Evening’s Empire is an alternative rock band fronted by Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego honcho Shannon Woods, aka Shannon Sabin of the reformed Dinettes, alongside guitarist Sam Strohbehn and bassist David Skolnik. They released their first single “Movies” last May, in advance of their July album Alive For Us. Another single appeared near the end of the year, “Lay Low,” with all proceeds donated to KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), an organization devoted exclusively to helping and representing children of immigrants and refugees. “Living in a border city, the stark differences of life here vs across the wall are glaringly present,” says the band. “We believe that how we treat those most in need reflects who we are, what we stand for, and the America we strive to be. Every day, we see people making choices to save themselves and their families from life-threatening situations, poverty, and oppression. We do not support the government’s inhumane treatment of these families.” The group recently performed an acoustic set for Palapalooza online, featuring two original songs planned for their upcoming album, “She Can Save” and “Tonight.” The latter song can be heard in the new film Eat Wheaties, due for release April 30. It’s directed by Scott Abramovitch and stars Tony Hale and Elisha Cuthbert.
The daughter of local Grammy-winning artist Steve Vaus, Anna Vaus grew up in San Diego before moving to Nashville to make her mark as a country music singer-songwriter. Her Saving This Kiss EP was released in 2013. Three years later, while still a student at Belmont College of Entertainment and Music Business, Vaus was selected as Miranda Lambert’s first-ever recipient of the Women Creators Fund scholarship. The award provided Vaus with more than $40,000 in scholarship funds beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year. Over the next few years, several singles were released, including “Champagne Problems” and “In Bloom.” Her upcoming sophomore EP, co-produced by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Luke Laird and due this summer, has already spawned a hit single for “Girl In A Bar,” which was recently cited in Rolling Stone’s “must-hear” country picks of the week. A video for the track was directed by her college film student brother Jacob Vaus and shot on an outdoor set in a Poway parking lot outfitted to look like a pre-pandemic bar.
Allison Adams Tucker.
Photograph by Michael Klayman
Multi-lingual vocalist Allison Adams Tucker was raised by classically trained musicians, studying violin, flute, dance, and voice while still in elementary school. She attended high school in Solana Beach before attending a Christian school in Indiana and earning her BA in Linguistics and Music. After travelling abroad to Japan and Spain for a few years, she returned in 2000 to San Diego, where her debut CD Come With Me was nominated Best Jazz Album at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards. The album was co-produced by local jazz guitarist Peter Sprague, who also had her sing on his all-vocal full-length Calling Me Home. She toured the world several times, recording one album in France, April in Paris, which dropped in 2014 on on Herbie Hancock’s annual International Jazz Day. Tucker will be among the performers on April 30 for this year’s International Jazz Day livestream event featuring 16 artists performing in 10 cities around the world, including L.A., San Francisco, and New York, as well as cities in Brazil, England, and Japan. Performers include Marcus Miller, Lang Lang, Igor Butman, Youn Sun Nah, Alune Wade, Ethan Capone, Josh Nelson, Rebecca Kleinmann, and Ian Faquini.
Jazz guitarist Peter Sprague began playing at age 12, studying with San Diego guitarist Bill Coleman. He formed the jazzy Minor Jazz Quintet with like-minded schoolmates before embarking on a year of study at the Interlochen Arts Academy, taking lessons from Pat Metheny in Boston and performing with Chick Corea’s band. Sprague began his recording career in the late ’70s, with several releases on the Xanadu label (The Path, Message Sent On the Wind, Bird Raga), before moving to the larger Concord Jazz Records, which released Musica Del Mar and Na Pali Coast. He has since acquired the rights to all of his albums and made them available via his own label, SBE, which stands for “striving-to-break even.” Sprague originally moved with his family from Cleveland to Del Mar at age eight and has become a fixture in the local jazz scene, along with brother Tripp (sax and flute) and father Hall T. Sprague (percussion). He has released collaborative albums with Leonard Patton (Dream Walkin’) and Randy Phillips (Sparks and Seeds), and his Spragueland studio is a longstanding favorite among local musicians. Sprague will perform during the San Diego segment of the International Jazz Day livestream event on April 30.
R&B singer Durell Anthony was born and raised in Kansas, attending Benedictine College on a vocal scholarship. After receiving his Bachelors degree, he pursued careers in both counseling and education. A summer job in San Diego as a fitness counselor led him to relocate to California in 2010, where he joined the Black Belt Jones Band. He later became a member of the Mighty Untouchables, as well as leading his own R&B band, the Durell Anthony Collective. His single “Dreams” was released in 2018, followed by an EP in 2019 and “Speechless” (written for his daughter) in 2020. He once appeared on an NBC Elvis Presley TV special. “I was a part of a small group singing backup for Yolonda Adams and Carrie Underwood,” he told the Reader. “Elvis performed a special in 1968, and this special was a 50-year anniversary tribute to that. We performed a couple of his gospel songs.” Anthony recently competed on the television talent competition The Voice, where he earned accolades from John Legend and Kelly Clarkson for his performance of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” He's planning on releasing a new single this month, "Be With You."