King Douglas And His Court

Was it just a coincidence or did they seat me on purpose one row behind Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan and in between Montecito’s Glen Phillips and rock scribe (and guitarist) Joe Woodard at Jerry Douglas’s concert at the Lobero last week?

Whatever the reasons, watching the master Dobroist perform a generous three-hour show was only heightened by the amused smiles and occasional gasps emanating from the eminent local ax-men nearby.

The concert found Douglas – no stranger to these parts as he’s played everywhere from Live Oak to the Bowl and a Sings Like Hell date at the same venue – stretching out in a variety of directions, all of which showcased either his astonishing dexterity or his infallible musicality, or (most frequently) both, with results that nearly always pleased both the audience and his own sense of nuanced improvisation.

All hail the King.

Montecito Music

Former Montecito resident Ian Bernard (he now calls Santa Ynez Valley home) plays a tribute to Bill Evans, the great pianist-composer whose influence still rings loudly today, in a return gig to SOhO nightclub under the aegis of the SB Jazz Society. Pianist Bernard, whose credits date back to serving as music director of TV’s classic “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” performs with singer Stephanie Haynes, bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Paul Kreibach, musicians who have played with Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson and many others. Showtime is 1-4 pm on Sunday, September 9, and tickets are $10. Call 805-962-7776.

SOhO is also the setting for a quick visit home by Montecito rock band Tripdavon on Thursday, September 13. The group is just back from performing in Mexico and is on its way to Japan and Guam later this month. On August 1, they won FameCast Fenom for 2007, pocketing $10,000 along the way.

Jazz singer Kimberly Ford, who holds down a monthly gig performing standards and originals at Stella Mare by the bird refuge in Baja Montecito, sings selections from her fine new thematic solo CD “Songs in the Key of Sea” at SOhO on Monday evening ($7).

Finally, perhaps I’m stretching the local connection a bit here, but Bay Area band Blame Sally – which shows up at SOhO on Sunday on a bill with the bluesy singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill – used to play the annual quasi-private party-concert Shobefest on a regular basis, dating back to when it was held in the hills of Montecito. If you’ve never seen this truly fun Americana outfit, perhaps their own website serves as the best introduction: “Dallas has its Dixie Chicks, and San Francisco has Blame Sally, the difference being, among other things, that Blame Sally's music is a little more indie, a little less country, a little more brainy and Blame Sally released their potent anti-war song in 2001.” It’s that number, “If You Tell a Lie,” that serves as the connection between the two performers: they’re both in heavy rotation on Neil Young’s “Living With War” website. Admission is $15.

Going South

It’s pretty easy to understand how South Coasters got a reputation for being so provincial once you move to Santa Barbara. But it’s worth the 100-mile trip to the great metropolis this week. The country/outlaw-tinged alt-folk singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams takes over the El Rey Theatre on Wilshire in Los Angeles for five nights beginning Wednesday, September 5, performing a different album from her catalogue in its entirety, along with other songs, each night. Any of the shows would be well worth hearing, but if you can’t make a week out of it, at least go for the final two shows, when Williams will revisits “Sweet Old World,” (which includes the spine-tingling, tear-inducing title song about suicide) on Sunday, and her self-titled original debut, which contains material later covered by Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, Mary Chapin Carpenter, as well as “Side of the Road,” one of her best compositions, but rarely heard in concert these days.