After a slight lull during which a local CD was released here and there, we're back to a week that bears a pile of new local releases (OK, so it's only four), each one in a rootsy vein, each with its own accompanying celebratory shindig.
The Tucson Community Food Bank might not be your normal go-to source for new local music, but judging from Food Is Good ... For the Body and Soul, a compilation being released this week, you might want to rethink that.
True to its title, the disc features 17 rootsy acts—folk, bluegrass, Latin, country and blues—singing songs about food, starting with folkie Dennis Riley's opening, title track, "Food Is Good," a catchy little ditty that could double as a children's song, to The Wayback Machine's country-tinged closing number, "Bluegrass Gumbo." In between are the poignant (Duncan Stitt's remembrance of a fallen friend, "Set a Place for Brian"; Lindianne Sarno's narrative about the family farm crisis, "This Time We Are Staying"), the celebratory (Keith Secola's zydeco-flavored "Fry Bread"), the humorous (The Mollys' traditional Irish folk "The Haggis") and even a good-old-fashioned dose of double entendre, courtesy of Bob Malone's "Southern Fried Lovin'," which recalls Little Feat.
There are also tracks from Kevin Pakulis, Grams and Krieger, Pablo, Tom Poley, The Determined Luddites, and others. But among the biggest treasures here: a pair of tracks from two late Tucson legends: Rainer's "Ain't Givin' Up (The New Cookin' Blues)" and Lalo Guerrero's "There's No Tortillas," a parody of "O Solo Mio" that opens with the lines, "I love tortillas, and I love them dearly."
The CD-release party for Food Is Good ... For the Body and Soul takes place from 2 to 8 p.m., Sunday, May 10, at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave. Participating performers include Dennis Riley, Ron Pandy, Duncan Stitt, Pablo, Lindianne Sarno, Kevin Pakulis, Patricia Morrison, Danny Krieger, Tom Poley and members of The Mollys and The Wayback Machine. Admission is a suggested donation of two or more cans of food for the CFB. For more information, check out communityfoodbank.com.
You might know Eb Eberlein from his Arizona Trails spots on KXCI FM 91.3 FM, while a whole different demographic knows him as a school teacher at Safford Middle School. But as a singer and harmonica/Dobro player, he also fronts Eb's Camp Cookin', an Americana ensemble that also includes Phil Anderson on bass, Tim O' Connor playing fiddle and mandolin, and Kevin Schramm on accordion. True to the group's name, they sound like the type of buddies who can bust out the instruments at a post-meal campfire—or, to quote their press kit, "intoxicated hillbillies playing thoughtful Americana with an Arizona edge."
Their new self-released CD is called Plain Green Wrapper, likely because it's packaged in just that, and it contains 11 ragged-but-right tunes, from a slightly cinematic instrumental ("Streets of Tombstone") to good-time sing-alongs like "John Went Floating" and a story-song about man's best friend ("Drug Dog Bob"). If you don't have musical friends to drag along on your next camping outing, this album should make for a suitable replacement.
Eb's Camp Cookin' celebrates the release of Plain Green Wrapper with a performance from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 9, at the 17th Street Market, 840 E 17th St. Admission is free for those of all ages. For further details, call 624-8821, ext. 147, or head to treasureshidden.com.
Singer-songwriter Austin Counts' second album, which follows 2004's Acoustic Skeletons, is You Are the Scene, a more fleshed-out affair than the debut, judging from the three songs provided to Soundbites. (Full disclosure: Counts is currently an intern at the Weekly.) According to a press release, the album is an autobiographical, warts-and-all mash note to pre-Rio Nuevo downtown Tucson. While I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to parse fact from fiction, that description seems apt on "Hold on Mama," a midtempo, slide-guitar-driven song that recounts all the places the narrator has lived, and the circumstances that took him there. "Sun Don't Shine" is a winning toe-tapper that just happens to bear a non-ham-fisted anti-suicide message, while "Soft White Walls" is a slightly atmospheric, building ballad whose title should be self-explanatory.
