Local Music

Want to guess who you’re hearing now? It’s not Earth Wind & Fire. It’s not the Average White Band. And it’s not Tower of Power. Who is this, then? It’s Soul Power, from Berkeley. This band of seasoned Bay Area players will get the audience going on Thursday, September 26th at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, starting at 8:00pm. 

Kathrin Miller

That voice? That’s Bay Area blues belter Lavay Smith. Lavay and her band, The Red Hot Skillet Lickers, are the music entertainment tomorrow at an Art Auction & Benefit for the Coalition on Homelessness. The Coalition unites homeless people, service providers and advocates.  The event takes place tomorrow, September 12th at the SOMArts Cultural Center on Brannan Street in San Francisco. Doors open at 5:30pm.


What is it about cello players in the Bay Area? There must be more of them in “crossover” bands here than anywhere else in the country. Case in point: the Dirty Cello band, who you’re hearing now. They offer soulful blues and gypsy swing. Think of it as Yo-Yo Ma meets B.B. King.

Dirty Cello will be at the Oakland location of District restaurant on Thursday, September 12th. The fun begins about 8:00pm. 

You may know this voice, but not the name. It is Monica Pasqual, part of the all-female group Blame Sally. The band played in Berkeley last month, but you can hear Monica Pasqual on her own tomorrow, September 10th.

She is part of a Songwriter in Residence program at the Bazaar Café in San Francisco, hosted by Bernal Heights musician Nina Jo Smith. Music begins at 7:00pm.

The music you’re hearing now is by the Marcus Shelby Orchestra. But it’s not the music they’re performing this weekend:  that will be a world premiere, titled “Blues and the Pursuit of Freedom.”  

The Marcus Shelby Orchestra will be on stage Saturday, September 7th at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, starting at 1:00pm.  

Dorothy Brown

The close harmonies you’re hearing now are from the sister act known as The T Sisters. These three siblings were part of this year’s Free Folk Festival in San Francisco, and they sang on KALW’s “Folk Music and Beyond” program in July. Now you’ll be able to hear them at The Chapel in San Francisco, on Saturday, September 7th, where they’re the opening band, starting about 8:00pm.   

The voice you’re hearing now is unmistakably that of Bob Dylan. No, he’s not part of the Bay Area local music scene, but a project called “Highway 61 Revisited” is. 

Do you like to dance?  Well, when you’re listening to the band called Pride and Joy, you may not have any choice, because that’s what they do: they make people dance! 

Pride and Joy is part of the Summer Beats series of free outdoor concerts at the South Shore Center in Alameda. You can hear them this Saturday, August 31st, starting about 7:00pm. 

The band you’re hearing now is called Rin Tin Tiger. This San Francisco folk rock trio has been compared to Bob Dylan – early Bob Dylan – not just because of the harmonica, but also because of their lyrics, which focus on contemporary life. 

They’re playing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Saturday, August 31st, where you’re likely to hear new songs from their third album, which just came out last week. Doors open at 8:00pm. 

Stephanie Williamson

Songwriter Jim Bruno, who you’re hearing now, says his biography sounds like the opening of a blues song: “I was born in Chicago, in the shadow of an iron forge.” Bruno, who lives in San Francisco now, has had his tunes recorded by the likes of Chuck Prophet and Shawn Colvin. Jim Bruno will be playing his own compositions this this Friday, August 30th, at the Bazaar Café on California Street in San Francisco. Music starts at 7:00pm. 

The sounds you’re hearing are by Aram Shelton’s newest group, Ton Trio II. Shelton, a jazz saxophonist and composer living in Oakland, provides plenty of space for improvisation within his written frameworks, as you’re hearing now.  Ton Trio II will be performing next Monday, August 26th at Duende on 19th near Telegraph, in Oakland, starting about 9:00pm. 

The beat that’s moving you now is by Le Gente. They have created a dance band sound using elements of reggae, salsa, hip-hop, reggaeton – the list goes on!

Le Gente is one of four lively bands on the program this Friday, August 23rd at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. The entertainment begins about 9:00pm.

The voices you’re hearing are from the San Francisco Lyric Chorus, under the direction of Robert Gurney. The Chorus will be performing "Ein Deutsches Requiem" by Johannes Brahms for their summer concert. The composer said this requiem is intended “to comfort the living, and to remember those who are gone.”  The San Francisco Lyric Chorus will be at St.

Two Gallants, a duo of native San Franciscans, has been playing together since they were in pre-school – as you’ll see from the photo on their new album cover. Previous releases have been steeped in folk and blues. This time out they’re getting back to their beginnings, in punk and grunge.

The band you’re hearing now came about because a few friends were just jamming. That was 45 years ago, and Jest Jammin’ still plays throughout northern California. 

The dreamy pop sounds you’re hearing now are by Oakland duo Eric + Erica. They not only make music, they also make their fliers and CD sleeves, all by hand. 

