Music » The Hum

Your “Woo!” Immortalized

Petunia and the Vipers need your help. Plus Steve Earle, Mark Hummel and your big break!


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You made it through New Year’s Eve. You made it through Christmas. Hell, you even made it through the Mayan end of the world whateva-ocalypse. Now, as Humboldt enters its post-holiday, student-less cultural lull, you have your options: you can either enjoy the peace, cowering under a warm blanket, or you can look extra hard for those with with some energy left. For those choosing the latter, we’ll try to assist the best we can.

Wanted: Are you a really, really good concertgoer? Like, are you above average at being appropriately energetic, excited and participatory when you head out to experience live music? Not annoying. Just fun. If you fit that APB, you might have a few nights' work ahead of you this weekend.

Vancouver, British Columbia, road dogs Petunia and the Vipers play upbeat, hillbilly honky tonk that sounds like it took at least a 70-year time machine voyage from its birthplace to your ears. Taking traditional country sounds made famous by Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers -- we’ve got yodels here, people! -- the Vipers present a knowing sendup of their legendary influences and translate them into a boot-tapping live experience that’s anything but dated. They brings the hootenanny. (By the way, lead singer, yodeler, acoustic guitar player and occasional trumpeter “Petunia” -- born Ron Fortugno -- is a dude, to be clear.)

Now here’s where you come in. This week the Vipers will slither into SoHum’s archetypal roadhouse, the Riverwood Inn, for an unprecedented four-night stand from Thursday, Jan. 3, to Sunday, Jan. 6. Why the extended snakepit? Petunia and Co. are bringing in a pro film and recording crew to crank out a live album. Which means, of course, that your emphatic “oh yeah!” at the end of any one of the band’s hoedown-inducing numbers could go down in recording history. Try not to abuse the privilege.

Tickets for any one night of the Petunia and the Vipers’ Riverwood Inn recording sessions are $10, but if you’re hardcore about honky tonk you can kick down $30 for access to all four nights. (And of course if driving to Phillipsville four straight nights seems daunting, the Riverwood has rooms for crashin’ and serves decent Mexican grub.)

Earle! You Know It’s True!

Man the major action is really in SoHum this week. This Saturday the Mateel stage will attempt to contain the larger-than-life personality of beloved singer, songwriter, storyteller, actor, author, and, OK, sure, legend (it gets thrown around) Steve Earle.

Though he’s spent much of his highly successful Grammy-nominated career lumped in with country/folk artists, the artist who came to prominence in the ‘80s thanks to populist songs like “Copperhead Road” is really an American rocker in the mold of The Boss.

This weekend in Redway, Earle presents stripped-down solo acoustic renditions of songs from his 30-plus year body of work.

Blow Them Blues Away

Try to forget that we still have months of Humboldt gray to endure by adding a different color to your palette. CenterArts kicks off 2013 with a high energy shot of harmonica-led I-IV-V as harp man Mark Hummel returns to the Van Duzer leading a crew of veteran blues musicians. The Blues Harmonica Blowout show features fellow harmonica-wielders Rick Estrin and Kim Wilson as well as guitar slinger Joe Louis Walker, backed by the road-tested Blues Survivors.

Get Brave

For some time now, your friends have been telling you how funny you are, true? And how great you’d be doing standup on stage in front of drunk people, right? Quit slacking and get up there, jerk! Your chance comes Tuesday at the Jambalaya, when the local Ba-Dum-Chh comedy crew hosts its first monthly open mic of 2013. BDC founder/wiseass Sherae O’Shaughnessy has resolved in the new year to “make better, healthier choices while still taking the time to booze up and riot.”

That seems pretty follow through-able. Now, you. While she’s boozed, get up there and challenge her for that mic. This is your year.


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