“Yes, the world has come undone a lot these days, but we are all in it together, and music helps get us through,” says Cardinal Moon by way of introducing their new album Come Undone, which was recently completed and released via a crowdfunding campaign. The group is a collaborative project headed by Redwoods Collective honcho Alfred Howard and singer/songwriter Dawn Mitschele Henry. “These are special songs we’ve been working on for a while, and I just love the collaborative process with this band,” says Henry. “I put Alfred Howard’s brilliant lyrics to music, and the band fills the songs out and gives them their energy.” Guest players on the album include keyboardists Josh Rice (who plays with Howard in the Heavy Guilt) and Daniel Schraer (Nervous Wreckords), as well as fellow Redwoods Collective singers Dani Bell (sans the Tarantist), Emily Reilly (Birdy Bardot), and Shelbi Bennett (the Midnight Pine). “Our previous drummer Dylan Jones, who moved out of town, is very missed and we are so grateful for the huge part he played in rounding out these songs,” says Henry. The album was engineered by Jordan Andreen and Austin Burns, mixed and mastered by Mike Butler, and produced by Alfred Howard with Transfer singer-guitarist Matthew Molarius.
Back to the Garden
The Belly Up continues to host both national and local acts on their stage, in an otherwise mostly empty venue, for an online livestream series that includes package deals as well as individual performances. The November 27 edition features Back to the Garden: The Sounds of the Laurel Canyon, with a collection of locals paying tribute to the peaceful easy feeling music of The Eagles, The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, The Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Jackson Browne, and other ‘70s SoCal icons who came out of that eucalyptus-scented canyon in the Hollywood Hills. With setlists that also include music from Woodstock and The Last Waltz, guest players have included Jim Soldi (Picus Maximus, Montezuma’s Revenge), Marc “Twang” Intravaia (Berkley Hart Selis Twang), Rick Nash (Soul Persuaders, Forecast), Larry Grano (Soul Persuaders, Four Eyes), and keyboardist Sharon Whyte. Other upcoming Belly Up livestreams include the White Buffalo (November 6), Pato Banton (November 13), and Los Lobos: Still Home For the Holidays (December 11).
Crooner Jonathan Karrant grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he was first exposed to musical influences such as Little Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer known for his high contralto voice, and smooth jazz icon Mel Torme. He specializes in the sounds of the American Songbook as epitomized by classic performers such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, James Darren, Nat King Cole, Mose Allison, Burt Bacharach, Johnny Hartman, and Cole Porter. Among his awards are the New York City Jazz Cabaret Honors, “Best Singer” for the Bravo California Awards, and he was named one of the top 12 rising jazz vocalists by Downbeat Magazine. His 2012 full-length On and On hit number four on the Billboard Jazz charts, and his 2018 album Jonathan Karrant Live was recorded live at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. Karrant just released a new single with a jazzy arrangement of the popular song “All I Want for Christmas is You” that features Charles McNeal on sax, James Whiting on vibes, Patrick Hogan on piano, Nick Schmitt on bass, and Jeremy Klewicki on drums.
Since his self-titled debut in 1993, A.J. Croce has worked with T. Bone Burnett, Jim Keltner, and Ry Cooder, among others, with his CDs charting at various times in just about every genre, including jazz, Americana, blues, AAA, and the American college radio chart. His first all-covers album, By Request, was just released and contains twelve personally curated remakes that traverse decades and genres, including a soulful version of the 1970 hit “Ooh Child” by The Five Stairsteps. It’s the first album Croce has released since losing his wife of 24 years, Marlo Croce, after a sudden heart ailment, and the first to feature his full touring band: Gary Mallaber on drums (Van Morrison, Steve Miller band), bassist David Barard (Allen Toussaint, Dr. John), and up-and-coming guitarist Garrett Stoner. By Request also covers Motown artist Shorty Long’s “Ain’t No Justice,” Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing,” Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (remade as a gospel track), and Allen Toussaint’s “Brickyard Blues,” as well as piano-driven arrangements of songs by Sam Cooke, The Faces, and more. Guitar star Robben Ford guests on a version of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee’s “Better Day.” For the Beach Boys’ “Sail On Sailor,” Croce says, “I re-imagined the arrangement, wondering how Willie Dixon would have recorded it if he were on psychedelics.”
Originally based in Santa Cruz and often featuring ten or more members, Boostive incorporates musical influences ranging from world and dub to soul, hip-hop, and psychedelic rock. After putting out a series of EPs, their debut album Cream Supreme was released last year, with a cover designed by local artist Thomas Condry of the Malarkey Collective. The album features 14 different musicians from all over California, with a four-piece horn section and four featured vocalists. The majority was recorded live to tape with a full ten piece band at Eastwest Studios in Hollywood (where David Bowie mixed Iggy Pop’s Raw Power), with additional overdubs completed at local Rarified studios and Chubb Dub Studios in Ocean Beach. Now signed to Stoopid Records, run by local reggae-rock stars Slightly Stoopid, the band’s second single for the label dropped this past summer, “Grow Along,” featuring newest member Divina Jasso, aka Divina Dub. They have a new psychedelic single out this month called “See I,” and a live performance of “Grow Along” is streaming online, recorded on a TouchMix-30 Pro digital mixer at the Template in Ocean Beach.