For those of you that have been reading this column in weeks past, you'll be familiar with the reoccurring themes: Out-of-town talented musician is coming to Humboldt, check them out; or, local — and starving — musician is still here, check them out. This column will focus on the latter.
Humboldt is terribly lucky to have a vibrant music scene, and in it, talented players. Some leave the area and occasionally return, others stick it out for good, and some get drawn here. This column will focus on the latter.
Playing the blues has never been easy. Let me rephrase that. Really playing the blues has never been easy. Putting on a Tommy Bahama shirt and singing some crap in the sunshine is one thing; keeping it real, raw, beautiful, nasty and authentic is a whole other gig. George "Harmonica" Smith did it. Muddy Waters did it. Big Mama Thornton did it. Bo Diddley did it. Hell, Little Richard did it and looked dynamite doing it. One of our own has done it all as well, and with all the giants listed above. He's Buddy Reed, and you know he rips it up.
Buddy's a white kid from Rialto. Turned onto blues music from the Rolling Stones' early recordings, he got hooked young. Really playing the blues as a white boy? Kids, don't try it at home (or god forbid in public). In a five-decade career, he's recorded a debut album in swingin' London in '69, eaten breakfast with Muddy Waters and played in Little Richard's band (on stage and TV). From the Mojave to Rialto, from Phoenix to Forest Falls, from Weaverville to Orick, for 15 years Buddy's been one of our own. Although he's been in and out of the orbit of fame and fortune most of his adult life, Buddy likes it raw and real, and that's why he stuck with Humboldt. Like the Pacific Ocean, his music is at times rugged, and at times gentle. It'll be there long after you're gone, but make sure to never turn your back on it.
You won't catch Buddy Reed and the Rip It Ups schmoozing it up or smiling on a big stage somewhere. They'll be working their asses off on the floor twice a week, every week (more below). Check 'em out. Or don't. After 50 years rippin' it up, Buddy ain't going to stop.
Humboldt Free Radio presents a free show at Dead Reckoning Tavern in Arcata. At 7 p.m. you can hear some "Americana-Irish" story-songs from Chico-ite Ryan Davidson.
If you had tickets for blues-folker Chris Smither, bad news — the show has been cancelled for health reasons.
Big-timer Melissa Etheridge will be making a stop in Arcata tonight at the Van Duzer Theater. 8 p.m. showtime and HSU students get a deal at $32, the rest of us will pay $76.
Portland's Shook Twins return to town to impress at Humboldt Brews with their oft-times haunting and charming musical stylings. They'll be joined by Tall Heights from Boston who I'm told sound like "Simon and Garfunkel fronting Bon Iver." I wish I was familiar with Bon Iver, but you had me at S & G. $15 tickets for this show.
Wild Otis will be playing for free at the Mad River Brewery at 6 p.m. Leave 'em a tip, or buy them a delicious beer.
Not far away and an hour-and-a-half later at the Fieldbrook Market, Roland Rock is also playing for free.
Humboldt Brews hosts The Point's (100.3 & 102.7 FM) Classic Cover Contest Finale and Birthday Bash with finalists from its on-air contest: BluEnglish, Cold Blue Water and Monahan Martin and Sleep. You get to vote for the winner. There will be cake at 9 p.m. and $7 for entry. I highly recommend you go. (Full disclosure: Above-mentioned radio station is one of the many employers that hasn't fired me yet.) Feel free to mention that I sent you.
As mentioned above, Buddy Reed and the Rip It Ups will be ... well, ripping it up at the Speakeasy in Old Town Eureka as they do every Saturday night. 10 p.m. for the show and it's free, so don't forget to throw a tip in for the band.
The Redwood Curtain Brewery hosts locals the Vanishing Pints at 8 p.m. for free. Again, as it's a free show, feel free to vanish some pints, but save some bread for the band.
Deadheads rejoice, Grateful Dead tribute band Hardly Deadly from Stockton will be at The Jam in Arcata at 8 p.m. $5 cover charge for this one. At the Alibi, Humboldt Free Radio presents heavy rockers from L.A., Jerkagram. As of press time, the local band on the bill was unknown, but likely has a less creative band name. $5 and 11 p.m. showtime.
Missed Buddy Reed and the Rip it Ups on Saturday? Or you just need more? Head to Libation (every Tuesday night) for Buddy at 7 p.m. It's another free show, so share the wealth.
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 email@example.com.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He doesn't like Facebook and doesn't feel bad for not mentioning your show that you never told him about.