The idea of being grateful for all that we have daily is a nice one. Perhaps a naive one as well. Granted, it only takes a few seconds to reflect upon the innumerable wonders of our time, but the ridiculous modern lives we find ourselves in don't often leave much time for our minds to quiet down. We have jobs, bosses, families, children and a myriad of other connections that treat our time and mental processing functions as resources to be extracted. The non-stop nature of our lives makes reflection yet another task to float in our mental calendars.
Enter Thanksgiving. There's the whole Pilgrims-and-Native-Americans-being-nice-to-each-other angle, and there's also the whole bit about being thankful for a bountiful harvest. Let's focus on the latter. Thanksgiving functions as a reminder — or a device to clear our schedules — so that we can spend a day doing what we know we should be doing every day. That is, being full of thanks. If we focus on the harvest, we can be thankful that there are local markets that don't seem to run out of food. We can go beyond that as well: We can be thankful for our families, our children, our health, indoor plumbing, the Electoral College and other generic niceties like that.
We can also, and should also, be thankful for the continual music here in Humboldt County. It is easy to think that the options in our city centers are a common occurrence all over this land. I'm not convinced that is the case. Big cities have robust music scenes, sure, but for a rural county that many other Californians think is part of Oregon, we've got it pretty good. The number of musicians we have, and their excellence, is something to cherish and to take care of. There will always be the musicians who feel compelled to move to Portland. Good on them for chasing their dreams. But for everyone one of those musicians, there are 30 others who remain in Humboldt. Maybe not for the financial support they're given from the community, but for the personal, emotional and artistic support.
So let's be thankful this year for another big haul of local musicians. They are just a part of the artistic harvest that gives this rural county its culture and its charm. Yes, things may be a bit slow this week, but even musicians have families that kind of love them. With that said, should your family drive you crazy this holiday season, know there are musicians and bands who will be your family for the night. Be thankful for that.
Jazz is on the menu. If you're done with leftovers, take the family members you actually like to Larrupin' Cafe for some great food and tunes by Blue Lotus Jazz. The music starts around 6 p.m. and is free, though the food won't be.
If you want some funk thrown in with your jazz, check out the Eureka Pizza Council at the Speakeasy in Eureka at 8:30 p.m. It's also a free show, but feel free to tip the band.
Former local, and now Alaskan, Kray Van Kirk returns home for show supporting his recent release of The Road to Elfland. The 12 songs on the album have a folky and Irish vibe to them. Tolkien fans may enjoy the lyrics which tell about knights, travels to England and the Queen of Elfland. He'll be performing at the Humboldt Light Opera Company at 7:30 p.m. $15 tickets, but only $10 for children and seniors.
For a chance to hear Blondie/Michael Jackson/Queen/Gnarls Barkley covers, head over to the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel for The Undercovers. As mentioned, they cover a wide range of music and they pull it off: Witness a drummer who can sound like Debbie Harry one moment and CeeLo Green the next. Free, 9 p.m.
The Mad River Brewery hosts jazz by the The Lownotes who play standards with some originals thrown in as well at 6 p.m. for free.
Equally free is Buddy Reed who'll be doing his thing (as he does every Tuesday) at Libation in Arcata. He'll be on around 7 p.m. and joined by harp player Andy Fihn.
For more jazz, head to the Kate Buchanan Room at HSU for the Jazz Journalists Association's "Drummer of the Year," Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O. It took me a while to figure out that was a play on "trio," but rounding out the group is Jeff Lederer on saxophone and Paul Sikivie on bass. Thank the Redwood Jazz Alliance for this show, as you'll get interesting and occasionally goofy twists on holiday classics and be impressed by the musicianship the whole time. 8 p.m. start time with a $15 cover charge for non-students ($10 for them).
I can't figure out why this is a free show, but, from what I can tell, it is. Pato Banton will play the WAVE Lounge at the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel at 9 p.m. Joining him will be locals Dynasty One. They'll be playing late, so take advantage of this rare ability to see Mr. Banton.
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 doesn't like Facebook and doesn't feel bad for not mentioning your show that you never told him about.