Our brains are hardwired to be empathetic; that is, we have the ability to "understand" another's experiences. I've heard the term "mirror-neurons" thrown around as a way of explaining it, but let me give it a go here. When we see someone experiencing or expressing an emotion — be it happiness, sadness, fear, love, etc. — our brains often give that same emotion a "try out." If you see someone you know crying or generally upset, you will most likely "feel bad for them."
If I come up to you and give myself a nice big dry-as-hell paper cut before your eyes, you may wince as if your moistless-cracked flesh was just opened. It's our brains' way of putting us in others' shoes for a split second; to bond us. It's amplified when we're around a large group of people. On the negative side, it is part of what allows an otherwise decent person who is surrounded by — let's say — angry people at a rally to try and put their fist through an outsider's face. On the bright side of herd mentality, it also allows us to feel tremendous happiness and communal joy when in the presence of an illuminated group.
What in the hell does this have to do with music, you wonder? Well, in a word, everything. A friend of mine (whom you know) recently expressed a desire to learn how to sing. She's one of those people constantly listening to music, talking about music, and, yes, writing about music.
I'm surprised she's never tried making music. As someone who can't really sing — but has, much to an audience's dismay — I quickly encouraged her. Take vocal lessons and ear training, sure, sure, but I recommended finding a local choir that would welcome her and other shower Pavarottis. There is nothing like lending your voice to the sound of others to feel the power of music and your own voice. You'll also be humbled to be "in tune" with the group, perhaps only for a brief moment or two, but these little bags of energy we call ourselves will seem far less distinct and separate from the other bags emitting sound from their insides.
It's a powerful tradition we humans have been doing for thousands of years. It's why we find ourselves in rooms around town feeling the air vibrate. As a wiser man than I once said, "If you want to be me, be me. And if you want to be you, be you" and whether you choose a whisper or a shout, "if you want to sing out, sing out."
Oaklandites The T Sisters visit Humboldt Brews at 9:30 p.m. Ranging from a cappella to Americana, the sisters have shared the stage with Todd Rundgren, ALO, Elephant Revival and The California Honeydrops, to name just a few. Don't hold it against 'em that they performed on A Prairie Home Companion, and don't miss them play for only $10.
It's Arts! Arcata, so go for the free wine while pretending to look at local art. Up at HSU's Fulkerson Recital Hall at 8 p.m., Trumpet Pancake plays some tunes by everyone's new favorite bassist, Esperanza Spalding, along with songs from fusion band Snarky Puppy. Also on the bill are the 2:00 Band, Old Hat and Hindsight Bias with some Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and original tunes thrown in for good measure. $8, free for HSU students.
Barroom rocker Sam Kaplan-Good informs me that he is a classy gentleman, one who appreciates classical music. In doing so, he let me know that The Eureka Symphony — conducted by maestra Carol Jacobson — will present two nights of movie soundtrack greats with selections from Schindler's List, The Lion King, Seven Years in Tibet, Ocean's Eleven (2001), Twilight, 2001: A Space Odyssey, (and some Ludwig van from) A Clockwork Orange. It will be hard to disappoint with these, so get your tickets early for this 8 p.m. show. Tickets run around $19.
Kingfoot returns to The Logger Bar with local RimbaTuber/YouTube sensation Kent Jenkins opening for free at 9 p.m.
Humboldt Brews has local pickers The No Good Redwood Ramblers who will be trying out some new material, Colin tells me, along with some fan favorites. Joining them at 9:30 p.m. will be new local band — and Chris Parriera's eighth — No Pardon. It's the band's debut, as far as I know, for only $5.
Press-release maestro Paul DeMark shares with me news about a special show at Mad River Brewery. At 6 p.m. The Honky Tonk Detours will be joined by local multi-talented awesome person Nola Victrola. You have probably heard Nola with her groups Moonpine, Belles of the Levee and Opossum Sun Trail, but, as Paul tells me, they are "trying to create a honky tonk scene, and playing with Nola is a great way get it started. She has a great voice and feel for vintage country music." This one's free.
The Fortuna Concert Series presents Silk Road Junction 101 which you may recall is a collaboration of ethnomusicology PhDs Rahman Abdur, who plays South Asian tabla drums, and Sarah McClimon, who performs on the Japanese koto and flute. They'll be at the Fortuna Monday club at 7:30 p.m. for $10.
If you missed The Eureka Symphony's movie greats Friday, you've got another chance (see above for details).
With a resume like no other, Buddy Reed and th' Rip It Ups are back at the Speakeasy at 9 p.m. Count yourself lucky that a fellow who's jammed with Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard is playing for free.
BluEnglish, winners of The Point's Classic Cover Contest, will be jamming at the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel for free at 9 p.m. Expect some great covers and some rockin' originals from these locals.
The great voice of Dee Hemmingway will be gracing your ears at The Lighthouse Grill in Trinidad around 5 p.m. Joining Dee for this free show will be Eric Hann. Feel free to leave a tip for these hard working musicians.
In Ferndale you'll find Michiganians Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys at The Old Steeple at 7:30 p.m. Their song "Everything Changed" was named as one of the best 12 live music performances of '15 by NPR so you know they've got some bluegrass, Americana and folk chops. Rounding out this $25 show are local favorites The Lyndsey Battle Trio.
Performing music from Otis Was a Polar Bear (inspired by the birth of her first child), Allison Miller and Boom Tic Boom will be at the Kate Buchanan Room on HSU's campus at 8 p.m. Joined by stellar lineup of musicians — including Petrolia born Jenny Scheinman — some of the musical offerings were composed while Miller was on the road with Natalie Merchant. Bring $15 to get into this unique show.
Want to catch some jazz? Jazz at The Jam is the spot to be at 6:30 p.m. This is weekly gig, so keep your Wednesday evenings free.
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 Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He carn't spel so good.