From the Hum: Tonight! Decisions, decisions... (VIDEOS)


You might want to sit down if you’re not already.

Do you need a cup of coffee or a sandwich?

Because for some reason, Thursday is nuts with shows.

Okay. Ready? You’ve got your known quantities — Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the Van Duzer, Leftover Salmon at the ATL — and then three other options that all sound promising. 

1. Folk punk in Blue Lake

First up, Matt Pless and Francie Moon infuse Mad River Brewing Company with Maryland folk punk starting at 6 p.m. Regarding Pless, “punk” in this sense is another word for “quirky” a la Jonathan Richmond — as a sort of category, not a sound-alike — with songs like “Mad Child’s Lament” (“she shuts her eyes and all the world drops dead”). The way Pless blends sincerity and rawness appeals. Give a listen at

The opening track on Moon’s Morning Red album, a rough and haunting track called “Carolina Mountains” raised the hair on my arms, arrested me. Goddamn, but I love that feeling. Get tingly at and then in person at the beloved Blue Lake venue.

Also, this:

2. Singer-songwriters at the Playhouse

Complicating matters are two Arcata shows. Fortunately start time for both is 8 p.m., so if you moderate your Mad River beer intake, you can zip over to A-town where West Coast singer-songwriters John Elliott and Eleanor Murray celebrate a dual album release at the Arcata Playhouse.

Now, Elliot’s name might not ring familiar at first, but his music certainly should — it’s been soundtracked by Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill and Californication. Anais Mitchell fans will know Elliot as Hades from Mitchell's “California Sings Hadestown” tour. His new effort, Good Goodbyes (listen here), is the eighth in a series of albums expanding preconceived ideas of what folk, pop and rock music can be. Elliots’ influences encompass a corresponding diversity — Bruce Springsteen, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Michael Jackson, Wilco, Radiohead and, natch, fellow Minnesota native Bob Dylan.

Murray has shared the stage with artists including Tune-yards, Mountain Man and Kimya Dawson — appropriate companions for someone whose music similarly resists easy labeling and knits jazz rhythms with Appalachian melodies. The title track of her new album, Bury Me Into the Mtn (listen here), is both melancholy and comforting. Just exquisite. Please note, if you are sensitive of soul or recently broken-hearted, you may find yourself especially, as they say, moved. Tickets are $10 general, $8 Playhouse members and $6 students. See for more.

3. Alt-bluegrass in Arcata

And on to your other A-town option! Olympia’s The Pine Hearts provide an ideal soundtrack to fall with their version of alt-bluegrass at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, along with locals Raising Grain. A little bit of longing, a fair bit of back-porch, a suggestion of get-up-and-dance, that’s The Pine Hearts. Just right for a rain-scented North Coast night. And it's free. (Note: If Thursday’s choices dizzy you, know that The Pine Hearts also play The Siren Song on Friday at 9 p.m.)

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