Eric + Erica enjoy performing in non-commercial spaces – like someone’s backyard – but tomorrow they’ll be at Amnesia in San Francisco, part of an ambitious line-up saying farewell to singer Dina Maccabee. Their set starts at 8:30pm, and they'll also be playing with others throughout the evening.

The sounds you’re hearing now are by Finish Ticket. This indie-pop quartet from Alameda says they like traveling in vans, and playing games they’ve made up. They also like playing music they’ve made up! 

You can hear them play some of those made-up songs this Friday when they perform at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  Doors open at 8:00pm.  

Here’s a challenge: how do we describe a hula performance on the radio? Well, by establishing a strong beat, for starters. Now imagine how the Te Pura O Te dance troupe of South San Francisco might be moving to this.  They’re just one of scores of performers appearing this weekend, August 3-4th at the 18th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Aloha Festival. This free event takes place at the San Mateo County Event Center, in San Mateo.

The music you’re hearing behind me is by the Real Vocal String Quartet. Members incorporate various musical influences in their songs – ranging from Western Classical to West African popular. 

They’ll be performing under the redwoods at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden on Thursday, August 15th. Music begins at 5:30pm. You can also visit the garden as part of the ticket price, starting at 4:30pm. 

Jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich gets called lots of things, but he probably doesn’t mind, since those things include “consistently tasteful,” “richly varied,” and “deeply imaginative.” 

Vuckovich, who you’re hearing now, will be playing at The Trident in Sausalito on Thursday, August 15th, starting about 6:00pm. 

Goodnight, Texas

Aug 7, 2013

If you look up “Goodnight, Texas,” you’ll discover that it’s an unincorporated town with a population of less than twenty. You’ll also discover that it’s the name of a San Francisco band, which you’re hearing now. 

Goodnight, Texas – the band, not the town – will be playing tomorrow, August 8th at Café du Nord in San Francisco. Doors open at 8:00pm.   

The Bay Area indie-pop duo you’re hearing now is called Midi Matilda. They haven’t taken the usual approach of playing live to reach an audience – they prefer making videos. And it works: now their live shows regularly sell out. 

Midi Matilda is one of scores of bands performing in Golden Gate Park this weekend as part of this year’s Outside Lands Festival. Look for them on Friday, August 9th around 7:00pm.

Today's Local Music: Versatile

Aug 5, 2013

The song you can listen to above is being played by Solomon Munghia. Patrons of the 81st Avenue East Oakland library might occasionally hear Munghia practicing in one of the study rooms there. That’s where our community storytelling project, Hear Here, found him one day, getting ready to make some music with his friend Giovanni Gaines. Hear Here producer Audrey Dilling asked Munghia how he first learned to play guitar. 

The music you’re hearing is by the bilingual San Francisco band known as Makrú. You can listen for what Makrú calls a “unifying, positive vibe” in their songs when they play the Surf Spot in Pacifica on Sunday, August 4th. It’s an afternoon show, starting at 2:00pm. 

This jam is being led by Stu Allen, along with Mars Hotel. Allen and fabled organist Melvin Seals headline the 11th annual Jerry Day this Sunday, August 4th.  

Jerry Day takes place in The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater at McLaren Park, in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. That's the neighborhood where the Grateful Dead guitarist grew up. Music starts about 11:30am, and there’s no estimate as to when it when it will end. 

The jangling guitar you’re hearing now belongs to Danny Click. One of his earliest memories is hearing his mother play a slide guitar. He picked up the guitar himself for the first time when he was six years old.   Danny Click is hosting a Texas Blues Night on Friday, August 1st at The Sleeping Lady in Fairfax. Music will begin about 9:30pm.

The band you’re hearing now is the Joyful Noise Jazz Band from Pinole. They’re playing on Saturday, July 20th,  at the annual Radio Day by the Bay. This event brings together the California Historical Radio Society, the Bay Area Radio Museum, and the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. It all takes place at the historic KRE Radio Building, just off the Ashby Avenue exist of I-80 in Berkeley. 

If you like your rock ‘n’ roll straight, you may want to show up at San Francisco's Café du Nord Friday night. July 19th,  when local band, Down & Outlaws performs. 

The Down & Outlaws describe their sound as “unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll made with absolutely no traces of ‘indie’ or ‘lo-fi’.” They'll be the first band of the evening, starting about 9:30pm.

The band you’re hearing now calls themselves Crosscut. Most of the players are from the Bay Area, but their sound is influenced by the Blues – blues from Chicago, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. Crosscut will be playing music from their album, also called “Crosscut,” on Wednesday (06.12). The free show is part of this year’s “Union Square Live” program, at – where else? - San Francisco’s Union Square. They’re on stage from 6 to 8pm. 

  The music we are featuring today is by ZOFU Duet. That’s four hands playing one piano. ZOFU received two Grammy nominations this year for their first album, titled “Mind Meld.” You can see them perform on Sunday June 9, at The Center for New Music on Taylor Street in San Francisco. It's a 2pm performance.