First up, the Humboldt Folklife Festival goodness continues through Saturday, July 19 – please see the calendar section for full listings, then round out your selections with the shows below, which include a number of formerly-of-Humboldt highlights.
Thursday: Sparse and sophisticated
Christian Lee Hutson is one of a new generation of American singer-songwriters clearly drawn toward the traditional, but not hampered by tradition. His music has a certain elegance, more Bulleit than Jack, which likely accounts for the 24-year-old Huston's having already shared stages with Damien Jurado, Ralph Stanley and Father John Misty. All the aforementioned stages were likely bigger than the room at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., where you can find Hutson at 10 p.m. The show is 21-and-over and free.
Thursday: Raucous and rockin'
Humboldt Brews offers a relatively big-name-in-bluegrass moment with the Grammy-nominated Infamous Stringdusters — the band's new album Let It Go spent four weeks on the Americana Radio Chart top 10. Tickets are $15, show starts at 8 p.m., Whiskey Shivers opens.
Friday/Saturday: Jazzy and genuine
Trinidadians, take note: The Westhaven Center for the Arts looks to be hopping this weekend. On Friday at 7 p.m., the RLA Trio (Tim Randles, Mike LaBolle and Bobby Amirkhan) performs with guest singer Claire Bent , reputed to be "the finest young jazz singer in town." Cover is $5 to $10 sliding scale. On Saturday night, former local boy Dave Fleschner and Alan Hager recreate the magic of last year's sold-out show with just a piano, guitar and oodles of talent. Reservations recommended. Tickets are $12 WCA members, $15 general.
Friday: Josephine and Joanne
Another former-Humboldtian returns for an evening of song, story and collaboration. Josephine Johnson joins Joanne Rand for an evening boasting not only lovely and earnest singer-songwriteriness, but fresh soup, bread, beer, wine, coffee, tea and "general conviviality." Doors open at 7 p.m. Music starts at 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 to $15 sliding scale. It's a house party — contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 499-8516 for more information.
Saturday: Outlaws and outlandishness
Continuing the return of Humboldt sons and daughters, from the wayward side of the family, Clay Smith, former frontman of Humboldt County's legendary rogues The Rubberneckers, takes over the 'Neckers former stomping grounds as he and "local outlaw rockers" play the Logger Bar. Since The Rubberneckers' heyday, the Logger Bar fell on hard times, closed down and then was resurrected by the loving ministrations of Kate Martin and the Blue Lake community. Meanwhile, Smith moved on to Florida, Greg Lojko (guitar, vocals) left for New York and Brendan Otto (drums) has moved, according to Google Plus, somewhere in Iowa — the only member still around is B.T. Hollister, who can be seen playing bass in various projects of coolness from time to time. Now, sure, a lot of romanticism surrounds Smith's return — The Rubberneckers were known as much for their onstage drama as their Blue Lake-lovin' cowpunk — but the music was always legit, fast and fun in a way that made you harken back to those whiskey-drenched nights filled with bad decisions and, despite your good intentions, you know you'll likely find yourself there again, usually by the time the band kicks into "Wasted Tonight."
We look forward to Smith's return, which begins at 9 p.m., is free and limited to those 21-and-over.
Saturday: Religion and red right hands
When I first glanced at the email heralding this show, I blanched. Not because of the headliner, one Reverend Red, a band reminiscent of another Reverend best known for triggering a psychobilly freakout along with the dark influence of a Let Love In-era Nick Cave — music I love — but because these guys are from my home town, a forsaken place that I left as soon as I could and continue to harbor a grudge against, where all the speed freaks and born-again Christians with their oddly similar Republican politics made life hell for those of us who believed in equality and creativity and science and culture and and and ... OK, deep breath ... it's probably better now — although given the weight of Rev Red's music, maybe not. Find out in detail when the band lands in the Alibi. Usual $5/21-and-over/11 p.m. agenda.
Monday: Consciousness and St. Croix
Hey, there's a Monday night show! One hundred percent St. Croix roots straight from the Virgin Islands with Midnite, Arkaingelle and State of Emergency at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, the evening is hosted by Amoe Hamilton of the Watts Prophets. Doors open at 9 p.m., tickets available at Peoples Records, The Works, The Kushite, Trinity River Garden Center and online at www.inticketing.com. This gig is 21-and-over.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to email@example.com.