and on time, while Marty’s habitation of the blues finally envelops the space.
The Rainbow Girls are starting things off right. Riding up from Santa Barbara, they bring a whole ranch full of music. They each play assortedinstruments…Accordian, ukelele, guitar, percussion, harmonica, glockenspeil, sitar, melodica, kazoo… but their singing is what can really bring out a rainbow at night, even inside a bar. Their set is raucous from start to finish. The original material is assured and easy to jump right into. You find yourself amazed because you cannot believe that five piece, multi-instrumental, all woman, folk rock groups aren’t the norm.
Meanwhile, the Crepe Place has become the premier new music venue in Santa Cruz, delivering a tangible vibe to the shows. Like an old riverboat that creaks, groans and sways when the passengers take over the salon, this bar holds its course right on through the night.