Bluegrass returns to the menu at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room this evening around 6 p.m. courtesy of the Compost Mountain Boys. As usual, this is a free show, but that doesn't mean you can't throw a few shekels toward the band. The Old Steeple in Ferndale is starting off its season with a blues heavyweight. John Hammond is known for many things, one of them is being a seriously talented acoustic blues musician. A few other notables are his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Grammy under his belt, but what's more impressive is the lineup he has played with over the years. Stop me if any of these names sounds familiar: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker and Dr. John, among others. Quite a list, eh? You've got a chance to see him tonight when the show starts off around 7:30 p.m. and only $40 for this musical legend.
The Mad River Brewery welcomes back "one-man-psychedelic-acoustiloop" musician Holus Bolus tonight at 6 p.m. Think of him as a one-man band, playing a multitude of instruments and layering them one at a time through a looping machine. He may record the drums first and then a bass line and then some chords and then sing and solo over what has already been recorded. It's far easier than touring with a full band and cheaper too. It's also a bit more interesting to figure out. His music has rock grooves with some reggae and funk touches here and there. It's a free show, so welcome him back to Humboldt. High priests of high-altitude-mesa-peyote rock Opposum Sun Trail make an appearance at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake tonight. And, if the rumors are true, you won't have to worry about anybody trying to shut the party down à la Footloose. Joining the 'possum tonight are fellow locals and country rockers Mojave Green. The show starts around 9 p.m. and is free. At the same time, and just a few blocks away, you'll find some "beach/reggae" rock in the Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino from Safety Orange. They'll be playing until about 1 a.m. and also for free. Top of the hill in McKinleyville, you'll be able to hear the Jim Lahman Band playing at Six Rivers Brewery at 9 p.m. as well and also for free.
Missed Holus Bolus in Blue Lake yesterday? You can find him helping to celebrate the first anniversary of Eureka Natural Foods McKinleyville at 11 a.m. this morning. Get loopy early. Local rock chameleons the Delta Nationals return to Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. to play rock, swing, jazz etc. for your enjoyment. Sip a beer, soak up the sun and dance along to these local hardworking musicians. They're not asking for any of your money. Mon Petit Chou appears at Café Mokka in Arcata tonight around 8 p.m. for a free, all-ages show. Local Pink Floyd tribute band Money (the one I'm in) stops by Redwood Curtain Brewery at the same time tonight and their bass player "tells me" that they might be pulling off the Animals album again. It's a free show, so go see for yourself. Dig cover songs, but not that many from the same artist? Head up to the Wave Lounge at the Blue Lake Casino to catch local cover champions The Undercovers, who sample hits from the '60s all the way up to the 'aughts. They're on at 9 p.m. and for free. Thirty minutes later, Valley Queen plays at Humboldt Brews in Arcata. The band has just released its first EP on the heels of two singles last year. Singer Natalie Carol's strongly wavering voice reminds me a bit of Jolie Holland at points with the energy of Janis Joplin (and a touch of Melaine) stuck inside Joni Mitchell's body, if that makes any sense. Tickets for this show are $10. Local funky rockers Peach Purple stop by The Jam at 10 p.m. No word yet on the ticket price for this one but probably something in the $5-$10 range if I had to guess. And I am. Local honky-tonk superstars Side Iron stop by The Alibi to blow the roof off the joint. If you haven't seen these fellas before, you'll want to stand close before getting forced back a few feet. They're the flame. Be the moth. They're joined at 11 a.m. by local "country crooner" Gabe Rozzell for this $5 show.
Talented trio Homenaje is at the Arcata Playhouse tonight. Led by guitarist Will Brahm, the band incorporates jazz, classical and Latin music into their grooves. This trio's based out of Los Angeles and features percussionist Chris Wabich, who's jammed with Leonard Cohen and the Zappa Family, and bassist Ross Shodek rounds out the band. They'll be on around 8 p.m. and tickets are $18.
The RLA Jazz Trio is joined again by Paula & Don this evening at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. for free. You'll get some good jazz to sway to but you'll be comfortable tapping your feet and sipping your John Barleycorn as well if you just want to ride it out. As always, it's a free show but tips are always welcome for the bands. Starting off in Mammoth Lakes in the Sierras, Sweetwater String Band now has members living in Santa Cruz, Wyoming and Colorado, yet it keeps playing on. With a cello, mandolin, guitar and bass, this soulgrass band has its third album At Night coming out in just a couple of days, so the members are assembled and on the road drumming up support. The album deals with topics such as "nature's rest, love's plight and the curiosities of the human experience," according to the press release. Get a preview of songs you'll find on this soon-to-be-released album and, if you're lucky maybe they'll have some advanced copies for you to pick up. They'll be at Humboldt Brews around 9 p.m. for only $10 tonight.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. What's grass if it ain't got soul?