On the Beauty Way: Clan Dyken – Sat. Nov. 22

Clan Dyken has been doing it for years every fall in the weeks before Thanksgiving. The eco-conscious hippie rockers head out from their homes in the Sierras on something they call the “Revive the Beauty Way Tour.” The family band journeys through California and Oregon in a biodiesel bus (or one time on bicycles) gathering donations of cash and food to take to the Big Mountain/Black Mesa region in Arizona, home of the Navajo Dineh people. The Dineh have been struggling to hold on against the infamous Peabody Coal Company who have strip-mined their ancestral land. (Remember John Prine’s “Paradise“?) Clan Dyken honors the elders and brings the people organic turkeys, quilts, firewood and other gifts or an alt. Thanksgiving. They do it with a little help from their friends. There is beauty along the way.

The Black Mountain Beauty Way Tour stops in Humboldt on Saturday for a benefit dinner and concert at Bayside Grange #500 with Clan Dyken and some local friends including psychedelic folky Joanne Rand, Arcata reggae band Into the Current, ThunderCloud and Goodshield, plus emcee Darryl Cherney (who might bring along his guitar for a couple of songs). The dinner/dance concert runs from afternoon until night, 4 p.m. to midnight. $10 donation to help the cause, more if you’ve got it.   

Says Mark Dyken,

After a one year hiatus we are going back to the land of the Dineh. Elders have passed on and those that remain are facing some very troubled times including live stock impoundment, arrests and large fines. Black Mesa Indigenous Support has updates on the current situation, including photos and first hand accounts of the suffering elders are facing.

With your help we’ve been able to connect for a long time to the people still holding sacred space with language, song, ceremony and a connection to the land. We are once again calling for your support in the form of your dance at the shows before we head to the high desert to deliver food, firewood and other supplies to this special group of people. Of course you are welcome to join the caravan for the journey of a lifetime, into a land and way of life that remain hidden in plain view from most. It’s a small tour to long time supportive communities and then on to the land to bring your gifts and good will to the people. We’re excited to get out and bring some new and old songs to life with you.


Beastie Meters

The local band Naive Melodies has been filling dance floors here and on the road playing catchy tunes by the Talking Heads, as they say, “All. Night. Long.” Keys/bassman Matt Engel dropped me a line about this Friday’s special Naive Melodies show at the Jambalaya (as in Nov. 21) with an evening of New Orleans funk a la The Meters, alongside funky Brooklyn hip hop by the Beastie Boys, together dubbed Beastie Meters. Special guests? Check. Will people dance? Highly likely. All. Night. Long.

Here’s what Matt says:

We’re going to put the THeads aside for the evening, roll back the BPM’s to a nice, dirty Funk tempo, and play 2 sets of all Beastie Boys and the Meters. A bunch of our friends will join us – including Brian Swislow, Jesse Jonathon, Michael Dieter, Stephen “Fuzz” Bernhardt, Leah Crenshaw, Tyler Martin, Beams Laser & Lighting and more.

We brought this show to the Boom Boom Room in SF this past weekend and it was awesome. Really looking forward to presenting it to our hometown crowd. Get it while it’s hot… might just be a one time thing.

If this sounds like big fun, well, you’d better be there.

Eel River Delta 38x58 oil on canvas copy

Stock Schlueter:  Being Here

Stock Schlueter was part of the last show at HSU’s First Street Gallery in Eureka – he did a collection of views of Humboldt Bay as part of a group exhibition of works focused on the bay. But starting next week and running until just before Christmas, he has more walls to fill, as he mounts a solo show. He is definitely “here,” a Humboldt painter though and through. I can’t wait to see the rest of this selection work.

The gallery sent over a few pieces as a preview  and a press notice along with them:

Humboldt Bay #5 (x12 oil on panel copy

Humboldt State University First Street Gallery presents, Being Here, a solo exhibition of landscape paintings by Stock Schlueter. Being Here opens Tuesday, November 25 and runs through Tuesday, December 23. Stock Schlueter has been painting the landscape, primarily focusing on Northern California as his subject,  for over 45 years. In his studio in downtown Eureka and on location, Schlueter works only under natural light. With a deep understanding of color and light, while employing a contemporary edge in his composition, Schlueter expertly portrays Northern California’s natural beauty.

The connection between artist Stock Schlueter and his subject matter has had a profound impact on his success. As a youth, raised in remote Willow Creek, California, surrounded by vast forests, mountains and rivers, Schlueter spent his free time exploring uncharted territory. His initial appreciation for the natural world paved the way to his future success as an artist. Schlueter states, “I crawled around in the mountains all my life. The landscape is a big part of my own upbringing and of my soul. I spent so much time in it. I don’t have to imagine what a madrone tree looks like. I know exactly what it looks like.”   

Schlueter’s early years in Northern California led him to College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California where he was an athlete, focusing primarily in football, wrestling and track. He earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado. Majoring in art, he took every art class available, but describes his greatest training as “just being a painter”. Upon graduation from the University of Northern Colorado, he moved back to California’s North Coast and began working with his father in the forest as a timber faller. Soon realizing that working full-time compromised his real passion to make art, he traded it all in to paint full-time. In fact, he spent about five years living out of his truck and camper, painting outside, and coming to nearby Arcata, California, to occasionally exhibit his works. It took about five years of this before Schlueter decided to settle down and get a studio.

Schlueter’s appreciation for the simple life is reflected in the world in which he surrounds himself. Nestled away in his cozy studio in Old Town, Eureka, he places his easel directly under a skylight, refusing to paint under anything but natural light. “I really don’t like artificial light. It changes the colors… I’m really tuned into the natural light process.”

Stock Schlueter’s paintings, which depict the landscape of Northern California, offer a subtle array of qualities concerned with both subject matter and a pure love of design. Initially, these scenes strike the viewer as beautiful, realistic renditions of the countryside replete with intriguing trees, attractive skyscapes, bodies of water and country roads. The eye is then drawn toward the depth of the spaces created here and the liveliness they lend to the interplay of those compositional elements. This magnetic quality of his work owes to the fact that underlying his subjects is a masterful, modern approach to composition and design.

Stock Schlueter: Being Here, is partially funded by a grant from the Humboldt Art Council Beverly Faben Artist Fund and by generous community donors.

The exhibition will run from November 25 through December 23. A public reception for the artist will be held during Eureka Main Street’s Arts Alive on Saturday, December 6th from 6 to 9 p.m. First Street Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. HSU First Street Gallery will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on November 28. The gallery is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California.  Admission is always free.  School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours.  For more information, please call 707.443.6363 or go to the gallery web site at

Eel River Delta 38x58 oil on canvas copy


Cellist Sebastian Baverstam – ECMS Nov. 21

Eureka Chamber Music series presents cellist Sebastian Baverstam with Constantine Finehouse on piano and Emily Daggett-Smith on violin at Calvary Lutheran Church, 716 South Ave. Eureka, CA. Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 @ 7:30pm, doors 7pm

Program: J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BMV 1007 

Cesar Franck:  Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major

Johannes Brahms: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello, Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op. 8 

Meet the artist reception follows each concert.

Tickets $30 – In an effort to acquaint the young with the wonders of great music, student prices are just $5. ​Calvary Lutheran Church members $15


Five Questions for Ship in the Clouds

Ship in the Clouds is a new acoustic trio led by banjo picker Jake Schepps with guitarist Scott Nygaard, and violinist Alisa Rose. They are playing at the Arcata Playhouse on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 8 pm.

Jake graciously answered a few questions about where the band comes from and where they’re going.

Who are you? 

My name is Jake Schepps.  I have played 5-string banjo for over 20 years, being initially inspired to pick up the instrument by seeing Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at the 1991 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.  Along my musical path, I studied with a multitude of banjo players as well as other instrumentalists (trumpet, sitar, guitar, violin, and more).  I am a bandleader, composer, arranger, session musician, author, journalist, educator, and collaborator. 

Where are you from?

I live in Boulder, Colorado. Scott Nygaard is in Fairfax, California, and Alisa Rose lives in San Francisco. 

What do you do? 

I play banjo professionally, having recorded 4 albums under my own name, but most notably my last album was all music by the great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok arranged for string band.  I have a new album “Entwined” coming out on January 27, 2015.  The music on this album represents some of the first ever long-form works written by classical composers for the traditional 5-piece bluegrass string band, an ensemble that was solidified when banjoist Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys in 1945. By commissioning these pieces, I hope to offer a fresh perspective on this iconic instrumental combination, and a prismatic view into these four fascinating compositional worlds.

I also teach wilderness medicine for the National Outdoor Leadership School.  It is an incredibly job that requires me to find creativity within a tight structure, not unlike the music I play.  Keeping a medical class engaging, humorous, and with the appropriate amount of gravitas is a constant challenge, and adding all those elements to a concert, or even a solo, is something I strive for, and on occasion even hit the mark.  

Why do you do what you do?

I love the intellectual and literary aspect of playing music.  In some ways, I see the practice of music as a mountain I will never finish climbing (and if I ever got near the top, I can always work on “Giant Steps” in all 12 keys).  And playing folk music, and folk related styles, I am coming to understand it takes a lifetime to sound good in any of these styles.  While some of these kinds of music may not be as harmonically or rhythmically sophisticated as other forms of music, it is no less challenging to sound authentic in these forms and musical languages.  I draw incredible inspiration from this, and the more I learn and study and collaborate, the more inspired I become. 

Where does the Ship in the Clouds sail? Where does it fit into the panorama of the world’s music?

Ship in the Clouds sailed from the fjords of Scandinavia to the streets of Brazil. We traverses the mountains of Romania to rural of North Carolina, while visiting island destinations as diverse as Sicily and Manhattan.  

All three of us love playing bluegrass, yet in this day an age of access to the world;s treasure troves of music stylings, we have found many other places to venture.  Scott has delved deep into Swedish folk music, Alisa has this amazing background with the Real Vocal String Quartet, arranging diverse material for that instrumentation, and I play a wide spectrum of music, and have a deep love for Brazilian choro music, the asymmetrical rhythms of eastern Europe, and countless other harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic explorations. 

Hopes and plans for the future, short term and long term?

Both Alisa and I have new solo albums coming out in the near future, and we all hope this trio setting offers an opportunity to play that music.  We also have plans for recording this trio sometime in 2015. 

Tickets for the Ship in the Clouds show Sunday at the Arcata Playhouse are $15 at the door, $13 for Playhouse members. Doors open at 7:30 pm.

Mirah - Changing Light

Mirah Tonight

Featured image

It was a long time ago when I met Mirah and got to hear her make her music, in fact it was ten years ago, and she was turning 30. Back then she figured, “maybe people will stop thinking I’m 15, and start thinking I’m 20 or something.”

A few years, a few songs (and albums) down the road and she still looks like she could be 20-something, but her songs have an honesty and maturity that show how much she’s grown. She unleashed a new record this year, on her own label (also new), a division of K Records. It’s good, deep and honest work. Listen.

You’ll get a chance to hear some of her songs tonight, Monday, Nov. 10, at The Sanctuary, with Ruby Fray (“dark psych folk”) from Austin, and local boy Matt Summers (aka Blood Orphans). The Sanctuary is at 1301 J St. right by a turnaround. Doors are at 7 pm, music at 7:30. Be there.

Here’s a song from her record:

And here’s what K has to say about Changing Light:

Changing Light is Mirah‘s fifth solo album and the debut release on her new imprint, Absolute Magnitude Recordings.

Mirah wrote Changing Light in the years-long aftermath of a punishing breakup. Maybe it’s the amount of time it took for the material to gestate, or maybe it’s the thoughtfulness and patience gleaned from a nearly 20-year career, but Changing Light keeps looking at her ache from wise angles. Nervy and sonically inventive in spots, tender and graceful in others, it’s a breakup record that eschews childish outbursts and pointless wallowing.

“So this is anger / I’ve never known her,” Mirah sings in the album-opening “Goat Shepherd.” That line sums up much of what makes Changing Light resonate: It assesses unfamiliar emotions and bruising circumstances through the prism of a worldview that’s never made much room for petty meanness. The hurt feels more real this way, the anger channeled via disappointed seething rather than furniture-flinging catharsis.

Along the way, Mirah — who recorded the album piecemeal in spots scattered across the country — recruited musical assistance from Mary Timony, Jherek Bischoff, and members of Deerhoof and tUnE-yArDs, among others. All give her ample breathing space, with plenty of room left over for hollowed-out resignation (“Fleet Foot Ghost”) as Mirah works her way past “24th St.,” which stands out for the way it recasts its narrator as an aggressor who dishes out emotional punishment rather than absorbing it. But Changing Light, like the singer herself, keeps returning to the right place: a spot where pain is examined as a means of achieving perspective, rather than an end unto itself.

Return of The Hum

After taking a hiatus since May 2013, for reasons I’m not going to get into right now, The Hum returned last week with a new print platform with the Mad River Union. I’m working on the web home, with some big plans that may or may not come to fruition, but for now let’s get back to the digital Hum here.