Man of Mystery, Man of Music
But I am one busy little beaver. As well as working as a bookseller, doing web work for other people, writing columns, reviews, articles and (now) computer games, and fighting crime in Gotham City while dressed as a giant flying rodent, I've now taken on a new title: Music Guy.
Yep, I'm now running the music program at the newest coffee joint in Palmdale, BUTLER'S COFFEE, that just opened in Palmdale. The owners, (Pam and Dave Logan) and I have big plans (BIG plans) for Butler's music program.
We're currently seeking local, acoustic-based musicians and singer/songwriters interested in showcasing their skills before a live audience. Folk, jazz, rock, soul, pop, blues... we're open to it all. We're hoping to offer an eclectic but welcoming coffeehouse atmosphere, something currently sorely lacking in the Antelope Valley. And if we accidentally stumble on the next Bob Dylan -- well, we'll just have to risk it.
(And one fine day, I'd LOVE to have a murder ballad evening...)
Don't come looking for a mosh pit, smoke bombs, forty-three-piece choreographed dance troupes or ear-bleeding volume, though. It's more a family place, so think more quiet thunder. The passion should be in the performance, not the volume -- just good honest coffee and good honest music.
So, no nudity, no profanity, no human sacrifice, please. You want that, there's a WalMart across the street.
Anyway, last Tuesday night they had their first gig at Butlers, and the response was very gratifying -- to the point they were running out of chairs. Three local acts, all hailing from the Palmdale/Lancaster area, played before an enthusiastic crowd.
VINCE MARCONNETTE, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, kicked things off with a short, spirited set of originals and a couple of covers -- one by Townes Van Zandt and "Mutineer," a minor gem of a ballad from the Warren Zevon songbook. Vince's wry take on the vagaries of love and heartbreak -- plus his easy rapport with the audience -- set the tone for a great night of music.
Vince was followed by the mighty-voiced ALLIE TAYLOR (all of fifteen years old) on guitar and vocals, accompanied by her older brother MAX THE MIGHTY on percussion and her father BOB on guitar and banjo. The Taylor's set featured country-tinged covers of several current pop hits that ranged from Katy Perry ad Avril Lavigne to the Dixie Chicks, and was boisterously received by the crowd.
And local classical guitarist JULIAN CORPEÑO closed off the evening with a deftly played and sensitive repertoire that drew gasps of delight at his sheer artistry. As fellow musician Marconnette remarked, "Man, he can play. That fandango, I tell you, people just don't respect this music enough." As if his musicianship wasn't enough, though, Julian played a crowd-pleasing rendition of the Beatles' "Yesterday" -- a song he learned specifically for his Butler's debut.
All in all, it was a great night of music, and bodes well for Butler's music program. Buter's even had their first celebrity spotting -- TV and film actor and former Hardy Boys' star Parker Stevenson (See? There's even a crime fiction tie-in!).
(Actually, the Parker sighting is a good indication I'm still a Montrealer at heart. I saw him and my first reaction was "Hmmmm... that guy looks a little bit like Frank Hardy," and forgot about it. All the natives, though, took one look at him and started whispering among themselves, askiing "What's Parker Stevenson doing here?")
This Saturday, October 28, Ginkgo recording artist ANNA LAUBE, originally from San Francisco, will be playing Butler's in our first SHOWCASE. Accompanying herself on guitar and harmonica, Anna will be playing her own brand of Americana -- a rootsy mix of folk, blues and country originals with a sprinkling of well-chosen covers by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, and Jolie Holland. According to NPR, Anna sings "with a strong voice reminiscent of Neko Case or Jenny Lewis" and C|NET Download.com compliments her on her "torchy pop" and "burnished tunes."
And Tuesday, October 28, we'll have our second action-packed SEMI-OPEN MIKE NIGHT. Butler's will be offering the musical stylings of three (Count 'em, THREE!) acts:
TYLER GOUCHER is a young Lancaster singer/songwriter whose genre-straddling acoustic-styled Indie rock is a reflection of every situation he's encountered and all the people he's met.
DAVID JAMES is a Lancaster singer/songwriter with over fifteen years of performing under his belt who lists Damien Rice, Oasis and the Dave Matthews Band as influences. Although he plays in a rock band, he's looking forward to getting his solo acoustc guitar-driven music out in front of the public.
Originally hailing from Boston, PETE RICHARD with JULIA AUDREY bring their eclectic acoustic/singer-songwriter/blue-eyed folkie soul/alt-country mix, a mash-up of everyone from Johnny Cash & June Carter to Radiohead, to Southern California.
If any of you are in the area, or feel like taking a drive into the High Desert, Butler's Coffee is located at 40125 10th St .West in Palmdale. Those of you on the East Coast or Montreal might want to leave a little early to avoid that mid-continent traffic mess.
Those interested in playing at Butler's can pick up a form there or by visiting their web site. You can also see who else is playing.