Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hot Week for Live Music in Sandpoint

Despite its relatively small size, Sandpoint is home to a music scene that’s hipper and more active than any other town in the Inland Northwest, arguably even Spokane. They have a cool independent radio station, KPND, which plays a diverse mix of jam bands, alternative album rock, new folk and even world music. Around town, something’s happening somewhere every night, from local acoustic guitarists performing solo at one of the many plush wine bars and cozy café’s to a diverse lot of nationally known acts, most notably at the annual festival at Sandpoint. This week, like nearly every other week in recent memory, Sandpoint’s musical calendar is packed full of intriguing events that make that short Northern trek seem like an absolute necessity.

Hot Club of Spokane singer Daini Hertel is the spicy pepper in the group’s exotic musical stew, which mixes a gypsy jazz vibe with elements of vintage swing. It’s the kind of thing heard in the background of a New Orleans street scene in a steamy old noir film in which the handsome, insouciant private detective falls for the smoldering daughter of a voodoo queen he meets in the French Quarter while investigating a crime. Since forming a little over one year ago, the sextet have been performing everywhere from private parties, receptions, weddings, and especially night clubs where, according to the band, “the balance between dance and conversation, performance and ambiance, must be kept intact.” In other words, shut up and listen. There couldn’t be a cooler place to catch these guys live than Sandpoint’s glorious old Panida Theater. The band’s retro charm and sophisticated swing were made for the venue’s vintage red-velvet vibe and historical aura. Hot Club of Spokane takes the stage tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave.

Hot Club of Spokane: "House of the Rising Sun"

Fact number one: a Po’Boy is a massive sub sandwich from Louisiana. Fact number two: Po’Girl is a Canadian band who’ve spent the last year travelling gypsy-like, performing their rootsy Americana music with a wicked twist of girl power for audiences in thirteen countries. Singer/instrumentalists Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira joined forces last year with guitarist Benny Sideslinger and holed up in an Austin, Texas studio to record their most recent album, the moody Home to You, on which the band’s sound heads in lush new directions, incorporating boozy horns and swirling fiddle solos.

The centerpiece of the Po’Girl sound is the intensely expressive quality of the girls’ blended voices, leading Katy June Friesen of No Depression magazine to write “Po' Girl has the same womanly (not girlish, mind you) croon of the 1920s and '30s blues mamas - yet their music isn't of another era” At times their songs bring to mind a 21st century version of what Stevie Nicks might sound like if she hailed from Nashville instead of sunny California, and a wicked lyrical wit burns through tracks like “To The Angry Evangelist” and “Go On and Pass Me By.” Po’Girl will be landing at Di Luna’s, 207 Cedar Street, this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Po'GirlLive at Hillside Festival

Alaska is not only known for bee-hived, bespectacled vice-presidential candidates, but also for nationally recognized hip young bluegrass quartets. Anchorage’s Bearfoot formed in 1999 when fate put them together as music camp counselors. A mere two years later they took home the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Championship, a title they share with previous winners like the Dixie Chicks and Nickel Creek. They’ve been touring and playing festivals on a constant basis ever since with a sound they describe as “deeply American music. Airy Northern ballads are tempered by back-alley Southern blues, while jazz stomp meets Appalachian breakdown, the whole fused with a signature sexy bluegrass passion.”

Band members continue teaching music to kids, putting on “bluegrass camps” for kids and adults. Similarly, Bearfoot are sponsoring a free “jam night” at Di Luna’s on Thursday, the night before their big gig at the Panida. Calling all you hippies, young and old; anyone with bongos or a digeridoo is welcome to show up at 7 p.m. and add to the beautiful cacophony. Catch Bearfoot perform without the help of friends on Friday the 26th at the Panida Theater, 7:30p.m.

Bearfoot: "Molasses" Live in Sedona, AZ

The Pend Oreille Winery, 220 Cedar St., is also a longtime supporter of the local music scene, and tonight at 5:30 p.m., Cocolalla favorites Folk Remedy will be wooing wine-sippers with mellow, acoustic folk and bluegrass tunes. Joan Lassen and Gordon Anderson’s voices create harmonies like ear-candy over lively folk fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. Sandpoint native Vance Bergeson brings his loose, jazzy finger-picked acoustic guitar and rambling vocals to the Winery stage on Friday the 26th at 5:30 p.m. His original songs are subtle and catchy with a menacing edge.

Vance Bergeson live in Sandpoint

Other Sandpoint musical musts this week include a homecoming gig for Sandpoint-to-Seattle-and-back acoustic rocker Justin Lantrip at Stage Right Cellars, tonight at 7 p.m.; The inimitable indie folk of Shook Twins together with the jammy grunge rock of Boise’s Equaleyes at the Global 8 Benefit for peace at The Dillon House on Friday; also on Friday at 8 p.m., Sandpoint’s own indie popsters Tennis will be serving up plenty of fuzzy green musical balls at the Downtown Crossing, 206 N. First Ave. Right up the street, Rachel Sedacca, who has earned comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, brings her California-fried Americana to life for the audience at Stage Right Cellars Friday at 7 p.m. One question; does Sandpoint even know the meaning of the word boredom?

Justin Lantrip "Scratch the Surface"

Shook Twins: "Wildfire" Live at Mystic Hot Springs

Equaleyes live in McCall, ID

Rachel Sedacca video montage