PHOTOS: Santa Cruz Blues Festival 2014

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Photos by Susan J Weiand //

The 22nd Annual Santa Cruz Blues Festival //
Aptos Village Park — Aptos, CA
May 24th-25th, 2014 //

Set in beautiful Aptos Village Park in nearby Aptos, Calif., the Santa Cruz Blues Festival has hosted many blues legends over years, including BB King, Albert Collins, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles. This year, some talented new-comers and a couple of heavy hitters graced the stage during the two-day festival.

Great weather and enthusiastic audiences provided a backdrop to the music. Saturday saw performances by bluesy diva Nikki Hill, a rare appearance by Dave Alvin and his brother Phil Alvin, powerhouse funksters Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and rootsy bluesman Tab Benoit from New Orleans, and the legendary Gregg Allman and his band. Sunday brought guitar-playing rising star Ana Popovic, Black Crowe’s Rich Robinson with his own band, crowd-pleasing Jackie Greene, Vintage Trouble (who blew the crowd away with its powerful R&B and stage presence) and popular crooner Chris Isaak.

PHOTOS: Rebelution at The Independent 2/25

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Photos by Susan J Weiand //

The Independent’s 10th Anniversary featuring Rebelution with Thrive and Brass Magic
The Independent – San Francisco
February 25th, 2014

Santa Barbara’s Rebelution performed at The Independent last week as part of the venue’s 10th anniversary celebration. The world-influenced reggae theme of the night was supported by Thrive and Brass Magic, and Susan Weiand was on the scene — view her snaps below.

PHOTOS: Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers at The Fillmore 1/25

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Photos by Susan J Weiand //

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers with Goodnight, Texas //
The Fillmore — San Francisco
Saturday, January 25 2014 //

Your first show at the Fillmore is a big deal for any musician or band, but when that show sells out weeks in advance, you know you are on the right track. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers are squarely on that track and this train ain’t slowing down. Saturday night’s show was a special one for the local rising stars anchored by the charismatic and emotional songstress, Nicki Bluhm. “Jetplane” would open the evening in grand style as the eclectic crowd got their dancing feet moving, gearing up for one of the bands biggest shows to date. Old favorite, “Barbary Blues” eventually led into the first guesting spot by fellow locals Magik*Magik Orchestra (who they will be joining at the Fox this Friday) as they joined the Gramblers on the track, “Nothin'”. A cover of the Easy Leaves’ “Another Rolling Stone” was another highlight before wrapping it all up with a 3-song encore featuring the return of members of Magik*Magik. Nicki’s stage presence is electric, and we can only expect to see and hear more exciting things from this local group.

PHOTOS: Dead Winter Carpenters at the Independent 1/10

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Photos by Susan J Weiand //

Dead Winter Carpenters pulled their well-traveled minibus into San Francisco and damn near sold out the Independent on a Friday night (January 10), a big feat for the Tahoe-based group. Along with American Nomad and Sleeping Giants, Dead Winter Carpenters threw down one heck of a folkified, Americana-leaning shindig full of wonderfully dynamic originals and some seriously left-field covers that all lent to a massively successful evening.