Austin Counts celebrates the release of You Are the Scene by performing a free show in the lounge at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., at 9:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10. Questions? Call 798-1298.
Unfortunately, we didn't receive a copy of Sound Suite (Old Bisbee), the debut release from Awkward Moments, a local supergroup collective of sorts founded by Jimmy Carr (Loveland, Crawdaddy-O, Cathy Rivers) and Stuart Oliver (The Dusty Buskers, Family of Light) that now also includes Stephanie Dickson and Johnny O'Halloran (Lemon Drop Gang), Ryen Eggleston (Golden Boots) and Sean Rogers (Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, Silver Thread Trio). Tunes found on MySpace include a spare, accordion-driven instrumental ("Jug or Not"), a mandolin-abetted tune sung by Rogers that reminds a bit of Will Oldham ("Far Out at Sea") and a pair of songs on which Dickson is allowed to do her charming thang unfettered ("Jesus," "Wine for the Sadness").
Awkward Moments perform a free CD-release show on the patio at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m., next Thursday, May 14. Also performing are Naim Amor and The Fell City Shouts. For further 411, call 622-8848.
The locally based Earth First! Journal, the 29-year-old "internationally circulated environmental publication that covers the campaigns of action-oriented grassroots organizations from around the world," according to a press release, is holding an event at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., on Saturday, May 9.
From 6 to 8 p.m., the event will feature presentations by speakers from local environmental-outreach organizations and short films. Then, from 8 p.m. onward, the musical portion of the night takes over, with performances from Spirit Familia, Planet Jam, The Wayback Machine, Combo Westside and Greg Morton and the String Figures. Several local organizations will also have information tables present. Admission is $5. For more information, call 623-3200.
The Hard Truth Soldiers Tour 2009 brings a pack of talented, socially aware rappers to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8:30 p.m., Friday, May 8. On the bill are Talib Kweli, Paris, Planet Asia, Kam, T-K.A.S.H. and Sellassie. Tickets are $22 in advance, or $24 on the day of the show. 740-1000.
A benefit "to raise awareness of bikes on the road and funds to build the Kory Laos Memorial BMX Bike Park" will go down at 6 p.m. at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Sunday, May 10. Performers include N.Y.C., Hemlock, Stands With Fists, Angelic to Ashes, Cities Like These, Sinister Mustard and Double Speak. $15. 629-9211.
Jenny Owen Youngs, a fine singer-songwriter whose chamber-ish rock and pop songs (with just a hint of theatricality à la Nellie McKay) are buoyed by her delicate, lilting voice, arrives at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, May 12, in advance of her upcoming album, Transmitter Failure, which will be released later this month on RCA/Nettwerk. Jukebox the Ghost opens at 9 p.m. $7 in advance, $8 day of. 622-8848.
The Tucson Jazz Institute presents the Seventh Annual Mother's Day Big Band Concert, with local jazz acts, including special guest saxophonist Brice Winston, performing jazz and big band hits from the '30s, '40s and '50s, at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 10, at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets—$20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors—will be available at the door, or in advance by calling 514-0935.
Scott Weiland at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, May 12; the Zydepunks, Gabriel Sullivan and Amy Rude on the patio at Hotel Congress on Monday, May 11; Tom Goss at Crave Espresso Bar on Wednesday, May 13; The Grough and Eligh, edIT and Afro Classics at Club Congress on Wednesday, May 13; Ninja Academy and fourfivesix at Plush on Wednesday, May 13; Bass for Your Fucking Face featuring 12th Planet, Calculon, Ultrablack and M.F.D. at Club Congress on Friday, May 8; The Tryst and Combo Westside at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, May 8; Flagrante Delicto and Chris Black with Thoger Lund and Gabriel Sullivan at The Red Room at Grill tonight, Thursday, May 7; New Found Glory, Bayside, Set Your Goals and Fireworks at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, May 10.