MILESTONES AND A FAREWELLIt's a monumental week for three local acts--or, more accurately, two local acts and one soon-to-be-nonlocal act.
In the case of the latter, Friday night marks Lagoon's last show as Tucsonans. The band announced a couple of months ago, just prior to the release of Dose (self-released), their second full-length, that they would be pulling up stakes for the somewhat unlikely locale of Providence, R.I. Singer and guitarist David Ziegler-Voll explained at the time that the group opted for Providence because "it's very close to Boston and N.Y.C. and lots of college towns we can hit within an hour or so."
Ziegler-Voll recently returned from a mission to the city to find a place to live, and reports in a press release sent last week: "... (I)t's an incredible city ... we lucked out and found a two-story house complete with a basement for a practice space--it's going to be an adventure for sure. ... Tucson's been great to us, and we will miss dearly all of our fans and especially the supportive Tucson music scene."
We'll miss you, too, Lagoonies. Best of luck in Providence.
Oh, and don't forget about that show on Friday, June 1. Lagoon will headline in the big room at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., and the openers are Young Galaxy (see Annie Holub's CD review this week) and La Cerca. Things get underway at 9:30 p.m., and cover is $6. For more information, call 798-1298.
Singer, pianist and self-proclaimed "blues diva" Lisa Otey turns the big 4-0 this week, and she wants you to celebrate the occasion with her. To that end, the Tucson Jazz Society will co-sponsor A Night Alone With You, a solo performance at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. In a press release sent to the Soundbites desk, Otey writes, "I have enjoyed sharing the stage and introducing new performers to Tucson audiences for more than 20 years now. My birthday wish is to have the audience all to myself, so this will be a solo concert ... and, did I mention, there will be cake?" The pressing question, then: Can Otey have her cake and eat it, too? Find out by picking up an advance ticket for $20, or $15 for TJS members, at lisaotey.com. They'll be $25 at the door.
Headed by accordionist Gary Mackender, cajun/polka/blues/country zydecombo The Carnivaleros will celebrate their sixth anniversary with a live performance billed as--what else?--The Carnivaleros' Sixth Anniversary Party. Joining Mackender will be bandmates Michael P. Nordberg, Mitzi Cowell, Chris Giambelluca, Marx Loeb III and Heather Hardy. The bash, sponsored by Rhythm and Roots, begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 1, at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave. You can pick up advance tickets for $8 at Antigone Books, CD City and Enchanted Earthworks, or online at rhythmandroots.org. They'll be $10 at the door. For further details, call 440-4455.
HERSEY HIGHWAYAlmost as monumental as a birthday, anniversary or farewell show, literary-minded country singer/songwriter Andy Hersey celebrates the release of his third CD, Between God and Country (Hersey Music), this week. It's been more than four years since Hersey graced us with the excellent Compañero Blanco (2002, Emma Java), and those who have waited patiently for some new music from the compañero won't be disappointed with the new disc.
Hersey is the real deal: Prior to pursuing music full-time, he worked as a horseshoer. Among his clients was Doc Clyne, father of Roger Clyne, of Peacemakers and Refreshments fame. Roger became a fan of Hersey's songs and encouraged him to pursue his talents, eventually releasing Compañero Blanco on his own label. While Between God and Country is self-released, Clyne helped out by co-writing a couple of songs on it.
The new album isn't quite as rooted in the cowboy life of the Southwest as its predecessor; it's far more diverse. Sure, a track like the cinematic "Roughshod Range" (originally actually written for a film) sounds as lonesome as the desert sometimes feels, and includes lyrics such as, "Riding through this roughshod range / avenging the souls of the slain / as if the truth of yesterday had somehow chose to change." But then there's a song like "Mexican Moonshine"--one of the tunes written with Clyne--which, with its jaunty handclaps and accordion, resembles nothing so much as a lost Jimmy Buffett crowd-pleaser.
True to Hersey's past, the epic title track uses the story of a horseshoer, a blacksmith and a doctor discussing the fate of a horse "still standing in spite of the pain" to get at a larger truth. In the words of the blacksmith: "I have seen through philosophical obstacles / and pseudo intellectual bullshit / The spirit I've found in the Mustang Mountains / brought me closer to God than a pulpit." The chorus drives the point home: "Somewhere between God and country / I am a patriot, I'm a believer / With the earth and sky I am harmony." Elsewhere, "Burnin' Georgia Down" is a stomping tale of a guy escaping his past; "Tears on the Floor" is something no country album should be without--a breakup ballad; and "Smile and Wave," which closes the album, is a funky blues detour. All in all, it's another fine outing from Hersey.
Andy Hersey celebrates the release of Between God and Country with a community dance and release party on Friday, June 1, at Pioneer Hall at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, in Sonoita. Doors for this all-ages event open at 7 p.m., with opener Daniel Simonis hitting the stage at 8 p.m. Kids younger than 14 get in free, while adults can purchase advance tickets for $10 at andyhersey.com. They'll be $12 at the door. Full bar and food are available, as is camping. For camping info, call Tina at 455-5553.
ON THE BANDWAGONIn addition to all the musical goings-on by locals, it's a rather busy week in town for top-notch touring acts, too. Here's a small sampling:
Coming off a year that saw them leap from being somewhat obscure to becoming media darlings--releasing an album, Boys and Girls in America (2006, Vagrant), that topped critics' year-end lists everywhere and had them gracing magazine covers, playing the late-night talk shows and performing alongside one of their heroes, Bruce Springsteen--The Hold Steady are finally basking in the glow of well-deserved success. Fronted by hyperliterate (and just plain hyper) singer/songwriter/guitarist Craig Finn, the band offers live shows that have become semi-legendary, and justifiably so. Imagine Jack Kerouac fronting Thin Lizzy or the E Street Band, and that's an approximation of what to expect when The Hold Steady return to Tucson on Monday, June 4. They'll be at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., along with openers Illinois and Blitzen Trapper, who go on at 9 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $10 at virtuous.com. They'll be a buck more at the door. Call 798-1298 for additional info.
Soundbites just made it through our first season watching American Idol, and the best thing about the finale wasn't the fact that Arizonan Jordin Sparks won the whole shebang. Nope, it was the ebullient performance by the African Children's Choir. If those tykes can light up a TV screen like that, imagine what it would be like to see them perform live. See for yourself at Tanque Verde Lutheran Church, 8625 E. Tanque Verde Road, at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 1. The performance is free, but donations--which will benefit the choir's ministries--are encouraged. Irene Messina has more about the band on Page 26, in City Week.
We're almost out of room, but we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention that the following will all be performing in town this week: The High Strung, Mice Parade, Indigenous, Ottmar Liebert and Barn Burning. Be sure to check those club listings for details.