Jeffrey Silverstein's Bay Area mix
Vetiver, “Rolling Sea” ft. Fruit Bats
Andy Cabic has long been one of my favorite songwriters. Along with Vashti Bunyan and Devendra Banhart, Vetiver’s earliest albums including a self-titled 2004 release and 2006’s To Find Me Gone were highly influential to me as I worked through my earliest attempts at songwriting in college.
I had the privilege of performing with them around when Tight Knit came out — the band was super tight and included members of Pure Bathing Culture. “Rolling Sea” is the first tune off that LP and I’ve never tired of it. It might be one of my most played songs of all time. Cabic has been doing duo tours with another favorite of mine, Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats for years and recently Spacebomb Records released a live album of the two performing together. Their delivery/guitar-playing works together so well and listening you are clued in to just how tight knit the two of them are as both friends and musicians.
Mikayla McVey, “Willow Song”
I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Mikayla will be able to join me for my first ever show in the Bay Area at Hotel Utah. I stumbled upon Mikayla’s music via a Bandcamp tag search (thank you Bandcamp for this feature!) and was immediately taken back by her latest release, Desert Companion, which was recorded live to tape at Long Road Studios in Oakland. It’s deep, acid-fried cosmic cowgirl music, McVey’s guitar-playing and vocals yielding more power and emotion than most bands get at with a full ensemble. Released via the Long Road Society, I absolutely cannot wait to hear these songs live for the first time on August 6.
Grateful Dead, “Bird Song” (8.27.1972)
Had to do it. Truth be told it took me a long time to get into the Dead, but I’m so glad I found my own way to them. In high-school I wanted nothing to do with the music of my older brother (Phish, DMB, Moe., etc.) so it’s only over the past few years that I’ve fully immersed myself in Dead culture. Two years ago I fell in love with Jerry’s first solo LP, Garcia and specifically the tune “Bird Song”, a hidden elegy to the late Janis Joplin. The main riff is just too much fun. This particular version is from one of my favorite live sets from ‘72 in Veneta, OR. All I know is something like a bird within her sang.
Sonny & The Sunsets, “Pretend You Love Me”
Sonny Smith has been a champion of the Bay-Area arts community for well over a decade. His output across music, theatre, visual art and has been incessant. Speaking with him for Aquarium Drunkard in 2015 was one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done. He recently launched a new label of his own called Rocks in Your Head to help further showcase the talent in and around San Francisco. “Pretend You Love Me” has one my favorite bass-lines of all time and is off a record he did for Polyvinyl in 2012 called Longtime Companion. Digging through the Sunsets catalog is great because there is really no bad place to start.
Dick Stusso, “This is What I’m Doing”
Dick Stusso was a fairly recent find for me and came via a recommendation from a close friend. Just try to not bop your head to “This is What I’m Doing”, I dare you. It reminded me of the blues-y garage of Austin’s The Strange Boys and the entire record released via Oakland’s Vacant Stare Records is best described by the Bay Bridged as a psychotic Gram Parsons with a four track and a drum machine. Hoping to catch a Stusso set in Portland sometime real soon.
Jeffrey Silverstein plays live at San Francisco’s iconic Hotel Utah August 6 with Mikayla McVey and Tanbark.
Catch Jeffrey Silverstein on the following tour dates: